Army start date and a new home for Boncuk…

This week Berkay received his army start date – 4th February. That means there’s no more putting it off, in 11 days time he’ll be starting his 12 month national service. He’s been given Izmir as his training base, he’ll stay there for the first 3 ish weeks working in ‘transportation’ and then where he’s going after that we’re not sure.

He’s going to his family’s village on Saturday and will stay there until 4th Feb. Its tradition for friends, family (and pretty much every single person in the village) to visit the men before they go to the army and give them a small amount of money, they also usually have a ceremony in the town centre for all the men going to do their service as they have 3-4 intakes a year. I went to the ceremony when one of Berkay’s brothers went to the army, it was way out of my comfort zone, all the men on the outside of the square, all the men in the middle saying a prayer and going up and shaking the hands of the men about to join the army.. followed by everyone driving around in cars with huge Turkish flags draped over them and beeping their horns as they drive around the streets. Madness, passionate and very patriotic, I suppose it’s an exciting time for them, going to do their national service is a rite of passage for Turkish men, something everyone has to do.
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Obviously Berkay going in the army means we needed to find a new home for Boncuk for a year, the plan was for her to go to Berkay’s family in the village, but when his dad couldn’t come and pick them up in his truck due to work, it meant we had no way of transporting Boncuk for the 4-5 hour journey – if only the buses allowed dogs on board! I had a last minute panic about where she’d go but luckily Berkay got permission from our friends (and their landlord) to allow her to stay in their garden. They’re our best friends out there, the ones I’ve mentioned previously with the twin babies, and I’m confident she’ll be looked after well. I just hope their own circumstances don’t change, because whilst I’m sure they’ll grow to love her, they won’t ever be as attached to her as we are!IMG_0842 IMG_0840
After one last walk along Calis beach together, Berkay packed up the dog kennel and transported her the 20 minute journey to her new home… seeing her kennel all loaded up made me really sad but Berkay spoke with me on FaceTime afterwards and showed me Boncuk settled in her new home and she seemed happy enough. She had already made friends with the man looking after her as he’d given her a few plates of food and if there’s a sure way to win Boncuk’s heart its through a bowl of food or a game of fetch!
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I feel so sorry for Boncuk, she has no idea that she won’t see Berkay for a long time, and she is probably already wondering where I disappeared to, I hope she doesn’t think we’ve abandoned her, if I could have her here in the UK with me I would! She always looks so happy when she’s with Berkay. I also feel really sad for her that she’s going from having free reign of the hotel all winter, to being tied up in the garden.. but she’ll be safe, fed, watered and have shelter and that’s a lot more than a lot of the dogs out there have. At least we know where she is, and I can contact her new ‘foster family’ on Facebook to check how she’s doing and get photo updates.

Be good Boncuk, wait for us.. 53 weeks and counting… ❤juu

A sunset silhouette..

Taking a stroll along Fethiye promenade is always a pleasant experience but there’s no better time than at sunset.

On the evening of Berkays birthday back in December we went to Mancero restaurant and got off the bus far earlier than we needed to so that we could take a long walk and admire the views on the way, it was a little chilly but we didn’t mind.

The sun had already set but the sky was still lit up with a red and orange glow.  Of course my camera was firmly in my hand ready to point and shoot… I spotted some people fishing along the pavement and thought they would look good as silhouettes against the red of the sky and the beautiful horizon in the distance.

This is the resulting photograph… and it’s totally unedited – it really did look that beautiful and I captured the scene perfectly on camera. 
You just can’t beat a good Fethiye sunset.

Trees, sunsets and a hidden mine.

While we were in the village of Beyağaç back in November, we drove up a mountain road to a forest area and explored a little whilst hunting for mushrooms.
While we were up there the sun began to set and the trees looked absolutely beautiful with the orange glow behind them and I couldn’t resist taking a few photos as they just looked so magical!
While we were wandering around we came across a mine, I’m not sure if it’s still in use but it was pretty creepy. I checked online and I believe its a chromite mine. I wandered down to the entrance and had a peek in, there were spider webs everywhere and it was really eerie, I don’t know how anyone manages to work in mines like this, it wasn’t very tall at all… it reminded me of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!
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We also found a huge hole in the ground, all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures live up in the mountains I’m sure, any suggestions as to what might have been living in this? It was quite wide and very deep, I couldn’t see the bottom.
We could see all of Beyağaç from the mountain, the views were stunning… fields, trees and farm land in all directions as far as the eye could see. It was so peaceful up there, although a little scary with the mine and I had visions of whatever animal was hidden in that giant hole coming out and chasing us back to the car… What a story that would have been!

