Football, Fethiyespor & icecream…

On Sunday we had a rare evening together and went to a football match – Fethiyespor v Menemen Bld.Spor. Berkay arranged to go into work 3 hours later than normal so after dinner we headed into Fethiye town centre.

We had been trying to get tickets for the game in advance but they kept telling us to ‘come back tomorrow’ – much like everything else in Turkey it was very unorganised! In the end we just gave up and got them from the gates on the day. We got the cheapest seats which we only 5tl… bargain!

After getting tickets from the stadium (just behind the Tuesday market area) we walked back in to the main town and sat down in a little cafe for some ice-cream. It’s real Turkish icecream and if you’ve ever eaten it you’ll know what I mean when I describe it as slightly chewy – it’s delicious and really filling. We got 4 scoops for 2tl which is an absolute bargain. I’ve heard horror stories in recent weeks of people being charged £10 for one ice cream in resorts – even 10tl would be extortionate! This was a massive ice cream, I got a mixture of lemon, blackcurrant and chocolate chip…dipped in chocolate sauce and nuts. Yum. They have so many different flavours to chose from too.
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After that we took a slow walk through the park in Fethiye and managed to catch the sunset – click HERE for my previous blog post for photos of that.  I love this park and it’s so much nicer to walk around in the evenings when it’s cooler and the sun isn’t directly overhead.
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Berkay popped to the shop to stock up on sunflower seeds for the match (you’ll see why if you keep reading) and then we headed off to the stadium again.

I was suprised by how much security was outside the stadium. There were stewards searching people and police with guns and truncheons, it was really quite intimidating. I used to have a season ticket for Chelsea FC and considering the massive difference in the standing of both clubs, there wasn’t an awful lot of difference in the security measures in place, the only things that were missing were police horses! At Chelsea games we were allowed to take our bottles of water inside the stadium as long as the lids were thrown away (or hidden in our pockets – shhh) but here they didn’t allow any kind of bottles – strange.

Once through the turnstiles we searched for our correct seats, but failed to find them. The numbering seemed to be totally illogical – I ended up sitting in seat 245 and the seat next to me was numbered as ‘407’ – go figure! It didn’t matter, because despite the speaker on the tannoy announcing that everyone should stick to the seat number stated on their ticket, very few people actually did.. at least not in our stand. There were very few stewards inside the stands, I can’t actually recall seeing any.
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There was a small snack place to buy food in, none of the usual hot dogs, burgers, pies and pints of beer though – toasties, chicken doner kebabs only. There was also a crate full of packets of sunflower seeds  for sale which seemed to be everyone’s snack of choice! Turkish people do love their salted sunflower seeds, they eat them like a little chipmunk or something – it’s quite a skill to master or you end up with a mouth full of cardboardy shells. Bleugh. Literally everyone was eating these, and none of them seemed to care where they disposed of the shells – look at the massive pile Berkay made on the floor!! After all the salt we needed a drink of water so had to buy one from the young boy selling them from a massive ice barrel in the corner of the stand – they were 1tl each, for a tiny little carton.
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It was soon national anthem time, something the Turkish people take very seriously. Everyone stood still with their hands by their sides singing along. Nobody moved a muscle apart from the photographers!
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I enjoyed the game, although it was very frustrating as neither team managed to score and boy did they have a lot of chances! Even my Fethiyespor themed nails didn’t bring them luck.

The match was pretty much the same as any other game of football I’ve been to, passionate fans, jeers, swearing and booing at the referee, fights on the pitch leading to red cards and players diving all over the place. Oh, the beautiful game eh? Don’t get me wrong, I do love football.  I thought it was interesting how they had a ‘water break’ 23 minutes into the game due to the hot weather, something that is certainly never necessary in England.
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There are a very passionate set of Fethiyespor fans in one of the other stands, they’re the hardcore, season ticket holders. They were singing and banging drums for much of the match – I found it so funny how most of their chants were to the same tune as the football chants I’ve heard at Chelsea – different words, different language, same tune!

The match ended in a 0-0 draw which was disappointing, but it was a good evening regardless. As soon as the full time whistle was blown we hurried out of the stadium, got on the dolmus and headed home, Berkay went straight to work. I wish he’d get a full day off sometimes, he’s not had one day off since the end of May and isn’t likely to until the season is over in November. I’m thankful that his boss and his colleagues are flexible and will allow him to make up hours if he asks to go in late.. that’s better than nothing (:
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On Saturday Berkay & I decided to go for a little trip out. We were planning to get the train to Southend to have a walk along the sea front, visit the aquarium and go on the rides at adventure island, but after looking into it, and realising what would normally be a 45-60 minute car journey was going to take 2.5 hours and cost £40 on the train – late on Friday night we decided we’d go to Thorpe Park instead. It’s crazy to think that this actually worked out slightly cheaper, as it’s 100 x better!

