Crowds of people and a lot of fuzz. We must be getting close. Cars had to slow down when approaching the first stands. Smell of freshly baked bread in the air, coming from the many Gözleme terraces along the road. Here we were, in the Sunday Bazaar in Çakırlar, near Antalya.
Traditional clothes with floral motifs are all arranged on stalls along the road. Including the funny large pants that Turkish women wear. Huge stands sell all sorts of nuts, dates and dehydrated fruit. Others are filled with citrus, strawberries and pomegranate. All is lively colored. Everything looks so delicious. There are also souvenirs and some small stalls on wheels selling wooden spoons and other kitchen tools. You can find just about anything from spare parts to tea kettles, coffee alembics and hammocks. After starring at all the goodies around us our stomachs began making strange noises. So we decided to try out one of the Gözleme places.
Old women in traditional clothing are sitting down on the ground, kneading dough and cooking it on low wood stoves. We pick a terrace with some sort of elevated bungalows. We have to take off our shoes before going in and we take a sit on the floor on oriental pillows arranged around a small table. We have no idea what or how to order but another client who was speaking both Turkish and English helped us out and took our order to the waiter. In a short while a bunch of kids came in, barefooted of course, and brought us salads, two cups of coffee and two Gözleme, one with cheese and one with minced meat. It’s a kind of pastry with filling, all cooked on their special stoves. And I guess the wood fire is the special ingredient. They looked and tasted delicious. We made the right decision ordering two instead of one as we were thinking. After finishing, the children returned one by one and took our plates. We managed to make some signs and let them know that we wanted the bill. A short funny kid came with a bottle and poured some liquid on our hands for us to wash. He then showed us a ticket on a plate with the price. It is actually an old tradition for children to wait tables and I think it’s great that they keep it to this day, even if it is only on Sundays. Eating Turkish food in a regular place among locals was such a great experience. Southern Turkey is filled with historic landmarks and natural monuments and more than half of them aren’t even in the guidebooks. Choosing from one of the Antalya Province Villa Rentals means staying in the heart of the Turkish Riviera and having the chance to get familiar with the habits and lifestyle, thus taking a piece of the country back home.
In the morning, we decided to go by foot to the Sunday Bazaar in Çakırlar. The paved road from the JoSiTo Camp is descending toward the village and it was quite an enjoyable walk. Felt just like a stroll in the park with all the pine trees interrupted by large boulders and then orange orchards that simply made us drool. But on our way back we hitchhiked. A Turkish guy picked us up and when he stopped at the crossroads with the camp we tried to pay him. He refused but instead insisted on us having one round traditional bread, also baked on the wood stoves we saw in the market. It seems that if you hitchhike here you not only go for free but you get rewarded as well. Is this Paradise?