2014 – a year in photos – part 3

The third and final part of my look back at 2014 in photos.
Click HERE for part 1
and HERE for part 2

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October bought cooler temperatures along with it, and plenty of rain and storms too. The clouds meant we had no hot water for days on end, making my daily shower routine consist of a pan of boiling water and a jug, which surprisingly makes for a very satisfying ‘shower’ experience! The positive side of the changing weather was the beautiful sunsets created by the clouds scattered above the horizon. There were many sunny days along with the grey, one of which we spent driving alongthe cliffs around the bays of Fethiye, the views were stunning in the evening just after sundown. I love this photo of the nearly-full moon shining above Fethiye with its reflection on the water. Beautiful.
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One of the best days in October was when the türk yıldızları (Turkish Stars) came to Calis for a display as part of the Ölüdeniz air games. They’re the Turkish aerobatic demonstration team of the Turkish Air Force. It was a brilliant day, I’d never seen Calis Beach so busy and the atmosphere was buzzing, the display was amazing and I’m glad we got to see it, a lot of people were very proud of their ‘Turkiye’ that day.
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The rest of the month was spent with friends, including the twins who were 7 months old by then, and with Boncuk. The hotel closed for winter at the end of October, so Boncuk was able to move back into the grounds and be free to roam all day and night, which she loved.
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Berkay was unemployed at the beginning of November while searching for a ‘winter’ job, which meant we got to spent a lot of time together. We spent a lot of it in the hotel grounds, it was all locked up so we had the place to ourselves. We had a BBQ every sunday with Boncuk and played fetch everyday! One day we were all feeling particularly brave and went for a swim in the FREEZING cold pool, even Boncuk joined us! That was our last swim of the season as a few days afterwards it rained heavily and the pool turned green.
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We carried on visiting our friends with the twin babies, who seemed to grow every time we saw them! One of my favourite photos of the whole month was the sunset one below, I miss sitting on the beach with my camera just snapping sunsets.
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At the end of November we spent the weekend in Berkay’s home town, Beyagac, and an evening in the city centre of Denizli. Village life is alot different to what I’m used to, but I really enjoyed the weekend, it was so relaxing.
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December was the month that I was dreading, as the days went past I knew it was closer to 14th December, the date of my flight back to the UK. I spent as much time as possible with Berkay (and Boncuk!) including his birthday on 13th December, our last night together. We went for dinner in a rather expensive restaurant along the promenade in Fethiye and then celebrated with his friends and some birthday cake!
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Both of the following photos were taken on my last day in Turkey in between packing my suitcase and saying my goodbyes. I love the first one of the 3 of us, we all look so smiley, even Boncuk! The second was taken at sunset, just before our friend arrived to take us to the airport.
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Being back in the UK felt rubbish, but it was good to spend Christmas with my family, especially my little sister, who shares my love of all things Frozen, as you can tell by her Anna dress! I think this photo of me, my sister and my ‘little’ brother (he’s 13, but nearly 6ft tall…)  is cute, it was taken on Christmas day, check out my festive jumper!
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The 2nd half of 2014 was brilliant and one of the best. I made some great memories and have lots of wonderful photos to look back on.
We’re already 2 weeks into 2015 now, but I’m wishing it away already. It’s going to be a tough one, with Berkay due to start his 12 month army service in the next few weeks.
Roll on 2016, I say.

2014 – a year in photos – part 2

Continuing on with my look back at 2014, here’s part 2…
click HERE to read part 1 (January – June)

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July was a busy month! We celebrated our 4 year anniversary together and had lots of days out, making the most of Berkay’s pay rise and driving license! We drove to Marmaris for the day as I wanted to see what the fuss was all about, the first photo was taken on the beach there – I much prefer Fethiye, though. A couple of weeks later we went on a boat trip for the first time in a year which was lovely, I love being out at sea, I think I should have been a pirate 😉 The blue sea, clear skies, sunburn… oh I miss it.
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The second half of the month wasn’t as busy, and we took time to enjoy walks together during the afternoons before Berkay went to work. One of the best hidden gems we discovered was the amazing view at the far end of Calis beach, behind Şat restaurant, there were little benches overlooking the water and the mountains formed the perfect backdrop. We also visited our friends who had escaped to their village (Kizibel near Uzumlu) to get some cooler air. It had been 8 weeks since I’d seen their twins who had grown a lot, they couldn’t be more different – one small with no hair and the other a giant baby with long locks, they’re still the same now!
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In August we visited Kalkan, Kaputas and Kas for the day, the coastal road between them is so beautiful and driving along listening to some music with the amazing views of the sea outside your window is just perfect. 
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Of course it was another hot month, even poor Boncuk found it hard and needed plenty of evening walks along the beach and ice cream to cool her down – twister lollies are her favourite.
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We went to the first Fetiyespor game of the season, which was disappointing but a good evening spent together before Berkay headed off to work. The sun began to set earlier in the evenings as the month went on, and I had plenty of sunset photo opportunities, it’s my favourite thing to take photos of!

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As soon as September arrived, the weather started to cool slightly and it was clear that Calis was starting to wind down for the winter months as the beach became emptier. We went on lots of walks and discovered beautiful places we’d never been before like the Lycian way with this breathtaking view of Oludeniz.
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One of the things I miss the most is sitting out on my balcony eating or playing backgammon and that is something we done everyday over the summer. One September morning Berkay came home from work and made this adorable Turkish breakfast for me, who wouldn’t smile at this? So sweet. September was also the month that a stray cat found our balcony and decided to come and visit every single breakfast, lunch and dinner time, I often found her curled up on our garden chairs waiting for us or as soon as she heard the plates she would climb up the tree to see us, she carried this on til the day I left in December!
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We carried on exploring areas a little off the beaten track, one being Yesil Vadi in Yuvurlakcay, where we had fun swinging over the river – until I fell in fully clothed..oops!! As always, we finished our day out in the car with a BBQ, but this time we bought Boncuk along. This was one of my favourite days, so simple but so relaxing.

The 3rd and final look back at 2014 in photos coming soon…