Wine tasting in the Moselle region of Luxembourg – with St Willibrod’s blessing!

From the wall of the Moselle Valley winery in Luxembourg, the figure of St Willibrod looks down at me, his three fingers raised. In this corner of Europe, St Willibrod is seen as the protector of the grapes and his three raised fingers mean; “drink three glasses a day and you will be fine”!

Wine tasting Moselle Valley Luxembourg Photo:

The growers here know that saintly patronage plus nearly 2000 years of expertise will ensure the continued success of wines from Luxembourg. History, tradition and continuous dedication from family businesses are as constant as the Moselle River that runs between the vineyards.

You can also read about our gourmet walking tour of Luxembourg Old Town here

St Willibrod in Luxembourg Photo:

St Willibrod in Luxembourg

If you have an interest in wine you’ll know of the Moselle river that forms the border between Luxembourg and Germany. You’ll probably also know the grapes; Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay and for the specialist the intriguing Elbling, Rivaner and Auxerrois.

But almost nobody has heard of Luxembougoise wine, since 66% of the annual production is sold within Northern France, Germany and Belgium, where fine food and wines are truly appreciated. The Luxembourgoise I meet over our long weekend are, for good reason, very supportive of the wines produced in the Grand Duchy.

The Wine Museum in the Moselle Valley Photo:

The Wine Museum at Ehnen in the Moselle Valley

Our wine tasting tour of the Moselle valley begins at the wine museum in Ehnen where we look around the old stone buildings and barns, filled with agricultural implements that were once used in the cultivation of the vineyards. The figure of a lady is dressed in the costume of yesteryear, with her basket ready to hoist on her back and drop in the bunches of grapes as they are picked.

At the Wine Museum in the Moselle Valley Photo:

Heather at the Wine Museum in the Moselle Valley of Luxembourg at Ehnen

At the back of the buildings, vines are planted to show us the different varieties and the shell of a tiny helicopter, once used for crop spraying, sits like a relic from a James Bond film.

Guy with the Helicopter at the Wine museum Ehnen in Luxembourg Photo:

Guy with the Helicopter at the Wine museum Ehnen in Luxembourg

At the Domaines Vinsmoselle we enjoy meeting Stephen De Roy, a gentleman of extraordinary knowledge who guides tours at the winery. Founded in 1921, Domaines Vinsmoselle encompasses more than 300 winemakers who sell their grapes to the business, producing rich and varied wines with distinct flavours. Spread over 42 kilometres along the Moselle, the Luxembourg vineyards produce mainly white wines, with a particularly mild microclimate and a rainfall that is spread evenly over the year.

Moselle wine facts

  • Phylloxera disease was introduced to Europe when avid botanists in Victorian England collected specimens of American vines in the 1850s. When the disease struck the European vines, school boys were despatched to remove the aphids and galls on the affected vines.
  • Belgium used to grow its own vines but Napoleon had them all destroyed in 1804 to protect the French market.
  • In the expansion of the processing plant at Domaines Vinsmoselle, a Roman frieze depicting grape production was unearthed dating from AD 800 – the Romans loved good wines too!
Wine Tasting in the Moselle Region of Luxembourg Photo:

Heather tries the Cremant sparkling wine in the Moselle Region of Luxembourg

During our wine tasting we learn the differences between a Pinot Noir “élevé en barrique” (aged in an oak barrel ) and one aged in a stainless steel tank. Stephen comments “ If I want to taste oak I go to the forest. Why do I want oak in my wine?” 

Grapes in the Moselle Region of Luxembourg Photo:

Grapes in the Moselle Region of Luxembourg

A big speciality of the Moselle region is the sparkling Cremant, a welcome alternative to the ubiquitous Prosecco we often drink at home. We sample the secret distillation of spirit, which when added to the Reisling produces the delicious Cremant sparkling wine, that is also available in many different grape varieties.

For non-drinkers there’s a fresh grape juice called Tam Tam, which paradoxically is made from only the finest grapes, since there is no fermentation to remove the taste of bruised or bad grapes which you can get away with even in the grandest of the grand crus.

