A quiet afternoon in Calis..

Berkay works nights in summer so he sleeps most of the day and often wakes up mid-afternoon and goes for a stroll around Calis – he likes to send me lots of photos to make me jealous, which they certainly do!

The clear sky, the blue sea and the beautiful long promenade full of shops, bars and restaurants – they all look just as wonderful as ever, but definitely a lot quieter than usual.
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There seems to be a lot less tourists visiting this year, which is sad to see. When I was there in April it appeared to be fairly ‘busy’ for the time of year, but numbers should be increasing the further into the season we get, and that doesn’t appear to be happening. Since it opened a month ago, the hotel Berkay works in hasn’t had more than 30 customers in per night, and it’s been more like 15 on average! For whatever reasons, fear of terrorism, negative media representation or perhaps just the price of flights, a lot of resorts seem to be quieter than normal and we can only hope that things improve once the school holidays start in the UK as July and August are always the months with highest tourist numbers.

On his walk, Berkay walked all the way from the start of the promenade, outside the lovely sea front apartments we stayed in in April, to the main part where all the restaurants are. He then walked down the road where the canal runs, to where the water taxis go back and forth to Fethiye – these 30minute mini-boat trips always go down a treat, it makes a nice change from the dolmus and is much more relaxing.
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I love how the multi-coloured umbrellas look on the beach, they really stand out against the blue of the sky, I wonder if they were inspired by the famous floating multicoloured umbrellas in Fethiye? It is sad to see it so empty though, the beach should be full of sunbathers, not only a handful.
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I really hope that the season picks up and everyone visiting the area makes the trip to Calis and sees how peaceful and beautiful it is. It’s always a lot quieter than the other main resorts in the area, not as loud as Oludeniz and Hisaronu, but just a short dolmus ride away. It’s really beautiful with a lot of picture perfect scenery, a huge array of delicious restaurants and who could forget those amazing sunsets.

You just can’t beat it, even if I am biased!

New job for me, farm life for Boncuk & the army countdown continues..

I haven’t posted here for over 6 weeks now, I have a lot I want to post and write about but I just haven’t had time.

The main reason for that is that I FINALLY found a full time job! I started 3 weeks ago and I’m enjoying it. I’d been looking for work since December but had no luck, other than a few days for an agency. I had applied for hundreds of jobs and kept getting knocked back, even after going for interviews etc. Finally my luck changed and an agency put me forward for a 3 month placement for a really interesting company who are based inside Canary Wharf – I went for the interview and got the job. It was overwhelming at first, I’m not a ‘people’, so the first few days of travelling to Canary Wharf in rush hour was a bit of a shock, but not quite as overwhelming as the chaos that is lunchtime inside, and around One Canada Square and Canary Wharf. Thousands of people queuing up, buying, sitting and eating their lunch all at the same time – it was really horrible at first. I’ve found ‘my’ spot now where I sit everyday for lunch and read my book (oh, hello Mr Grey 😉 ) , and even though it’s still busy and overwhelming, the initial shock has worn off! This is the view I face everyday whilst eating my sandwich – isn’t it pretty? I work inside that middle building, on the 30 something floor – eeek. I’m actually enjoying the role and it’s such a relief to be back into a routine and earning money – the last 3 weeks have gone very quickly so keeping busy at work certainly makes the days tick by faster.
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Berkay is also being kept busy in the army. He’s finding it a lot harder than he anticipated and he can’t wait to get out and have some freedom. He’s still based in Kayseri, although there was a scary moment where he faced the prospect of being moved to a more dangerous area – thankfully he didn’t have to go. He gets a few hours off most weekends so he can go outside and speak to me on skype and he’s made two good friends there who get the same hours off as him so he wanders around the nearby shopping centres with them for hours. He says they are all the ‘oldies’ and people refer to them as such, because they’re mid twenties and most people doing their national service are a lot younger than that. I’m glad he’s made friends. He’s been in there for 5 months this week – another 7 to go, and he’s counting every single day.
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I’m still moving the marbles from my ‘days to go’ jar into my ‘days down’ one, and it’s a relief seeing nearly equal amounts in each! Berkay has a little list of days in the shape of ‘365’ that he’s ticking off one by one – bless him.

