Friday, October 14, 2011

The tiny town of Kerpe, Turkey

Palamut, a Black Sea fish
Ünal Lokatnta: A restaurant where there is no menu. Where the locals eat and smoke by the sea. A place that only serves four different kinds of fish, and they do it darn well. I plopped down into this restaurant along the stormy shoreline, nestled into a small cove, to begin my feast. The restaurant literally hung over the cliff. The mighty waves crashed along the deck with such force you wondered if the rickety place would hold. After being presented 4 different fish, and no menu to choose from, I chose Palamut- a fish I've heard wonders about, and a salad. When the salad came, they poured grape molasses and oil on it- a uniquely Turkish custom. I sat and wondered- read- relaxed. They brought a huge plate of fish all for me. I ate the whole whopping fish platter and ended the meal with tea. I stayed just long enough to hear a local guitar player serenade a couple of young lovers with his deeply luscious chords emanating from his wooden instrument. I wandered back to my hotel, Gokhan Hotel, where I sat fireside with the sweet staff- 2 girls of 20 who study at University. We sat and sipped chai until a group of about thirty men appeared from nowhere to have dinner.  [Keep in mind this is after seeing a total of 15 people since I had been there.] I exited, being the only woman, and decided to indulge in a date night with myself. Let me tell you, one small bottle of dry red wine from Ankara, a tid-bit of dark chocolate and a new book makes for a relaxed evening of bliss. It was a windy day and eerie creeks of wooden doors opening and closely echoed around the hotel as I lay reading my latest Ken Follet thriller. I was forced to pray for solitude, and thought out a plan of attack, just in case. For heaven sakes, no one was going to attack me but a girl traveling by herself can never be too careful.
the cliffs of Kerpe

ATVing around Kerpe
The next morning I awoke to smells of the Black Sea and headed down for breakfast where I met Mustafa, a nice guy who worked at the hotel and was very patient with my Turkish. We spoke for over an hour- only in Turkish. It was a huge confidence booster, and throughout the day, very few, if any, words of English left my mouth. I told Mustafa I was going to walk around the city, so he showed me the hotels secret ATVs. I was lucky enough to get a tour around the city on ATVs. It was a blast! We stopped at the famous Kerpe cliffs/caves. (In the photo) It was breathtaking! Caves in a little alcove-waves berating the shore- words don't do this little slice of paradise justice. After the cliffs we rode around the town for a while, parked and went to meet some of his friends for coffee. I was again the only woman, and the men were my waiters and diners I had seen the night before. It is such a small town. There were seven men and me, and they were extremely generous- they brought baklava in from the town over (because there were no sweet shops in the this town), served me freshly brewed coffee and took me on a field trip to the fig groves; where we picked tons of fresh figs, blackberries, another fruit I'd never seen before and walnuts from a giant walnut tree. After tiring of fruit picking, the men took me back to the hotel and I chatted with the owner of the hotel and Mustafa, continuing my devotion to only speaking Turkish. It was time to head home, so I packed my bags and caught the next bus to catch three more buses to get home. It was the perfect holiday. Go to Kerpe if you have the chance, you won't have any regrets.

To do in Kerpe:
1. See the cliffs of Kerpe and climb through them! (bring good shoes)
2. Wander by the waterfront on foot
3. ATV through the back roads and forests
4. Lounge on the beach
5. Eat lots of delicious fish

Note *If traveling by bus, have patience. You will have to take several buses to eventually reach Kerpe. My route Duzce>Adapazari>Random no name bus station>Kandira>Kerpe. From Istanbul, go to either Izmit or Adapazari to Kandira then hitch a minibus to Kerpe from there.


  1. SarahKC,
    Thank you for posting this. Althoug Turkey is my homeland I've never been to Kerpe. I will go and take a few American friends with me.


    1. Nilgun,

      I would love to hear about your experience! Have an amazing time!



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