Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Farewell to Kas, a Mediterranean gem

Having spent about a month in Kas, we'll be saying allaha ismarladik (good-bye from the person who's leaving) to this lovely town on Saturday morning. Kas will be saying gule gule (good-bye from the person who's staying) to us, as it will happily remain where it is. (The earthquake wasn't felt here, thankfully.) We, on the other hand, will head back up to Selcuk for an overnight before going on to Istanbul for one final night in Turkey before we fly on to our next country on this RTW journey, Vietnam.

Kas sunset

I have to take a few moments to describe Kas in a little more detail, having gotten to know it a bit more since my first post on this area. First, at least in October, it's a wonderful mix of locals and tourists, and the locals we've dealt with have all been very friendly (so have the tourists, for that matter). Here are a few highlights:
Hand-decorated Turkish bowls

Shopping. There's lots of nontourist commerce being done (hey, we both got haircuts today--mine was $15 and John's was only $7, and they were pretty decent!), but the tourists wandering the streets are catered to by shops selling the standard Turkish tourist goods: handpainted ceramics, colorful glass lamps, pashminas in all colors, Turkish cotton towels and wraps, leather goods, and of course the ubiquitous carpets.

But there's little hard sell here--shopowners sit comfortably outside their shops, often sipping tea from little glasses, but for the most part they don't try to entice you to enter. If you do want to look at their wares, they're ready to sell, of course, and when you ask how much something is, they'll offer a higher price than the item is worth. It's Turkey, after all, and bargaining seems to be part of the culture. We're not that great at bargaining but usually can get the price down at least a bit. Today, for example, I bought two pashminas that were priced at 35 Turkish lira each (about $17) but got a "special price" for me only, 20 TL (about $11) each. These beautiful silk and cashmere pieces were definitely worth more to me than that, so I think I came out on top of that bargain. Since we're on such a long trip and our bags are carry-on size, we have really limited the shopping. But scarves take up so little room! I see more in my future.
Our home away from home

 Eating. We've cooked at the villa many nights (or should I say John has cooked at the villa)--mostly chicken and lamb, which are readily available at the meat market and are good quality, and pasta, along with lots of great fruit and vegetables from the produce shops and Friday market. But we have loved the small cafes in Kas, our favorite being Cafe Mola for the best fresh, minty lemonade I've ever tasted as well as crepes, omelets, gozleme (kind of like a Turkish quesadilla), and a fantastic chicken sandwich that I can't stop ordering. The owner/cook is a lovely person who always has a warm greeting for us.
Fresh lemonade with mint and ice chips

Pomegranates grow on trees!
We have also enjoyed pide, which some call Turkish pizza. It's a long, thin, oval-shaped pizza with a thin crust and various toppings (veggies, chicken, whatever) and is cooked in an oven just like pizza is. With a side of yoghurt, of course, as well as peppers and tomatoes.
Pide -- a new favorite
Our favorite pide restaurant is called Cinarlar. Other restaurants we've enjoyed are Uzum Kizi and Ratatouille. We plan to try another one on Friday, the night before we leave--there are so good many restaurants in town! We've found Turkish food to be very good on the whole, though sometimes I long for more variety (oh well, Vietnam should take care of that!).
Lamb kebabs, fried bread, and yoghurt--I skipped the bread

Beaches. If you love pebble beaches, you'll love Kas. They actually have two advantages: they help keep the water crystal clear, and many tourists don't like them. Laying on them is like having your own personal hot stone massage. Bring beach shoes.
Kaputas beach--looks like sand but mostly pebbles

One beach we went to, Kaputas, was about a 20-minute drive west of Kas, at the base of a steep gorge. About 200 steps down (and back up), but since I've been in step training, starting with Panarea, it was no problem! There's some sand there but it's all pebbles as you get near (and into) the water. Gorgeous. Tomorrow we're going to try Patara, a long sandy beach reputed to be one of the best in the world, about 20 minutes beyond Kaputas.

The cook prepares the green beans for lunch
The best swimming, not surprisingly, is off the boats that ply the coast. A couple of days ago we went out for a day trip on a wonderful boat that we hooked up with down at the harbor. We left the harbor about 10 a.m. and motored toward Kekova Island, where we had kayaked a couple of weeks ago. It's much easier on a motor boat! There were about 20 of us on the boat, and we each had an individual sunning pad on top of the boat, which we pretty much left only for swimming in the 3 coves we stopped at, eating the very delicious lunch the boat staff served, and walking up to some ancient tombs in a former necropolis on one of the islands we visited. We got back to the harbor at 6 p.m. Bargain price: 50 TL (about $30) each, including lunch. Turkey is really not very expensive, especially compared to Italy.

This 85-year-old woman rowed across the bay to sell us scarves--we bought, of course
Necropolis tombs

Rod, Gillian, and John on our sun pads
Another highlight of our time in Turkey has been meeting other travelers. In fact, that's one of the best things about travel--sometimes you just hit it off with people. Some of our best friends are those we've met on various trips (Indonesia, England, etc.) and formed friendships with that have lasted for years. In Kas we met a great Australian couple, Rod and Gillian, from Adelaide and spent several days hanging out with them. I'm sure we will get in touch with them next time we are in Australia. (Fair warning, Rod and Gill!)

I could go on and on about this great place, but suffice it to say that we loved every day we spent here. And we are very grateful to Cherry and Alan, who made this beautiful stay possible. Tesekkur ederim!

We'll miss the constantly changing cast of cats!
On October 31 we're off to Vietnam, via flooded Bangkok (here's hoping the airport is still open), arriving in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) on the afternoon of November 1 to start our 3 1/2 week sojourn in that country. Next post will probably be from there!


  1. Awesome blogging, Mom! I love reading these. Must see those Turkish haircuts! Keep living the dream.

  2. Great write up on Kas Anita, the local tourist board need you. Great picture of the black cat.
    Just wish we'd been with you some of the time especially for Emine's fresh lemonade at Cafe Mola!

  3. It's been too many years since I was last in this part of Turkey; obviously it's time to go back and get reacquainted. Thanks for your descriptions and photos of your time in Turkey.