The Denzli teleferik (cable car) was something I didn’t even know existed until last year. Whilst visiting Berkay’s family in the city last May, we took a slight detour with his younger cousin who came along for the adventure!
Built in 2015, the cable car was made to help more people appreciate and spend time in the beautiful nature surrounding the area. It’s not too far from the city centre, and takes you 1400m above ground.
Turkey isn’t really known for it’s health and safety, so I admit that I was a little nervous when we parked the car and I realised just how high up this thing was going to take me, that was, if the steps from the car park up to the lower cable car station didn’t kill me first! I’m So unfit.
It was nice inside, very modern with really nice toilets, something that always excites me. You have no idea how many petrol stations I’ve had to rely on for a semi-decent toilet while visiting places! We queued up and bought our tickets, which were very cheap, 6tl each for a return trip, or free for kids under 6 years old. Imagine how much you’d pay for a similar trip to this in the UK? It certainly wouldn’t be less than £1.20!
It was quite busy but we didn’t have to wait long, less than a minute and we were ushered into one of the little cars, and set off on our journey!
There are 24 of the cars, one comes along every 30 seconds, and up to 800 people an hour can travel on the teleferik.
The journey from bottom to top takes 7 minutes and provides you with lovely views, you can even spot Pamukkale in the very far distance. Unfortunately the day we went it was very misty and cloudy so my photos aren’t great, they really don’t do it justice!
When you reach the top there is a cafe/restaurant with a look out point where you can enjoy the view with a tea. Alternatively, a free shuttle bus service to a park area called Bağbaşı Yaylası further back in the mountain runs every few minutes (or you can walk to it instead). We joined the queue for the dolmus-type bus, it was only a 5 minute journey and then we arrived at the park.
The park has bungalow cabins to rent overnight, tents you can stay in, play areas, a cafe, little shop huts, a kebab restaurant and a newer activity park built in the forest trees with climbing and rope obstacles. It was nice to walk around and would be great for kids, but we only stayed about 20 minutes then walked back to the bus to head back to the cable car.
We made a brief stop at the look-out point for more photos, then back on the cable car for the journey down which was just as pleasant as the journey up!
It’s a shame it wasn’t a sunnier day as it would make the photos look better, although I’ve recently seen photos of the area in the snow and how amazing the view was then – I guess the cable car runs in all seasons, other than strong winds.
Apparently 1.5 million people had visited the Denizli Teleferik in the 2 years since it opened, quite an impressive number. I hope it continues to be successful as I loved it and really want to go on it again. It’s location is also handy for those visiting Pamukkale to take a slight detour to it.
For those of us who are regulars to Fethiye, you have probably heard about the plans to install a similar cable car going up to Babadağ mountain, and after going on this one I am so excited to have a go on that when it opens! I believe work has already started to build it. From what I could see of the one in Denizli, it hadn’t affected the nature around the area too much, something that is always a worry when it comes to major work on the forest areas. I only hope that the price of the Fethiye one will be similar, and not significantly more expensive to take advantage of the high tourism in the area. I can see it being very popular with both tourists and locals in Fethiye and it will be definitely be something to add to my bucket list!
Since meeting Berkay, I’ve had opportunity to experience a lot of different things in Turkey, things a normal tourist probably wouldn’t. Whilst this can sometimes be frustrating, when I just want to sit on a lounger by the pool and relax, these opportunities have allowed me to see more of the ‘real Turkey’.
One such opportunity presented itself back in September. On the way back from the village in Beyagac, Denilzi, we went through a rural area called Kale, near Tavas. Kale is
famous for growing tobacco, and the people we went to visit have their own tobacco farm.
The people who own the farm land are related to Berkay’s step mum. The family spend a few weeks planting the crops in spring and then around 3 months later they begin the mammoth task of harvesting, drying and curing the tobacco leaves. To do this, the whole family leaves their house in the city behind, and moves onto the farm land for ease, they stay living there for around 5 months of the year.
On the day we visited, it was absolutely boiling, around 36oc, so getting out of the car air conditioning and sitting in the middle of a hot, dusty field was the last thing I wanted to do, but, that’s exactly what we did!