Cremant Sparkling Wine in the Moselle Region of Luxembourg Photo:

Cremant Sparkling Wine in the Moselle Region of Luxembourg

When we ask Stephen for his favourite wine he is quick with his choice, a 2009 Riesling from the Charte Schengen prestige brand. The only grapes used are from vines over 30 years old, with roots up to 40 metres deep, on the steep and ordered slopes that run down to the Moselle river.

These come from just twelve selected growers in close proximity to the winery, including four growers from France, four from Luxembourg and four from Germany. In this multi-national wine co-operation we are reminded that the Grand Duchy was a founder member of NATO, and the Schengen agreement covering free movement within Europe’s borders was signed in 1985 just down the road from here.

Boat Trip Along the Moselle River in Luxembourg Photo:

Boat Trip along the Moselle River in Luxembourg

Although we don’t have time to visit the European Museum in Schengen we do see a little of the town from the river, when we take a Moselle boat trip from Remich, to while away a rainy Sunday morning.

Barbecue at Winery Pundel in Luxembourg Photo:

Gourmet Barbecue at Winery Pundel in Luxembourg

There’s another opportunity to try the 2013 Riesling from Charte Schengen at dinner that evening when we enjoy a gastronomic barbeque at the winery Pundel. It’s known as the king of wines in Luxembourg and is sensational, with a balanced bouquet of citrus fruits, apricot, apple, peach, pear and lime with notes of eucalyptus and bizarrely, petrol.

The Pundel winery is a modern glass building and from the rooftop terrace where dinner is served we have a fabulous view of the vines running down to the river. Sadly it’s raining tonight so we collect our dinner of steak and seafood brochets from the gourmet barbeque and head inside to help ourselves to salads and side dishes.

Firework Display at the Grevenmacher Wine Festival Photo:

Firework Display at Grevenmacher Wine Festival in Luxembourg

Our wine tasting tour of the Moselle Valley ends with an evening at the Grape and Wine festival at Grevenmacher further along the river. We wander from one end of the high street to the other, past the stages playing rock music to appreciative teenagers, past the stands selling every kind of local wine and stopping for a late night snack of sugary waffle piled high with cream. We follow the parade of marching bands, headed by the princess of the wine festival and her attendants, who are chosen from local families, before watching the grand finale firework display over the Moselle river.

As we leave the Moselle Valley of Luxembourg to head home, I’m quite prepared to adopt St Willibrod’s motto of three glasses a day in the interests of good health and wellbeing. With a glass of Luxembourg sparkling cremant or vintage Riesling in my hand I’ll happily raise a glass and drink to that!

More articles about Luxembourg

Read about our Gourmet walking tour of Luxembourg Old Town
From LuxeAdventureTraveler: Unexpected Luxembourg: Fine wines and fabulous food

Where to stay in the Moselle Valley of Luxembourg

Heather and Guy stayed in the Villa Welcome annex of the Mondorf Parc Hotel, a leading spa hotel in Mondorf-les-bains. We had a very comfortable modern suite with a large bedroom, separate seating area and en suite shower room. The Villa Welcome was a short walk from the main hotel building where we had breakfast and guests can make use of all the hotel facilities.

Bedroom at Hotel Mondorf in Luxembourg Photo:

Bedroom at Hotel Mondorf in Luxembourg

The main hotel building is quite modern but the angular design softened by plenty of large glass windows  looking out onto beautifully maintained gardens with seasonal floral displays.

Hotel Mondorf in Luxembourg Photo:

Hotel Mondorf in Luxembourg

The hotel is well known for its spa, with warm indoor and outdoor pools that are fed from the thermal springs that have a high mineral content for good health and wellbeing. The spa can also be visited for the day, if you are staying in the area and want an opportunity to relax and unwind. There is plenty of parking space at the hotel and the bus stop is situated on the road just outside the hotel, with connections to Luxembourg city.

Compare prices and book for Hotel Mondorf on my Hotels Booking Page (powered by

Hotel Mondorf Domaine Thermale, 52 Avenue des Bains, Mondorf-les-Bains, Luxembourg. Website: | Twitter | Facebook |

Hotel Mondorf in Luxembourg Photo:

Hotel Mondorf in Luxembourg

Looking for Airport Parking?

Heather used the Meet and Greet Parking Service at Heathrow, booked through Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) who offer airport parking at a range of airports across the UK as well as travel extras such as airport lounge booking and airport hotel stays.

