In my last post, I visited Kirazli, a tiny Turkish village that just about no one has ever heard of. In contrast, Şirince, though even tinier, has now established itself as a popular tourist destination: and for good reason. Şirince, with its population of around 600, has earned its place on the map, with its charming market and fruit wine, famed in the region. And just a 15 minute drive from Ephesus, it is an easy side trip where travellers often stop for lunch and a little shopping before returning to their hotels. This is how we came to arrive in Şirince.
Our guide, Mehmet, parked the car at the bottom of the village, which is built on a steep slope, and we agreed to meet back up with him for lunch in an hour. In the meantime, we explored the steep cobblestoned streets of Şirince, examining the goods for sale in the open air stalls selling handmade lace, jewellery, and for the adventurous, speciality linden tree jam, which was every bit as white as snow. Most importantly, of course, there was plenty of fruit wine available to taste and buy: just about any fruit they can grow in Turkey, from pomegranate to cherry to blackberry, was bottled up in bottles of sweet, fermented goodness. We promptly walked into a wine shop, tried plenty of what was on offer, and left the place the proud owners of a bottle of flavourful cherry wine, which we drank at the hotel the next day. We made our way through the streets winding up the hill towards the church of John the Baptist at the top. This 19th century church is not particularly well kept, and is generally unspectacular, the courtyard is lovely, offering panoramic views of the village below, and is studded from the ground up with traditional evil eyes of different sizes and makes.
Walking back down the hill proved to be more of a challenge than climbing it: the streets were steep, and the big cobblestones were easy to slip on - in fact, on one particularly challenging hill we had to be assisted by the kind owner of the shop at the bottom. This being early spring, the flowers were blooming, and old women could be seen weaving piles of daisies into thick flower crowns that decorated the hair of little girls and teenage couples.
For such a small village, Şirincewas impressively full of pretty, colourful little family-owned cafes and restaurants, all of which looked hugely promising. Mehmet met us by the Ozlem Restoran, where we were to have lunch, and helped us to choose a selection of Turkish specialties. Among the highlights was Gozleme, a pancake-like flatbread stuffed with eggplant, cheese, or in my case, both (yes, they looked at me like I was crazy). We also had dolma, grape leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables, and what were essentially the world's coolest fries - covered in tomato sauce and baked with eggplant, with yoghurt on top. Alongside the freshly squeezed orange juice, made from oranges picked from the trees right outside, all this made for a pretty satisfying meal, and a lovely end to our Ephesus daytrip and our little visit to beautiful Şirince.
My name is Emilie. I live between Bristol and Prague, travel, drink coffee and explore as much as I can.