I was pleasantly surprised just how cool it was inside their little makeshift home, and it was so clever and resourceful. They had old tree branches and pieces of wood as beams, keeping the roof up. The roof had layers of cardboard boxes and plastic sheets and plastic ‘walls’. The floor was covered in different rugs, there were even seats and cushions which were sturdy enough to hold a lot of weight! It had a separate area as a ‘kitchen’ with basic supplies of staple foods and oil etc, and they had made a little ‘oven’ from bricks and coals. They grow some of their own vegetables as well as the tobacco, and there were beautiful flowers growing around the tent area too. It really was impressive and so clever. They also had a small outside cubicle curtained area further along the farm which is used as a ‘toilet’, and another as a ‘shower’ – I wasn’t brave enough to investigate these further!
The family consists of two parents and 6 children, but the older two sons have jobs outside the farm, so only the parents, their two teenage daughters and their two youngest children stay here for the full 5 months. I assume they all sleep on the floor together, which isn’t unusual in Turkey anyway. Their youngest daughter is 3 years old and all I could think is how boring it must be for her to be there for months on end with little or no toys, it’s certainly a different life than we’re used to, but when that’s all she’s known I guess she is used to it.
They harvest the tobacco leaves and impale them on metal sticks and then leave them to dry under the sun, of which there is plenty of! They also grow peppers and string these together and dry them too – they double up as good decorations around the ‘house’!
Despite being in the middle of nowhere, they were still prepared for guests. As soon as we arrived one of the daughters went to prepare Turkish coffee, and the other brought out a table cloth for the floor, along with a tray and bowls full of nuts and biscuits, followed by some homegrown melon! If there’s one thing you can say about Turkish people, it’s that they are very hospitable!
The family make a lot of money from their tobacco crop, a few hundred thousand lira each year, but it is undeniably a lot of hard work and I certainly couldn’t live like they do, but it’s so interesting to visit and see a bit more of ‘real rural Turkey’ and appreciate just how resourceful they are, a simple life with the bare necessities, but always ready with a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit for visitors!
I have wanted to visit Istanbul for ages, but never had the time or the opportunity really – we are creatures of habit and love going back to Calis and Fethiye. Although I would be happy to go elsewhere for a change, Berkay just is a real Fethiye boy at heart. I’m hoping for a little city break in Istanbul one day, but the closest thing I’ve had to seeing Istanbul so far, is from inside Istanbul’s Ataturk airport.
However, when we were on our journey back to London Gatwick in September , we had a 4 hour stopover at Ataturk airport and we took the opportunity to have a mini adventure. We exited the domestic terminal and stood in the taxi rank area, we planned to go straight to the International terminal and just sit around and wait, but seeing all the taxi’s made us reconsider! We had 4 hours to spare, and decided as long as we were back at the airport 2 hours before our flight we would be fine. It was a bit manic, taxi’s everywhere, people trying to find empty ones, but Berkay managed to speak to someone who suggested we go to the nearby Aqua florya, so we hopped in a taxi with our hand luggage and that’s what we did.
The shopping centre was about 15 minutes away from the airport, so we arrived there quickly. I felt a bit suspicious walking around with my mini suitcase hand luggage, especially as security was pretty high, they searched the taxi as it approached and scanned us and our bags on entry to the shopping centre – the level of security is quite reassuring though.
Aqua Florya Shopping centre is huge, it has multiple floors of shops, a food court, cinema, sea-side cafes and restaurants and even an aquarium, which is the main theme throughout, hence the name ‘aqua’. There are fish-themed decorations hanging in the centre too, it looks really pretty. When we went it was completely empty, but it was around 11am, so quite early. It was also midweek, I bet it’s really busy at weekends. The shops looked quite expensive, big fashion names, but we didn’t walk around too much so didn’t go in any or see much of it.
We saw a sign for the terrace and stepped outside, the view was absolutely stunning. We walked down the wooden steps to a little cafe with a sea view, we only had a glass of tea though. While sitting there, we could watch the planes fly in over the sea on their way to land at the nearby Ataturk airport, where we had just come from. They were very frequent, every few minutes, as it’s a very busy airport!
We were really conscious of the time, and although we had around 3 hours until our flight, we didn’t want to be in a rush, so we only stayed around 45 minutes. On our way out of the shopping centre we tested out the massage chairs, just for a couple of minutes of fun! If we had longer between flights we would have gone into the aquarium because I’ve heard it is very good.
