Karaburun, a city set in unspoiled nature
Karaburun is known as the quiet land of fisheries. You reach Karaburun by following the Urla sign from the Üçkuyular road in İzmir and turn at the Karaburun junction.
Enjoy yogurt mixed with honey at Altınoluk Mandırası, located on the Narlıdere Güzelbahçe Pier, for a quick breakfast snack.
You will enjoy your road trip, observing homes with printed curtains, lemon, orange and pomegranate branches hanging over garden walls and passing blue-flag-labeled coves until you reach Kartal Kaya. If you’ve manage to avoid travel sickness on the snaking road, then you could surely start dreaming of your retirement; moving here and taking up fishing as a hobby. You think that’s impossible? In that case fisherman Ahmet Yörük, a graduate of Marmara University’s Social Sciences Department, did the impossible. He quit his job 20 years ago, at age 30, and moved to Karaburun. Today he lives in a cottage filled with books, owns a boat to fish from and a motorcycle to transport his catch. Asked if he regrets moving here, he says, “Don’t be jealous, who wouldn’t want to grow old here?” He’s right. This is the kind of place most people dream of spending their retirement years. Everything is so natural and clean that you may find yourself feeling more youthful and energetic thank you have in years.
Wondering what Karaburun has to offer? With the energy the atmosphere gives, you can climb the steep hill from the pier to the state building, relax at coffee shops in the center and drink a cup of tea as you watch the blissful sea view. A coffee shop frequenter will play backgammon with the old boys. Don’t be surprised to see them pull off a few tricks. You can collect squid at coves — which are rarely ever occupied by vacationers — or dive in to the crystal waves, gently teased by a nice sea breeze. If it’s winter, you can skip the swim and pick daffodils instead. Ask the fishers in Saipaltı to take you on a tour of the small villages established in nearby coves. On your way back, you can pick up tangy local goats cheese, sweet dates, juicy olives and pure olive oil.
Directions: Karaburun lies between Urla and İzmir and can be reached from the highway that links the two cities. It is 100 kilometers from İzmir and 46 kilometers from Çeşme. There are buses every hour in the winter and every half hour in the summer to Karaburun from the İzmir Üçkuyular Bus Station — journey time approximately two hours. There are also ferries between İzmir and Karaburun that take about an hour and 15 minutes. There are eight ferries a day from Üçkuyular.
WHAT TO EAT?
You shouldn’t leave without trying grey mullet, artichokes and dates. Albatros Restoran is a great choice for fish, of which it serves a wide variety. Try fava, a traditional dish made with beans, and sündürme or höşmerim for dessert. Stuffed zucchini flowers or artichokes are also common dishes. Also try the spiced pastry, katmer, peksimet, and goats cheese.
Albatros Restoran Tel.: (232) 731 3262
WHERE TO STAY:
Ergin Pansiyon offers a clean environment and friendly services at a reasonable price. Located near Mimoza Cove, the lodge offers a range of services, such as mosquito repellent. For those who want a more up-market venue, Otel Astoria will do the trick. If there are no vacant rooms there, try the apart-hotel or lodges on the pier. Though its rooms are a little small, Alkış Pansiyon in Bodrum Cove offers the best homemade dishes.
Ergin Pansiyon Tel.: (232) 731 3078
Otel Astoria Tel.: (232) 731 2075
Alkış Pan. Tel.: (232) 731 3286
Canoe safari among the water lilies
For İstanbulites who’d like to enjoy an amazing weekend, head to Lake Terkos, surrounded by the Istranca Forest, and enjoy outdoor activities in this beautiful natural setting. There are daily trips to the lake, which hosts fish, birds and water plants. Water lilies cover large portions of the lake, and you can have a magical time rowing among them.
Lake Terkos is racing to become the new address for adventure seekers. Tourism agencies such as Günbatmadan have discovered this natural beauty and in response have begun organizing daily “canoe safaris” on the lake. (For more information visit www.gunbatmadan.com.)
To enjoy a canoe safari with your friends or family, first you must make reservations with a local tourist agency. After you choose the time and location, the agency will pick you up from the nearest pick-up point and take you to Balaban, located in the north of Istanbul. An open breakfast buffet awaits you upon your arrival. After breakfast, instructions are provided on paddling a canoe. Each person is provided with a life jacket and a paddle with two blades. Apple, pear and hazelnut trees line the way as you walk down to the Yazla Harbor. You are then invited to enjoy delicious fruit. The walk does not end there as you will also have to take a short trip up a hill to bring the canoes down to the harbor. Once the canoes are ready, your guide will give a few final warnings as you get into your three-person canoes. While some newcomers to the sport may become tired and give up quickly, others propel forward determinedly and pass through the section of sedge shallows, quickly reaching the cleanest area of water.
Eventually, you will reach a sandbar. Here you can stop for about an hour and enjoy a nice swim. After this stop, you continue towards the water lilies. The combination of these beautiful flowers, the clean air and the magnificent natural view will leave you refreshed. After taking some photos of the water lilies, you have to paddle against the current; this will require some muscle and patience. By the time you start feeling the light windburn on your face and a sweet exhaustion, you will have, hopefully, returned to the starting point. When you step out of the canoe, you will feel the tightness in your muscles; however, before you can sit down and relax, your guide will tell you its time to return the canoes. Once you’ve brought the canoes back, you’ll have to walk back to the harbor. Surely, by the time you reach the campsite, you’ll be starving. Once you enjoy the delicious fish from the barbecue, you’ll forget all about your tiredness. You have the opportunity to take a shower in the lodge before eating. The cup of tea offered around five o’clock signals the end of your adventure.