Looking out over Ölüdeniz…

 
Back in June we made the most of having the rental car by driving around and visiting various places. One of them being the look out point at the start of the Lycian Way, over looking Ölüdeniz.

We drove a little way up the mountain road, parked up and walked for about 5 minutes to the look out point, passing an old abandoned tent on the way! It involves climbing up a few rocks and it’s steep and bumpy under your feet so you need to wear decent shoes, not flip flops! We went on a particularly hot day and thanks to my Fit-bit, I could see my heart rate rising a lot, it was quite hard work in the heat!

When you climb down the other side of the rocks, you’re greeted with this beautiful view…
 
I’ve never really been a fan of Ölüdeniz, controversial I know! At ground level, I don’t think its that impressive, but from above it’s really stunning. Because it was so hot the day we went, it was very hazy so my photos aren’t the clearest, and they were only taken on my phone, but I have taken higher quality, better ones on my camera before and posted them HERE a few years ago if you want to take a look. Photos don’t really do it justice though!

The view of the lagoon is lovely, and the sea to the left hand side is an impressive shade of blue. You can hear people playing in the swimming pools at the various hotels at the foot of the mountain, watch the boats sailing, or people walking along the beach. I love the mountains in the distance too, just a shame it was hazy.
 
Of course, as with most patches of natural beauty, human interference has had an impact. While trying to enjoy the view, we couldn’t not notice the amount of rubbish in the area – carrier bags, beer bottles, cigarette packets, food packets, water bottles, and the charred remains of various fires people had lit for BBQ’s! It really spoiled it, and Berkay decided to do his bit and went around with a couple of empty bags collecting a lot of the rubbish up… It’s sad everyone doesn’t take their own rubbish with them!
 
You can access the road leading up to the look out point by foot or by car, but you have to walk the last little bit. It’s worth the effort for the view, and nice to see Ölüdeniz from a different angle.

AUGUST PHOTO SERIES – DAY 26 – The Turquoise Coast

Of all the beautiful things about Turkey, the sea has to be one of them! It’s so relaxing sitting on a beach, listening to the waves and looking out to the horizon. Of course it has that lovely Turqouise blue colour too. This photo was taken in Oludeniz in April 2011, a few days after my 18 year old self left the UK behind and moved to Turkey, a pretty crazy move at the time! There are lyrics to a song ‘I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean’ – and this photo reminds me of that.

AUGUST PHOTO SERIES – DAY 9 – TURQUOISE OLUDENIZ

img_8523I couldn’t chose between these two photos – so today I’m using both. This is the stunning view from the start of the Lycian Way, a 540km walking trail between Ölüdeniz and Antalya. Quite controversially, I’ve never been a real fan of Ölüdeniz, I have always thought it looks absolutely beautiful from above in people’s paragliding photos, but when you’re standing down on ground level, it’s less impressive, too crowded and I always felt a bit disappointed. These photos though show just how wonderful it really looks from high up in the mountain side. The gorgeous turquoise colour of the sea really stands out, but the boats sailing outside the bay, and the pedalos in the lagoon are also visible, along with a few paragliders if you look carefully! We haven’t been right up to the top of Babadağ mountain yet, but I’m sure that it looks even more stunning from up there on a clear day. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of the resorts make us forget the real beauty we take for granted – but taking a step back (or a few thousand feet up…) makes you appreciate it all a bit more. Nature at it’s finest!

I wrote a blog about the start of the Lycian Way a few years ago, if you want to read more: https://livingtheturkishdream.com/2014/09/23/oludeniz-from-above/
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Cin Bal restaurant, Kayakoy.

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Everybody knows our favourite thing to eat in Turkey is a BBQ. But sometimes after a long day you don’t want to pack up everything, head to a BBQ spot, set it all up and then do the washing up afterwards, which is where this restaurant in Kayakoy, called Cin Bal, comes in.

It’s a lovely restaurant, well known and well sign-posted in Kayakoy village. It’s not your usual restaurant though as there is no menu as such.

You go in, chose your seat, either a standard table with chairs or a traditional köşk (a wooden seating area with lots of cushions and a low table) and then walk into the restaurant and chose your food. As there isn’t a menu the options vary. There are usually lots of cold meze’s to choose from which you can view behind the glass fridges, and then you chose your meat. They have all sorts of meat, including lamb, chicken and beef. You buy the meat by the kg, which means you can easily overeat…We had peppers, onion and tomato, aubergine salad, steak, lamb skewers, chicken wings, meatballs and sucuk between the two us which was way too much, but we still finished all of it! Once you’ve chosen the meat, you either get them to grill it on their BBQ for you, or they bring the ready-lit BBQ to your table, along with some tongs and the plates of meat and you can cook it all yourself.
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A lot of people aren’t keen on the concept – why would you want to cook your own food? Maybe, if you’re on holiday it’s a bit weird, but for locals, weekly family BBQ’s are a great way of socialising and getting together, especially on Sunday’s – this restaurant gets very busy at weekends. I love the whole atmosphere of BBQ’s with everyone sitting around chatting while grilling and enjoying the food as and when it comes fresh off the grill, and Cin Bal definitely has the perfect atmosphere. You can see from my photos the smoke coming from the BBQ’s under the lights and the smell of it all is just amazing!