One of the things I was most worried about when Berkay went in the army was Boncuk, where she’d go and how safe she’d be. Initially she stayed with our friends for the first 2 months – and when I was there in April we took her to Berkay’s family’s village instead. Berkay’s brother promised me he’d look after her, but I was still worried because although they have farm animals and care for them, a dog is different. Turkish people don’t really like dogs like we do. They have their own dog, used to guard the sheep – they don’t feed it proper food, just bread and the occasional sheep/goat hoof when slaughtering time comes around. Needless to say, when we turned up with Boncuk, her bags of food and asked Berkay’s dad to save her a bit of fish from his dinner plate so that we could get her to take her worming pill, they thought we were nuts. Thankfully, Berkay’s brother is lovely and has been looking after her nicely, sending me photo updates and answering all my ‘Boncuk nasil?’ messages! He says she loves him and jumps up him wagging her tail whenever she sees him. He even takes her for walks, which is unheard of in the village, people look at you like you’ve got two heads if you’ve got a dog on a lead but think nothing of someone walking along with a flock of sheep instead. Last week Berkay’s cousin was visiting the village and sent me some photos – I was sat on the train coming home from work when I got them and it made my whole day, Boncuk just looks so happy doesn’t she? Such a relief.
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149 days down, 219 days to go!

P.S I’m off camping this weekend, but I hope to have another post up sometime next week – I still have a lot of lovely photos of Fethiye to share. If you’re interested in more photos, join our Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/TurkishDreams where me and 3 of my friends post daily photo challenges among other Turkey related things! (: 

The day that Fethiye flooded…

On Thursday I had one of the most bizarre experiences I’ve had in all the years I’ve lived in or visited Turkey – we got caught up in a flood in the centre of Fethiye.

The morning started off grey, wet and gloomy. It was one of those ‘lets stay inside with a hot chocolate and all the lights on’ kind of days – but we had errands to run in preparation for our visit to the village (where I currently am writing this) so we had no choice but to brave the rain and go out. Just as we stepped out of the front door, it really started to rain heavily. Luckily we only had to cross the road to catch the Dolmus into Fethiye, and I remember we were both weaving in and out of the pathway to avoid stepping in puddles, which is ironic considering what we were about to experience!
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As the Dolmus reached Fethiye, we realised we may have made a big mistake. The Migros turn off on the main road was flooded, there were cars broken down and the road resembled a giant swimming pool. The dolmus got through and carried on to the last bus stop, next to the mosque on the hill in the town centre…the rain kept falling, along with giant hail stones, and there was a man in the corner shop shouting ‘umbrellas – 10tl’ so we grabbed one. Something tells me he probably sold his entire umbrella stock that day!

We walked down the hill and realised it was flooded, cars were still going past and the water was only an inch deep, just covering our shoes. We carried on walking, as we were attempting to reach Is Bankasi, but the water was rising as we walked, it was pouring out of the school yard, coming up out of the drains and still falling from the sky. By the time we made it to the bank, it was closed for lunch, so Berkay had the idea of going to his friend’s hotel in the Dispanser area of Fethiye – Vizon hotel. This was the worst idea he’s had in a long time. We walked to the hotel, but the water was ever-rising, what started out as an inch deep ended up being knee-deep! We arrived at the hotel where they were struggling to keep the water from gushing through under the doors. We went in, sat down on the floor in our soaking wet clothes and watched as Fethiye town centre became a giant swimming pool right before our eyes. It just keep rising, and rising. The water got so high they could no longer stop it from pouring in under the doors, and after stuffing it with bags, newspaper, towels and attempting to push the water out with a broom, the hotel staff gave up and sat down resigned to the fact that the lobby would inevitably end up very wet. People were driving past in cars, even though it’s a pedestrianized area, which caused little waves to form in the water pushing it inside buildings even further. There was an inch of water covering the majority of the hotel lobby and we were all sat on tables, but they got off pretty lightly compared to  the shop across the road (Citlembik, for those of you who know Fethiye) which had an awful lot of water inside.
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It was so bizarre to witness, there were news agencies in cars driving past taking photographs, people carrying each other and street dogs, people cycling through the 2ft of water and even council men in wellies and wetsuits driving past in vans helping stranded people get to dry ground! The water rose to the height of the benches and up to the rim of the plant pots which are pretty high. People were standing on them to keep dry.
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We were ‘stuck’ in the hotel for over an hour, we couldn’t open the door to get out because that would mean more water pouring in. Eventually, we had no choice as we had to get to the bank, so we braved it and stepped outside, it was pretty dangerous as we couldn’t see the kerbs or steps. The water was murky and dirty, bits of rubbish were floating past, bins, cigarette packets, bricks, even bits of carpets and mats… The weirdest part was the fact that a 30 second walk up the road was clear, with just a few puddles left behind. The rain had stopped and although the drains were still blocked in certain places, others were fine like nothing had happened. We had most definitely been in the wrong place at the wrong time, although it was an experience to say the least. I was documenting it on my Facebook blog page and the videos and photos I posted have been shared by hundreds and viewed over 80,000 times. Click HERE to see one of the videos.
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The next day, we went back to Fethiye to get supplies for our journey to Denizli, and you’d never have known the events of the previous day. The sky was blue and the sun was out, there were no puddles, all the shops and businesses were open again and although there was probably water damage in some of them, everything looked ‘normal’ like nothing had happened.

