Vacation vibes AYLİN ÖNEY TAN

Vacation vibes

I remember my first dinner at Foça Club Med (short for Club Méditerranée) resort so vividly. It must have been some summer in the 1970’s, I do not remember the year, but there are so many details engraved in my memory. It was not only the food which was way different and much finer than the usual tourist fare, but the whole experience was memorable. We were met by an elegant lady dressed in a long summer dress, who cheerfully led us to a shared table of eight to dine with other guests. Even couples on their honeymoon would share tables with others, connecting and socializing with others was a strict unwritten rule of the village. The restaurant was a semi-open space, no walls but only a roof to cover, had a sense of conviviality with only identical big tables as if attending a summer wedding in a Mediterranean town. We were the only Turkish people at the table, I clearly remember the feeling of having a vacation elsewhere, maybe the French Riviera or somewhere else outside Türkiye. We were hooked from that very first dinner and became regular visitors spending every summer holiday in Club-Med resorts. In my first visit to Foça resort, I was a teenager with my mom, then dad joined us, then my small sister joined our small Foça fan group, tasting her first frog legs there, and then eventually as she grew sipping her first G&T at the Kuşadası village, me having my memorable dinner date at the Öküz Mehmet Paşa Kervansaray in Kuşadası, impressed more by the building than my date, amazed by how a historic monument was tastefully converted to a classy restaurant, maybe enforcing my decision to become a restoration architect in my future life. Alas, all venues were closed decades ago; Foça village once the cool and sexy one is now in sad ruins, young, energetic and sporty Kuşadası village is long gone, but the scent of the nutmeg in the French style buttery potato puree I had in the Kervansaray is still in my taste memory.

September 17 2023