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If you have a motorcycle, you will probably agree that Alanya’s environment and its climate are perfect for beautiful tourist rides. Be it to enjoy a trip along the coast or in the mountains while the sun is shining and a cool breeze is blowing on your face. I was therefore very happy to discover the existence of Motor club Alanya / Mahmutlar. Almost weekly they organise trips through the surrounding areas. I decided to go along for the ride to Gündoğmuş, approximately eighty kilometres from Alanya, into the Taurus Mountains.
Text & Photos: Tarık Olcan
We met at 9 o’ clock at the Luna Park in Alanya. Jack Jut, founder of Motor Club Alanya / Mahmutlar, expected about thirteen participants. He had actually scheduled the trip for the week before but due to unexpected snowfall in the mountains, it was postponed. "This week the temperatures have already risen and the prediction for today is good", he advised.
Jut founded the club - which is intended for owners of motorcycles of minimum 125cc - in December 2013 after he had organised many motorbike rides himself throughout the region with friends. "I've lived here 23 years and I initially had a scooter. About six or seven years ago, I bought a 125cc and we started to make real tours. At one point I thought: why don’t we open a Facebook page where we could announce our rides and have pictures of where we've been. Then anyone who was interested - and of course has a motorbike – could join. We now have 73 Facebook members and although not all of them participate, the group is growing".
One by one, the members arrived and when everybody was there, we were on our way. At Konaklı we turned towards Gündoğmuş and quickly ventured into the mountains. The pace is easy so that everyone can fully enjoy the impressive nature. "We are not speedsters", Jack Jut told us. "On the main roads we may travel at speeds of 75-80 km per hour, in the mountains we do about 30-40 km per hour. Our aim is to take tourist trips; we are not a racing club. We want everyone to have the opportunity to look around and still watch the road. We stop regularly for a picture moment, a cigarette, to chat a bit or tell a joke!”
And to dance! At every stop they start the music on the bikes and everybody starts dancing and singing at the top of their voices. It is a characteristic of the relaxed atmosphere in the group and immediately I noticed - as a first time participant - that everyone was very helpful. The group stays together while driving and everybody helps each other if necessary. Nobody passes the front rider and there is always someone nominated to make sure that the last in line can continue to follow the group. Jack Jut: "That's our motto: “We leave together and we’ll all come home together”.
Jut organises the motorcycle tours depending on weather conditions. In preseason most tours run along the coast, for example, to Manavgat or Gazipaşa. As soon as the temperature allows, they search for the most beautiful trails through the mountains, like the already planned tours to Sarıveliler and Taşkent.
At the moment Motor Club Alanya / Mahmutlar has mainly Dutch and Belgian members but anyone with a 125cc engine is welcome. For information about the club or tours you can visit and leave a message at their Facebook page: Motor Club Alanya / Mahmutlar (www.facebook.com/groups/233524913474224/?fref=ts) or by calling Jack Jut on: 0090 (0) 546 806 0070
“4200 km a small price to pay for a new sense of life”
Jan Erik Granholdt sat across from us in Aphrodite’s Restaurant with a large smile on his face as he celebrated his charity success of cycling over 4200 km in 35 days to raise money for the LHL (The Norwegian Heart and Lung Patient Organization). His reason for doing this was that he wanted to give something back to the organisation that had helped him recover from a quadruple bypass earlier in the year.
Jan Erik set out, on his bicycle alone, from Sundvollen (approximately 44 km NW of Oslo), Norway on the 29th of August 2014 and arrived in his holiday town of Mahmutlar on 4th October 2014. This fund raising journey brought Jan through 11 different countries and he experienced many weather changes alone the way from, cold, wind, rain and hot temperatures. He told us that the wind was mainly in his face most of the way but when he arrived in Turkey, the wind was behind him and gently assisted him to complete his 4200 km cycle.
Jan Erik survived major cardiac surgery in January and as part of his therapy he started to cycle, something he hadn’t done since his youth. He had lost over 60% of his heart capacity. He told us that it was “one day at a time” but he had a goal. So gradually as he increased his distances he felt better and better and in July, he contacted the LHL to see if he could give something back for all their help. LHL is a charitable organisation which has their own private hospitals which assist people recovering from heart operations. The scene was set and the timing was ideal as his work commitments allowed him the time to make this momentous journey.
Regardless of the task he undertook, Jan told us that raising money for LHL was his main purpose and he hoped that in the future he will have the health to do another fundraising event. “But it won’t be the same thing” he told us, as he smiled and returned to the large crowd who had attended his celebration lunch.