Just another day in paradise!

Yuvarlakçay, swings & Fethiye at twilight…

Two weeks ago we rented a car for the 5th time this summer and went on another little adventure! (We have actually rented a car again since, I’m very behind with my posts!)

I’d seen a lot of people posting photos from a lovely looking place called ‘Yesil Vadi restaurant‘ in Yuvarlakçay near Köyceğiz. It has thousands of ‘likes’ on Facebook so I was interested to see what the fuss was about!  One thing that I was particularly looking forward to was the swing over the water that I’d seen people posing on.

We headed off and were driving for what seemed like forever. It took around 1.5 hours to get there, and the last stretch of the journey was the worst, going through winding, bumpy dirt track roads into a forest area. Eventually we came to a few sign posts directing us to different restaurants,  the way the restaurants were all signposted, copying each others names and design and no real evidence as to which was the ‘original’ reminded me of the Yakapark area near Saklikent, with all the restaurants in close proximity and some being better than others… We followed the signpost and entry sign into ‘Yesil Vadi Yuvarlakçay restaurant’ and sat down at a table near the water – it looked pretty, but I wasn’t too impressed. The swing looked nothing like ones I’d seen people having fun on in photos. We asked for a menu and intended to eat lunch there, but after discussing the food with the staff, decided to go elsewhere. We got back in the car and drove to another signposted restaurant just a couple of minute’s drive away. Again we sat down at a table next to the water and asked for the menu, we were unimpressed and found it expensive so we got up and walked back to the car again. By this point we were bored of driving around wasting time and were very hungry, so we stopped at one final restaurant and stuck with it. I didn’t even look at the name as we were getting so stressed and bothered! Undoubtedly though, this was the best restaurant we had been to out of the 3 we visited in that short space of time. We chose a space, one of those traditional Turkish type seating areas where you remove your shoes, sit on a floor cushion and eat from a low table – I love eating this way even if it does give me pins and needles more often than not! We had a nice view and it was so relaxing listening to and watching the flow of water whilst sitting under the refreshing shade of the trees that surrounded us.
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We ordered some lunch, Berkay had köfte (meatballs) and I had chicken saute – although it was unlike any other chicken saute I’d had before, but it was nice regardless. While we were eating I noticed some people having a lot of fun on a swing on the other side of the water and this got me very excited, this is what I’d been wanting to try all along!
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After sitting for a while and watching, we crossed a bridge to the other side of the river and stood staring at the swing, trying to pluck up the courage to have a go. It looked terrifying, the swing was literally an old branch tied with roop and hooked over a strong tree branch above. As you swing, you soar a few meters above the freezing cold flowing river below. I was scared of falling in or that it wouldn’t hold my weight, so I made Berkay go first to test it. He sat down, walked backwards and swung out with a massive smile on his face. It looked so much fun, so I decided it was safe to give it a go myself and I absolutely loved it, even though I did let off a little scream the first time! I love swings anyway, I’m a big kid, I find it so relaxing, so swinging over this water surrounded by all the beautiful trees was amazing and great fun.
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As we were heading back to the car we noticed another part of the restaurant, there was a large area of water away from the flow of the river, it was more like a pool, again totally surrounded by large beautiful trees. We noticed a family were playing on another swing, this time it looked stronger and ‘safer’,  with a wider piece of wood to sit on. We stood watching for a while then the family went back to sit down and freed the swing up for us to use. I made Berkay go first again, and he made it look so much fun I thought I’d have another go too. The first few swings went well… until I tried to stop it. My foot slipped down the muddy bank and although my bum was half off the swing, I was still clinging onto the sides for dear life, obviously the swing didn’t stop so it swung out over the water again and I fell off.  I could hear the family watching gasping before it happened, I think they were quite concerned… then it turned to giggles and laughter as I actually fell into the freezing water, Berkay was standing on the side in fits of giggles, all he thought to do was take photos of me! Thankfully I saw the funny side and luckily I had taken all my valuables out of my pockets, so I was also in fits of giggles, even though it was highly embarrassing. I got out and tried to walk away pretending like nothing had happened, although my soaking wet denim shorts dripping all the way back to the car proved otherwise…
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We decided we’d had enough excitement for a while, and drove back towards Fethiye. We went to Hisaronu, as I’d heard via Facebook that one of the hotel’s with a waterpark attached was advertising free entry for the rest of the season, so we thought it’d be rude not to take advantage! We went to this waterpark back in June and had a great time, although it was very busy. This time it wasn’t busy at all and it seemed a lot different than before, there were no lifeguards and no staff supervising the slides which made me a little nervous, people tend to act like loons on unsupervised waterslides! Thankfully it wasn’t busy so there weren’t many nutters… apart from Berkay perhaps. This photo is of him WALKING down a waterslide because he got stuck, he literally had to walk from top to bottom, THREE times! I found it absoultely hilarious, while I had no issue sliding down on my bum at a good speed, there he was just taking a casual walk down it. Brilliant. We only stayed for an hour, but we had a good time, we’re thankful that some places do deals like this every so often as it means we get to go to places we wouldn’t usually because of how much they cost.
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It was around 4pm at this point and we wanted to go for a BBQ so we went home to get our picnic things and also stopped by the hotel to pick up Boncuk! She hates being in cars, so it was quite an experience for her. She wouldn’t get in at first, she sat down outside the door and wouldn’t come inside, when she eventually did she kept trying to climb on my lap! I tried to explain to her that dogs are supposed to like sitting in cars with their heads out of the window and ears flapping in the wind, so she settled for having her two front paws on my knees and her head sticking out of the window (don’t worry, I had her lead her and was holding on tightly)… how worried does her little face look? Bless her!
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We arrived at Aksazlar bay, parked the car and unpacked. Boncuk had never been on a BBQ picnic with us before so she was very confused! We hooked her lead under the foot of the bench so that she’d be safe. Normal dogs would sniff the ground, maybe lay down and have a sleep or dig a hole in the dirt right? Not Boncuk, nope, she climbed up onto the bench seat and would not get down. She wondered what on earth was going on and sat on the bench watching everything we were doing, wondering what smelt so good! I can’t believe how good she was, I thought she’d be barking and jumping around all over the place, but she was a very well behaved doggy, so she got some of our leftovers and chicken bones. We had chicken wings and our favourite aubergine salad, which I’ve previously written a recipe post for. Click HERE for that.
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By the time we had finished it was starting to get dark, we packed up the car and decided to take the long way back to Fethiye by driving along the road along the cliff edge, going past Letoonia and overlooking the many bays below. Driving high up and so close to the cliff edge was terrifying, especially as it got darker as there are no street lights, but it offered brilliant views across to Fethiye and out to sea. We just missed the sunset but caught the sky at twilight, which looked stunning.
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We’re so lucky that we’ve been able to rent a car so often this year, we borrow it from our friend and get a great deal, we pay 50tl a day and it runs on LPG rather than diesel or petrol so it’s very cheap to run. I love being able to explore a little and take photos of beautiful places – I took over 500 photos on this day alone!