Visitor Information for a wine tour of the Moselle Valley in Luxembourg

For more information to plan your visit to Luxembourg check out the Visit Luxembourg Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+

For more information on the Moselle Region of Luxembourg check out  | Facebook

The wine museum is at 115 route du Vin, Ehnen, Luxembourg. Website: Open daily April – October

Domaines Vinsmoselle – Caves de Wellenstein at 37, rue des Calves, Wellenstein, Luxembourg. Website: Guided tours of the Caves are available by arrangement May-October €6 per person including a glass of wine.

We took a boat trip on the Moselle river from Remich with Navitours. Website: The tour took 1 hr 45 and took us down to Shengen and back to Remich. Most of those on board were having a buffet lunch for €45 per person although we opted for the cheaper €15 ticket without lunch and just had a snack in the bar area.

Our gastronomic barbeque was at winery Pundel at Wormeldange-Haut. Website: The winery is open for special events through the summer season which can be booked in advance. Check the website for more details.

We visited the Grevenmacher 66th Grape and Wine Festival on 11 September 2015. For more information check their website:

Read More: You can also read about our gourmet walking tour of Luxembourg Old Town

Thanks to Visit Luxembourg who hosted Heather and Guy’s weekend stay in Luxembourg

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This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at – Read the original article here

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Absalon Hotel in Copenhagen – and the Designers Guild connection

The colours sizzle and sing as I step into the lime and turquoise reception area of Absalon Hotel in Copenhagen from the stone grey streets of Vesterbro. Colour is at the heart of this newly renovated boutique hotel, as the elegant CEO, Karen Nedergaard told me, when I stayed at the hotel in June; ” In Denmark everything is black and white but I wanted this to be different, to have an international touch.

Absalon Hotel Copenhagen Photo:

Having used Designers Guild furnishings in the sister hotel, Andersen Hotel (as in Hans Christian ) just across the road, Karen was keen to work with the design company again when her much larger Absalon Hotel was due for renovation. Karen and her designers worked with Creative Director, Tricia Guild and the Designers Guild team in their London and Paris showrooms, as well as visiting other hotels for inspiration.

Lobby of Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen using Designers Guild furnishings Photo:

Lobby of Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen using Designers Guild furnishings

Over many months of renovation, structural changes were made to the 160 room boutique hotel, opening up the ground floor to the street with larger windows for more daylight and restoring many of the traditional plaster cornices and door frames. But Karen was also keen to create the cosy feeling of wellbeing that is known here in Denmark as Hygge, telling me “anyone can sell a night’s stay but what’s difficult is to make the guests feel comfortable and relaxed so they want to come back, you have to work with the emotions as well.”

Lobby of Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen using Designers Guild furnishings Photo:

Lobby of Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen using Designers Guild furnishings

The vibrant colour choices on the ground floor were a conscious decision as Karen told me “Maybe the guests don’t want to have this in their own home, but they’ll remember that it was something different and that they felt well when they were here.” Interestingly Social Media also influenced the design choices, and old books and an antique telephone booth were placed around the reception area, knowing that guests would love to photograph these details and share the photos with their friends. The new Absalon Hotel aims to attract the well-travelled, design conscious traveller, both Danes and international travellers spending a few days in Copenhagen or starting their cruise here.

Heather (left) meets Tricia Guild of Designer's Guild (centre) and Karen Nedergaard (right) of Absalon Hotel Photo:

Heather meets Tricia Guild of Designer’s Guild and Karen Nedergaard of Absalon Hotel

During my stay for the opening party I was thrilled to meet my design heroine, Tricia Guild, Creative Director of Designers Guild, who was there as guest of honour to open the hotel. Over the years I’ve loved Designers Guild fabrics for the colourful designs that reference global and vintage inspiration but always feel fresh and modern. Tricia told me that she feels hotel design around the world is a new way for travellers to learn to express themselves;

“Hotels are no longer 5000 rooms with the same wallpaper in every bedroom, they are really design spaces and I think that’s brilliant. People travel more, they see more individuality and I think that tempts them into being more individual themselves.”

