Yakapark, Saklıkent & a Hisarönü water park!

Last weekend we hired a car for a day again and headed off on another little adventure – this time to Yakapark, Saklıkent and back to Hisarönü.

Berkay had never driven outside of Fethiye before, so we had no idea where we were going. We switched on the GPS on his iPhone, tapped in Yakapark and surprisingly made it there without getting lost!

The drive is one with some beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. To get to Yakapark we had to drive past the ancient ruins of Tlos which look amazing – Turkey has some really interesting history to discover off the beaten track.

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With the help of the GPS, we arrived at Yakapark, parked the car and walked through the entrance. As soon as you walk through you can feel the drop in temperature. There are trees everywhere, the entire place is shady and the fresh cold spring water has been diverted strategically all around the area so that all you can see and hear is the force of the cold water from the waterfalls and streams dotted around the place. When we arrived there were a handful of people gathered around one of the little pools – now this is no swimming pool, it’s freezing cold water, literally a few degrees less and it would be icy, it really is that cold! People were gathered around because there were two people shoulder-deep in the water in an attempt to win a free drink. There’s a fun old sign at the bar which states “stay in the water for 5 minutes = free drink, 10 minutes = free food and 15 minutes = free ambulance” – that tells you how cold it is! We stood and watched as these two people struggled through the 5 minutes and managed to earn themselves the free drinks, they’re mental if you ask me!

Around the bar and restaurant area there are authentic seating areas where you can sit on the floor cushions and enjoy a drink or meal taking full advantage of the surroundings, but there’s also a ‘normal’ area with chairs and tables if you’d rather that instead! Perhaps even a hammock, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous!
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We walked around past the restaurant and towards the back of the area where there is a very old interesting shaped tree with water pooled inside – I love how they’ve worked around the nature that was already there. There are water fountains springing out of trees all around, stick your hand in and feel how cold it is, or if you’re feeling brave put your whole head under like Berkay! That definitely woke him up after being
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The whole place is just so beautiful and there’s so much to see – it’s so green with trees everywhere. All you can hear is the sound of the gushing water, the birds, crickets, ducks, there are beautiful butterflies and dragonflies all around too. I’ll let the photo’s speak for themselves.
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My favourite things about this place are the waterfalls – they’re not natural, as I mentioned before the natural spring water is diverted around strategically to create these, but they are truly beautiful regardless.
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You can stand and admire from the bottom of the two main waterfalls, or you can walk up the steps and across the stepping stones in front of them to get a better photo – be warned that the stones can get slippery, especially if you’re wearing flip flips as I found out!
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I love this place, but you have to time it perfectly so that you’re not there when the many ‘jeep safari’ trucks turn up. They all stop here for a break and tend to be very noisy with lots of pushing people into the water resulting in water fights – it’s great if you enjoy that kind of fun, but not so much if you just want to enjoy the peace and quiet. We left just as the groups started coming in around 11.00 am, but not before stopping back at the bar for a photo with the fish. The bar has a ring of the icy cold water around it which they actually put drinks in and use as a alternative fridge too! The ring has fish swimming in it – they seem happy enough. You can put your hand in and stroke them, which I did – you’d expect fish to be slimy and horrible but these were actually really smooth and velvety – weird!
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After we’d finished up here, we headed off back past Tlos again and to Saklıkent – it took around 20-30 minutes and was again a drive with lovely views across the valley with the mountains as a perfect backdrop. We’ve been inside Saklıkent gorge twice before despite it terrifying me, although we didn’t have time to go this time but I definitely do want to again soon. Instead, we drove across the bridge past the entrance to the gorge and stopped at one of the little restaurants on the other side. We knew about this little gem of a restaurant as we’d been a couple of years ago with my mum as part of an organised trip. They had a good-sized buffet of Turkish food along with bbq’d chicken or fish for 10tl, bargain! They certainly made up for the cheap food with the drinks though – they charged us 5tl for a can of coke!
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There was the option of sitting at a table, but we chose the more authentic option and sat on the floor cushions on a platform over a stream of water coming from the gorge. The stability of the platform was questionable – everytime someone walked past it wobbled, but it all added to the experience! The view was amazing, water spouting out from the stream, ducks swimming, brightly coloured flowers. It was the perfect spot for lunch.
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After lunch we headed back towards Fethiye, but took a detour to Hisarönü. I’d seen a new aquapark advertised online that was giving everyone free entrance for the week as a promotion. Normally we wouldn’t go to these places as they are so expensive, but since it was free we decided we’d make the most of it and we were not disappointed! It was really great fun, and fairly busy. It’s in the grounds of Gurol hotel in Hisarönü. Normal entry fee is 35tl I believe. There were 5 different slides and a great children’s section too. The slides were pretty scary, two in particular – a blue ‘bowl’ slide in which you ended up swirling around a bowl into a pool of water below, much like water going down a drain, and the other being a yellow skateboard ramp-looking slide which was actually very dangerous. You had to sit in a rubber ring and hold on tight while they pushed you down the ramp, where you slide up the other side and back down again until you came to a stop in the middle – I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, I didn’t try it myself, but Berkay fell out of the ring 3 times, cutting his back and elbow, and another man burned/grazed the entire tops of his legs – ouch.  All in all though, it was a fabulous afternoon and we had great fun, if nothing else climbing those steps to the slides 50+ times was great exercise!
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After all that driving, walking and climbing up steps to waterslides, we headed off back to Calis and set up a BBQ on the beach. We actually drove to Koca Calis and sat there as we thought it might be quieter – wrong! Although there were no tourists on the beach at that end, there were lots of Turkish families with the same idea, it was very busy with delicious smelling BBQ’s everywhere. By this time it was around 7pm and Berkay had to be at work by 8pm so we had a very rushed, but delightful dinner.IMG_3001 IMG_3002
All in all, it was another very hot, busy day. I can’t believe it was a week ago tomorrow. I’ve nearly been here a month already. Time is going by so quickly, but we’re definitely making the most of it this time. ❤

Weddings!

