After a busy 12 or so days in Istanbul, followed by an active few days of hiking, exploring, and tour-group-dodging in Cappadocia, it was time to get off the beaten path a bit. On June 5 we boarded a bus in Goreme headed for Egirdir. With an abundance of stops, it made its way west. After a confused episode in which the driver attempted to leave us on the highway outside of Egirdir (at 3 a.m., in the rain), we were safely delivered to the tiny bus station, where we were met by one of the proprietor’s of Charly’s Pension (as well as Lale and Fulya Pensions), Muslum. Egirdir is a small town and the guesthouse was an easy walk, but at 3 a.m., in the rain (did I mention that?) we were thrilled to see him and his car. We proceeded to pass out and wake up to a sunny day and a beautiful lake view.
We’ve stayed in a wide variety of guesthouses, pensions, hostels, apartments, and a few boutique-type hotels on this trip, and are somewhat skeptical of certain themes in reviews of accommodations. In particular, when a place’s “atmosphere” is raved about, we don’t pay much attention, as this is a pretty subjective measure by person and even by mood. We were definitely the right clientele in the right frame of mind for this place, however– maybe because Brian made me sleep in a cave for the preceding four nights, but immediately on waking up to the sun in our bright, clean Fulya pension room and wandering over to Charly’s for a full Turkish breakfast, we were in a great frame of mind. The operators are funny, friendly, and helpful without being invasive, and it’s a place that fits in well with what is essentially a sleepy rural town.
Egirdir is a small town on the shore of Lake Egirdir, the second largest freshwater lake in Turkey. According to the locals, it’s home to the only walk-through minaret. The lake is a much more impressive attraction. Later in the season there are boat and fishing trips available, but even when we were there the weather and water were warm enough for brave souls to swim. The area, Isparta, is also well known for the production of roses, rose oil and other products, and one day I spent a pretty idyllic afternoon helping Carla (one of the Charly’s crew) pick kilos of rose petals to make jam. I could smell roses on my hands for days, despite the frequent lake dips.
Unless you count a few long walks and swims–actually, even if you do–we took it very easy during our three days in Egirdir. We encountered exceptionally friendly locals: One man gave us plums, invited us home for tea, and wanted to take photos with us, and an older lady waded out into the lake to give us candies. Brian visited a local barbershop and achieved a very good haircut through pantomime. We deemed the visit a success, and said a sad farewell when we left on the morning of June 9. It would be easy to spend a week or more there, but the southwest coast beckoned.