Meeting ‘Portakal’ in an orange grove.

After our wedding in Sep 2008 in Pamukkale, we took off for our ‘family honeymoon’ 😉 to the peaceful Olympos; where our generous and gregarious friend Bayram graciously hosted us for a week.

Wooden platforms, comfy textiles, an open fire-pit all hidden amongst Bayram’s families orange orchard.

There are no hotels from the river stream to the open Mediterranean, there are just small treehouse pensions, small family run ‘dukanlar’ (markets) offering fresh cut melons and cheap swimming snorkels.  On the idyllic walk to the beach is the ever trickling stream descending from the high mountains and to the right of you, the ancient ruins of Olympos.  You can turn from the regular path easily, one left or right and you can be sitting amongst ancient ruins with nothing beside the birds and the turtles.

It was my family’s last stop before flying back home to oz and also mine and Okan’s favourite place to unwind when getting away from the hotel during the quiet the season.  Sitting around the open-pit fires, underneath the one of the many of fragrant orange trees at Bayrams tree houses, we met Rosie.

Rosie and the family who own a small b&b in the hills overlooking the Med.

At the time she was seeing a Turkish guy, and working as a guide for an unappreciative tour company within Turkey.  I liked Rosie immediately.  Honest, open and an obvious appreciation of the simple yet beautiful aspects of the Turkish lifestyle.

The idylic Butterfly Valley

Fast forward a year later to our shop in Daylesford, we had one of our frequent customers talk about their wonderful small group tour in Turkey with ‘an amazingly nice and knowledgeable girl from Australia’.   We asked her name; having run a hotel in Turkey and of course being involved with the wider tourism industry; we wanted to know who this ‘aussie tour guide’ was and indeed it turned out to be a ‘Rosie’. And after we asked which tour agency this happened to be with; she told us…..’Portakal Tours’, the same nick name we knew Rosie to be.  Portakal means’orange’ in Turkish, the fruit not the colour.

Awe inspiring Lycian tombs in the south of Turkey.

So, a hundred thousand miles away, our world had been made all the more the smaller.  Rosie was in Daylesford, meeting up with her tour group members and having some face to face time with her future tour group as she likes to do and dropped into our shop.  It was fantastic, there is nothing better when you are feeling  slightly isolated when being in a new country, than to see a familiar face who shares the same loves and enthusiasm as you do.

A small fruit and veg stall in a local suburb of Istanbul

I have spoken to many people in the Daylesford area alone, that have had the fortune of spending their time in Turkey with Rosie and I can honestly say that I have had no bad reports; just wonderful heart warming stories of people who felt that they got to have real contact with the Turkish culture.  From stories of sharing home-cooked meals in a family-run pension, to tasting grandpa’s home-made red wine amongst the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia (I would have loved to be present at this auspicious event!), to exploring remote Lycian ruins on the Mediterranean coast with an expert local guide.

The spectacular 12 Islands, only accessible by boat.

Rosie has a new website up and running and I can honestly recommend you checking out her tours if you want an intimate, local and personal experience with the true Turkey.

All of the pictures you see in this blog is from Rosie’s photo book which is made available to all of her groups on the bittersweet return to the land down under.

You can contact Rosie personally


Phone: 0424 226 388

or check out her website here

Gallery | This entry was posted in Portakal Tours, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Meeting ‘Portakal’ in an orange grove.

  1. Looks like a great trip!

    Courtney Mara

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