The Alanya based "Multivilla" Company (a member of Multigroup companies), was established in 2004 by Atila Günkaya. This dynamic company provides an “inception to completion” service whereby they design, build, operate and sell all their properties as part of the group. Attention to detail and providing the highest standards of design and product brought "Multivilla" to the fore in Germany in 2010-12, where they were recognized as one of the best company on the Turkish Riviera in this sector. Recently this reputation has spread east to Russia and several former Soviet states.
However on the 29th August, 2014 at ‘The Langham Hotel, London’ ‘’Multivilla’’ were awarded one of the highest European/International accolades for their new project Empire Residence – ‘The Luxury Lifestyle Real Estate Award’.
Luxury Lifestyle Awards is an international Award granted to the companies in luxury segments for their initiatives and outstanding achievements. The Award is won only by the best companies and brands of luxury class within the country this company or brand is represented in. Receiving the Award proves company’s exceptional nature in the eyes of professional community. The 2014 awards hosted participants from 10 European countries grouped into 10 different categories. Turkey was represented by 24 companies in 5 categories.
The Luxury Lifestyle Award winning ‘Empire Residence’ development is the latest ‘’Multivilla’’ project located in the heart of the Mediterranean. It combines modern technology, design and is very impressive in its beauty, position, and attention to detail. It is due for completion in March 2016.
“Multivilla” deal with all aspects of the property sector and are available to assist in relation to all development and investment considerations. There extensive experience and strong in-house support network ensures the clients best interest at all times.
For further information contact: Multigroup Companies, Kestel, Sahil Str. No 19, Multiplaza Alanya, Antalya, Turkey. Tel: +90-242-512-2032, Web: http://www.multivilla.com/index.php/en/
Like three fully proficient top models, Cıtır, Badem and Pıtır pose for the camera. They own a wardrobe that most people would be jealous off. For the ladies a closet full of dresses in all colours and styles, for the gentleman a fine collection of fancy cardigans and cool pants. And we’re not talking confection style. The three Yorkshire Terriers wear haute couture!
The beautifully decorated villa belonging to Menekşe Yalcın in the Tepe district of Alanya is home to the brand ‘Dog’s Mon Cheri’, a clothing line for small dogs. Menekşe Yalcın invents designs and assembles each piece of clothing herself and uses only high quality materials. "Mon Cheri represents haute couture for dogs," says the creative businesswoman and owner of the three lively Yorkshire Terriers Cıtır, Badem and Pıtır.
Three years ago she started designing and creating fashion for small dogs. “Small dogs like my Yorkshire Terriers, and Chihuahua’s as well, need something to protect them against the cold during the winter months. So when I experienced this for myself and went looking for clothes for my dogs, choice appeared to be limited. And the clothes that were available were of poor quality. So I thought, why not make it myself?”
Her inspiration was endless and her dogs appeared in the most beautiful outfits, one after another. The response from her initiative was very encouraging and under the name of ‘Mon Cheri Menekşe’, she decided to create a fashion line for small quadrupeds. The number of orders grew steadily and now dog-lovers from all over Turkey buy her creations. “Each garment is handmade and unique”, says Menekşe. “I create pieces for all kinds of occasions. If you are attending a wedding and you want your dog to wear a pretty dress? No problem. Or if you want your dog to have a sporty look, I’ll make a cool sweater.”
About three years ago Menekşe Yalcın got her terriers Badem and Cıtır. Actually, they all have two names, which are especially funny in Turkish: Bal Badem means honey almond and Fıstık Cıtır roughly means Crispy Peanut. Last year, Pıtır Pıtı became part of the family. “Yorkshire terriers are very easy dogs to have as pets. They shed very little hair and because they are so small, I can bring them anywhere. And they love to be dresses up and pose.”
Wandering around the villa – designed by her husband and developer Mehmet Yalcın of Mozaik Construction – it immediately becomes clear that creativity is in Menekşe’s blood. Every corner of the house has her stamp on it. Colours, furniture, accessories… everything fits together perfectly. As we are followed around by the curious but o so endearing Cıtır and Pıtır, Menekşe tells us that she made most of the things in the house or had them made to her own design. Some of her pastel paintings decorate the walls. “When I finished decorating the villa, I started painting. But when I got the dogs Badem and Cıtır I started the fashion line. I must honestly say this is my absolutely passion. This is exactly what I want to do.”
“AdaMerOs - The Butterflies Monitoring & Photography Society of Turkey”
Turkey is the world leader when it comes to number of species of butterflies, it is reported that over 400 species exist throughout the country. This may not seem an enormous statistic however when it’s compared with Britain which has only 50 species
In late summer, as fall and winter are approaching, it is time to make Turşuin Turkey. Turşu is the name given to sour pickled vegetables, like cucumber, cabbage, tomato, cauliflower, peppers and more. This way of conserving vegetables is an old tradition that is still carried out by many Turkish families. However, for those who haven’t mastered this art, Alanya has Hüseyin Yeğin’s shop. His gourmet store specialises in Turşu and şalgam.
