Things to do in Kemaliye
Kemaliye is a small village filled with lots of adventure and excitement! The village is surrounded by beautiful scenery with mountains and the clear waters of the Euphrates river. Our tour guide, Chefket, grew up in Kemaliye and was our resident adventure-man. He was so energetic and fun to travel with!
Here are some great things to do in Kemaliye:
Boat Ride on the Euphrates
We took a scenic boat ride on the Euphrates river and got an up-close view of the mountains. Throughout the mountains, there are many caves and small waterfalls. You can drink the water from the waterfalls- at your own risk! There are also a couple of animals that live in the mountains- like goats and dogs. The boat ride was a great way for us to relax and enjoy the view with your friends.
Drive Along Dark Canyon
Dark Canyon is a super small road paved along the mountain that you can drive on. We drove in a blue twelve-seater safari car with our team of ten. We drove through caves and along the thin strip of road. The view is amazing but also so scary! Sometimes when looking towards the waters below, you feel like you’re going to fall off the edge! Luckily, our driver blasted Turkish music throughout the drive, which distracted us from the nearing edge of the cliff.
Zipline across the Euphrates
My favorite activity in Kemaliye was ziplining across the Euphrates river. It felt so freeing- almost like I was flying! The view was unreal- getting to see the Euphrates from above was beautiful. This is definitely the experience of a lifetime!
Learn to Sew Turkish Cloth
Towels, shirts, ties and many other fabric pieces are made using huge mechanical sewing machines. The workers put both feet on pedals that move the threads up and down and intertwine them together. This particular store is run by the Women’s organization in Kemaliye and all the proceeds go towards supporting local women.
Listen to the Local Band
In the evenings, local musicians come together and sing traditional Turkish songs. Sometimes there’s even dancing!! We got to see different instruments that the natives use, such as the saz. The saz is an instrument similar to the guitar, but the body is much smaller, there are 7 strings, and there are more frets. The men who sung had deep voices and projected their voices loudly throughout the theatre. Lots of local people and tourists came out and watched them perform and sang along with them.
Places to Visit in Turkey - Erzurum
Erzurum is a beautiful city in North East Turkey. The city has so many small businesses and delicious food to try. The people are very friendly and will probably offer you traditional Turkish tea.
Here are some great places to visit in Erzurum:
The 300 Year Old House
This house has been passed down from generation to generation for 300 years! The owner of the house is such a great host and explains each room of the house and it’s origin. We got to see the original kitchen and furnace, along with all the traditional pots and pans. The owner also had us dress up in traditional clothing that Turkish kings and queens used to wear. The outfit for the girls was brightly colored and had lots of sequins and designs. The men wore these large coats that were white and gold- it was very fancy. The owner was so funny and showed us how to pose like a princess or queen would in photos. It was so much fun! He then offered us tea and taught us how to drink it the Turkish way- by keeping a sugar cube in your mouth while slowly sipping on the tea.
Learn how to Turkish Dance - aka Halay
You can probably ask any Turk to teach you how to dance- or as they call it, halay. In our case, our barber taught us how to dance after getting a haircut! You dance with somebody by linking your pinkie fingers and moving your feet in a forward and backward motion. It is so fun and the music is loud and lively! It’s especially fun if you have a big group of people because you can make one long dance chain.
Visit Ataturk University
Ataturk University is a huge college campus in Erzurum. The campus has nice cafes and spots to grab a quick bite to eat. One of my favorite places we went to was Dospresso, a cafe with yummy donuts and coffee. They also had lots of comic books and magazines you can read as you sip on your drink. One of the comic books was called “Teksas” and was about the cowboys and horses in Texas. This was such a cool find for me because I was born and raised in Texas! Sports are a big deal at Ataturk University, especially winter sports. There was a big rock climbing statue that had 2 large eagles on the sides. They also had a big snow slope to practice skiing and snowboarding.
Eat Traditional Turkish Food
Turkish food is so delicious. From çiğ köfte to lokum, there are so many Turkish dishes to try! One of my favorite soups we had was Ezogelin çorbası. It’s a soup made with red lentils and bulgur and it is so good. It reminds me of home! Another dish I enjoy is called pide. It’s a thin, crispy bread that can have cheese, beef, or veggies on top. It’s similar to pizza but it’s much crispier! You can dip the pide in either ezme or yogurt dip-in my opinion, the yogurt dip is the best! Ezme is a spicy dip made from tomatoes and peppers. The yogurt dip is greek yogurt with sliced onions and cucumbers. My favorite dessert is lokum, which is also known as Turkish Delight. It’s a small cube with a jello-like texture that comes in a variety of flavors. The flavors I like are strawberry and pomegranate.