Monday, August 27, 2012


White-washed houses with blue doors dripped with grape vines and colorful flowers.
 The simple life in Bademli Köyü, Turkey.
Lush mandalina and real lime trees were growing in the small front yards.
Wild chickens and their chicks crossed the road while nearby old farmers sat on buckets selling their fresh, unpasteurized milk.

During the recent Ramazan bayram holiday, we spent the long weekend with friends at their family's summer house near Dikili, a coastal town along the Aegean Sea in Turkey. This is a local vacation spot, with no yabancilar, which I loved!

We actually were able to relax, take walks along the beach, hike through groves of old olive trees, chase the village street cats and play with our friends' 20-month-old daughter.

About a 10-minute walk away from the family's summer house is a Turkish village called Bademli Köyü (about 1,200 population). Our Turkish friend, Murat, told us the village had a Greek population at one point, but I couldn't find out much history. I tried to find the remains of an old church, but did not.
A Greek sign above the door of one of the houses in Bademli Köyü.
Here's what looked like an old Greek building, because of the inscriptions on it, with the village's mosque in the background.

Well, we popped into the village every day to pick up fresh ekmek (bread) from the bakery. Every day, we greeted the people we passed with a smile and a hearty günaydın (good morning). I'm sure they wondered why two blond-haired yabancilar were in their village.

Maybe it's still the Midwest girl in me, but spending time in Bademli Köyü made me want to give up the big city life in Istanbul and move to a Turkish village like this one.

I fantasized about buying fresh milk, eggs and village cheese  every week. I imagined having my own white-washed house dripping with grape vines and a courtyard filled with my own fruit trees.

Then, down the road, I would own a field of olive trees and learn how to make my own Turkish olive oil every year. I would be able to see the Aegean Sea in the distance.
Look at this amazing old olive tree located outside of the village!
Yes, that would be the life, I thought.

However, I did have one stipulation - as long as I would be within an hour's drive from a big city. Lucky me, Izmir, Turkey's third largest city, is just an hour away from here.

I guess maybe you can't take the city girl out of me after all! Could you move to a Turkish village like this one?
Big and cheap the sign says. This 200 sq. meter-building is for sale in  Bademli Köyü , Turkey.
To get here: There is a dolmuş that departs from Dikili city center to Bademli Köyü every 30 minutes.

Here are a few blogs I regularly read that feature people whom have given up the city life to live in a village:



Sara in Le Petit Village
Local farmers bring in their veggies via an old horse cart to sell in the village.
Just like the Midwest! Ha! A pomegranate tree growing in the middle of a cornfield.
A man walking his goats on a leash!
This is one of the funniest things I've ever seen in Turkey.
The Ramazan drummer walked through the village, asking for tips.

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18 comments:

Ozlem's Turkish Table said...

Greatly enjoyed your post Joy, what a treat it must have been being at Bademli Koyu - simple things in life are the best!
Good to be back to England and catch up your posts;)

BacktoBodrum said...

I love living just outside a village, but having Bodrum just 30 minutes drive away is a big bonus. Not sure your limes are limes. Look like unripe lemons to me.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i think about this all the time. i would love to live in a small village but bet i would miss the city so much. with the internet i could get most of what i need if i would be willing to pay shipping. what a wonderful village this is!

A Seasonal Cook in Turkey said...

You know we have been in our village of Assos all summer long - well, I am ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED to be back in the city!!! Village life is all very well and so idyllic looking but only for so long :).

tasteofbeirut said...

I am seriously thinking of living in our family's original town , now village; with one stipulation: internet! Now that it is available, it looks a lot more feasible! Plus I could learn so much from the local townsfolks all around who live on their fields all day.

Joy said...

@Ozlem, good luck settling back into your normal routine back in the UK!

@BacktoBodrum, ahhh...didn't realize you don't live in Bodrum proper. Darn, I was hoping I spotted real limes in Turkey! Since I pay nearly $19 tl/kilo for them at the store here.