We’ve never been in the height of summer, so I expect that is a whole different experience, but we have been twice in October when things are a little chillier. It was late evening at the start of October when we went and as Kayakoy is higher up than Fethiye and Calis it does get quite a lot cooler, but luckily they have thought of everything and have blankets and shawls you can use to keep warm if needed! I was sat all snuggled under the blanket while Berkay slaved away cooking… Oops.
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It’s definitely worth a visit whether you chose to have the food cooked for you or like to cook it to perfection yourself. All the great atmosphere and taste of a BBQ without any of the washing up and mess afterwards! Perfect.
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Oludeniz in the winter sun…

Everyone knows that Turkey in summer is beautiful, but not everyone has the experience of visiting in the winter months and appreciating it’s beauty in a slightly different way!

It’s hard to believe that it was almost a year ago that Berkay & I were reunited after his army service. At the end of January 2016 I boarded a plane and went to Fethiye, fully prepared for cold January weather.

Obviously I’d lived there for 3 years and 3 winters so I was fully prepared with jeans, jumpers, jackets and warm things.. however, apart from two very rainy days and some cold nights, the weather was suprisingly warm.
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We went to Oludeniz one day to do some fishing, and it was really warm, around 23oc, definitely unusually warm for that time of year in my experience!

Normally, I don’t like Oludeniz at all. I’ve said this before and usually get shocked reactions, but I think it’s really disappointing. Oludeniz looks absolutely beautiful from above but once you’re on ground level its not as impressive, especially the lagoon. I find the water murky, and the rows and rows of sunbeds packed on to the beach really puts me off. However, on this occasion it really was beautiful. We almost had the beach to ourselves, with just a few other people fishing and a couple of ladies actually in bikinis sunbathing! The sea had its usual stunning turquoise colour and it looked so natural without the many sunbeds occupying the beach.
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I wasn’t really prepared for the beach and had jeans on. If anyone told me I’d be stood on the beach with my feet in the water in January I would have laughed at them, but it was lovely. We went to the furthest left hand side of the beach where Berkay set up his fishing rod while I kept snapping photos of the scenery. Unfortunately, he didn’t catch much – just a puffer fish and a tiny fish!

We took a bottle of coke and some popcorn with us and sat in a little natural opening in the rocks which made for a good seat. It was lovely to sit and watch the waves roll in and enjoy the peace.
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Don’t be fooled by the lovely warm sunshine of this particular day though, winter in this part of Turkey is usually cold. January and February are the coldest months with snow pretty low down the mountains. This year in particular I have seen many people saying how cold it is. Honestly I do not miss those winters, Turkish houses are not made for cold temperatures, with their cold tiled floors, draughty doors and windows, damp rooms and no heating. When we lived there we didn’t even have running hot water in winter because we relied on the solar panels to heat it up – I remember many a cold January day having to warm up water on the gas in a saucepan and taking it into the bathroom with a jug and bucket to have the best ‘shower’ I could – I’m an expert at that now!

People always ask me how Berkay is settling in in the UK and coping with the cold weather, the answer is he is fairly used to it! When he was doing his army service in Kayseri it was -25oc !!!

It’s certainly a difference experience visiting Fethiye in winter but still lovely – it just depends if you have luck on your side and get a clear sunny day, or a wet, rainy, stormy one – but then again, even their storms are impressive with the huge cracks of thunder and lightening flashing like a disco in the sky.

I love the atmosphere in winter with everyone relaxing ahead of the imminent arrival of the summer season and the chaos and hard work that comes with it – what better way to spend a sunny January day than on the beach fishing for dinner!
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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!

The Many stages of the Calis Beach sunset..

There is something so relaxing about sitting on a beach and watching a sunset, and there is no better place to witness the sun going down than on Calis Beach.

During the summer months the sun goes down to the left side of the beach, just behind the mountains in the distance, but it still looks beautiful. In the winter however, the sun sets right on the horizon and with a few clouds as part of the backdrop it looks even more impressive.
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These were photos I took back in February, before the clocks changed and summer approached, when the sun still set on the horizon. We just took a blanket, sat our bums on the beach and admired the view. The best thing about these photos are that I haven’t even edited them at all, these are straight off of my camera, and to be honest even these don’t quite do it justice as it’s even better to witness in person.
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There’s just something so magical about staring at the sunset and watching that last bit of the sun fading, slowly, slowly, until the tiny red glow disappears out of sight into the horizon. It’s quite thought-provoking, witnessing the end of another day and the imminent arrival of another night.

Apparently, really slowing down your day and stopping what you’re doing to watch the sunset and appreciate the sky can increase your happiness and improve your emotional well-being. It’s something to do with the realisation that the day is over, we can put our worries aside and rest a little, ready for whatever the next day brings, and of course in the summer the going down of the sun also means we can really enjoy the sudden drop in temperature too.
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With all the seaside cafes, bars and restaurants along the Calis promenade, you really have no excuse not to sit down with a nice drink and wait for the sun go down, just stop for a few minutes and appreciate the surroundings, bask in the warm orange-red glow and enjoy the hope that tomorrow brings.

Turkey Day 2 – Paragliders, