Thursday, November 11, 2010

Göreme, Cappadocia - Picnic with Ahmet

Posted by Melissa
Good Food in a Cappadocian valley
September 17, 2010
Ahmet, whose son owns the Star Cave Hotel where we are staying, said "I am garden" "you go with me" "we picnic". Through a little back and forth conversation we discover that Ahmet has a country garden and wants to take us there for a picnic. Sounds GREAT to us. We hop into his car and make a couple of stops along the way, first for fresh peppers and tomatoes at this street market and then a stop at a little grocer for bread and chicken wings.
Ahmet speaks some English and we speak VERY little Turkish.  We converse as best we can as he drives us out of town and then down a little dirt lane.  The lane gets narrower and narrower with branches scraping up against the car.  Ahmet parks when the car can go no further and indicates to us that we will now walk.  We wonder just a little bit, "was this smart?" We are now wandering around a remote valley, far from home, with someone we just met. My daughter insists that I am too trusting, hmmm - just a little worry begins to work its way into my head, but we both agree Ahmet is a great guy and this will be a fun adventure.  So off we hike through this valley, passing through many orchards and gardens. . . .
to Ahmet's garden and camp/picnic area.

The simple outdoor kitchen where our lunch will be prepared.  Ahmet fills the water jug from a source further up the valley.

A lovely shady little spot, just right for lunch.

Thane checks out the one room house, built partially into the hillside.  Nice and cool inside.

We picked melon and mint in the garden and started preparing lunch.

Ahmet put Thane to work watering new fruit trees that he planted earlier this year, telling him that lunch will be ready when the trees are watered.

Simple BBQ, fueled with tree clippings stacked neatly next to the house. 

Ahmet roasted an eggplant (directly in the coals) that would become part of our lunch. Peeled and mixed with chopped tomatoes, green peppers and mint, it became the filling for our sandwiches.

Thane says "Yum!"

Dessert - straight from the garden.  Very sweet!

Oh, must NOT forget the çai.  Ahmet retrieves his wood fired samovar and tea glasses from the house and fires it up.  Turkish tea generally steeps for 15 minutes, leaving some time for . . .

Tea is ready AND Ahmet even has some Nescafe with creamer and sugar for Thane!

Time to clean up.

The leftovers are bagged up and ready for our hike back out.  We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon at Ahmet's family garden and picnic/camp area.  What a treat to be included in something as personal as this.  One of our goals in traveling is to get to know people living in other cultures as much as we can.  This day was very special to us. Ahmet, we feel so honored to have experienced your generous hospitality.

On the drive back home, we take a little detour. Again, we are not sure where we are going, but we are along for the ride so we'll soon find out! Ahmet parks the car and takes us into this old house.

We discover that his son, Ramazon, has purchased an old stone house with cave rooms, to remodel into a new hotel/pension. This is just the 2nd day of cleaning out the debris and seeing exactly what he has.

A couple of items found in the rooms.

Wine amphoras found in another room.

And just uncovered a few hours ago, a large cellar room that looks big enough to make a couple of additional rooms in the pension! We hope to go back to Göreme sometime soon and see this new pension.

Still to come in Göreme - descending deep into an underground city, attending a Muslim wedding reception, touring a vast complex of Byzantine churches, oh and probably some more hiking and food.


Kathi and Bob said...

What a wonderful experience for all of you. As I was reading this, I thought that this probably would not happen in too many places in the US. Your traveling tales of hospitality just reinforce how important it is to engage with others one on one and how much we have in common as human beings. Safe travels and thanks for the continued travelogues!

spaciousocean said...

Awesome blogging!!! You are truly having the time of your lives!! I just love sharing it! Super photos! wonderful writing ...Love it! Love you!Lisa

Rosemary said...

Absolutely incredible! I know exactly how you felt - we went off on day trips with our Italian friends, not knowing really where they were taking us sometimes but it was always fascinating and the time spent with them was priceless. Love all your photos too! I totally agree with your philosophy of life!

Harry and Theresa Hanbury said...

Wonderful blog. We feel almost like we are in Turkey with you. Your "off the beaten path" adventures make for much more interesting reading than even the Rick Steves stuff.

Will you be back for the February Cruise? If so we will see you then and see all your pictures. ;-)

Harry & Theresa