We drove from Antakya to Kizkalesi (Maiden’s Castle) which was just what the doctor ordered. Sand, sea (with fantastic views of a castle thrown in for good measure) and fish.
From there we drove on to Mamure Castle and Anemurium. The former is a child’s ideal of a medieval castle: fantastic location by the sea, ramparts walk with impressive battlements, surrounding moat, and almost deserted. And a mosque in the middle! Anemurium was pretty but eerily quiet. I had that sinking sensation in my stomach when I realised I was walking on (and crushing) 1400 year old bits of brick, mosaic and pottery (the town was abandoned in the 7th century AD so I did the maths!). Years ago I once stopped my taxi while travelling in Punjab, ostensibly following the path of the Saraswati river - I know, one of the many strange things I have done – and loaded it with abandoned bricks from the courtyard of an 800 year old temple that was being renovated. I still have the bricks but have never worked out quite what to do with them. For those interested, the bricks were replaced by black and pink ceramic tiles with white flecks. Only in India. Often maddening but always compelling.
Side was a complete shock to the system! A very typical holiday town but set in gorgeous roman ruins. We moved on to Çirali which really is as idyllic as it gets. Mountains, sea, orange groves and the ruins of Olympos to explore, plus the remarkable Chimera where “eternal” flames emerge out of the rocks. Then on to Kaş, a quaint village with beautiful views and some rather nice carpet shops! From Kas we drove to Kayaköy (Levissi in Greek), a ghost town created by the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923. I once had a long conversation with a friend’s mother who had left the newly formed Pakistan thinking that it would be for a few weeks and had never been able to go back – the hurt never went away. Kayakoy was melancholic, as if the whole village is waiting for its inhabitants, not to be a museum but to be lived in.
Back to Istanbul to finish up and buy a stock of baklava (it has to be Karaköy Güllüoğlu) for my daughter who was completely addicted: it had to be pistachio and it had to have sprinkles. I clearly need some lessons in parenting! I have to say I was then ready to come home. I had been away for over six weeks and missed my chai! Of course when I did get home it was just for a few days and I was off to Delhi to work with Ishan on completing the branding (although how one can finish anything in 43 degrees heat was beyond me and I came back as sick as can be!) It has been frighteningly busy since: getting the branding completed, e-commerce website specified and developed, payments made and Indian sourcing going. But it has been an incredible journey. For all those who have written to me and said I have their ideal job/they want my life, I want my life too.