By Margaret Sheard…..
On Sunday 27th March we travelled west to attend the 2nd Yeşilırmak Strawberry Trek which started from Vouni Palace. We didn’t join the trek but were told when we arrived at Vouni King Restaurant and Hotel that around 200 people were taking part in the trek. It was a nice sunny day, although a little windy, but luckily there was no rain so the trekkers had a very enjoyable walk.
The trek marks the beginning of the strawberry season and sure enough, as we approached Yeşilırmak, there were many stalls at the side of the road leading into the village with large containers of strawberries.
When we arrived the restaurant was buzzing with activity to lay on a meal for the trekkers and around mid-day people started to arrive back at the restaurant, all looking very pleased with themselves. The restaurant was soon full of people enjoying a lovely meal so the very large restaurant area was buzzing with conversation.
Cemal the owner of Vouni King said he had done part of the trek and then returned to the restaurant to lend a hand and welcome the walkers when they had completed the trek. His wife Bilgen, was busy in the kitchen as usual and our friend Havva and her husband Evren and brother, Kaya were also busy laying tables and making sure everything was ready.
We had been told that Faiz Sucuoğlu, the Minister of Tourism, would be attending the trek and one of the organisers of the trek, Hasan Karlitas, introduced us to him during the afternoon and he appeared to be very happy and relaxed after his walk. We were very pleased to have the opportunity of meeting the Minister.
During the afternoon we were treated to folk dancing which was performed by a high school group from Lefke which was very enjoyable and very much appreciated by the diners.
It seems this was a very successful event and of course there is the Yeşilırmak Strawberry Festival still to come which is being held from 29th April to 1st May.
As we started our journey home we couldn’t resist stopping and purchasing a container of extremely large strawberries which we will be enjoying during the next few days.