You may have to figure out where exactly the store is located, but once you’ve found it, Özalp Şarküteri deli is the perfect address for lovers of special food. Three years ago, Hüseyin Yeğin started his deli because of his passion for Turşu (pickles). Since then he has expanded his range of products significantly to include: special cheeses, homemade jams, molasses, honey, olives and spicy sausage (sucuk).
“The majority of my products are organic. The pickles I sell, for example, are 90% organic”, says Yeğin, while letting a few customers taste several different types. Apart from the usual pickles, like gherkins and cabbage, his assortment includes for example pickled eggplant, tomato and even mushroom.
There are several different ways to make pickles and every family will probably use its own secret ingredients. Basically it means that by adding a solution of special Turşu-salt and vinegar, the vegetables are subject to lactic fermentation. This process prevents the development of harmful organisms. During the process, the sugars in the vegetables are transformed into healthy lactic bacteria, which again help to preserve the vegetables for a long time. At room temperature, it takes several weeks for the pickles to reach their desired taste.
Winter is the perfect time to make pickles. Temperatures are ideal for this process, this allows the vegetables to reach their long storage life and acquire their sour taste. Hüseyin Yeğin has produced a large stock of Turşu over the last few weeks. “These will be at their best around March next year”, he says.
Another product Yeğin produces himself is ‘Şalgam’. Şalgam is a drink made from pickled red carrots, turnip and bulgur. It has a distinct flavour, but once you get used to it, it is very tasty. It is especially popular in the regions of Adana and Mersin. The Şalgam made by Hüseyin Yeğin is very tasty and obviously tastes different from the factory varieties available in the supermarket. This is the real deal.
It is very obvious that Hüseyin Yeğin loves his job and his products. He loves to talk about it and insists that everything must be tasted. In fact, we are not allowed to leave before we have tasted some of his quality cheeses. His store host a variety of cheeses of the highest quality, like örgü peyniri (braided cheese), salamura koyun peyniri (salted sheep cheese), yaprak peyniri (literally: leave cheese; cheese made up of dozens of layers, a bit like baklava), and the showpiece: The “leather” Tulum cheese. This goat cheese was matured in a genuine leather bag, which was placed in a cave for about six to seven months. We expected to taste a sharp, heavy cheese flavour, but the opposite was true. The cheese has a mild but full flavour. “Many people think these products are very expensive because they are special, but I can assure you the price is very modest”, Hüseyin Yeğin explains.
Özalp Şarküteri is a fine deli and if you are not very familiar with organic Turkish Turşu or the various Turkish cheeses, you are always welcome to visit. Owner Hüseyin Yeğin speaks several languages including English and German and loves to explain everything about his gourmet products.
For further information contact:Tel: +90 242 519 3737 Web: http://ozalpsarkuteri.com/
After the sun has set and we enjoy the cool breeze of the evening, the sounds of nature are evident all around. The birds singing, crickets chirping as they run the top of one wing along the teeth at the bottom of the other wing, the buzz of the mosquito’s as they size up their next place to land and bite, and the sounds the different species of frogs (each of which makes its own special sound) - It is only the male frog that can croak, the noise being generated from a small sac in their throats that vibrates the air as they slowly let it out. We rarely think that any of these animals could form part of a commercial enterprise, however, when we visited Sinam Yilmaz at her Frog Farming facility in Kundu, Antalya, we were introduced to a whole new vision.
Sinam, together with her brother Adil Güglü, established Froog in 2013 and started growing edible aquatic frogs as Turkey's first registered frog farming facility in the area. Sinam told us that “the initial idea was to grow snails for the European market, however as we carried out their extensive research, we established that a demand existed for the production of frogs and that the Turkish marsh frog, rana esculenta (rana ridibunda) was highly regarded as a delicacy in Europe (France, Germany, Belgium, Italy). We also identified that marsh frogs were a protected species in many regions of Turkey and that a successful venture would rely on breeding the frogs from adults obtained within the current regulations. We worked with Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock and with the assistance of our aquatic engineer and specialist veterinarian, we acquired all the necessary reproduction and production authorisation and certification for our new 16,000 square metre facility at Kundu”.
The environmental conditions are critical to the production of frogs, as the optimum growth period is generally 6 to 8 months and it is very temperature sensitive. Sinam established that the warmer climatic conditions of the Antalya region meant that they would not require artificial heating or covering of the facility and that the production season between May to end October could be achieved under natural conditions. This made the venture economically viable.