I hope you enjoy the video below where Tricia Guild gives her thoughts on the Absalon Hotel Design

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I chatted with Tricia about the many sources of inspirations she has drawn from her travels, from the renaissance art of Florence to the vibrant saris worn by women in India. It might be an impression from the colours of the landscape or the wild flowers growing, yet everday situations can also be inspiring; “You can walk down the street and be inspired if you keep your eyes open”. A great collector of vintage and antiques, Tricia told me how she loves the great Scandinavian designers like Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner and Finn Juhl and uses their iconic furniture designs in her interiors.

Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen Photo:

Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

For the Absalon Hotel, a classic Designers Guild silky taffeta stripe fabric called Zetani was used in a different colourway for each floor. The vibrant shades were picked up in other elements of the furnishings, wallpaper, furniture and accessories with the help of the Copenhagen Designers Guild team at ZenOut Home in Hellerup.

5th floor Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen Photo:

5th floor Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

Our cosy room up on the 5th floor under the eves reminded me of a circus tent with stripes of green, lime and fuschia on a base of silver grey and black. The rooms up here were a little more luxurious, with deep green carpet and air conditioning (not that we needed it in June). We had all the essentials; a flat screen TV, fridge and safe, but the trendy design was not at the expense of details such as the built in reading lights on the headboard and lighting under the bed to guide you in the night. There was a touch of glamour in the mirrored wardrobe and glass chrome tables, with an easy chair to relax and a view over the rooftops of Vesterbro. The only thing I could have done without was the strange perspex box on the wall displaying a design item, since I kept banging it as I passed to get to the wardrobe.

Bathroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen Photo:

Bathroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

The bathroom was ultra-modern with Philippe Starck fittings softened with creamy marble tiles and cool lighting effects from Phillips so you can bathe in any colour of the rainbow. To avoid waste, the toiletries from Karmameju were in dispensers above the bath and sink but there’s no skimping on quality from this Danish skincare company that uses pure, natural ingredients.

Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen Photo:

Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

On other floors the scheme is silver grey with highlights of royal blue and green or softer lilac and plum and here wooden floors have been used for a Scandinavian touch. While there’s no restaurant in the hotel, there is plenty of seating space and a bar area where guests can relax in the evening with coloured lighting that changes mood depending on the time of day.

Bar at Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen Photo:

Bar at Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

Who will enjoy Absalon Hotel? Anyone who loves colour and individual style and is looking for a cool base to explore Copenhagen. The hotel is conveniently located just a 5 minute walk from the main station in the trendy Vesterbro district so you are surrounded by hip bars and restaurants, but be aware that it’s the red light district too. The breakfast is a continental buffet with plentiful and varied choices including fabulous nutty Danish bread and all the speciality teas you could wish for. Staff are efficient, helpful and happy to help with recommendations or anything else you need. With a Concept24 policy that allows you late check-out, we think it’s the perfect hotel for your Copenhagen city break. Prices for a double room from around 1665 DKK (£160, €225 or $250)

Absalon Hotel Website | Address: Helgolandsgade 15 | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

You can also read my review of Andersen Hotel just across the road

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Read about Absalon Hotel in Copenhagen and the Designers Guild connection

Check out the neighbourhood

Dinner at Bio-Mio

A 10 minute walk down the road from Absalon and you reach Vesterbro’s trendy Meatpacking district where the boxy industrial buildings, some of which still house catering wholesalers, are being converted into restaurants and bars. There wasn’t too much happening in the day when we passed by, but at night this area is buzzing. If you want relaxed dining with a bistro feel we can recommend Bio-Mio which you’ll spot by the large neon Bosch sign. This organic all-day diner has an open kitchen running down one side, so you can watch the chefs at work, and you sit at high tables on bar stools and order your meal at the central till. We ordered from the specials board with simple, well cooked dishes under 200 DKK like my fish of the day that arrived topped with a swirl of fennel and leeks. Bio Mio website | English Menu | Address: Halmtorvet 19

Dinner at Bio-Mio, Copenhagen Photo:

Dinner at Bio-Mio, Copenhagen

Cocktails at Lidkoeb

Make your way through the side streets to the main drag of Vesterbrogade and tucked away through an arch you’ll find Lidkoeb, in an old restored townhouse. Up the stairs we sat in the wooden booths draped with shaggy sheepskins and sipped our summertime cocktails. Apparently the Danes love anything with ginger but I tried the Kolonihaven, fragrent of summer, made from geranium gin, cloudy apple and cucumber juice.

