After five extraordinary days in Olympos, it was finally time to leave. Our original plan had been to take a bus to Antalya and then head immediately to Taşucu, but since when have we been sticking to our original plan? We were fortunate enough to be offered a ride straight to Antalya by one of our new friends from the Search and Rescue team that we met in Olympos, and he even let us crash at his house! :)
We arrived at Erhan’s family home in Antalya just before midnight. His mom asks us if we would like “soup, or tea?”. Trying to be respectful at this ridiculously late hour, we politely accept the offer for “tea.” Little did we know that “tea” doesn’t actually mean only tea – it means a whole assortment of foods – olives, fresh honeycombs, jams and spreads and homemade bread from the wood burning stove. Tea, it seemed, was just an excuse to eat all of these delicious things (not that we were complaining!). She set up a stiff band on the centre of the living-room carpet, six inches tall and in a circular position, and lay on top of it a tray of these delicious treats. We ate, and laughed, and attempted communication in French with Erhan’s father. Then we set up Meg and Nic’s beds under 50-pound blankets.
We woke to slanted sunshine through the blinds and roosters outside the window. Clucking, and the whistle of wind in the avocado tree. Breakfast on the patio. Sunlight peeking through the vines overhead. Chickens. So many chickens. More honey, more bread, freshly made guacamole with lemon. Black olives soaking in a tuperware container of olive oil. Chai. More attempts to communicate in French (it’s embarrassing how much I’ve forgotten considering I lived in France for 2 months earlier this year!..). A walk into the garden, the picking of ripe pomegranates. The feeding of chickens. A dozen white boxes of bees making honey. A long stick and the shaking of pecans from a tall tree. A cracking of the hard brown outer shell, deliciously ripe nuts on the inside.
Back from his exam, we went to wander the streets of Antalya with Erhan. A bit of shopping, then food and pints at a restaurant on the waterfront where we had a view across the sea to Olympos. As the sun sank into the mountains, we moved on to a restaurant serving iskender – thinly sliced blankets of beef atop bite-sized pieces of fried bread, doused in a warm brown sauce and topped with yoghurt. A salad with pomegranate dressing. Desert was a round fried cheese, cooked sweetly and surrounded with crunchy bits of hardened noodles – like angelhair. Turkish coffee. So full.
Returning to the house, and out comes the backgammon board. Oh, and wine. And an hilarious half-Turkish, half-English movie. A quick shower. Bags packed.
And now we’re on a bus from Antalya to Silifke. We’ll get off at Taşucu (ta-shoe-ju) and hop a ferry to Northern Cyprus in the morning.
I may have been “living” in Turkey before this trip, but I never really lived in Turkey until now. I’m going to miss this place. A lot.
“A bientot,” said his dad as we threw our backpacks into the trunk.
“Oui, j’espere”, I respond.
Understanding nodding, and “Si, si, j’espere aussi.”