"Cruising the Lycian Shore" is our first cruise in Turkey since October 2019, On this occasion, to give an impression of the experience, we are providing a kind of travel diary. Every day we will pick one image we took that day, accompanied by some explanations and thoughts.
All went to plan today! We left the Bay of Kekova, continuing eastwards, with a stop for breakfast and a refreshing swim in a small cove along the way, before reaching the port of Finike.
Finike is an unremarkable town in a lovely setting, not a highlight in itself, but a convenient starting point for a key inland excursion on this itinerary. It takes us inland by about 20 miles or 35km, to one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in the region: Arykanda.
We spent quite a long time at Arykanda, a superb site in a spectacular setting, and our guests loved it. The site would easily make for the main and only topic of today's post, because there is much to say about Arykanda. And I said it, about a year ago, on this blog! If you are following this diary, follow the link to learn more and to see a lot of pictures from the place - certainly one of the most beautiful and most memorable visits on all of our tours and cruises!
Here, I can focus on the day's other highlight. Peter Sommer Travels has been travelling Lycia for a long time, and Peter Sommer himself has an old friend in the area: Ramazan, who used to be the site guard of Arykanda for many years. He lives in Arif, the village next to the site, and he is a wonderfully hospitable man, a great host, blessed with a lovely house and a beautiful garden. This is where he and his family grow everything the region has to offer, and where they host us and our guests when the opportunity arises. Today it did.
We had the most wonderful time on their terrace, enjoying a lavish lunch buffet, all made of locally-grown ingredients. There's probably no need to tell our readers that Turkey has a rich and colourful culinary tradition - check our collection of Turkish recipes as a small insight into a big topic. It could be argued that there is not one Turkish cuisine, but many, ranging from Mediterranean to inland traditions, from simple and local to sophisticated and urban (or courtly), from virtually vegan to a wealth of meat and dairy, depending on region and context. There's something there for everyone, and our guests experience it every day, primarily through the wonderful meals provided on board by our remarkably gifted chef.
Today, at Ramazan's, we savoured the most local version possible, a panorama of what the Arykanda Valley can produce. On our image, you see most of today's delights: a zesty salad of tomatoes and fresh greens, the fried garden potatoes that are our hosts' pride, vine leaves with a stuffing of rice and herbs, bulgur wheat with fresh yoghurt, and the pièce de résistance - aubergine (eggplant) stuffed with a mixture of rice, very local goat meat and more herbs. There were also stuffed tomatoes, but they escaped my camera! We enjoyed all this sitting under vines and chatting away, right next to the garden where most of what we ate had been grown. What a wonderful way to experience a place and to understand its potential...
Tomorrow, we have a wonderful voyage before we can tell more stories.