On the top floor is the cool whisky bar, serving only the finest whiskies and whisky cocktails. It’s a cross between a student attic and a gentleman’s club with old leather chairs, cut glass decanters and flickering candle-light. Lidkoeb website | Address: Vesterbrogade 72B

Cocktails at Lidkoeb in Copenhagen Photo:

Cocktails at Lidkoeb in Copenhagen

Hot dogs at Urban House

If you fancy something more gritty, to relive your student days, head across the road to Urban House Hostel where their bar serves gourmet hot dogs smothered in various delicious toppings. Choose from Classy Sassy, Grill’n’Chill or the veggie Green Spleen Dog, for an evening snack they’re a snip at 35 DKK. Urban House Website | Address: Colbjørnsensgade 5-11

Hot Dogs at Urban House in Copenhagen Photo:

Hot Dogs at Urban House in Copenhagen

Fun time at Tivoli

Tivoli is a must-see pillar of the Copenhagen scene; part amusement park, part landscape gardens, with restaurant quarter and entertainment venues packed in. During the day it’s great for families who’ll enjoy the rowing boats on the lake, old fashioned carousels and ballet in the open air pantomime theatre. As the evening wears on, the Chinese lanterns glow and the screams from The Demon roller coaster get ever louder as the teenagers and after-work crowd arrive for thrills and dinner.

There’s something for all ages to enjoy and the park maintains a quality, Danish feel that manages to stay charming rather than tacky. Tivoli Gardens are open April-end September and also at Halloween and Christmas. Entrance 99 DKK, Multiride ticket 209 DKK with other packages available. Tivoli Website | Address: Vesterbrogade 3

Tivoli in Copenhagen Photo:

Tivoli in Copenhagen

New Nordic cuisine at UFormel

For a sophisticated but informal dining experience our new find on this visit was uFormel, the cool younger brother to Michelin star Formul B. The restaurant menu offers small plates, with the idea that you order around four dishes, which are served in a succession of different courses. This is the place for adventurous palates and between us we tried scallops, ceviche, beef tartar, lamb and numerous and varied taste combinations. The decor is dark, the ambiance lively and loud (I found it difficult at times to hear any conversation) but the dishes priced at 100 DKK are well priced for the standard of cuisine. If you really want a blow out you could try 750DKK menu with wine pairings but I think it would have been too much. Read the review of uFormal from Alex Berger who joined us for dinner and took all the tasting notes for me.  uFormel website | Address: Studiestræde 69

Dinner at uFormel in Copenhagen Photo:

Dinner at uFormel in Copenhagen

Culture fix at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Just a 10 minute walk from the Absalon Hotel and opposite Tivoli is the delightful Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. This museum houses the art and sculpture collection of the 19th century brewing magnate Carl Jacobsen and is full of classical Greek and Roman sculpures as well as turn of the century marble figures by Danish sculptors.

We also enjoyed the impressionist galleries upstairs, packed with Gauguins, Van Goghs and Cezannes and the petite bronze by Degas of the Little Ballerina which my daughter loved. The winter garden with glass roof and tropical foliage has an elegant cafe where you’ll be tempted to stop for a coffee or light lunch. It’s free on Tuesday, otherwise 95 DKK.  Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek website | Address: Dantes Plads 7

Sculpture Garden of Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Photo:

Sculpture Garden of Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Visiting Copenhagen

For more information about things to do in and around Copenhagen, check out the Visit Copenhagen website as well as the Visit Denmark website for other parts of Denmark.

Heather and Sophie-Anne flew with Scandinavian Airlines from London Heathrow to Copenhagen. SAS fly several times a day to and from London to Copenhagen giving you a choice of times to make the most of your time in Copenhagen. On arrival take the train or metro direct to the centre of Copenhagen.

Heather and Sophie-Anne used the Copenhagen Card which covers free public transport around Copenhagen as well as free or reduced price entry to many of the attractions in and around Copenhagen.

More things to do in Copenhagen

Light, Air, Water – finding a healthy holiday in Copenhagen – healthy tips for rest and relaxation on your spa break by the sea in Copenhagen
How to make New Nordic Cocktails in Copenhagen – cocktails to try that use authentic Danish flavours such as cherry wine.
Like Mother Like Daughter – What we loved on our trip to Copenhagen – My daughter, Sophie-Anne suggests some things to do in Copenhagen that mothers and daughters will both enjoy.