A change in weather?

 As soon as the calendar page turned to 1st September, it was like the weather just changed overnight.
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The last week of August was the hottest of the year here, reaching 42oc in the shade during the day, and around 28 oc during the night. I was going to bed with an ice pack or hugging frozen bottles of water to cool down (I’m serious, the joys of having no air-conditioning). Then the 1st of September came and the weather changed quite dramatically, with temperatures dropping around 10 oc suddenly! Of course there were still very hot days, and daytime temperatures still averaged around 33 oc and 24oc at night, but those of us living here could definitely feel the change.

As the 2nd half of September came rolling in, so did the clouds, and the thunder! I was walking home along the beach one day and greeted with the following view – it was so dark. There was an almighty crack of thunder and people walking past me jumped about a foot in the air, it was very loud! I only felt 2 spots of rain, but boy did those 2 drops feel good!
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Since then it’s been cloudy a lot, threatening to rain, but nothing really happened until Friday evening when the first real thunderstorm since the beginning of June arrived! I was sat in my house around 2 am on Saturday morning and saw flashes of lightening out of the corner of my eye. I went and sat on the balcony to investigate and the sky was lit up every few seconds from all directions, it was very pretty. I tried to capture it on camera, but failed! Oddly, there was very little thunder, but a lot of lightening and wind… After sitting on the balcony for 20 minutes I felt rain. A few spots, then a lot of spots, then it started pounding down on my head, I can’t tell you how good it felt! No rain for 4 months makes you go a little crazy, I felt like staying outside and dancing in it!