This weekend was a busy one. On Saturday, my mum got married!
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It was all a bit of a whirlwind romance really.  She split up with her previous partner last year and moved into her own house, my uncle helped her move in with a few of his friends, one of them, unbeknownst to her, would be her future husband! He helped her move in, sent her a ‘new home’ card, got her number from my uncle and started talking. Two months later they told me they were getting married! Won’t lie, we all thought she was nuts. Bat-shit-crazy nuts. But so far, they’ve proved us all wrong, her new husband is lovely and I’ve never seen her so happy.. Who are we to judge? (:

Anyway, Saturday 29th March, 7 months after meeting, they officially tied the knot!

After doing some last minute wedding preparations and getting the venue ready for the reception, me and Berkay stayed at my Mum’s house on Friday night, along with my aunt.
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We had a 7am wake up call, ate breakfast and spent the next 4 hours getting ready, helped along with a glass of bucks fizz of course! Poor Berkay was stuck in a house of girls. Mum was having her hair done by her hairdresser, my aunts friend was doing her hair, and then there was me… Berkay was just sat downstairs flabbergasted by what was going on… so much so that he took himself off on a long walk around the town for an hour! Bless.
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Mum had 3 pairs of wedding shoes – decreasing in height and increasing in comfort! I also took along a ‘back-up’ bra, dress, shrug, and shoes, which quickly made an appearance after stuffing myself with the buffet! 

When he came back, all our hair was done and we were all fighting over the only mirror with good-lighting in the house so we could do our make-up.  “Hurry up and get ready Berkay!” we nagged…  “I’ll only take 10minutes”… he said. He wasn’t wrong either. He was all suited and booted within minutes while us 3 girls were all rushing around like sweaty headless chickens upstairs.
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The photographer arrived at 11, by then luckily we were all ready, and began a mammoth photo shoot in the garden, what a lovely sunny day it was, thank God! I can’t wait to see all the professional photos, she took hundreds! The only thing I don’t like is how posed they all were, “til your bouquet towards me a bit, move your hands down a bit, now stare up at that tree” – I’m not a fan of cheesy posed photos like that, candid shots are best, they capture the special moments best.

Berkay went off to the register office in a different car, and Mum, grandad, my aunt and I followed in the wedding car. We got stuck at every set of traffic lights, and the sunny warm weather meant the streets were full of people walking, so everyone kept stopping and pointing “oh look, someone’s getting married!”
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We got to the register office and had a 15 minute wait until the part I was dreading most – walking into the actual register office room. Anyone who knows me knows how shy I am, walking into that room with everyone turning to look is the worst thing I can imagine! I know everybody was looking at how lovely mum looked, rather than at us two bridesmaids following, but it was still very scary. Uhhhh.

I took my seat next to Berkay, and a few minutes and the wedding vows later, it was official, they were Mr & Mrs Gormley! It’s so weird now that mum has a different surname to me, even after her and dad divorced she still kept his name, so we’ve had the same name for as long as I can remember!  I was a witness and had to sign the book, so once again I had to stand at the front of the room of 70 people all watching… my worst nightmare!
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After all the necessary paperwork was completed, and marriage certifcate all signed and handed over, it was time to head outside for more photos! We were there for ages having lots of photos taken by the photographer, all 70 guests managed to squeeze in at one point. I’m sure the photographer got some nice shots.  After the photos were all done, it was time for the traditional confetti throwing, some people had bubbles to blow too –  the groom’s family couldn’t resist a little rendition of  ‘I’m forever blowing bubbles’ – most of them are West Ham fans!
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All us guests headed off to the reception venue, and waited at the bar for the guests of honor to arrive. Everyone grabbed a glass of Bucks Fizz to raise when they walked in.
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When the speeches were over and done with, and presents given out, it was time for the buffet! Pride of place on the buffet table was the wedding cake – which everyone was admiring. As you can see from the photos, mum didn’t have a red dress, she wanted a claret one, so claret was the theme of the day, the cake, roses, ribbons, banners , balloons. Our bridesmaids dresses were blue. Has anyone figured this out yet? Claret & Blue? West Ham. Ewwwwwww. The groom even had West Ham cufflinks and there was an alternative bride and groom cake-topper, with co-ordinating claret dress and West ham shirt!
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After the buffet it was time to cut the cake, then the first dance, which was to Ellie Goulding’s ‘How long will I love you?’ – a few other people joined in the dancing, but me and Berkay were too shy. He did eventually get up and do one dance with mum, but I just sat down all night!
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The reception was lovely, but it was a very long day. The wedding was at 12, so we were all sat in the reception venue from 1pm til very late evening – this meant everyone had plenty of time to get nice and drunk – resulting in some pretty hilarious dance off’s! I didn’t really speak to anybody most of the night, people were coming up to me and saying hello and I had no idea who they were – ours is one of those families who only gets together for events, which doesn’t occur very often, so I’m so glad Berkay was with me.

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After chatting, eating and dancing the day away, it was time for the bride and groom to leave – everyone formed a circle on the dance floor, had a kiss and a hug and wished them well – and then off they went. We followed literally 2minutes afterwards as we had a taxi waiting. We were so knackered from the day that we were in bed snoring asleep by 10.30pm!

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Mum & Berkay enjoyed a little boogie.

Click here to compare to my experience of  a Turkish wedding last year.