Yuva (Home) Eco retreat Turkey

Would you like to enjoy a 2 week retreat in the Antalya region of south west Turkey? I’ve previously held family yoga holidays here, in Yuva some years ago for the owner’s family and international visitors with an additional raw food masterclass & buffet. I’ve been watching it develop for over 17 years and recommend it highly. My friends have been on honeymoon here, or written international political best sellers; it’s a private and tranquil place.

The Lycian Way pilgrimage route is nearby and other local walks to Kabak /butterfly valley and intimate waterfall are possible, with the walk leader & owner/organic producer, Atilla.

The area is rough terrain with breathtaking mountainous and sea views all around the area, with a pine tree forest and carob trees surrounding the unique, accommodation, naturally inspired by the surrounding materials. Rosemary and sage bushes are grown in abundance, for culinary use, in addition to export. The scent of which fills the air around the mountainside cabins.

In springtime, the floral foliage is lush with wild leek, iris and pink/white blossom almond trees. Last year, Atilla planted 13 young olive trees surrounding the seating areas with the gigantic established pine trees in front of the sea views. Much of the carpentry in the area uses locally sourced wood and carpentry has been carried out over the years by volunteers (similar to wwoofing) as well as the family. Wooden Crafting is a speciality.

There are many other teachers booking their spaces throughout the year (and well in to 2021) with a 2 week space for singing or chanting/drumming in the first 2 weeks of May this year.

It has a lot to offer retreat visitors although some degree of fitness is required due to the spacious nature of the site (up pathways and small flights of outdoor stairs for basic physical activity!)

There are several local hamams (Turkish baths & saunas) situated within driving distance. These provide idyllic massage treatments which leave you feeling as fresh as a daisy! These are always such a treat as they are essential to remove the town pollution and cleanse the body & soul, before applying sunscreen, even in February.

Dining out: Lunch at a nearby restaurant is light and consists of savoury lentil soup with fresh Turkish bread and olive oil with a mixed salad, plus a Turkish tea. Fresh spring water is available everywhere in cartons shaped like yogurt pot containers. Breakfast is the main first meal of the day and consists of cereal/porridge with their fresh Handmade organic tahini (better than Nutella!) jams, (honey,) mulberries, Olives and walnuts. Plus handmade flat breads and other fresh loaves from bakers.

Atilla makes Macrobiotic style soups and dressings with ginger and shoyu (sugar free).

To reduce unnecessary light pollution, there is no main light system outside, other than for individual cabins, so At night, a torch is useful, although the night sky is full of star light.

Following a beautiful sunset at 6.30pm, The temperature drops dramatically at night and requires warm outdoor wear. My cabin contains a log burner which takes practice and I have learnt the skills to light. My cabin heats up so quickly, it leaves me feeling so relaxed and warm; the second sauna of the day!

Wildlife; flowers in bloom all year round. Isis the dog, 2 cats and the peacock from a local hotel…

Shops: Local citrus trees with oranges and lemons on sale at the fresh fruit and veg markets. Olives, oil, Turkish delight and tourist souvenirs plus gorgeous traditional ceramics and wooden items.

They have named british/US names like Saintburys and Azda supermarkets. Another sells a surprisingly good selection of Turkish (processed) Vegan ‘cheeses’ and marinated tofu, plus natural olives. A Local chemist even sells Organic toothpaste.

There’s no WiFi in the forest; but I promise you a better connection. (WiFi is actually available on demand.)

Tuesday

120 acres surrounding my bed and the wild boar finds my hut?!

The wood smoke had made My throat a little sore. Sounds outside the cabin kept me awake until midnight, was it A wild boar snuffling about? That was the only reasonable conclusion I’d found as it tried to access my building. I felt scared imagining ‘the worst’ case scenario … then found myself reasoning that it might be an energetic attraction. The fact that this creature sensed my presence and rather than it scaring me, I was in fact in it’s own territory. My 7m2 hut was nothing to his/her miles to explore. I relaxed and heard it tumble off, down the hillside, as it had a wrong footing. In the morning I saw a pile of wood lay scattered; evidence of this nocturnal visitor.