On Saturday, we had planned to go for a BBQ with two English guests staying in the hotel Berkay works in. It came to 3 pm and the skies were grey and cloudy and it was very cool. We decided to drive to Kayakoy and go to a restaurant there instead, Cin Bal. If you live in Fethiye, you’ve probably heard of it, it’s very popular. They sell meat by the kilogram, and have whole sheep and cows hanging up like a butchers shop! They cook the meat for you on their BBQ or bring one to your table to you can BBQ it yourself, it’s a cute idea! When we were on our way it started to rain, the windows on the car were steaming up so we opened them a little and it felt cold. It was the first time I’d felt cold, fresh air for months, it was amazing! When we got to the restaurant around 3.45pm it really started raining, we sat outside under a shelter but could see, and hear the rain coming down, our poor friends could be forgiven for thinking they were back in England! We had a lovely meal and a chat, and over 2 hours later, the rain was still pouring down. We got back in the car and headed to Fethiye and I was freezing. The drive was beautiful, somehow Fethiye manages to look just as charming, or even more so, in the rain. We drove down the hillside and the view over the whole of Fethiye was breathtaking, the clouds were low over the mountains and it made a lovely photo, unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to take one, I wish I had! It was so cloudy, so dark and all the car and shops lights lit up reminded me of Christmas!
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We got home and I went for a shower. Part of the joy of living in Turkey is interesting shower experiences! I think every single house has solar panels on the roof which heat the water, great in summer when there are clear blue skies and bright sunshine, but in winter, when it’s cloudy all day, these solar panels are useless and we have no hot water. Some people have an electric shower (we do, but it is not safe to use due to dodgy wiring) or boilers, but a lot of people don’t. In order to have a hot shower, I had to first heat up some water in the saucepan and take this into the shower and wash with a jug! I actually don’t mind this at all, it makes it so much more satisfying in a weird way, especially when washing your hair! It makes me feel all cosy and homey aftewards, I think that’s because when I lived here for two previous winters, we had no electric shower again and this was a normal, everyday thing. In England you might have a hot bath to warm up and relax on a cold day, here, for me, it’s a hot water in a saucepan and jug thing! After the ‘shower’ I was freezing, I even put my warm, fluffy, dalmatian pajama bottoms on. This is my, ‘yay it’s cold enough to wear my fluffy pajamas’ face (:
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It’s not all bad, today was sunny with only a few clouds and temperatures were around 25oc. Good enough to sunbathe, and although the pools are cooler now, the sea is still quite warm and pleasant to swim in. The cloudy skies and cooler temperatures make daily life and chores so much more pleasant, it’s lovely being able to walk out of the front door without breaking into a sweat! Berkay even asked me to iron his long sleeved shirts for work! That’s one bad thing about the weather, when I packed my case to come here, I seem to have neglected the fact I’d be here for some of the cooler weather and forgot to bring any warm clothes!! Short sleeved tops and denim shorts or dresses are all I seem to have in my wardrobe… Ooops.

Autumn and winter also mean beautiful sunsets, remember me saying on previous sunset posts (click HERE for one) that in winter the sun goes down next to the island in the middle of the sea, rather than behind the mountains on the right hand side? Well it’s nearly there! I took this beautiful photo this evening, with the sun setting just behind the island. Just gorgeous.
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Ölüdeniz from above!

Two weeks ago we decided to go for a long walk up part of the mountain overlooking Ölüdeniz . The path we took forms part of the ‘Lycian Way’ – a 540km long walking trail between Ölüdeniz and Antalya.

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We got on the dolmus near the otogar in Fethiye, and what an experience that was. I’d never seen a dolmus so full! 3 drove past us completely full to the brim before we managed to squeeze (literally) onto the next one. It was a horrible journey – far too many people which made me feel quite claustrophobic, I’m so glad the Calis-Fethiye dolmus’ are rarely like that! We got off the bus on the road down to Ölüdeniz near Montana Pine resort and crossed the road.

This was the part of the walk that I struggled with most and this wasn’t even part of the trail! It was fairly steep uphill and not shady at all which made it quite difficult. I’d hate to be staying there, although Berkay used to work there (I swear there’s not many places he hasn’t worked…) and says they have a free shuttle bus, presumably for that reason! We reached Montana Pine resort hotel around 5-10 minutes later and saw the archway signifying the start of the ‘Lycian Way’.

