Aksazlar Koyu – a beautiful BBQ spot

IMG_6933 Aksazlar koyu (Aksazlar bay) is one of the many calm bays around the Fethiye peninsula.
It’s a beautiful place to sit, relax and look across to Fethiye town. To get to it you drive through the main town centre, past Ece Saray and along past the boatyard, Aksazlar koyu is the first beach, before Letoonia resort and the other bays. To get there by bus, look for the dolmus that goes along the main Fethiye town centre road with the orange front and the words Taşyaka-Karagözler on it.
IMG_6743 IMG_6745
It’s a private area, you have to pay an fee to enter which curiously varies each time we visit. It’s something like 10tl per car (but don’t quote me on that), but there have been times where we weren’t charged at all! There is a small beach area and a restaurant/bar. We’ve never used the restaurant so I can’t comment on the menu or prices, but I’ve never seen it busy. There are sunbeds available on the beach, along with large beanie cushions, hammocks and the more traditional shady köşks too, all at a price to rent, but again we’ve never used these so I’m not sure of the fee. They also have tents to hire and you can camp overnight in the great outdoors!

We bypass all of the above go to Aksazlar purely for the beautiful surroundings which makes it a perfect BBQ spot. If you drive straight past the restaurant and beach you’re greeted with a forest of tall pine trees providing much needed shaded that is very welcome in the summer months. There are little picnic tables dotted around the area where you can sit and eat, although there aren’t that many and they do get full quickly, especially on a Sunday afternoon when all the locals go for BBQ’s.
It has been a favourite place of ours for years, the first time I went there was over 4 years ago with Berkay and his friends for our first BBQ picnic together back in January 2011! Its so peaceful just sitting watching the food grill, having a chat and listening to water lapping gently onto the shore. I love it. I have lots of photos of good memories made with different family members and friends there.
IMG_6942 IMG_6938
Good memories in the bay back in 2011 & 2012

There are only two bad things I can think to say about the place, one being the amount of wasps that are around, especially in the height of summer. The other bad thing is the disgusting state of the toilet facilities, nearly every time we’ve been (and we used to go alot) the toilets have been so bad that I walked in busting for a wee and walked straight out determined to hold off til we got home – not pleasant, and I expect clean toilets are something people look for when spending the day somewhere. I have heard that the restaurant is under new management, so perhaps they will improve things!

Aksazlar is a bit of a hidden gem, although it’s become a bit more well known recently with the arrival of the Bubble Sea Park – the loud, big, brightly coloured inflatable slides/play area on the sea. I have mixed feelings about this, no doubt it will bring in money to the restaurant business and hopefully this will enable them to improve the services, however it is a big eye sore and it ruins the atmosphere when you can hear the loud music and screams coming from that direction even from the other side of the bay. Locals in the area will tell you not to swim in the bay at all as it’s so close to the dockyard and the water becomes dirty from the oil and petrol from the boats, but tourists don’t seem to mind. Arguably it’s good for children, as it’s shallow for quite a way out and is very calm, but it’s certainly not the clear blue Mediterranean water that you might expect.
IMG_6932 IMG_6934
IMG_6935 IMG_6936
All in all it is a lovely place, we love it, in fact it was the first place we went when me, Berkay and Boncuk were all reunited back in April, yes Boncuk loves it too. It’s the perfect spot for a bbq in summer or winter, and a good place to spend the day and relax with yummy food while enjoying the view across the bay to Fethiye. Definitely worth a visit!

Army life – 1/4 of the way there.

It’s been 3 months since Berkay walked through the gates to the army base, put on his uniform and started serving his country.

img_6507The first 2 months he was in Izmir everything felt a bit surreal, and it was really hard, but he was doing ok. We got to speak every single day over the phone and had 3 or 4 skype sessions during his few hours off at the weekend. Then, once he’d finished training in Izmir, he had 10 days holiday and I flew out to him in Fethiye for a week, I was worried how strange it’d feel being back together after little contact for 2 months, but it was like we’d never been apart. It was the first time we’d really talked about his army experiences as the phonecalls were too short to have any conversation other than ‘hi, how are you? What are you doing?’. He told me stories, and he showed me photos of his friends and the base, it made me understand it all a lot more.  Reality really hits that you have a soldier boyfriend when all his life possessions are taken everywhere with him in a giant army holdall.. and even more so when he opens the bag and the stink wafts out… apparently they can only wash ‘small’ things at the base, the big jackets, trousers etc are expensive to wash so nobody bothers.. this resulted in the apartment we rented for the week looking like a camouflage explosion in a launderette, after I’d washed them all for him!

img_6503 img_6509
On 13th April he made the 13 hour bus journey to Kayseri where he’s spending the rest of his army service, as far as we know, although he did say he might be moved elsewhere. He’s currently still training to be an ambulance driver and is a commando which means he gets to wear a fetching blue berret! He doesn’t get paid a penny, they’re supposed to get something ridiculous like 30tl a month, but he’s not received any yet, not even for his bus fare which he was told he’d get something for. As with everything else in Turkey, it’s all very sponaneous, no such thing as forward planning!

