A Boat trip along the river Azmak, Akyaka..

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When I mentioned that I was going to Akyaka, someone recommended that we go on a short boat trip along the river, and when we arrived and saw how beautiful it was, that’s exactly what we did!

We found the ticket kiosk and asked how much it was, I think it was 10tl each but I’m not 100% sure, I can’t remember, but whatever it was it was cheap and well worth it! We were directed towards a boat which had a few people already waiting, and as soon as we got on, they started up the engine and off we went.
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The Azmak river runs through the valley, winding, twisting and turning until it reaches the sea. It’s surrounded by tall reeds which make wonderful sounds when the wind blows.

We weaved in and out of the reeds and sailed along the crystal clear waters – they told us the water was a ‘natural aquarium’, perfect for the many fish living in it. It was so clear you could see right to the bottom, and it was deep! As we sailed along we admired it’s natural beauty, the sea plants and the shoals of fish swimming past, some were really big! We also saw a lot of pretty birds flying past or perching on the reeds singing.
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The fish and the birds were’t the only wildlife, at one point we turned a corner and came across a gathering of ducks, Berkay referred to them as the ‘duck mafia’ because they were all grouped together. It soon became clear why – on the other side of the boat there were several restaurants lining the route of the river, some of which had seating areas actually IN the cold water! The customers at these restaurants were throwing food in for the ducks, which they definitely seemed to be enjoying!
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One part of the river in particular seemed particularly popular with locals, and they had taken camping chairs and picnics and were sat on the edge of the river bank, under the trees, feet dangling in the cold water, although some of them were diving in, right in front of the boats! I suspect that it was only busy like that because it was a Sunday, and during the week it wouldn’t be so bad.

After around 15 minutes the boat turned around and started its journey back to the marina area, giving us all another look at that beautiful ‘aquarium’ area of the river.

The entire boat journey lasted about 30 minutes, but was well worth it, very relaxing and a real natural beauty. I think we timed it perfectly as well, as when we returned the sun was starting to go down, creating a nice glow over the boats moored up in the marina. If you visit Akyaka, I definitely recommend a trip down the river Azmak.
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Village breakfast at Pınarbaşı restaurant – Bozüyük

On our way back from Denizli to Fethiye last year, Berkay said he really wanted to take a detour and visit the village of Güzelköy / Bozüyük – while there we stopped at a well known restaurant called ‘Pınarbaşı’ for some late brunch!
 
 
Apparently the restaurant has been featured in a few Turkish tv shows filmed in the local village, so it’s quite popular! Berkay wanted to try their lunch menu, but they hadn’t started serving it at the time we got there, so we had to settle for a traditional village breakfast instead, which was actually just what we needed after a couple of hours of driving.

The food was really good, a typical Turkish ‘köy kahvaltısı’ – cheese, olives, tomato & cucumber, peppers, walnuts, eggs and sucuk, jams and spreads, honey & kaymak, fresh bread and a big pot of çay. Really yummy! We could have sat there for ages just eating and enjoying the surroundings.
  
The best part for me wasn’t actually the food, it was the location. There were trees and gardens all around, along with natural streams of water. We chose a table that was actually sat in the water. They had normal tables and an inside restaurant area, and then little bridges and platforms over the streams leading to tables sat in it. It was mid-September and really warm so it was nice to sit in the shade of the trees with our feet in the cold water, although we were the only ones who chose to do that, I bet it’s really popular in the height of summer. I love the fact they had ducks swimming around the tables and your feet, they definitely benefited from some of our leftover food too! They were so cute.
   
There’s also an ancient 800 year old tree, which is really beautiful to look at! Apparently, in the absence of modern medicine, it used to be used for its healing powers, with ointments and antidotes made from it’s roots. It’s also thought to have granted wishes to those passing through! The tree started to rot and has been protected for the last 20 years with the hope of keeping it alive in it’s full glory. It’s really interesting how the shapes have formed, it’s gigantic!
 