Thanks to Absalon Hotel for hosting our stay at the hotel, to Wonderful Copenhagen and Visit Denmark for providing some of the experiences mentioned and to Scandinavian Airlines for providing Heather’s flight to Copenhagen.

This article is originally published at – Read the original article here

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A family trek in the Saklikent Gorge, Turkey

In this guest article teenage traveller, Reka Kaponay shares her excitement at a walk in the Saklikent Gorge, Turkey, wading through icy water and taking a mud bath, before the day ends with a traditional Turkish meal. Reka writes;

As I lay in my bed, it took a few seconds before I realised again in sheer excitement, I’M IN TURKEY! Today we were heading out to what is arguably one the most beautiful natural wonders of this region, Saklikent Gorge, a 300 meter deep canyon that is close to Fethiye, forged through the power of the water’s elemental force, cutting its way through sheer rock over thousands of years.

Walking in the Saklikent Gorge, Turkey Photo: Reka Kaponay

A bus ride to the Saklikent Gorge

Given that it was late September and no longer high tourist season, the bus ride was filled with a couple of explorers like ourselves, but mainly with locals who were making the trip home to rural villages that lay in-between the canyon and the touristy Fethiye.

After an hour and a half, we finally descended into a deep ravine which signalled our arrival. As we got our bearings, we realised that we would be wading through water and mud over rocky terrain and would need to leave our shoes behind.  A row of stalls lined the entrance to the gorge, hiring plastic wading shoes to all the visitors.

Saklikent River Gorge in Turkey Photo: Reka Kaponay

Saklikent River Gorge in Turkey

I looked up to see a towering ravine of ancient rock formations in front of me. It was as if I was at the entrance to a medieval fortress that would only allow me entrance if I knew its secret password. The view was entrancing and at the same time awe inspiring, knowing that the simple flow of water had sculpted this natural beauty. I stood on the suspension bridge looking deeply into the rapid flow of the river below me.

In the Saklikent Gorge Turkey Photo: Reka Kaponay

In the Saklikent Gorge Turkey

As we entered the park, we were swamped by tour guides trying to sell us their services for similarly ridiculous mark ups to that of the cab drivers of Marmaris. We ended up bringing helmets as a small precaution, but five minutes later we were taking them off and even leaving them behind to pick them up on our return journey, rather than lug them around for the rest of the walk. First, however, we had to enter the canyon and before us was a raging torrent of water about 20 meters across, that we would have to wade through to get to the entrance of the gorge.

An icy-cold plunge!

Pants rolled up and newly acquired wading shoes on, we plunged feet first in the water. I lost my breath when my feet made contact with the element. Pain shot up my legs and my toes felt like they had contracted frost-bite in a few simple seconds. My whole foot had turned numb. I shot out of the water, fast as a hare, shrieking like a hyena. I’m sure it was a sight to see. Lalika and Dad seemed to bear it better, as they were the first to begin heading through the fast flowing waters.

In the Saklikent Gorge Turkey Photo: Reka Kaponay

In the Saklikent Gorge Turkey

Soon it was up to their knees, but battling their way through they were the first of our family to make it across. During this time I was contemplating if I really wanted to go through with this. The look on Mum’s face showed me that there was no alternative and with a renewed collective determination, Mum took my hand and we began making our way through the ice cold water to the sound of Lalika’s cheers.

I nearly slipped at one point but thankfully I recovered in time and Mum and I emerged from the water half dry and very happy. The ice crystal water had somehow instantly rejuvenated my curiosity and I was keen to see what mysteries lay beyond the curves of the deep ravine in front of me.

In the Saklikent Gorge Turkey Photo: Reka Kaponay

In the Saklikent Gorge Turkey

Wading through the clay

I began to wade through the softest flowing grey clay that had deposited itself over thousands of years between this magnificent Moorish pink gorge towering over me. I was surprised that the locals hadn’t already made a beauty industry out of this, mining this natural resource, when I remembered that thankfully, it was a protected national asset, located behind the confines of a national park.

That didn’t stop Dad and Lalika from making a mud pack, as the two of them smoothed the liquid clay all over their faces, arms and legs. The mud also made great war paint and Lalika and I had a really fun time applying it before role playing a fierce battle of the clans.