We followed the road and had our first glimpse of the sea through the beautiful pine trees that cover the area. After a while the road split into two, one which headed down to another hotel, and one which was a more narrow road leading through the trees along the mountain side. It became more shady here which was a real bonus, and being quite high up from ground level meant temperatures were very slightly cooler too.
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Every so often we’d get another glimpse of the sea and beach through the trees and realise how high up we were going, the further we walked, the further around the mountain we got and we were able to see more of the lagoon which looked beautiful. I kept stopping to take photos because everytime there was a break in the trees, we got an even better view! We stopped after around 15 minutes of walking and sat down to eat some of the watermelon we’d carried along with us (don’t ask!) It was actually really refreshing and juicy, just what we needed. Apparently we weren’t the only watermelon fans as lots of bees/wasps decided to come and join us for some as well. Ugh. I have a somewhat irrational fear of wasps/bees, I’ve never once been bitten but cannot cope with having one within a meter of me without wanting to cry! Needless to say, I didn’t sit down enjoying the watermelon for long and ended up standing flapping around instead, much to Berkay’s annoyance!
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We walked a little further and stepped off the main path towards an area on the right-hand side which had a few little sheep shacks made out of sticks.
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We couldn’t see the beach at this point, so we climbed a few rocks and down the other side where this view greeted us. Wow
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I think this may be the look-out point that is quite well known, but I could be wrong. We were standing on the mountain edge, surrounded by trees and rocks, one that seemed to have formed a bench – a perfect place to sit and admire the view. It was obviously a popular place to stop as there was litter around, cigarette packets, bottles, crisp packets – quite sad really. We had the entire place to ourselves and didn’t see anyone for miles, just us, bees, birds and butterflies. Lovely.
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We had a breathtaking view of the lagoon from this angle too. The boats looked so beautiful on the other side and the mountains behind the lagoon made for an even more beautiful backdrop. I just couldn’t stop taking photos! It’s amazing how blue the sea really looks here, the colour of these photos isn’t altered in any way, the sea really is that colour.
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To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Ölüdeniz , I have always thought it looks absolutely beautiful from above when I see people’s paragliding photos, but when you’re standing down on the ground, it’s not that special and I always felt a bit disappointed, so it was great to see it from above for myself for the first time. Very impressive.

I would have loved to have carried on walking a bit further up the mountain to get even better views, but we had limited time and Berkay had come off a night shift and was very tired, so after admiring the view from this point for a while, we headed back on the path down towards Montana Pine again. It was a much easier walk downhill, although it wasn’t particularly hard going up either, and it only took around 25 minutes to get back to the main road where we hopped on the dolmus (an empty one this time, thank goodness) and headed back to Fethiye.

It was a lovely walk and I really recommend it for the photo opportunities. You can go as high as you wish, but be mindful that the walk does get a lot harder the further up you go, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend it in the height of summer. Now would be a perfect time to go as the days are getting a little cooler. I wouldn’t advise going after 4pm at the moment as once the sun goes down around 6.45pm it gets dark very quickly and there are no lights whatsoever along the path we took. If you’re in the area and feel like doing something different, definitely check it out. You most definitely will not be disappointed by the views!

I’m so glad we went. We’re always looking for things to do that are free, or cheap, and this only cost us the bus fare so it was perfect. Sometimes you just can’t beat a nice walk with amazing views like this, it’s so easy to take our surroundings for granted but when you see them from a whole new angle it’s a real eye-opener and a great reminder of how beautiful Turkey really is.
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A morning at Ölüdeniz Waterworld Aquapark!

Today I spent the morning at Ölüdeniz Waterworld Aquapark.

I’ve been wanting to go since it opened in June but it was proving impossible to convince Berkay to come with me as it’s quite expensive. My friend messaged me yesterday and asked if I wanted to go along with her as part of a large group since her husband couldn’t make it, so I took his place. It was a large group of mummies & babies/kids from the Fethiye area, so they had got a good deal on entry tickets.

The actual waterpark is located in Ovacik. We got there early and were allowed in before anyone else even arrived which meant it was compTletely empty. Lovely!  After a while other people who were part of the group arrived and it got busy really quickly. I was surprised at how many British women with Turkish partners and children there are in the area! I recognised a couple of faces from Facebook groups, and it was so surreal having a few people come up to me and say ‘Hi Danni, I feel like I know you – I read your blog!’ – It always surprises me when I meet people who read it, people are usually shocked by how quiet and shy I am in person compared to my ramblings on my blog and Facebook. It’s also a reminder that everything I write on my blog is public knowledge and that real people read it – not just online profiles. It’s lovely meeting them, even if I was totally out of my comfort zone and having to overcome my shyness.

