Unfortunately a gray hazy morning greeted us for our drive south through the mountains.
Following the directions on Google Maps on the iPad it was a relatively straight forward drive with good roads and little traffic. Snowcapped peaks loom over rugged terrain with the occasional small vineyard or herd of goats. In clear weather the four hour drive would be stunning.
Owlsland B&B in Bezirgan
Bezirgan may be just up the mountain from Kalkan but it is a long winding road up and over the pass to reach the inner bowl of this hilltop. Once over the rim you get views of the town in the flat valley ringed by low mountains.
It’s a rustic village that pulls you back into time with crumbly white-washed stone buildings and goats grazing on narrow grassy alleys. Not the least bit touristy with only one home, Owlsland, attracting foreign visitors.
Owlsland B&B has three rooms in an old traditional style building with thick white walls decorated with farming tools.
The veranda off the front of the house, shaded by a grape covered trellis, looks onto a grassy yard resembling a small petting zoo with dogs, cats, chickens and goats.
Our host’s parents, a traditionally dressed older couple, live next door. This is the place to come for a slice of unspoiled Turkish village life.
Before heading out for our first day of exploring the region we stopped in Islamlar, up a windy road from Kalkan, for some of the local farmed trout. Like most of the restaurants in town, Pinarbasi Restaurant (on the main road) has a shaded terrace overlooking Kalkan and the sea beyond. The whole trout was as fresh and tasty as promised (a bargain at 7TL) with service on the slow side. Great for those hot lazy afternoons; not so great if you’ve got plans.
Exploring the Ruins
Letoon, an ancient religious site recommended by our hostess Pauline, was a bit of a let down on this gray day. Set down a dusty road lined with plastic covered greenhouses the setting is less than idyllic. The temples themselves blended into the gray skies with frogs and turtles adding a bit of interest to the muddy waters surrounding the temples. Could be pretty against a backdrop of a typical Mediterranean blue sky.
Wanting something completely different we headed north on the back road to Pinara. Not an easy road to find without a GPS as it curves up the hillside to the right in Karadere. In poor condition, this track will not save you anytime and is not worth taking unless you particularly want to explore the countryside.
Pinara set along a canyon and up a cliff face, has a fabulous setting, green with vegetation, views overlooking the valley and snowcapped peaks in the distance.
We explored the tombs at the base of the cliff (dirt path past the parking lot and to the left).
The dirt road continuing past the parking area takes you to the theater. The day growing short we headed back to our home base in Bezirgan with the intention of returning the following day. See the following day’s post for a more complete description of the ruins.
Back in Bezirgan
Back in town missed the first turn and couldn’t find our B&B. Asked the lady herding goats through the middle of the village. She knew exactly where we wanted to go and gave a very detailed explanation in Turkish of which I only understood that we weren’t going in the right direction and where we wanted to go was “over there” somewhere. Pimsleur is great for learning to ask the questions. Understanding the lengthy responses is a different story.
Dinner at Owlsland
Dinner at Owlsland is served family style in the hosts’ dining room that opens on to the large kitchen with dark wood cabinetry and green tile. Started with a vegetable bean soup followed by a chicken potato and tomato dish served with rice and a fantastic apple and chickpea salad. Hoping to replicate this salad at home. Other ingredients included – shredded greens, green onion, parsley, gherkins (not sweet) and cucumber served in a vinaigrette made with pomegranate extraction. The meal ended with tea or coffee and sesame cookies.
May 2, 2012
For links to all the posts in this series see the Turkey page.