We caught the 8:30 am train from our town to London Waterloo, then another train from Waterloo to Staines. Then we got the shuttle bus from Staines station to Thorpe Park, which was only 10 mins down the road!  I was suprised at how quick the journey was, it only took an hour and a half  to get there altogether, but it seemed a lot quicker. I’m also pretty impressed that I didn’t get us lost once.
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When we arrived Berkay got concerned about the HUGE line of people queuing to get tickets, luckily, we paid for ours online the night before and printed them out so literally walked straight in past the massive line of people and through the ticket scanners.

We went on a few ‘tame’ rides first of all to warm Berkay up, then we attempted the bigg’uns! We queued for an hour and a half to get onto the next ride – Colossus. I can’t believe we waited so long really, not sure if it were really worth it, but we did get back row seats – nothing quite like sitting at the front or back of a big rollercoaster!
After that we went to go and get some lunch, but on the way we spotted a ride with no queue whatsoever – not even one person. So we made our way over to that. Now I’ve been to Thorpe Park before, so I knew what to expect- but it didn’t take Berkay long to figure out why exactly there was no queue for this ride on a grey, not-too-warm, April day in Surrey…
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The ride in question was ‘Tidal Wave’ – clue is in the name really isn’t it? Up we went in the boat, sat in the front row I must add, we got to the top, the boat went around towards the steep drop and baaaam, it all became clear to Berkay – the huge tidal wave splash flowing into the boat was pretty much like having a shower, we were SOAKED, that’s why nobody else was queuing – who wants to be wet and cold during an English Spring?! I bet the ride is really popular in summer though!  This is my favourite ride in the whole place  – I’ve always loved it because of the theme, 1950’s American fishing village hit by a tsunami- the surrounding area of this ride all blends in well, all the buildings look like they’ve been hit by the ‘tidal wave’ – including the KFC we went into for lunch, the roof is all caved in and wonky with a giant shark poking through the building! I love the 1950’s theme going on – reminds me of Grease, which incidentally I’m currently watching on tv!
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After KFC for lunch, we went to the other side of the park and went on the water raft ride – a nice tame one to keep our KFC safely in our tummies. After that – the spinning teacups – and after that … the big one… Stealth!
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The queue for this ride was suprisingly not as long as I thought it would be – we only waited 45 minutes, and it’s arguably the most popular ride at the park. You really can’t quite comprehend how tall or impressive it is until you’re standing underneath it and hear the gas propelling the coaster, the roar of the cars on the tracks and the screams of everyone riding in it. It accelerates from 0-80mph in 1.8 seconds – impressive! If you’re not quite sat in the right position as it takes off up the track though, you really feel it, the first time it jolted my neck and hurt for a while.
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When your feet are firmly on the ground watching it climb over the tip of the arch, there’s always that bit of doubt in your mind that it might not have enough power to make it quite over and end up rolling back down – something which apparently it is designed to do safely – but that would be scary to experience! When you’re on the ride at the top, all you can see all around you is sky and cloud – no track – not the car in front – just sky. Berkay loved this so much the first time that when we spotted a sign later on in the day advising that the waiting time was currently only 5 minutes for this one – we took advantage and went back on it for a second time!

After that we headed for the newest ride at the park – which was really cool and well designed – apparently it cost £200 MILLION to create. Ouch! The whole area is themed around ‘unexplained incidents’ and riots/war – with a very realistic looking plane crash, upside down burnt out emergency vehicles etc etc.  We loved this one so much we went on it twice too!
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Berkay tried to win me a giant minion teddy as we saw literally HUNDREDS of people walking around the park with them after winning them from the typical things – climb the ladder, basketball shooting etc etc, but it appears we’re just not lucky – he must’ve spent about £20 trying to win one! ):
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After realising that the shortest queues of the day for the big coasters were after 5pm when most people had already gone home – we managed to squeeze in a couple more big rollercoaster rides before heading home. Berkay absolutely loved them and we had a really great day.
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We caught the shuttle bus back to Staines station and spotted a little Chinese/Indian buffet restaurant and took a little detour in there for some dinner. It was soo yummy – especially the cakes for dessert! Mmmmm. After that, we headed home via London Waterloo – I love how old that station looks with the massive clock in the middle! We were so tired and achey from all the walking and being bashed around on rides that as soon as we got home we went to bed, but we had a really fab day, glad we chose to go there, even if it was a last minute decision!