From what I can remember, the breakfast was a bit more expensive than normal, but I would go back and visit again because it was a really relaxing place and Berkay still wants to try their main menu! It’s around 2 hours from Calis/Fethiye, past Mugla city centre towards Aydin, so an ideal stop-off point if you’re on a long journey along that road – definitely worth a visit!
 

 

AUGUST PHOTO SERIES – DAY 25 – AKSAZLAR KOYU


Aksazlar bay, just past the boat yard in Fethiye, has been a favourite little place of ours for years. Berkay used to go there with his friends and he introduced me to it back in 2011 when he took me there for our first ‘Turkish BBQ’! It’s a very popular spot with locals, especially at weekends when they have a day off and go to the bay for a family BBQ. We’ve been there countless times over the years, but only ever used the picnic table area under the trees, not the restaurant or beach. I know that the beach/restaurant has recently changed ownership and had a lot of improvements, but I’m a little worried about the change! I feel like this was our little secluded, relaxing place and from what I’ve seen it now has loud music, foam parties and all sorts of other stuff going on! I know that the entry fee for the picnic area has gone up too, so I hope the new changes don’t put locals off going as I really loved the relaxing, quiet side of the area before. Its also a brilliant place to sit and listen to the call to prayer as it echoes around the bay, really atmospheric! They seem to have a few resident ducks too, always seen swimming around the bay!

Sailing the day away on a Fethiye boat trip..

This post is long overdue! 10 days ago we went on a boat trip to the islands around Fethiye. We went along for free with one of the tour groups that visit the hotel Berkay works in – the perks of the job!

The tour group we went with is calls ETS, they go traveling around on excursions from Istanbul and stay in the hotel for 3-4 days, using it as a base while they see the sites of the surrounding areas. We hopped on their coach and headed to Fethiye where we boarded the boat.
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The boat’s name was Grand Baris. We set off around 10.30 and went on a different route to most of the other ’12 islands’ trips, which I quite liked, although we seemed to be sailing forever until our first stop, it must have been over an hour.

The first stop was called Olive Island and was near Gocek I think, we had a swim and stopped there for 45 minutes. It was all going well until my foot touched a sea urchin, those things really hurt. I didn’t even step on it, just brushed it with my foot and it hurt for the entire day! I could see a really tiny black dot which I removed, but my foot felt like it had painful pins and needles until the following day – it was so weird, thank goodness I didn’t step on one completely and get the entire spike embedded in my foot, because that would definitely have ruined our day!
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After that, we moved onto the next stop, I’ve forgotten the name but it was lovely there, turquoise water and really pretty. This is where lunch was served. Everyone else on the boat had to pay 15tl for their dinner (I assume because they didn’t pay for the boat trip individually, it was just part of the tour group’s excursions) but we got it for free as we knew them. It was fish, chicken or meatballs with spaghetti, salad and bread. It was a big plate full too, I couldn’t eat all mine, but it was lovely. I found the price of the drinks/food on board more expensive than usual. We had a small glass of Turkish tea which were 2tl each, and I noticed the 5tl Cola and Fanta were smaller glass bottles, rather than 33 cl cans. We also paid 5tl for a tiny plate of about 20 chips… I know we can’t really complain as we got everything else for free, but everyone else who were paying customers still had to pay those prices.
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After another swim, the next stop was Flat Island. It was a lot busier here but really beautiful. We got off the island and had a walk around, it looks even better from photos above (google search ‘flat island fethiye’ to see some!). The flat part of the island is shaped almost like a number ‘6’ with a calm, shallow area of water in the middle which you can walk through. We walked along the flat strip until we reached the hill and then turned back, it was so hot we didn’t fancy hill climbing! There were some ducks and chickens present on the island hiding in the shade of the bushes – cute. After another quick swim we got back on the boat and headed off to our last stop – Red Island.
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Red Island is the name of the island you can see from Calis and which forms the backdrop of most of my sunset photos! Berkay had had no sleep and had been working all night, so he was napping on the boat, but I went for a swim and took my goggles so I could look for some fish. The boat moored near a corner of the island and I was able to swim to it, there were alot of beautiful fish there, I wish I’d taken my iPod in with me to get some good underwater photos, but I forgot! I’m so glad I took my goggles, because towards the side of the island the water became shallow and I could see and feel the rocks underneath – I peeked through my goggles to see if it was safe to step down and there were so many black, spikey sea urchins waiting for my feet… Definitely learned my lesson the first time and kept my feet firmly off the ground! More boats starting arriving at the island so I swam back towards ours and after 45 minutes they pulled the anchor up and set off back towards Fethiye.
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This is always my favourite part of the journey, it was around 5pm so the sun wasn’t directly overhead, making it slightly cooler. I love sitting at the back of the boat with my feet dangling in the water watching people fishing – they caught 2 fish and a starfish – Berkay was jealous, wishing he had bought his fishing rod! The sight as you come into Fethiye marina is beautiful, with the mountains and rock tombs in full view – lovely.
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The boat itself was nice, clean and well-kept. The women’s toilets were large, clean and well-lit but Berkay said the men’s weren’t so nice – so much so that he actually used the women’s one instead! The staff were really friendly and it was a good day out, but we probably wouldn’t chose to use this boat again ourselves, we preferred the one we were on back in July. (click HERE to read the post about that trip)