After another sweet porridge(peckmes soft fresh caramels mulberries) and savoury toast with tahini and the ‘cheese’, we agreed to have lunch by 2pm. I’m offered a strong sage infusion for my throat. We understand these herbal medicines and the land is full of medicinal plants. Both of us tired, I went down to rediscover the local western coves to investigate the changes.

An out door drumming space, a yurt, outdoor sleeping quarters, more houses with garden terraces and the excavations of a large circular swimming pool have since been developed.

All around the gardens and along the paths, dwarf iris style flowers add a pop of purple and a bright flash of yellow colour everywhere. Then miniature star shaped crocus bulb flowers too, in a vibrant royal purple. I chose my matching purple and yellow socks well for the occasion.

Mountain ranges in the distance and the seawater a refreshing blue, understand why the name turquoise coast is so fitting.

I wandered lonely as a cloud, following the direction of my feet, until there was a mewing coming from a newer disused (out of season) beach cafe bar. Another cat. A different one, perhaps abandoned by the cafe owners? Here was another soul, pootling about, I reasoned, so between mews, he let me stroke him. Together we sat in the forest with the sounds of the sea just ahead. I relaxed and had A connection. He ran off and so I followed and he took me to his disused water bowl, full of rain water and pine cones since the season had ended last year. We went off towards the sea path and hear the cries and another, female cat popped up. There we stood the 3 of us, with them taking it in turns to wail. My head busied itself on where to walk and the female stood in the pathway and wailed loudly, blocking my pathway, so I chose not to take the route but stayed by the grassy area, looking across to the mountainsides all across the sea and a dramatic sense of tranquility set in. Nothing to do. No schedule to fix. To listen, hear the sounds from the elements; water breaks against the huge  steep boulder rocks, birds of all sizes twittering, the distant sunshine is warm against my back (plus a jcb in the distance fixing the road). Here the views and negative ions is as far away from home life as imaginable. Forest bathing.

The cAts lead me down to the angled rock face, with clearly visible strata. They roll around in the sunshine, the ginger and white female scratches her back on a thorny bush. Placing my scarf onto a flat rock, I concede that we now have 2 hrs to catch up on much required rest, following the boar visit.

I doze for a little while, the cats seemingly happier, sitting on a further up ridge.

1.45pm (Iki…) I say my farewells which equates to a stroke around the ears for the male and the female touches me lightly, slightly by her nose. I strolled back via another path route, beneath the seating area and yoga platform and up a little stairway towards the kitchen, where Atilla had lovingly prepared a tofu and buckwheat meal with broccoli, cabbage, broad beans, garlic and red onion. Plus olives.

We discuss very little, preferring to eat well.

Atilla now has a new house for himself; a fully equipped and self catering residential building on which he has had built and designed a special roof top dwelling. The Inside is entirely wooden construction with natural timber curves and plain grey mud walls on top of the main single brick walls. He has treated himself to a large hammock on the balcony with sea views plus a cute carved wooden outdoor staircase and veranda. The doorway comprises of log timbers with their individual curves, which lends a true sense of rustic authenticity to the space. Fitted room divider Screens, footstool and furnishings are also either hand made or simple in structure. Colourfully woven Turkish rugs cover the bare floorboards.

In the centre, A log burner complete with fire tongs takes central space and is like an engine fire burning wood from the store house, charging up the air for 30 mins.

Current ideal view; I sit beneath the tall pines covered in cones, towing above, overlooking the sea.

Suddenly, I hear a rustling in the bushes up ahead; is it a bird or boar..?! Neither; The black and white Yuva cat jumps out as much surprised to see me as I him and darts off up the stairs into its den, with a small mouse held tight between its jaws; this is tonight’s dinner.

Sipping Sage tea as the sunsets, heading up to the roof to have the best view around.

Passing through the security area requires us to remove our outer footwear. on this occasion, Taking my boots off on this occasion to reveal my bright red and white striped socks, complete with a Rudolph the red nosed reindeer face, minus the red pom-pom nose; in order to fit into my boot more easily, as they’re cosy (a Christmas gift from my sister) I felt a little silly… No one batted an eyelid for sure but my takeaway note to self (and to you) is this: always save a sensible / ‘seasonal’ pair of socks for the flight journey home!

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