Mud packs in the Saklikent Gorge Turkey Photo: Reka Kaponay

Mud packs in the Saklikent Gorge Turkey

The canyon snaked its way in curves and arcs in what seemed like a never ending array of rocky colours of beauty. After about 45 minutes of walking, we came to a fork in the canyon. To the right you could make your way through waist deep mud and continue on. The other choice to the left was neck deep fast flowing river. These were the only two options to continue on.

Mud packs in the Saklikent Gorge Turkey Photo: Reka Kaponay

Mud packs in the Saklikent Gorge Turkey

We decided that this was our sign to turn back, but in truth you can continue up through the canyon for another 15 kms as it is 18 kms long. On the way back, we faced a small crisis when my brother lost one of his croc slippers in the muddy stream and we had to drop to our knees in the murky river feeling with our hands as to where it could be.

It took us a couple of minutes, with some airing of our frustration at his carelessness, but we finally found it. We stopped just before crossing back across the freezing river to take a moment to marvel at our current location. We managed to cross the river once again with no trouble and we emerged with frozen feet but joyful smiles.

In the Saklikent Gorge Turkey Photo: Reka Kaponay

In the Saklikent Gorge Turkey

Learning about local Turkish cuisine

Changing back into our shoes, the wolves in our stomachs reminded us that it was time to eat! Walking through a canyon for an hour and a half and half bathing in cold water, really works up an appetite! We wandered beyond the closest and obviously touristy oriented restaurants lining the river walk. We decided to walk a kilometre up the dusty road, away from the park in the direction of some local stalls and we were duly rewarded for our efforts.

We found a smaller traditional restaurant that was built over a natural spring that flowed right through the middle of it. There were no chairs to sit on. Instead you reclined on comfy colourful Turkish motif cushions, while you ate on a small luxurious raft floating on the water. This is where we learnt our third and I feel most useful Turkish expression – Gözleme.

Gözleme making near the Saklikent Gorge Turkey Photo: Reka Kaponay

Gözleme making near the Saklikent Gorge Turkey

Gözleme is a pancake-like unleavened bread, baked freshly on an open grill convex metal hotplate, and filled with all sorts of wonderful fillings like Feta cheese and spinach, or chives and potatoes, or any other combinations of meats and Turkish spices. Of course back in Australia we were already familiar with Gözleme, but not in the manner that this Turkish grandmother, dressed in her regional traditional costume, was working this convex hotplate, heated by traditional wood fire.

Her hand movements were so skillful, that it was almost as if she was conducting a symphonic orchestra to its crescendo, rather than making a pancake. It was mesmerising and almost as good to watch as it was to eat. The Gözleme was not the only fare on the menu of the day. As those that don’t eat meat, we had a generous selection of figs, potato salad, roasted eggplant, beetroot, tomato and cucumber salad, french fries and of course more Gözleme to choose from… All of this was to the setting of this beautiful oasis of natural spring water and the surrounding granite mountains that embraced us.

Enjoying lunch near the Saklikent Gorge Turkey Photo: Reka Kaponay

Enjoying lunch near the Saklikent Gorge Turkey

It was extremely relaxing, so much so, that we all took a small traditional Turkish nap on our water raft bed. For me, this combined experience of the natural wonders and our lunch, were all the reasons why I need to recommend that if you are ever in this part of the country, then Saklikent Gorge is an experience not to be missed. Take a day away from the beach and you will be rewarded with a traditional Turkish experience.

Sunset in Fethiye Photo: Reka Kaponay

Sunset in Fethiye

Our ride back to Fethiye was hot and uncomfortable and the bus was packed to the brim with people from the villages returning to their jobs in the touristy Mecca that is Fethiye. I ignored this however, along with the heat, and dreamt of Gözleme and rocky gorges, as I dozed in and out of consciousness on the bumpy ride home.

Author Bio: Many thanks for this article to Reka Kaponay, a teenage life schooler traveling the world who blogs at Dreamtime Traveler

For more Turkish adventures:

Visiting Kusadasi and Ephesus on our Azamara Cruise
Istanbul the golden – final stop on our Azamara Cruise
The Delights of Dalyan: Family Fun in Turkey

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Read about Hiking the Saklikent Gorge in Turkey

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