I spent the morning playing with my friends children, having water fights (which I definitely lost!) and playing catch with giant yoga-type balls, all great fun. Someone commented “the little ones seem to be drawn to you” and that it must be helped by my experience with my little sister. I love young children and have always wanted to work with them, that would be my dream job I think!
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The children’s area was really impressive and there were lots of small slides and things for them to do. I didn’t take any photos once it got busy because I didn’t want to put photos of people’s children on here without permission, but it looked really good with all the water fountains in the pool turned on. There was a shaded area with toys, lego, colouring etc too which I thought was a brilliant idea. There were staff around the pool area making sure things were kept safe too.

After a while the big slides were turned on and I went off to have a go on those – they were great fun, I wish I’d taken my underwater camera to take photos and videos. The view at the top of the steps was pretty impressive too! 
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At 12.30 the big slides were turned off and the lazy river was opened, apparently it only stays open for an hour a day but I don’t know how true that is. There was quite a big queue and we had to wait a while for a rubber ring to go around in, but once we got in it was nice and relaxing, although entering and exiting the rubber ring was impossible to do elegantly! The only thing I’d say about the lazy river is how the bottom of the floor looked, all the paint had flaked off and the walls felt a bit slimy – I guess this will be fixed for the start of next season though, the park is new so teething problems are to be expected.
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We were only able to stay until lunchtime so we missed the wave pool, but that sounds like fun too.  The whole park was well designed,  it looks beautiful with the mountains as a backdrop and is a great day out. The toilets are well kept, there are lockers available to keep belongings in and the food and drink prices weren’t overly expensive.

Overall it was a good morning out and from what I saw of it, it’s a well looked after, fun day out for children (and big kids like me!). I recommend it. I probably won’t go back again because the full price is too much to justify when we live off a Turkish wage, but when you convert it to pounds it’s around £12-13 each adult, around £9 for 6-12 year olds and free for 0-5’s, a good deal for the amount of things to do I think.

So grateful to my friend for inviting me along, I had a lot of fun, even if I did get quite sun burnt! Ooops!
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Fethiye’s best chicken döner kebab?..

We don’t often eat out in restaurants here in Calis/Fethiye, it’s nice every once in a while to splash out and go out for dinner but it’s expensive when you’re on a tight budget. We do however, go to small Turkish cafe’s regularly – usually once a week.

You can’t beat the small cafe’s in Fethiye for their Turkish food, whether it be beans and rice, green beans, pide, köfte, chicken saute or our good old favourite – chicken döner. It’s all so cheap, in fact I think a lot of it is cheaper than actually buying the ingredients and cooking it yourself at home.

Our favourite place to go for a good chicken döner kebab is Dönercim. It’s located in Fethiye on the corner of the main town centre road behind Mercan Pastanesi and Cem Optik.
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A Turkish döner kebab is nothing like the ones you’ve come across in the UK. They’re not greasy, mixed meats all slung together into a brown pile served in a pitta bread with chili sauce and greasy chips… When we were in a kebab shop in Essex, Berkay asked the owners (they were Turkish too) what the meat was in their version of a ‘doner kebab’ and was shocked at their answer – it was a mixture of everything and made up of several meats including pork, something Turkish people do not normally eat.

The döner kebabs here are different. There’s no such thing as ‘doner meat’ – it’s either seasoned chicken, beef or lamb. The name relates to the way the meat is cooked slowly on a vertical rotisserie. As the outside layers of meat get cooked, they are carved off and served. There are various ways the meat is served – e.g, over rice with salad, in a wrap (dürüm) or in a half-bread like a sandwich (yarım ekmek).

We usually get the half-bread, the  perfectly cooked chicken is shaved off and put inside along with onion, tomato and lettuce. It’s always served with a side of pickled hot chili peppers too – I love them, although they took a bit of getting used to, once I managed to control the mouth burning sensation I grew to love them. (;
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It’s not a very ‘Turkish’ thing to do, but we always order a side of chips, pour some salt and vinegar on them and stick them inside the half-bread too – trust me, it’s perfect!