@Joyce, the village was very cute! I like the idea of village life, but I do love all the activity and excitement a big city offers as well! ;-)

Joy said...

@Claudia, welcome back! Hopefully, we can meet up this fall sometime! I like your comment...I imagine that's how I might feel too. ;-)

@tasteofbeirut, great to hear from you! Had a peak at your blog as well and looks like you like to cook/bake as much as I do. I assume you are talking about your family Lebanese village? There's so much to learn from the older folks.

Erica (Irene) said...

I really enjoyed this post and your pics are really nice. I've been to Dikili quite a few times, my husband was born in Bergama (Pergamon) not to far away and when he read your post he knows of that village, b/c as a kid they use to visit someone there....and a lot of his relatives have summer homes in Dikili.
I know what you mean about village life....what I find most interesting are their doors, so colorful and different from each other.
But at heart I'm still a city girl.... still I enjoy a few days at any Village.
Thanks for sharing your pics and story.

Julia said...

I think the internet could well be the renaissance of village life in Turkey. It seemed that way when we were in Yazıköy on the Datça Peninsula, last year. Not sure I could live in a village but visiting one for a few days is nice enough. :)

Joy said...

@Erica (Irene), thanks for your kind comments! We visited the Bergama ruins last year but just drove through there this year. Lovely site! It's always nice to visit at least and get away. ;-)

@Julia, The idea of living in a village sounds appealing - reminds me of all the farm to table renaissance that is happening in the US. Maybe it's a nice dream for when we're retired someday? ;-)

Alan said...

J and I feel that as long as you develop a close-ish relationship with your village neighbours there is no finer, more peaceful way to spend your life - unless you are really a city-type. The quality of life is wonderful; OK, we have to travel to get a bit of 'culture' - 5 hours to Antalya on Monday for Madame Butterfly at Aspendos - fly up to Istanbul for good jazz whenever our family are doing a gig. All great stuff, but doesn't beat coming home!
Thank you for the plug :-)

BacktoBodrum said...

Hi Joy - I cheat to get the best of both worlds. Village in the summer when Bodrum is too hot and crowded and Bodrum in the winter, when all the locals come out to play.

Natalie said...

I like visiting villages but could not live in one. Everyone knows each others business!! Love your photos of this village - the Greek aspect of Turkish history is always interesting.

Joy said...

@Alan, a belated welcome of course! I don't think I'm ready to give up the city life yet, but I do enjoy visiting and hearing about villages.

@Natalie, thanks for your comment! That's true. That's the kind of the gossip I grew up with in Nebraska too. In a big city like Istanbul, I can get lost by myself and don't concern myself with what people say.

Becca Ramspott said...

1Joy, I HEAR you on the City Girl stuff ... alas, I am stuck in a small town not quite as cool as a Turkish village, even. Okay, I take that back ... Cumberland's got a lot of charm and potential, but GOD I miss big cities. ; ) Your writing describing everything and your photos are lovely, as usual. I love your traveling life! SO amazing.

Joy said...

@Becca, maybe your neighbors wouldn't mind if you started raising chickens in your backyard? ;-) Thanks for your comments dear.

Cumberland is charming and you are close to DC and Bmore and just a train ride away to NYC. I do like the idea of going back to my farming roots, but at the same time I love the action and vibrancy of a big city. How did this Nebraska girl turn out this way?

Lydia said...

Beautiful pictures and lovely blog.
Glyki (sweet) was the greek name of Bademli Köyü, I suppose they neamed it like that because their life was as sweet as the fruits produced. The sign reads "Coffee house Douka Karatagli. 1880 August" and the rest unfortunately I cannot read due to the low image resolution.

Joy said...

@Lydia, Thanks for stopping by! I'm sure many villages that had Greek populations in Turkey were renamed. I also saw that when we were in Kayaköy. How cool to learn that the old building in my photo was probably a coffee shop. Thanks so much for sharing!

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