Goodbye, Adieu, Slan, Güle güle, a Farewell to Sundance and moving on.
After 10 weeks our lockdown adventure at Sundance camp is came to an end and we have flown the nest. Our last week was both sad and uplifting, as our lockdown community departed and at the end it was just two vans Karen and I, and James and Katherine. It is surprising how a bunch of disparate people from around the world found sanctuary and created a community here on the coast of Turkey. We would like to think we have new long-lasting friends, plus memories that we will treasure forever.
The last week was a flurry of farewell dinners, birthday, and wedding anniversary celebrations. First off Herbert gave a masterclass in Pizza making, while showing me why I was getting my bread wrong for all these years. He is a trained chef and with a light touch explained that cooking is about balance, so think of a circle with salt, sugar and acid flavours in harmony, the middle is ‘taste’ so the full circle must not be empty. This became abundantly clear when we made the tomato paste for the pizzas. This week we have our recipe on Bread / Pizza making and it is easy and so good, probably the best we have ever tasted.
Overlander Pizza / Bread Dough (If you need less or more adjust ingredients in proportion)
1 kg Strong Flour
123 ml Full Fat Milk
375 ml Water
15 gr Fresh Yeast 7 gr if using dry yeast
3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ tablespoon of Salt
½ tablespoon of sugar
- Mix all ingredients apart from the flour making sure that the water is warm slightly warmer than room temperature like a baby’s bath water.
- Then put your flour on a table and slowly add the liquid mixture until you have a firm dough not too sticky add extra flour to keep it firm.
- Once you have the dough put in a floured bowl and let prove for 40 minutes.
- You will need to knead the dough again two more times and rest again for 40 minutes between kneads. Again, proving in warm place.
- At this point you could freeze the dough to use later or keep chilled until ready to use. We shaped the dough into small balls 170 / 200 grams in size for each pizza and refrigerated them before taking them out 30 min before we started cooking. This slows down the final prove and makes it easy to shape into your pizza disks.
We then stretched the balls into disks topped with the tomato sauce (Recipe below) and added the extra ingredients we liked such as cheese, any soft veg or salami or spicy meat. Your choice, we had Herbert’s pizza oven, but his advice is get your oven as hot as possible and ensure you have heated the tray you are putting the pizza on at the same time. If you have pizza stone to put in the oven so much the better. Cook until they look ready about 10 min if your oven is hot enough.
Now for the tomato sauce.
Pizza Tomato Sauce
500 grams Tomato Passata
2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Small White Onions Diced
4-6 Cloves of Garlic finely chopped.
2 Tablespoons of Turkish Pepper Paste (adjust if you don’t like it)
Salt and Black Pepper to taste.
Juice of a lemon or lime to balance.
- Gently cook the onions and garlic in the olive oil under a medium heat until lightly golden and add the tomato passata and bring to simmer.
- Once simmering add the Pepper Paste some salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes to reduce a bit and taste again, add the juice of half a lemon or lime.
- Here is where the circle comes into play. As you taste the sauce try and feel if it tastes too acid, salty, or too sweet. To adjust sugar will reduce the acid, salt the sweet, but remember you must let the sauce reduce and thicken so it will be slightly pasty to go on top of the pizza. Also when it cools it will get thicker as well.
- Let cool and you can keep in fridge until your pizza party starts!
As I said it was week of celebrations we also had Lisa’s birthday, where Karen and I revealed our secret stash of bacon that we had brought all the way from England and we had a wonderful breakfast.
The celebration continued in the evening with a lovely lamb curry and English sparkling wine. Joe our French companion was quite impressed as he did not know we even made wine. We ate and drank late.
The next morning Hubert and Bianca, Martina, Frank and their two kids, Lisa and Danny, Anetta and Joe departed and so we were just two vans. It was so sad to each depart like a family spreading their wings and leaving. We are now just the four of us we are sticking together until we get out of Turkey.
We woke up the next day feeling a little sad and disoriented, after over 10 weeks as a group we were leaving on the Monday as were going to celebrate James and Katherine’s wedding anniversary on the Sunday Evening. But as luck would have it, we had a reminder if we needed it on how lovely the Turkish people have been. On our first week we met a lovely lady Emine and her son and mum, but with lockdown we not seen her since but she spotted us on the beach and asked us over to her home for Cay with her mum and dad. We made our way over and had the most wonderful hospitality. Mum made ‘Gozleme’ a traditional Turkish flatbread stuffed with cheese and herbs and peppers, cooked on the dome over a barbeque. Words can not do justice to the flavours and the generosity of our welcome. Emine and her family lifted our spirits and reminded us what we travel for. Our idea is to see new places and meet real people and learn from them, here we got all of that in one afternoon. We look forward to coming back and meeting up with them again when this Coronavirus is all over.