We love this cafe so much, the staff know us. They see us walking down the road towards it, Berkay gestures to let them know we’re coming in, they know our order (including drinks) off by heart and have it ready and waiting by the time we’ve sat down at the table. That’s how you know you visit a place a little too often, isn’t it? The first few times we went they had to ask if we wanted ketchup and mayonnaise in the half bread (ewww no), what drink we wanted and always gave us weird looks when we asked for the vinegar (apparently vinegar on chips isn’t a normal thing to do here), but now they don’t even have to ask and the bottle of vinegar is always bought out to the table without thinking twice. They are so friendly and I really recommend the place. Our bill usually comes to around 12.5 lira. 3.5tl for one half-bread with ayran, 5tl for one half-bread with a cola light, and 4tl for the side portion of chips. Bargain.

This cafe doesn’t just sell döner kebabs of course, it has other Turkish meals – various kebabs, chicken saute, fish, liver, meatballs etc and it also caters for those wanting something more ‘British’ although I’ve never tried any of these meals, so I can’t comment. The prices are clearly displayed outside so there’s no ‘double price’ system for local people v tourists, something that is an issue in a lot of places.
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If you’re in Fethiye give it a try – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, and for the prices you really can’t go wrong. There’s a good chance you’ll bump into us there too! 😉

Disclaimer – I’m not being paid to advertise, the owners have no idea I’m writing this post.

Fethiye – sometimes it’s the simple things!

There are so many things to see in the Fethiye area, the whole area is so diverse and it’s easy to overlook the small things. My favourite place of all is Fethiye town centre, there’s no doubt about it. It’s busy all year around and it doesn’t become a ghost town when the summer season is over and the tourists have gone home, life continues as normal and businesses stay open.

There is so much to see and sometimes even just taking a walk the long way around while doing daily errands can provide you with beautiful sights and surroundings.

On Friday we needed to pop into town to go to the bank, change some money and pay some bills. We waited til the late afternoon, the bank was empty and we were in and out so quickly we had some time to spare. We took the back road to the exchange office and walked under the much photographed multicoloured umbrellas. I love this idea. Fethiye is a beautiful area, and you could easily get carried away taking photos of the amazing views, who would have thought a few coloured umbrellas tied to some string would be so popular? They look amazing, and it certainly brightened up our trip to the bank to pay bills!
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There are also lovely water features and topiary around the town. One display being opposite the exchange office we use. It’s an old boat with fake sand, stepping stones and sea creatures made from bushes – it’s pretty, well kept and makes for an interesting photo.
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In quite a contrast to the rest of this area of town, there is an ancient Lycian Sarcophagus just behind the marina area, next to the Nufus office/town hall. It looks like it doesn’t belong there, it’s very random. I’ve seen old photos of Fethiye from hundreds of years ago (1800’s!) and the sarcophagus can be seen surrounded by water, now obviously it is inland due to development – it’s interesting how things have changed and built around it while it just sits untouched. (Link to the old photo HEREIMG_7595 IMG_7596
We took the long route back to the bus station via the ‘new’ town square, which has actually been completed for nearly 2 years now! The most interesting and quirky parts of this area are the wonky buildings next to the main concrete square. They’ve been wonky for as long as I can remember, and after various earth tremors have become worse. The rows of houses on the other side of the road behind these are also slanted, they lean backwards. Apparently they have become more slanted in recent years after work to improve the pavements in the town took place – but I don’t know for sure about that. I can’t imagine they’re very safe to live in, I don’t think they’d meet the minimum safety requirements required for earthquake insurance etc..!IMG_7598 IMG_7599
Aside from the wonky buildings, the park hosts a statue of Atarturk, (there are several of these in Fethiye and at least one in every town in the country) water fountains, flowers and pretty wooden benches. The fountains don’t seem to run on any kind of schedule, sometimes they’re on, sometimes they’re not, and sometimes it looks nicer than others, but it seems to be well-kept during the season and it is a lovely place to wander around and kill some time. There’s a playground for children which is often busy with passing tourists and locals, and yet more impressive topiary along the pathways. I love to watch the fountains here at night, they are all lit up and look beautiful. I’ve written a post about it previously – click HERE.
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I love just walking through Fethiye, it has a real working town atmosphere. I love how there are elements of the old town mixed in amongst the new, modern, fit-for-tourism town – like the ancient sarcophagus sat surrounded by hotels and restaurants and the modest fishing boats sat in the harbour amongst the bigger daily tour boats which take hundreds of tourists out sunbathing and swimming around the islands everyday.
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I think that’s what I love about Fethiye the most, it can be as quiet or as loud as you want – it’s so diverse with so many things to see, but sometimes it’s just the simple things that make your walk to pay the bills that little bit more fun, that are the best.

 

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. ❤