On to Ula. But no castle just lovely ice cream!

By the time we reach the Muğla – Denizli road the afternoon is wearing on and thoughts are beginning to turn to a camp site for the night.  Fethiye Times has a book of maps of Turkey called ‘Köy Köy’ (red cover) which claims to list every village in Turkey – hence the title – and all of its historic sites.  The map shows ‘Ula Kalesi’ which means ‘Ula Castle’ and as Ula was another place we had wanted to visit for some time, we decided to head there and, who knows, maybe we could camp in the shelter of the Castle walls.

Ula is locally famous because it was the place where Turkey’s 2007 Oscar-entered film ‘Dondurma Gaymak’ was filmed.  Although Fethiye Times never saw the film, and it didn’t win anything in Los Angeles, we did read reviews and it told the story of an ice cream man who, in response to falling sales of his homemade product from his little shop, built a small fridge powered by bicycle and went off selling his ice cream – taking the product to his buyers but, as far as we are aware, without any dreadful chiming musical announcement.  {mosimage}Ula is also known for its old Greek houses, built by people from Rhodes who were sent back there during the 1923 population exchange; and also for the fact that most of the locals get around on pushbikes.  As you can see, Fethiye Times does its homework before it goes out visiting new places.

And Ula did not disappoint.  Bicycles were everywhere, including some amazingly aged specimens.  We accidentally parked right outside the famous ice cream maker’s shop and went in to buy some but were almost filled up with all the free samples he insisted we taste before placing our order.  Four large cones then came to 5YTL.  He asked if we knew about the film and, when the answer was ‘Yes’ pointed out the sign that now hangs over his door commemorating the fact that the film was based on him.  What’s more the yellow bicycle propelled ice cream store was parked at the end of an alley next to the shop.  His name is Dondurmaci Ali – or Ali the Ice Cream Man.

We then started to ask about Ula Castle, producing our map as a visual aid to these queries.  A local schoolteacher appeared from somewhere and apologised for the mistake on the map as Ula does not have a Castle.  Instead he recommended we go and look at old Greek houses, which we did and which were wonderful – although mostly vacant and becoming increasingly decrepit.

{mosimage}One member of the Fethiye Times team was feeling a bit under the weather so we went into a pharmacy to find the pharmacist had trained at the Sorbonne in Paris – Ula is full of surprises.  Then, as we walked back to the car, a gun went off.  As Wednesday was the last day before Ramazan, we asked a passing gent “Are they practising for firing the gun in Ramazan?”  “Yes” he replied.  Then it went off again and he added “They only use it during Ramazan so they want to be sure they know what to do – plus I think they enjoy firing it.”

And that was wonderful Ula, highly recommended if you are in the area and, if you speak French, be sure to pop into the pharmacy opposite the main mosque and treat the pharmacist to a little French conversation. However, Ula was clearly not going to provide us with a good camp site so we headed off.