A guest post by Sharon Rott
The hills around Bursa are full of wild cherry trees. Late spring fresh cherries are a delicious seasonal treat. One recent Saturday morning, my friend, Atay, took me up the mountain for a bite of breakfast followed by cherry picking in the area’s wild orchards. The day ended up to be quite an adventure.
Atay picked me up in the morning with a bag full of simits (Turkish bagels), tahinli pide (bread with sesame paste), and cherry juice. I was a little surprised as this is a normal working day breakfast, not a traditional breakfast. Atay had something up his sleeve, I thought.
Sure enough, Atay drove us about 20 kilometers up the mountain to his hidden little village of Uluçam. As we neared the village, Atay drove his car INTO the beautiful mountain stream and parked right there in the water. “Let’s have a picnic by the stream,” he suggested. “I think you mean IN the stream,” I quipped. We hopped out of the car to walk around in the chilly snow melt while we ate our simit and tahinli pide. What a delightfully unusual way to eat breakfast.
After breakfast, we drove to a nearby waterfall to admire the view. And then we got down to the business we came to do: cherry picking. We drove all over the mountainside, stopping at trees to pick cherries. A few times we made extra stops to drink from natural spring water and to admire the view. As we wandered around the mountain, we somehow eventually ended up drinking tea with a family working as lumberjacks. Not far from their work site, their camp had a big pot of tea boiling on the open fire. We spent about an hour visiting with the family and getting to know the husband, his wife, and their four children. I always enjoy visiting with the locals.
By the time we ended up back in Bursa, I had two bags full of cherries along with a few unripe plums (a Turkish treat) and a handful of white mulberries. What a successful Uludağ adventure this was, full of fun surprises and great memories.