When we left, we found the taxi rank and jumped in one back to the airport, where we experienced a bit of Istanbul traffic! The journey which took us 15 minutes on the way there, took us 50 minutes on the way back, so it’s a good job we left in plenty of time!! Finally we got back to the airport, through security and passport control and waited for our flight, with plenty of time to spare without getting bored!
Even though we had the briefest glimpse of Istanbul, it was a nice little mini adventure to break up the wait between flights and we enjoyed the change of scenery and beautiful sea views. I really want to explore ‘real’ Istanbul in all it’s glory and hope one day I can convince Berkay to have a proper visit!
Kuru Fasulye is a real winter comfort food. Made from dried white beans, onion, tomato, tomato paste and olive oil, it’s a kind of stew, great for warming you up in the cold winter months. You can add chunks of meat if you wish, lamb or beef usually. We love to eat it with fresh, crusty bread to mop it up, but it’s commonly served along side a dish of rice too! It’s one of the most popular dishes in Turkey, and you can buy it in lokantas, although there’s something really satisfying about making your own, if you have the time! Click HERE to read a recipe for this dish.
Kol böreği is a dish made with puff pastry, rolled up into long pieces – hence the ‘kol’ (arm) in the name. It’s quite soft and a little greasy but so good. The fillings vary – potato, cheese, mincemeat etc. My favourite are the potato or mincemeat ones. We used to eat these for breakfast/brunch in Fethiye sometimes, with a glass of tea, my tummy is rumbling just thinking about it!
Turkish rice, the kind with the little brown bits in, is my favourite. It’s buttery, soft fluffy and a staple part of Turkish cuisine – a great side dish to any meal. It’s even a meal on its own with chick peas or beans. The little brown bits are şehriye ( you might know it as Orzo – a small kind of pasta) and it adds a little something to the flavour and texture. It can be cooked with oil or butter, or even a bit of both. Berkay has taught me to add chicken stock too to enhance the flavour even more!
It’s hard to master, but he’s given me a tried and tested fool-proof recipe which you can find on my blog HERE.
One of my favourite, quick, simple and most importantly – cheap, lunchtime snacks in Turkey is tost. Not to be confused with British toast, the type served with butter and jam, Turkish tost is a Turkish bread sliced down the middle, stuffed with delicious fillings, cooked in a heavy iron press and served with a side of spicy, hot pickles. Yum.
The most popular is a mixed tost, or “karışık tost” in Turkish, which is a toastie with cheese, sucuk (spicy Turkish sausage) and usually tomato too. My favourite is just a plain, simple cheese and tomato one. In Berkay’s village we had one with scrambled egg, sucuk and cheese in – some people put salca (tomato puree) and mayonnaise in too.
The only downside to how delicious they are, is how unhealthy they are, it’s a bit of a carb overload, eating half a small loaf of bread in one sitting, and the bread is usually covered in butter on the outside too so it can be rather greasy. Delightful though!
Keşkek is a very traditional part of Turkish weddings and they take great pride in cooking it. It’s a weird food, served at special occasions, weddings, funerals, religious celebrations etc. A lot of people are involved in the preparing and cooking. It’s made from wheat, locally produced from the villages in most cases, and ground meat, and is lovingly and slowly cooked in these huge cauldrons. It’s a hard job to mix it with the huge wooden spoon as it is so thick, it’s definitely a good arm workout! It’s reminds me of porridge… but porridge mixed with ground meat, butter, and lots of oil… once it’s ready it’s slopped in a bowl and covered in spicy pepper sauce. It certainly doesn’t look, or sound very appealing but it doesn’t taste as bad as you think and it’s a good, hearty food that definitely feels like it’s been lovingly homemade by your grandma!
Baklava is a sweet dessert, made from layers of filo pastry and melted butter, and layers of nuts (pistachio or walnut). It’s cut into rectangle, diamond or triangle shapes then baked. Once baked, a syrup is poured over, making it sticky and sweet. The thin, crispy filo pastry is softened by the syrup as it penetrates through every layer. It’s often served with ice cream or cream and sometimes has more pistachio nuts finely ground on top.
So naughty, but so nice!!
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