He’s not had a day off at the weekend since he’s been back, due to a couple of fellow soldiers having a fight and sacrificing everyone else’s days off as a result! He’s hoping he gets a day off this weekend though, when I spoke to him earlier they had just finished washing and cleaning their dorm and different areas of the base, a ‘boss’ was coming to inspect it and if it meets their standards they get their day off back!
img_6504  img_6506 
These photos are the official army ones that everyone has taken when they start their service, they are SO cheesy, superimposed onto different backgrounds..

We’re a quarter of the way through now, so that’s good. Even though time is not going fast, it is ‘going’. I have a countdown on the go, it tells me there’s 270 days to go! The part I find hardest is the lack of contact, even though Berkay calls me everyday it’s for a couple of minutes at the most, and its hard to have any kind of meaningful conversation, I can’t tell him about my day and he can’t tell me about his, it’s quite sad, really. You all have probably heard that new song in the charts right now with the words “it’s been a long day without you my friend, and I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again” – that sums it up perfectly on so many levels. Definitely a favourite of mine at the moment.

Berkay doesn’t have a phone or internet access in the base, so when a photo was sent to my Facebook last week I was very pleasantly surprised! He had been sitting in a field with his army friends who were picking flowers and arranging them into their girlfriends names, then taking photos and sending them. His friend let him borrow his phone to send me the photo, it was so cute. I did giggle though, nothing says big, strong, scary soldier like picking flowers in a field, eh?! Bless them. He even said there weren’t enough to make the letters in my name so his friend ran off trying to find more… They are a funny breed, these Turks!
270 days and counting.

Simple yet delicious – Turkish Tost…

One of my favourite, quick, simple and most importantly – cheap, lunchtime snacks in Turkey is tost.

Not to be confused with ‘normal’ toast – it’s a big, Turkish bread sliced down the middle, stuffed with delicious fillings, pressed and served with a side of spicy, hot pickles. Yum.

The fillings are pretty basic, the most popular is a mixed tost, or “karışık tost” in Turkish, which is a toastie with cheese, sucuk (spicy Turkish sausage) and usually tomato too. I often have this, although my favourite is just a plain, simple cheese and tomato one. There aren’t really very many more variations to the fillings, although whilst in Berkay’s village he had one with scrambled egg, sucuk and cheese in, an odd mixture which tasted surprisingly good.

I love the simpleness of tost so much we used to always make our own at home, but you really can’t beat the way they’re made in cafe’s under a proper, heavy iron press instead of the usual toastie machines. The only downside to how delicious they are, is how unhealthy they are, it’s a bit of a carb overload, eating half a turkish bread in one sitting, and the bread is usually covered in butter on the outside too so it can be rather greasy. Delightful though!
IMG_6032 IMG_6030
The best cafe serving tost like this in Fethiye is İksirci Tezcan. It’s a small cafe (well, more of a large hut really) on the corner of Fethiye harbour, next to the blue culture centre on the main town square. You can’t miss it, it sits under a shady tree and has pretty, very traditonal low tables and chairs, painted in bright, vivid colours. It’s very popular with locals and often at lunchtime you’ll struggle to find an empty seat amongst the many school children who flock their during their break. It’s almost famous in Fethiye, ask a local or expat about the ‘toastie place’ and they’ll know where you mean!
IMG_6029 IMG_6034 IMG_6026 IMG_6027
Tost is the only food on the menu here, along with the usual soft drinks, water or their other speciality – freshly squeezed fruit juice, usually orange or pomegranate but it varies depending which fruit is in season. Don’t be put off by the simplicity of the menu though, the toasties here are all amazing.

It’s a good place to sit and people watch as locals and tourists wander past, boats sail in and out of the harbour and street animals play (I shared my tost with a cat!)
IMG_6028 IMG_6033
The best thing of all about this cafe is how cheap it is. This was our bill, 10.50tl for 2 mixed tost, a can of cola and an ayran.. at today’s rate this is just over £2.60!
Whether you’re on a budget or not, it’s a fantastic price and a fantastic place to spend half an hour watching the world go by, and you’ll be able to tick ‘tost’ off the ‘Turkish street food to try’ list.