Turkish Hiking

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If you ever go to Uchisar in Turkey, you must spend part of everyday, hiking down one of the many valleys that cover the land. With names like Pigeon Valley, Love Valley or Rose or Swords, the choices are myriad. The walks are pretty arduous and, therefore, good for you and the vistas are spectacular. But of course the real reason you must walk them is, it is the only way to work off the tremendous amount of food you will eat.

Breakfast in Turkey is always sumptuous but at our hotel in Uchisar – the Sakli Konak – it was spectacular. You arrive when you like between 7 and 10 and take a seat at one of the large breakfast tables. Soon a young man will bring you a tray with nine kinds of cheese on it. Surrounding that will be five kinds of olives, several slices of deli-meat or perhaps sausages in tomato sauce. A basket of bread, of course, is provided (more if requested – you pig) with 10 types of homemade jams as well as peanut butter and honey still in the honeycomb. Had enough yet? Would you like an egg prepared, any style? Have some fruit – melon one day, slices of apple and orange wedges the next. But wait, there’s more. Some eggy fried bread perhaps or crispy fried pita with cheese in the middle. Don’t forget your coffee and orange juice. And what would breakfast be without a tomato, cucumber and pepper salad? And to fill up the corners, a few chunks of delicious nutty halva.

Now you walk. For three to four hours or so, scrambling up and down steep slopes and along narrow ridges, taking pictures every ten steps or so because you can’t believe the next fabulous magical view. And the reward on the other end? A nice cold beer and lunch on a lovely rooftop terrace with more spectacular vistas to look at.

It doesn’t matter what you order, they always start you off with a free appetizer. On our last day it was fresh baked bread which you dip in oil, spices and crumbled feta cheese. Delicious. Then we had hot hummus (the edges were still bubbling when they served it) topped with beef bacon. For our mains we shared dry roasted lamb neck with rice, potatoes and grilled vegetables. And we had worked so hard on our hike that we deserved a dessert of yogurt with honey plus some thick Turkish coffee (with a few pieces of Turkish Delight thrown in as ‘thank you for your business’ treat).

I’d like to tell you we then walked back up the hill to Uchisar (some 8 km away) but we took a cab. We needed to rest up for supper.

And that’s ten minutes.

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