Turkey – Ramadan Bayram and beyond

Of course, when we booked our holiday we had completely forgotten that our stay would coincide with the end of Ramadan – four days of public holiday.  Mr Erdogan has increased the number of holidays….  This is a continuation of last week’s post. Shaun has now gone home, so it is now Philosopher and me. The numbers of Turkish holidaymakers drastically increased, but has now dropped off again as the holiday period finishes.

Cirali beach

     You wouldn’t actually know it had been Ramadan here –  the cafes and restaurants still served plenty of food and drink to folk who clearly were not observant Muslims.  Skimpy bikinis are still worn by virtually everyone on the beach. We have only seen two burkinis so far.
     I suspect many that come here, like us, avoiding the big resorts, are some of the Turkish ‘48%’. (48.7% voted ‘No’ in the recent Referendum about giving the President more powers). I will write more about this when I get home.
     Here, our landlord Derya is some sort of official at the local mosque – again, it seems to be a fairly liberal set up, although  Derya and his family did fast. Last time we came, our visit coincided with the other big Muslim festival, Eid-El-Atha, and  Derya invited us to go to the mosque and watch the ‘Seker’ (Sugar) ceremony for the children. (see this post) I regret to say I slept in, but Philosopher went. This time, Philosopher, me and Shaun got up at 6.30 to walk to the mosque, in common with most of the locals.

6.30am at the Mosque

      All the little children stood in a big circle with carrier bags, and in the middle was a mountain of sweets tipped out onto sheets. When the mountain had grown to a ridiculous size, Derya and his fellows filled up all the bags. Those children had almost more sweets than they could carry. They even gave some to us! When all the sweets were distributed, the Imam said a brief prayer, and that was it. It was all very cheerful. Philosopher’s pictures from last year are better than mine.

      We walked back along the very attractive beach road. Huge old trees like those in the pictures below, mostly pines or oriental planes, are found all over the village and provide pleasant shade. They even stick up through the roofs of the restaurants. They date from the time before the tourists, and before Cirali became an agricultural village, when fruit orchards were planted on the narrow littoral between the mountains and the sea. Like all the surrounding area, it was untamed forest. There are several massive old giants in our orchard here, towering above the orange, lemon, lime and pomegranates. In fact, this whole area is part of a national park – another reason why building is heavily restricted.  There are no buildings here above two stories, and most are made of wood.
       Now, you have this three-layer effect – the relics of the forest, the fruit orchards, and tourists staying in little bungalows/cabins dotted about in the orchards.

       Here is a massive pine in our orchard, and a huge plane by the gate.

       When we got back from the mosque, we wished all and sundry ‘Iyi Bayramlar’….  We cause much amusement to the staff and our fellow guests with our efforts to speak Turkish.  In Birmingham, we actually went to Turkish evening classes for a few months, but it was terribly difficult – the ‘vowel harmony’ and verb endings eventually defeated us. However, we can exchange pleasantries and ask for what we need.
        Our holiday continues its peaceful, untroubled course.  Philosopher, who as you know has a bad hip, has been going for massages to Orhan, an intense, very thin and deeply mystical organic person who works in a natural herby wellness centre in the village. Shaun discovered him a couple of years ago and swears by him. I was astonished when P said he would give it a go, and even more astonished when he said that he thought it had eased his muscle spasms and he would go again. The herb shop does great hand-tooled soap – I have been using juniper oil with something or other. It is black and stinks of coal tar/creosote but makes the skin wondrous soft….
         I said last time that Cirali was a bit organic hippy-dippy – it is a hangover from the first tourists to come here, hippies who lived in tree houses down by the ancient city of Olympos, at the far end of the beach.
        As promised last time, to finish, here are the pictures of the colourful cafĂ©.  It is a real joy to visit!

Lovely cafe….


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