Also, I always cringe when British people complain about the lack of fellow Brits in their hotel or on boat trips etc, we are in Turkey afterall… but there was one small family of English people on the boat who booked separately to the huge (over 100 people) entirely Turkish tour group that we went with and I can understand that they may have felt a little awkward mixed in amongst them. I do wonder if they were informed when they booked that a large tour group was booked on the boat for the same day? That being said, the staff made sure everything was announced in Turkish and English and were equally as welcoming to both groups of people from what I saw.
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We had a great day and I’m grateful we got the opportunity to go for free (apart from extras like drinks). I recommend the boat, we had nothing but a good experience, but I would suggest making sure there are no large tour group bookings on the day you plan to go if that bothers you.

I just love being at sea, perhaps I should have been a pirate! Or married someone with alot of money and a  fancy yacht.
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Calis from the hillside!

Two days ago we went for a long walk up to the furthest point of Calış beach and back again.
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We walked from our house all the way to Koca Çalış and up a hill at the far end of the beach – the views were lovely and I saw Calış/Fethiye from a whole new angle!

The walk from our house to the end of the beach was around 2.6  km, so we walked over 5 km together – not easy in the 40oc heat! We waited til 6pm to leave because we’d melt into a puddle on the floor otherwise. I’d never been so far into Koca Çalış before, the furthest we’d really been was Sunset Beach Club/Surf Cafe. I definitely wouldn’t want to live there as it’s too far from anything else. We came across some pretty multi-coloured holiday apartments though which looked lovely, it’d certainly be more peaceful there!
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We took Boncuk too, we love taking her on long walks. The downside to taking her with us is that a lot of stray dogs approached us. At one point we walked past a restaurant with a dog roaming loose and it spotted Boncuk and started growling and barking at her, setting off a chorus of at least 4 other dogs – it’s quite scary, although most of the animals are harmless, you never know (we had a bad experience when she was a puppy, and I’ve been bitten by a street dog myself which meant I had to have rabies injections – not fun!) Having so many dogs roaming free is something that puts me off walking her on my own most of the time and we always have to plan our routes so as to avoid places where we know there are a lot of strays.

The Koca Çalış end of the beach appeared to be very popular with local people – there were lots of people swimming and having BBQ picnics which smelt amazing! When we reached the end of the beach we found a track leading up the hill and decided to climb it. It wasn’t too steep or difficult to climb, although there were a lot of sharp thorns and bushes which scratched our legs quite badly, but the view at the top was worth it. We let Boncuk off her lead while climbing up the hill and she loved it.
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The sun was just starting to go down as it was around 7.30 by this time, so it was fairly cool (by cool I mean around 35oc!!) but we were dripping with sweat from the walk – we tried to take a ‘selfie’ together with the view in the background but we just looked ridiculous!
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I think it would be lovely to come and sit up there with a drink and a snack to watch the sunset, or even to just sit down and watch the stars at night – quite romantic! Berkay was also eyeing it up as a potential fishing spot!
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We couldn’t stay and admire the view for too long as Berkay had to get back for work, but it was nice to see Calış from an alternative view point,  and lovely views across to the mountains too. Such beautiful scenery.