Sinam told us that “we germinate the frog spawn indoors for the first month until the tadpoles have feet and are fit to swim, from then on they are reared in the open air pools. Each breeding frog can produce over 7000 eggs, wastage is normally about 5% in our controlled environment whereas it is approximately 90% in the wild. Breeding frogs live for 5 to 6 years in the wild, we anticipate longer lifespans in a controlled environment however our aim is to retain breeding frogs of different ages at all times. Feeding of the frogs is the key to the success of the venture as frogs only eat moving foodstuff, the feed does not have to be live but it does have to be moving to attract the frog’s attention. This was our biggest challenge and the method we have devised is a trade secret. Our target production exportation weight per frog is 50 – 70g, our current facility has a capacity of 28 Tons, however, we have further capacity to expand in the future. All the frogs will be exported live, they are packed in ice to retain a body temperature of between 0 – 5 degrees Celsius. This is like a winter sleep. We are lucky that our target market is just over 2 hours away by air and look forward to working with Turkish Airlines as our main carrier”.
Amphibians do not need a high degree of oxidized water and the frogs spend a lot of time around the pool edges, they feast on fruit flies and use the pool mainly to keep their skin moist. Over a period of time they can change their skin colour to improve their camouflage. There is not a big difference between the genders, females are generally bigger and the male normally has bigger eyes. There is very little waste from the farm and all waste is disposed of in an environmentally friendly way and returned to nature.
Marsh frogs are not generally as noisy as bull frogs, peaking during the mating season of March to July. The Turkish marsh frog (rana esculenta), is easily identifiable by the green strip along its back and are generally brown with darker brown spots. Birds of prey are a continuous hazard and the pools have to be protected at all times.
Froog is located at Yeşil Kurbağa Su Ürünleri Çiç. Tar. Hay. San. ve Tic. Ltd. Şti. Aksu Çayı Kenarı Karabük Mevkii Özlü Köyü, Kundu - Aksu / Antalya
My Favourite Alanya – Never a dull moment!
In this item of the magazine we join known and unknown residents of Alanya in their favourite places in and around Alanya. This month we meet up with Anastasia and Ayhan Çetinkaya. Ayhan is an editor at Daily Haber Alanya and Anastasia Petrova is a coordinator for the Alanya International Club. They are also the owners of the flourishing advertising and printing agency “ProMedya” in Alanya.
The ProMedya office
“Our office is like our second home. It’s one of our favourite places because all of our ideas come to life there. The creativity that is needed in our job is reflected in the layout of our brochures, posters and catalogues. The nice thing about our work is that we never know how the day will go. Every day brings new customers and new assignments. Some days we might have to work late into the night, but on others, we finish early and take a few hours off. For someone like me who doesn’t like regularity, this is the ideal job.”
King’s Pub – Alanya Marina
“Here we can escape the hustle and bustle of the city but there is still plenty to see and do, so you never get bored! I don’t like too many people around me and at King’s Pub, it is always nice and quiet and very cosy. You can have a pleasant drink and good food while watching the boats and marine activity. For me, it is important to see something that I haven’t seen before. Some people like to go to the beach to relax and lie in the sun all day. That is not my style, I get bored! Too much sand, sand, sand and blue, blue, blue ocean. This is why many of my favourite spots are places where there is activity and something to see.”
Cleopatra Beach, next to the Damlataş cave
“We often go here on Sunday morning for a walk after we’ve had breakfast somewhere. There is a very nice walkway along the beach and you can enjoy a swim in the summer, if we have the time. It is one of Alanya’s most visited sites, so again a place that is always interesting.”
“At the Peninsula there are several restaurants and cafes, they are all unique because of the spectacular location. We love to go to SuBay Café. It is small and basic, but what a view! It looks out over the whole of Alanya bay. This is always beautiful during the day but at night, it is especially beautiful, with all the lights shimmering everywhere.”
The Lemon Villa, Wine House Café Hotel, Alanya
“We always go out for breakfast to different places. On Facebook, I regularly had seen posts from Irina Kapukaya. She and her husband, Oğuzhan, are the owners of The Lemon Villa which is a hotel and restaurant at the Peninsula. Going by their posts, their breakfast ought to be great! So one day I thought: ‘that’s enough, I must to go there!’ And indeed, it was a perfect breakfast. Very extensive with not only the standard breakfast ingredients, it also had brownies, dried fruit and five different types of bread. Added to this, it is a lovely, charming place to spend some time.”
