My Guest post today will take you into the beautiful Kozak mountains near the Aegean coast of Turkey, where Sharon Egin runs a holiday villa in the resort of Dikili, a favourite with Turkish holiday makers. Sharon shares her experiences of authentic Turkish culture and warm hospitality.
Nothing could have prepared me for my first visit to the Kozak mountains which are situated just off of Bergama on my trip to Dikili in Turkey. I was stunned by its natural beauty as I drove around the gentle curves of the pine clad mountain. This place was lush and green with natural springs and giant rocks scattered all around. From time time we would past a shepherd herding his sheep or goats and were greeted with a wave and a smile on every occasion.
As you drive higher and higher into Kozak you pass the first of villages which continue all the way up and down again the other side. The inhabitants still retain their traditional tribal Turkish culture. The mountain air, organic food and spring water mean a long and healthy life for the locals is not uncommon. In the main the people live of the land and a large part of their economy is the produce from the pine nut trees. These are extracted by hand by the village women in the Autumn. Livestock and crops are another source of income and sadly also the giant rocks, which are now being dismantled for use as pavements in the surrounding towns and cities.
The Kozak plateau is also famous for its carpet weaving tradition and the high quality wool on wool carpets they produce.
We were visiting the village of a family friend and upon our arrival the children were the first thing I noticed. They gathered all around clearly delighted to see us and made the most of the opportunity to practice some English. We moved on to the house of our friend and were given tea and börek, a type of Turkish pastie served with a tomato and onion salad and some bread to scoop it up and a side dish of pine nuts fried in butter. It was simple but really delicious and our host explained that all of it was produced in the village even the butter which was made from hand milked cows.
We ate in the traditional way on the floor cross-legged with a large tablecloth over our legs to catch the fallen crumbs. After lunch I was taken to see the rest of the village and was fed and watered numerous times. Although fit to burst at the end of my trip the hospitality I encountered left me feeling humble and grateful to have experienced this day and with a deeper insight into the values and culture of rural Turkey.
Sharon Egin runs a holiday villa in the Turkish holiday resort of Dikili – find out more about Dikili and local places to visit at www.villahanorah.co.uk situated the stunning undiscovered North Aegean region of Turkey as featured on www.yourholidaymatters.com