Monday, January 14, 2013

Mountain Retreat

Just a day after our castle hunting trip, we had another opportunity to do a short day jaunt. This time with a Turkish man who works here on the base with Geoffrey. His name is Orhan and he had offered to take us up to his summer palace in the mountains.

Delaney and Carson had a youth laser-tag outing that day and Brannick was still in Austria (still not jealous) so we just took the youngest two boys with us.

It was wonderful to spend the day with Orhan, who was educated as a translator and speaks perfect English. He taught us to call him Orhan Bey. Bey, or hanim for a woman, is a term attached to the first name. It indicates great respect and affection.

His summer palace was up in the mountains just above a village. It was in a gated neighborhood of about 30 homes. To our American eyes it looked more like a condo than a cabin. He was obviously very proud of it, hence the palace nomiker, and showed us every thought-out detail he had planned into its building.  He has saved most of his career, first to buy the land and then to have a house built on it. Being able to have his grandaughter and his friends visit his palace is a dream for him.

Like most residents of Adana, he and his family live in an apartment. So they don't have yards.  Having a back yard to garden in was a real treat for Orhan and he had planted 30 fruit trees in the last couple of years. There are all small now but he is going to have quite an orchard eventually.
 Here is the front of Orhan's palace. It has three bedrooms and a European bathroom upstairs. Downstairs is a living/dining room, a kitchen and a Turkish bathroom.
 This is the view from his large back patio. That and all the fruit trees. It's very beautiful.

While they were out inspecting his trees, Geoffrey noticed that one of them was slightly out of alignment with the others in the same row. So the two of them dug up the sapling and moved it.  Four inches.  Those of you who know my husband well aren't surprised by this. The boys and I stayed inside where it was warm and ate Chocolate Chex Mix.

After the fruit tree was moved we decided to drive up farther in to the mountains. We had brought a tire tube with us in hopes that the boys could sled but we didn't see any significant snow. We did see a lot of goats.
  Just after I took this picture, a man came running toward our van waving his arms at us.  We stopped and Orhan asked how we could help. It turned out that this man, a teacher, and his children had gone hiking to try and find some snow. As we were now really far above the village it was obvious that they had hiked a long time and a long way.  The younger children, who had to be 6 or 7 at the most, were exhausted and they wondered if we could give them a ride.

We had taken the mom bomb mini-van on this trip and already had five people in the seven passenger vehicle. But Evan sat on Geoffrey's lap and Rory sat on mine and we crammed six more people in the van for a very cozy drive down the mountain.  Turks don't seem to worry much about seatbelts or car capacity so we felt very Turkish and just went with it- glad to do a good deed.

After a nice dinner during which the waiter tried to convince Rory to stay and go live with him, we drove back to Adana and dropped Orhan off at his apartment.  On our way back to the autobahn we passed an ice cream shop.  Geoffrey decided that we should stop and get some Turkish treats. We each got a single scoop of ice cream and then a variety of other treats to sample.
This is like shredded wheat and pistachios soaked in honey. Yummy!

Cookies and truffles.
As usual, Geoffrey was joking with the salesclerks, who didn't understand a word he was saying but thought he was hilarious.  He does tend to resort to some interesting sign language when trying to surmount a language barrier. As we got up to leave they came over with their phones and wanted a picture of themselves with our family.  I'd love to know what caption went under that facebook post. It will possibly include the words, "Crazy Americans".

We got back fairly late, tired but happy.  I put the kids to bed and then set my alarm for 3:30 am before going to bed myself to grab a few hours of sleep before going to pick up Brannick from his trip!

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