We love to go four-wheel-exploring but we are hopeless at navigating once we get off the beaten track. But our lack of navigation skills often leads us to great places.

Last Sunday we went for a drive to the village of Nif-Arpicik in the mountains above Fethiye. The village is situated a few kilometers away from Uzumlu on the main road towards Cameli and nestles at the foot of the spectacular snow capped Caldag Mountain. The village is famous in the area for the quality of its cherries and its annual cherry festival, even though its name, we think, translates as ‘little place of barley’.

The wide well surfaced road begins on the main road outside Fethiye and passes around Uzumlu and on towards Cameli and eventually joins up the road to Denizli.

Being a lovely sunny spring Sunday the picnickers were out in force lining every water point on the way from Fethiye to Uzumlu.

We passed by Uzumlu marvelling at the size of the new villas that line the road and followed the big curving road climbing up towards Arpicik.

Around 10km later we arrived at a sign for Nif-Arpicik to the left. As we headed to the village we passed cherry orchards, small farms, Lycian style chicken houses and interesting hay stacks. The hay stacks are built around an upright pole against which the hay is stacked. But it appears the local farmers like to create a design impact and top the pole with all manner of things. One farmer even put an up turned yellow wellington boot on top of his pole.

We arrived at the small village to find it was pretty well appointed shopping-wise with a general store, tea shop, kebab shop and small hardware store.

We arrived at the bridge just outside the village and were then faced with 4 choices of route but none were signed. So, letting fate deal its hand, we took a sharp left just before the bridge and headed down a good quality dirt track by the river. We carried on down the track spotting birds, blossom and magnificent mountain backdrops before we came across a small sign on the side of the road. It said ‘Village Garden’. An English sign out here? Let’s investigate.

We drove in and were met by Brian and Roy, two British people who are running a market garden. They welcomed us in to have a look around their developing enterprise that includes poly-tunnels, where they are growing flowers and vegetables, and a donkey called Daisy who was rescued by a British couple recently (more on that in another article).

{mosimage}We sat down on their patio and enjoyed a tea and a chat. It turns out these guys are keen gardeners and are trying their hand at developing a new market for local village produce. They even plan to grow parsnips, one of our favourite but sadly missing vegetables out here in Turkey, and there’s even rhubarb to supply to the resident ex-pats. They explained that they want to become organic producers and want to help the village to retain the farming skills that are fast disappearing as the younger generation shuns the old ways in favour of summer jobs in the resorts.  To help with this they are working with the local villagers and can supply free range eggs, village butter and various other local fayre – full details are on their website – www.vgnursery.com.

They said that they had only just set up the enterprise and would be having an opening event on April 2 and that anyone is welcome. However, to ensure they can cater for everyone please let them know if you plan to visit, you can email Brian on manubrian@gmail.com

Roy, may already be known to some of you as he can often be found performing songs of the sixties in the local English owned restaurant in Uzumlu – Alec’s Camlik – which has recently reopened specialising in quality traditional Turkish cuisine.. In addition to this talent Roy is a keen and accomplished cook, and rustled us up a stunning lunch while we were there of salmon and lyonnaise potatoes.  We thought they should add this service to their repertoire and we think they probably will!

The site is only a short walk from the road and, whilst small, shows that this must have been an important site with one or two sarcophagi and various vaults. Up on the hill behind were clearly visible fortifications.

The afternoon was drawing to a close when we headed back towards Fethiye on the main road. At one point on the road we could see Fethiye and Ovacik / Hisaronu in the distance and we commented at how the place has developed so much over the last 5 years.

As we headed down from Uzumlu we passed the same families we had seen on the way up still picnicking by the road side.

So this was yet another day of surprises around every corner; especially when you take the wrong road in Turkey!


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