No road is long with good company.Turkish Proverb
So here we are in Southern Turkey. We initially anticipated being here for approximately 2 months with the plan being to purchase the Yacht, get to know everything and settle in before sailing off into the sunset…life threw us and everyone else on the planet a curve-ball. Now four months down the track we are loving day to day life in Southern Turkey – it is fun, exotic and exciting; more so now that we have been here for a while. Initially it was a little stressful and challenging with the language difference, being extra mindful of cultural differences and the general way of life here is nothing like being at home. Speaking of home, we made headlines in our home town of Whanganui, New Zealand. Read the fabulous article Whanganui Couple Locked Down in Southern Turkey.
Here in Finike the population is around 48,000. It is a coastal town surrounded by craggy hills and snow capped mountain ranges with rivers running through the town to the sea. It is predominantly an agricultural farming area with a good sized fishing industry too. There are a lot of foreign yachts in the marina, which makes for a wide variety of cultures. Finike is not your typical tourist destination which suits us fine.
We have found the Turkish people to be so humble, helpful, kind and friendly. We often go out walking and have had so many lovely experiences with the people. From a young boy catching one of his young chicks to show me and hold, being given fresh fruit, vegetables and bread on our walks, to the local cart owner stopping to say hello and have photos taken together. We always come away from these interactions with a glow, such heartwarming experiences. We have made several Turkish friends who check in on us and make sure we are aware of any local regulations and changes to daily life, as well as some who share traditional recipes with us which is really special.
Day to day interactions have made learning some of the Turkish language both interesting and humerous. We have picked up basic greetings, foods and general terms. Google Translate is fantastic for single words or short sentences but a lot can be lost in translation if you get too carried away. Luckily the chap and I understand more than we can speak so we get by without too many hiccups.
We love the gardens here, the local people are very house and garden proud and the array of flowers is so vibrant. Bougainvillea Vines are prolific in this region and come in a variety of stunning colours. Here in Finike, on the Southern Coast of Turkey it is well renowned for its citrus production. So much so the town’s statue is a big orange. Finike also has magnificent orchards of pomegranates, cherry trees, figs, loquats, olives and tunnel houses for miles full of tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, cucumber and courgettes. Every spare inch of land is utilised to produce food crops. It is wonderful walking through the streets and seeing chickens fossicking in the undergrowth, hearing the goats in the hills and tractors pulling trailers laden with produce.
If you are a dog, cat or tortoise lover then Turkey is the place for you. Cats are everywhere here, whether they are ear tipped and part of colonies specifically to keep the rodent population under control, strays or family pets they are on every corner. The Turkish people have had cats as pets for generations, dog ownership however is relatively new. Anatolian Shepherds have been used for goat herd protection in the surrounding hills and are incredibly powerful, large and loyal dogs. We have come across several on our travels and love every one of them. Dogs can be found sleeping all around the towns, outside shops, under bridges and along the roads. All are well fed as it is very common to see plates of dog and cat food with bowls of fresh water on every beach front or alleyway in the villages. We quite often have a dog wander along with us at different stages of our walks, it’s great company. Tortoises are new to me and I have become enthralled with them. They are so gentle and inquisitive and surprisingly common around the areas we have been staying. It is common practice for a driver on the road to pull over and gently pick up a tortoise and place them on the grass areas so as not to be run over. If you walk into the countryside you will discover hundreds of tortoises and their turtle cousins in the waterway areas, plus lizards and snakes too – fascinating to watch.
Market Day is quite the occasion here, it is huge. We were overwhelmed the first time we went but now we have our favourite vendors and they know us well. One good thing about being foreign is you stand out and straight away the vendors will wave out and say hello. The variety and quality is staggering, we love to buy our weeks worth of produce here plus our dried fruit and nut snacks too. Cheeses are presented in goats skins, fish is straight off the boats morning catch, bread is made as you wait and the nuts are roasting throughout the day. Beautiful sights, sounds and smells indeed. Turkish people are big on preserving and drying foods, making good use of the Mediterranean sun to dry vegetables and make soup mixes to last throughout the winters.
Turkish Tea Gardens are prevalent in Finike. Before the lockdowns of late the gardens were well populated with mainly men folk enjoying a game of Rumikub, a cigarette and of course tea or coffee. The traditional Turkish Tea is brewed in two stacked kettles called “çaydanlık” as I discovered in my Tea Time in Turkey post. Quite often the tea gardens will have big versions of these on coals or gas constantly brewing and very hot. I am looking forward to the Tea Gardens reopening so I can try some more types of tea.
We are having a wonderful time here in Finike, making the most of every opportunity. We can’t wait to set sail on the water and discover new areas of Turkey and further…
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