I spent a few days in a town called Urla, about 30 Km into the peninsula from Irmir. I stayed with two beautiful women who own an organic olive ranch that has been passed down for 3 generations. Grandma, whom I came along with really well with only a few common words to share, is the third generation owner if I understood correctly.
I was to stay at the farm the whole time but I really really needed to get my clothes washed and the farm had no washing machine. Sibel nicely took me to her place to wash my clothes and have a shower before spending the evening learning organic turkish recipes and getting to know these two lovely ladies.
I had planned on sharing the recipes with you here, but unfortunately I wrote them down on my phone, which got run over by a car the other day and it doesn’t work anymore. I’ll try to rember some of them, but you should improvise in any case to suit your taste.
Stuffed Paprika – Raw rice, tomato, onion, mint, salt and pepper and of course olive oil. Steam until rice is done.
Stuffed Zucchini flowers – Same as above without the onion and pepper.
Tarhana Soup – 1 Tomato glazed in olive oil, 4 cups water, 4 tblsp tarhana mixed in with a little water, salt. Simmer until soup has thickened.
Cacik – Yoghurt, cucumber, mint, salt, and olive oil.
After the delicious food, grandma was ready for something sweet. This family really likes organic and healthy, so the dessert was tahini and concentrated grape that we ate with whole wheat bread. One of my favorite desserts so far.
Before we headed off to the farm the next day, we filled the table with tomatoes, peppers, olives, beautiful home made jams, cheeses, cucumber and of course Çay. I packed my newly washed clothes, had a dip in the sea and we headed off to the farm to spend the day and the evening.
While helping paint a cottage I got to know Sibel better and google translate was not so much needed anymore. I taught her English and she taught me Turkish and it felt as if I’d been there for a long time already. As the sun set we had dinner, which was the earlier nights left overs, some really really nice cheese and great organic red wine. I chose to sleep on the porch of the house in my hammock watching the starlight sky and listening to silence.
The next morning I noticed their knives were in bad shape so before it was time to head off again I offered to sharpen them since I’ve become a bit of a travelling knife sharpener. I also heard that Grandma has had a year long pain in her shoulder, so I gave her a good long healing massage also before I left.
Then everything started going down hill. I went to all the wrong places, got my phone run over, almost ended up spending the night with turkish hillbillies, and in the end ended up spending the night with some turkish gypsies.
The gypsies were nice, but the place was definately not the paradise I’ve gotten accustomed to with smelly sea water and trash everywhere. It is good to be brought back down to reality every once in a while to appreciate paradise again, but it’s never nice to downgrade. The next morning I felt better though, made a whole days food, and drove to Ayvalik.
Ayvalik is known for it’s olive oil, and it has become one of my favorite places in Turkey. It’s insanely easy with the tuk tuk, there’s an island with snorkling and scuba diving, the views are magnificent, and the atmosphere is brilliant. Paradise once again after the different kind of paradise, and not having a phone has been the perfect change for a change.
Oldschoool internet cafeing is great cause here it’s mindblowingly cheap, 3 hours plus a coke cost me 2€ last night, and it makes me meet people. I am sorry that without the phone I cannot post photos at the moment though, but no need to worry, tomorrow Juho comes back and hopefully he still has his phone with him.
Once he’s back, all is well again, and the fantastic duo can once again save the world with their rickety tuk tuk with double the smiles and almost double the facial hair. I saw a photo of Juho’s face on facebook, and it looks like he’s neatened himself up, the traitor.