Over the next two days we packed and repacked the vans to get ready for getting back on the road and seeing a little of Turkey before we must leave. We took the opportunity to visit the Roman archaeological ruins that stood only a mile away that had been closed since we arrive and still were but we went in and had a free visit.
On the Sunday we ate in the courtyard of the Sundance restaurant and celebrated Katherine and James’s anniversary and our last night at the campsite. We had a particularly good meal and chatted to the staff that now were friends talking about our 10-week lockdown and what the future held.
They were finally getting bookings and with country opening for internal travel they were hoping for many new arrivals over the coming weeks. We hope they do as the location is idyllic and people are fantastic. J-Fest (International juggling festival) being the biggest event they have, due to be the 15th September but likely to be cancelled this year. We also had to say goodbye to the camp dogs that we had become so fond of that was much harder than you think, so close to bringing a dog home!
The next morning we did our final checks and said goodbye to our new family at Sundance Camp Enis, Denise, Nesele, Yigit and all the others whose names I can’t spell.
It was very tearful and emotional, and I promptly reversed ‘Buster’ into a tree, so the skirting and the back is a bit chipped! Deeply sorry Elddis, we will sort it as soon as we can. We then tail between my legs departed the campsite with the dogs mournfully escorting us to the road unusually not barking, just sad faces, just like ours.
Travel allowed and restaurant food for the first time.
Lockdown over for the most part we set off to visit some of the places that were on our list. The weather seemed to have our mood, a bit grey and intermittent showers. We set off for Kurşunlu Waterfalls (in Turkish) just north of Antalya the sun shone for the time we were there but as soon as we got back to the van the heavens opened and we decided to move further up the coast to a town called Kas.
This turned out to be a good idea as the weather was a lot better and is was a beautiful town, we having been used to staying on a campsite went to what is rated as the best campsite in Turkey rolled up to the newly opened and empty Kas Camping. We asked how much for one night and were told 400 lira a night per van, that is over £47 a night to park! Swiss pricing! We drove down to village and were able to park on the harbour for nothing, and it was less than 200 metres to a lovely restaurant called Smiley’s and so we sat down and enjoyed a really lovely meal out for the first time in a long time.
After a relatively peaceful night we woke to blue skies and set off for a look around the town. Kas is very pretty and has lots of character and we enjoyed our meander around. I was able to get 4 extra holes put into my belt, so my trousers won’t fall down so often. Losing weight has been one benefit of lockdown Turkey one whole size smaller around the waste!
We then set off to our next destination Sultaniye Thermal Mud Baths, as the crow flies a 100km journey but a three-hour drive. We were able to stay and use the facilities for 60 Lira about £8 the site by a huge lake was lovely, though a bit smelly from the thermal springs. We all enjoyed the mud baths though I think I might have gone too far covering my hair it was a sod to get off again!
We the set off to our next destination, a return to a spot when we first arrived Akyaka, Stopping off at another very pretty town called Kalkan for lunch, the road is amazing following the cliff face for about 20 miles. The changes at Akyaka were remarkable, when we arrived back in early February it was deserted except the bars on the beach were open. Now most places were open but the bars on the beach had social distancing in place. There were a lot more people around and when we met up again with Val and Harry, we found out that as the cities had opened again people were flooding in from Istanbul and Ankara. We had another lovely meal sitting on the river that literally surfaced out of the rocks where we sat and as the ice-cold water flowed below our feet. Chatted and reminisced with Val and Harry about the past few months.
We could not resist the temptation to have breakfast at the same place in the morning as they had bacon and it was worth it!
The next day it was off to Gulluk just past Bodrum where one of my friends now living there, had arranged for us to rent an apartment to allow us to continue to isolate. But we took some time on the way to visit the Roman Stratonikeia Ancient City ruinsrecommended by Val was on the agenda, it was under renovation but we were allowed visit free and it was interesting. But a lot more work needs to be done as it seemed to be falling apart.
The plan is to rest up and wait a while until we know what the situation with the border is so we can get back to an EU country as our visa is expired and we have to leave as soon as possible after it opens. It was great to see him and Sandy again as we had also stopped by on the way down when we first arrived. It was an odd sensation unloading stuff from the van and sleeping settling down into a routine with K&J who are with us until we make Greece. So for the next while we will hire a car between us and explore the area from our new base waiting for news on the opening of the border.
Chickens we are told eat anything well for the record they don’t eat gherkins
When a little tearful don’t put the van in reverse and hit a tree! Elddis the damage is confined to the corner skirting. No structural damage thank heaven.