My fellow, and more regular, Mersin blogger–Janey in Mersin, recently posted this video advertising Mersin as a place to visit. The province itself is quite large and so some of these places are around 400km away from us. Many of them I recognised but not all. In particular there was one waterfall that seemed impressive. After asking Janey where it was it turned out to up in the mountains and we had past it on our way up to see farmer nephew.
I must be drawn to water. I lived close to the Bosphorus for a few years, and now live close to canals, rivers, lakes and reservoirs.
With the waterfall being relatively close, we planned a trip. It’s in a place called Santuras, which translates as Saint Iris. Not being Catholic I know nothing of saints but no bother it was the waterfall I wanted to see.
We had hoped that we could take a picnic and have a wander. A quick chat with brother-in-law informed us that it wasn’t really a place to do that. The place itself is lovely, with glorious views up into the mountains. Our new purchase of binoculars turned out to be a good one.
The waterfall is quite impressive. But no way as impressive as the video makes it out to be. In fact parts of the video are a demonstration in how it’s possible to make anything look good, recognising certain parts as I do. Sadly even a walk was out of the question. The waterfall is down a very steep hill, which most Turks drive down. Then there are a set of about 100 steps, that the local council recently put in. The steps then open out onto a sort of viewing area that is pretty much a dead end. Much to my brother-in-law’s amusement though, my boys were not deterred and aimed to get as close as possible.
First they attempted a descent to the pool at the bottom of the fall. Not deep but slippy and I had no spare clothes so they didn’t go far but they enjoyed getting sprayed by the splash back and falling water. Then they attempted to climb up to discover caves. They were the only kids doing this so brother-in-law was busy saying ‘mashallah’ a lot. That’s pretty untranslatable but basically means he is impressed. They made the other kids look dull and unadventurous in comparison.
After that, with it being a dead end, there was the choice of turn back or head up to the restaurant. We chose the restaurant because part of it was on stilts and gave fantastic views of the mountains and valleys below where the water form the fall continued through. The restaurant was also part of a kiwi fruit plantation so we were surrounded by the vines.
The restaurant also had its own fish farm for trout. But while the boys were amused by watching the fish in all the tanks, Smelly was less than impressed by the squat toilet. He is such a privileged western boy.
Our water based adventures are pretty topsy turvey, as I am not presenting them in any particular order. But as well as the waterfall adventure M was soon to be amused by my interest in this:
An ice factory. Right in the centre of Mersin there is an ice factory. It’s not an enclosed place but instead, in this humid and sweltering city a guy is battling against the elements to produce ice. I made M take photos so all around though he was the nutter. He also took a close up of the Bici Bici motorbike (pronounced biji biji). He was there to collect the ice so he could go around selling his concoction of shaved ice, cubes of muhalebbi (a set starch and milk thing like blancmange with no sugar or flavour), and bright red rose syrup. I have tried it but it most definitely is not my favourite. Mersin bods love it though. Traditionally it’s made with mountain snow but now they shave ice from Emin the ice maker.
The a few days ago, because it’s part of our annual routine and at Dosh’s bidding, we went up to Doctor’s Place in the canyon near Limonlu (Lamos, or lemony as I like to refer to it). Finally managing to go on a week day meant it was much quieter. But for some reason M decided to scare me shitless with his exciting driving so I took over. All good until we hit the single dirt track, hairpin bend strewn section. Of course no Turk coming the other way will drive at less than 50kph and M was busy screaming that I was too far to the right and we would sink into the ditch. HA! now you know how being a passenger on a Turkish road feels.
We had a nice lunch and played in the river. This time no one fell in. Typical, must have been because I bought spares. Oh my the flies though, that is the biggest downside of the place, the bloody persistent, greedy flies. They are making improvements but I think they need to invest in some of those electric tennis racquet thingies. Die evil swines die! The boys asked me the point of flies, to this day I don’t have an answer. To me, of all the beasts the fly is the most pointless. All I could come up with was they are food for birds and spiders.
Dosh has been particularly grumpy this year and so started pressing to go. It was then we learned his croc must have gone on a journey downstream. We did find a fetching pink flip flop wedged under the platform in front but he decided he would rather just wear one shoe. We then decided to try and investigate further up the river. The picnic area has an interesting play park, read that as sad and dilapidated. So the boys played there for a bit attempting to all slide down the spiral slide together. Smelly fell out of a very similar one a few years back so I waited for a similar disaster to unfold. Thankfully it didn’t but I didn’t have my phone and M was too slow for a shot.
We headed away from the barbeque smoke and up to find the source of the river. Dosh wasn’t complaining about the stones on the track but Lai was moaning that he was tired. The river has been tapped for irrigation. Sadly aesthetics are not a priority so huge pipes obscure the potential beauty of the river. We did find a nice spot though. We climbed down to capture the table placed in the river directly under the sign instructing people not to do that. I persuaded Smelly to cross a very rickety bridge and go sit there. The other’s soon followed joined suddenly by another boy. I found a rock opposite that was a perfect seat and just above the waterline had ferns and other plants growing on it. As I looked into the clear water I saw a few waterboatmen floating about. Nice to have something unusual to show the boys.
After freezing our feet we headed back. Dosh did start to feel uncomfortable but despite our offers and attempts to fashion a shoe from discarded materials, such as other broken flip flops or water bottles and twigs, he rejected them all. Admittedly the twig Smelly chose had sharp spikes and so didn’t really hold the bottle in place. Dosh did not see the comedy in our efforts.
We ended our trip by washing at the abdess area of my favourite mosque–no one there so I freely walk around unheadscarved with no stares. M drove down the hill but later proved that he clearly wasn’t up to the task of getting home terribly safely so I took over again. This time though the police in Erdemli had set up a road block to check for elusive coup supporters. I would have been fine but not realising I was in the lane they had blocked off meant I got stuck as traffic in the left lane streamed past. Not being Turkish I don’t have the confidence to just edge out and hope they will not crunch into the front of the car, so M was being very helpful by shouting at me to ‘just go’. Panic setting in meant I didn’t realise I was also in 2nd gear at a standstill so stalled the car 5 times. I was actually thankful the police pulled me over. I was also very thankful that they didn’t care that the yabanci wasn’t carrying her driving licence. They were more interested in checking M wasn’t on their list. Satisfied we weren’t coup supporters they let us go.