Thursday, August 20, 2015

Efes and Mezes

DSC03971 (1400x926)Several folks close to me advised that this vacation had to be different.

I couldn’t take another working holiday.  The legal and financial maneuvering echoing through dozens of overnight emails can’t be managed from Turkey. 

I can’t overplan the itinerary.   A determined march through dozens of historical landmarks and notable restaurants was Stress, regardless of the guidebooks reassurances

I wouldn’t be allowed to plan or strategize.  It takes a fresher mind than mine to ask the big questions or to plot the small schemes.

Kalkan helped in setting a good environment.  There was no Internet at the room and data roaming was expensive.  I rationed myself to one restaurant visit for WiFi, one business phone call, each day.

Indeed, the world survived my absence.

Predictably, the complete break did me a world of good.

DSC03991 (1400x1400)We alternated ‘activity days’ with days spent on the beach, reading a book and swimming. It was a different experience on holiday for me, unique in ten years.

I’d look over the top of the book at 9:30 or 10 as the boats queued up to leave the harbour, then again at 4:30 or 5 as they queued up to come in. 

Midday, we’d wander into the village to look for finger food (mezes), and walk back with a market sack of cold beer (Efes) to keep us hydrated through the hottest periods. 

Afternoons, I watched people, dozed in the sun, and read misanthropic spy thrillers.

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Food was wonderful throughout.

Breakfasts were light, melon and fig, egg and cheese, a selection of breads.

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Meze was a constant at midday, although the selection varied at different restaurants.  Somewhat like tapas, meze is a mix of breads and dips, a good light conversational snack.  I particularly liked the Dolmas (meat or veg wrapped in vine leaves), Haydari (dill and herb yogurt), Ciğeri (grilled liver) and Köfte (meatballs).

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Dinners were either fish or lamb dishes: grilled Sea Bream (lighter than Sea Bass) or a slow-cooked lamb shank preferred.  Seasonings were as varied as the view, and the same dish never tasted quite the same at two restaurants on two evenings.

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Late evening, we’d move on to strong clear Raki to drink.  An anise liqueur served with ice and water, it cut through anything that preceded it (DSC04122 (933x1400)and deadened the taste of everything afterwards).

The long climb back up the slopes at the end of the evening was the biggest challenge I set for myself each day.

Uniquely, I kept this vacation simple, clean, and compete.  And, at the conclusion, I called it a success. As Susan Whitbourne suggests

I should get a break from my usual routines, gain perspective on my problems, and relax with my family and friends. I should return refreshed and ready to take on the world again.

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