Park next to City Hall
“Having lunch in a restaurant is always a possibility, however, sometimes we like to just buy some çiğ köfte and eat outdoors. One or our favourite place to do this is in the park in the middle of the city centre. It has a lovely setting with fountains, ponds, wooden bridges and benches. There are always people in the park or passing by, going on their way. For us, this is a cosy place and very relaxing in its own way.”
The Finnish Terhi Alanya first came to visit Alanya in 1996 and became the first travel agent at the new established Detur in 1998. Now the tour operator is one of the largest in Alanya and brings tens of thousands of Scandinavian tourists to the beach resort every year. Terhi saw Alanya change and shake of its ‘cheap image’. “The last several years we worked hard to increase the quality of the city. But now, when there are actually more tourists with money to spend, we can not forget the tourists with tighter budgets that came to visit Alanya from the very beginning.”
Until a decade ago, Alanya was known as a cheap holiday destination. The range of hotels and facilities present aimed at tourists with a small purse. But at some point the call for more so called ‘quality tourists’ arose among entrepreneurs of Alanya. Or, in other words, tourists that had more money to spend. Terhi Alanya, destination manager at Detur tour operator, remembers this well.
"You may want another kind of tourist, but you should also do something to make them want to come. People often say Alanya is changed. I say: We have changed Alanya. Change is not easy. If we didn’t focus on change or worked hard, nothing would have happened."
Terhi first got to know Alanya in 1996 when she came here on holiday with a friend. Because it was too hot outside, and rooms did not have air conditioning yet, she spent her days reading in the lobby. There she met her current husband, Levent. “I thought he was working at the hotel, because he was so busy working all the time, but later on he turned out to be the owner.”
The following six months, Terhi travelled up and down to Alanya, and Levent came to Finland to meet her father. “I’m an only child and my parents were naturally protective of me. I already wanted to leave for Alanya and live there, but my parents didn’t let me go before I had a job and my own apartment there.” That was settled and Terhi started as a travel agent. The first six months, Terhi’s mother came with her to see how it would go in this other country.
“For my parents it wasn’t easy seeing their daughter leave for Turkey. But when they got to know Levent better, and also his family later on, they could calm down a bit, also because I was treated very well as a foreigner. I never had any problems with the Turkish people. When you come to Europe as a foreigner, people often look at you different. But in Alanya I have never felt like an outsider. Maybe also because I’m one of those people who doesn’t get upset easily. And I entered the family immediately, so I wasn’t looked at as a ‘foreigner with a Turkish boyfriend’.”
The things that were really different, were mainly practical, says Terhi. "For example the food. In Finland I was living on so called readymade meals. Fine food in our country but in Turkey they just don’t have it. Nothing pre-cooked or pre-cut or already cleaned. You had to do everything yourself. The first time I felt like having chicken was really traumatic. At that time it wasn’t possible to buy chicken filet or chicken legs. At the fish and vegetables market I had to buy a whole chicken and clean it myself at home. I managed, but don’t ask me how!”
In 1998 Detur was founded in Alanya, a tour operator focused on tourists from Scandinavian countries. Terhi was their first hostess and welcomed the first airplane to arrive with Scandinavian tourists at Antalya Airport. Meanwhile Detur is one of the largest tour operators of Alanya. “I was - so to speak - brought up with this company. When I started, tourism was still very different from today. Scandinavians were then what the Russians are now. And probably like the Germans before that. I mean: often it was their first trip abroad, alcohol was cheap and they didn’t know their limit. At that time Turkey was known as an inexpensive holiday destination and especially Alanya had the image of a cheap beach resort. That has changed over the years.”
Tour operators and entrepreneurs, together with municipality, police and other parties, started to modernize Alanya. “We then started to promote the new Alanya and at one point we saw more and more diverse tourists visiting Alanya: young, old, families, highly educated, poorly educated. And that is how it should be. We don’t have the luxury to say we only want tourists with lots of money. We need all tourists. Also elderly who might be living on tight retirement income and families with children that work hard to save money to go on holiday. We respect all tourists and Alanya should remain attractive for all visitors. This means for example that small, cheaper hotels mustn’t disappear. These are the ones that made Alanya what it is today and there is still demand for them.”
According to Terhi, there is still a lot that can be done to attract a more diverse public to Alanya. “The range of activities for families with children is still underdeveloped. There is a Luna park and an Aqua park but in comparison with for example the possibilities in Spain, we can do a lot here. I am thinking of a zoo of some kind. We have a lot of animals here, like cows, sheep, chickens, horses. Most Finnish children have never seen a donkey in real life. If you develop a nice, clean, well maintained zoo here, I’m sure it will be popular with tourists.”