We chose to visit Camlihemsin an authentic workaday town instead of Ayder, the famous hiking destination further up the valley. If we had not already viewed Kackar Mountain scenery or had more time we definitely would have visited Ayder and more of the Firtina Valley.
I love this photo of our Camlihemsin Reception Committee
By the time we arrived Camlihemsin was in shadows and we were considering lunch options. Before leaving the Black Sea Region of Turkey we had two food specialties to try- Hamsi the small fish from the Black Sea (for me) and Laz Boregi, essentially a custard slice in honey phyllo (for the Sweet Tooth of the family). Another dish to try is Muhlama – a fondue made of cheese, butter and cornmeal.
The best Bakers and Pastry Chefs in the Turkish capital of Ankara are said to come from here while fine hilltop houses (many now old and derelict) were built by Bakers returning cashed up from working in Russia.
On a rock face in the main street stood a tank of trout being fed fresh mountain water from the river. On the other side of the street, squeezed between road, river and bridge, was the Yesil Valdi restaurant – we decided to try our luck.
Hamsi was not listed on the Menu but we had our minds set on fish so chose spotted trout, probably from the river via the tank outside. Our surroundings were quite modern and later I discovered the restaurant had recently been rebuilt following a fire. With the bread and salad already demolished, the crispy polenta coated trout arrived. My fish wasn’t that pretty or large, but I savoured every mouthful. Crispy skinned fish with salt and lemon is a childhood favourite of mine.
While the ground floor housed the kitchen, we ate on the first floor, where the lady in charge wore an impressive cream coloured pant suit, topped with a matching Posi held in place by a turbanesque affair – She looked so striking and stern that I dared not produce my camera. We got up to leave, but producing two forks, she sat us down again with a plate (of paste) saying we must try this local speciality. We tucked into the thick paste, thinking… honey and cornmeal and possibly ground nuts? Turns out she wasn’t so scary after all – and I so wished I had taken her photograph!
* Hemsin women cover their head with a floating square of material secured on top with a twist of material and decorated beneath with silver tokens.
Downstairs I peeked into the kitchen and was surprised to see the Hemsin Cook preparing Hamsi. Kicking myself for my previous lack of courage I quickly asked permission to photograph both. I thought Hamsi wasn’t available – I should have asked.
The main street is on the left between the restaurant and the rock face of the hill. Take this bridge to Ayder.
Out in the street we found the reason for the impromptu cooking of Hamsi – if only we had arrived a little later we would have scored!
If you don’t take the new bridge to Ayder (above) you can drive straight along the right hand side of the river past the old bridge and continue on to Senyuva and beyond in the Firtina Valley. Ah choices.
We had a delicious taste of what Camlihemsin had to offer. If you venture to this region leave enough time to visit Ayder and continue further along the Camlihemsin road. This is considered one of the most beautiful valleys on the Black Sea Coast of Turkey.
We visited Camlihemsin on Day 7 of our Eastern Turkey Road Trip.
Linked to Nancie’s Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Nancie lives in South Korea and has recently been seen brewing rice wine.