London with Berkay – part 2

I posted part 1 of my birthday day out in London  yesterday, and as promised, here is part 2.

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On our way to Buckingham Palace, we found ourselves at St.James Park. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and it was absolutely gorgeous walking through the park at this time of the day. There were beautiful yellow daffodils, blossom on the trees, flowers growing, green grass- beautiful! The lake looked lovely with the water fountain and ‘duck island’ in the middle.
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Anyone who knows me know’s I’m an animal lover – so seeing all the cute ducks, swans and pelicans was sweet, the pigeons not so much- I hate it when things fly near me! This duck was so funny, doesn’t it just look like he’s posing for the camera?! He turned around, looked at me, tilted his head then started walking towards me – I think he was hoping for food, but we had none… sorry Mr Duck.
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Berkay was trying to get the pigeons to sit on his arm, ewwwww. A nearby man who was obviously a regular at the park spotted him and gave him a handful of bird seed from a huge sack he had, he told him to hold his hand down low and feed the birds… and he did! Look how happy he looks, he’s an animal lover too.
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We spotted some squirrels who were surprisingly not shy at all – they were obviously used to being photographed as I held my camera literally an inch away from his face and he just sat there eating his nut…cute!
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When we came to the end of the park, we could see Buckingham Palace, or ‘The Queen’s house’ as Berkay calls it.  We made our way over and dont the typical touristy things, took a photo of the guard, took a photo of each other standing outside the gates.. thought about popping in to visit my old mukka Queenie for some tea and scones…
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There’s something about London that makes you feel patriotic. I’m not the least bit patrotic normally, I’m normally moaning about the country, but standing outside Buckingham Palace and looking out accross The Mall, seeing all the Union Jack flags – it really made me feel..well… British.
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We walked to St James Park station, again relying on my phone’s GPS to guide us, what a lifesaver that was – and got off at Leicester Square. It was really busy with street performers, people laying on the benches and grass, there was even a dog playing in the water fountain – sweet! One of the street performers was a magician, he had a little mouse with him… we missed most of the act, but at the end he put his little pet mouse on the floor and let everyone go and stroke it. ‘Please be careful with her’ he said … it melted my heart! Nothing cuter than a man and his pet mouse hehe!
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The main reason we were at Leicester Square was for M&M’s world! I’ve been to the one in New York before while I was there on a school trip, but I’d never been to the London one. The smell when you walk in … oh.my.god. Chocolate heaven! After a while it all looks the same, and you get sick of seeing all the overpriced merchandise – but some of it is cute. I think I purchased the cheaperst thing in the shop – a £3.50 fluffy m&m purse. There are giant M&M statues all around the store – all 4 levels of it – making for some perfect photo opportunities..
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The best part about the whole place are the walls with tubes stacked full of M&M’s in every single colour possible, chocolate ones, peanut ones, crispy ones… ahhh, I’ve just realised I still have some left over from the bag we made up – as soon as I finish this post I’m going to tuck into them!
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After a good 45 minutes in chocolate heaven, we walked all the way to Oxford Street – and to the massive Primark. We didn’t get much, a few bits for our friends baby twins, and a pretty awesome pug duvet cover for me. What’s the point of having birthday money if you can’t spend it eh?

We met up with my dad, stepmum, brother and sister for dinner. We all went to a little Indian restaurant near Aldgate, in London. It was really yummy.. Berkay went for a hot dish and think he regretted it later!
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How cute is my baby sister? ❤  She adores Berkay.. and me. She follows me around like a little sheep when I come home from work. Bless. She gave me lots of birthday cuddles, and helped me show off one of my birthday presents- a sweet picture for my wall made by my step mum. A photo of me, Berkay and Boncuk and the word ‘Happiness’ – that says it all.
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