I've had a bit of a hiatus from blogging due to a 3-week trip to Turkey. I left my flatmate in charge of watering the garden (if necessary in damp, wintery Hobart) while I was away and frolicked amongst the very different landscape that is Western Turkey.
The landscaped gardens around the Blue Mosque, Istanbul
The one thing I noticed the most about the Turkish landscape was the number of Oleander trees. My travelling partners and I were all taught by our parents at an early age to be very very afraid of the Oleander. Luckily, my parents just taught us not to eat them, but my friend was told that if she touched them, she'd be gone. As a result, when we passed by the strangely named 'Oleander Restaurant' in Olympos, none of us were very keen to try our luck. Despite their deadliness, the pink flowers were very pretty growing by the country roadsides.
hardy Oleanders growing in the salty slopes of the travertines, Pamukkale
We hired a car and drove down from Istanbul, stopping at Iznik, Bursa, Bergama, Çeşme, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Fethiye, Olympos, Göreme, Ankara, then back to Istanbul. We drove over some amazing mountain ranges, saw the unlikely Pamukkale salt springs and rock forms of Cappodoccia.
My sister sitting on the salty Travertines, Pamukkale
the town of Göreme, Capadoccia
The optimistically named 'Love Valley', Cappadoccia
The mountain drives through the coniferous forests and steep alpine peaks in middle of Turkey were well worth the petrol money (they do need to do something about the lack of guard rails and massive car-sized boulders that occasionally appear on the mountain roads however).
a somewhat speedy image taken from the moving car
Turkey's meant to be one of the few countries in the world that is self-sustainable agriculture-wise. It doesn't surprise me. Crops of all descriptions were planted in any spare bit of ground available. Along the roads, we'd see olive trees, citrus or cherries, and amongst the trees would be silverbeet, curcubits, tomatoes or other low-growing crops. We stayed in fantastic accommodation in Olympos called Saban Pansion, where the log cabins were surrounded by such diverse planting, particularly citrus trees, and the ingredients for the home cooked dinners were all sourced from either their garden or local farmers. The bar and dinner area was cloaked in shade by mulberry, fig, apple and lemon trees, as well as twisted grape vines - very welcome in the intense Turkish summer heat.
the citrus trees and impressive cliffs that surround Saban Pansion, Olympos
Additionally, along the roadsides throughout the country, local producers set up temporary stalls selling watermelon, cherries, figs, peaches and greengages. On our first day, we stopped by one such stall and bought an entire shopping bag of cherries for only 5 lira (about $4 Australian). We couldn't believe our luck.
My garden might be weed-ridden and overgrown now, but Turkey was really inspiring produce-wise. I can tell this weekend is going to be happily spent in the backyard.
smart chickens hanging out by their house on the road in the middle of Goreme.