A trip to Karaman and Mut for XCT World Series

A trip to Karaman and Mut for  XCT World Series

As would be expected from a smooth running operation, the organizer of XC paragliding competition and our team took to the roads once more to observe preparations towards this year’s The World Air Sports Federation FAI approved XC World Series Paragliding events to take place at Karaman, and to visit the town of Mut, surrounds of which is mostly unknown to us as yet.

After an enchanting drive, we reached Karaman towards midday and soon had booked our rooms at the familiar Teachers' Lodge. Subsequently, we had a few meetings with important figures of Karaman City. First to meet with was Cengiz Orta, esteemed director of City's Culture and Tourism Affairs department.

Our group then headed for the meeting with the Honorable Süleyman Kahraman, governor of Karaman City. The agenda consists of discussions on financial support to paragliding project and technical reservations. As is common in Turkey, the governor is surrounded by a number of his staff as well as interested parties. All participating in the meeting seems to be excited by the presentation of the project. After what seems to be a long time, and just when the rumbling in our stomachs cannot be concealed any further, we were invited for dinner at Gül Restaurant as guests of the City of Karaman. Proprietor of the Restaurant, Mr. Ali Özgüven was excitedly waiting for us.

As has always been our intention, we benefit from all the official visits and meetings and get to know the region and her people in detail. This goes for the dinner organization as well.  "Tandır and Kavurma", an incredibly palate tickling meat dish, a superb sample of local cuisine we see have already been served on the tables along with various garnishments. We decide right there and then that on our way back; we must stop over and try another sample of local dish. We even get Mr. Ali Özgüven to promise us that he will let us observe the preparation stage as well, and give us the recipe!
After dinner, we wrap up the night in a typical Hookah cafe, sucking up on our hookahs and sipping hazelnut aroma Turkish coffee called "Menengiç Coffee".

Early the next morning, we meet with Messrs. Ömer Ersöz, the City Director of Karaman Youth and Sports Affairs department for further discussions. We exchanged ideas about the projects which will take place in 2011 in Karaman. Our next stop will be the town of Mut. We plan to drop in to Taşkale on the way. Many people consider this area to be the starting point of Cappadocia chain. Indeed: as one advances deep into the canyon, the effects of erosion on soft terrain becomes more visible (a separate article will deal with this subject). After taking a few photos here and there, we head for the Council Building. Muhittin Sunaoğlu, the honorable mayor is expecting our arrival. He enlightens us about the settlement and important places to visit and surprises us by offering yet another local specialty right there in his office for us to taste: the food is simple yet delightful. A local cheese variety that has been left to season in natural caves is wrapped in home made pita ("Sıkma"). This brings into mind how successful human beings are in creating a cuisine; a superb, easy to hold aperitif from cheese and bread only. Surely, the fresh home made pita has a lot to do with the outcome.

We are then awakened by a telephone call from the Local Governor of Mut, who had been expecting us earlier. Thus, we bid farewell to Taşkale. Of course, it is well worth visiting Taşkale once more, but this time in the early spring.
Without wasting time, we head for the Governors office in Mut. Honorable Mustafa Şahin, the Local Governor of Mut helps us further understand details and new plans are discussed. Our next visit is to honorable mayor of Mut, Murat Orhan. He has been planning to enlighten us on the features and importance of the town. So we are provided by a member of staff to guide and lead us in our city tour. However, the city tour was cut short due to sudden rain. This does not spoil our excitement at all; we will come back here any way!

In the morning of Saturday we come across a group of folk dancers. There seems to be an upcoming event and we learn that the Governor of Mersin, Honorable Hasan Basri Güzeloğlu is paying a visit to the town. We are invited to join the entourage, which becomes a good opportunity to present XC paragliding project to Mersin Governor. We were informed after the meeting that the Minister of Justice would be coming in to the town for opening ceremony of Mut courthouse but unfortunately, we need to head back soon. The rain slowly evolves in to snow. One last place we wish to visit before we leave the region is the Alahan Monastery (an article on this will follow soon). As we make a turn into the Monastery road, we see that the Minister's convoy is near. It is extremely cold and we realize that our finger tips are beginning to freeze, as we try to as many pictures as we can. Cold prevents us from staying any longer and we cut short the monastery visit to drive down from 1250 high peak.

Through dense fog and snow we drive back to Karaman. Of course, our destination is the Gül restaurant where the proprietor Ali Özgüven is making preparations and waiting for us. His surprise food is Calla Kebab in Casserole. All ingredients are carefully prepared in different plates and his mother explains what each plate contains. This gustable kebab variety is cooked in an earthenware casserole in local stone ovens and takes about three hours to perfect. For those interested in different cuisine, of course we are planning to spare a different section to this local food.

Please read as well:

Didem, Hasip and Gizem - paragliding pilots

Paragliding Take-off in Omis - Paragliding Air Festival in 2016

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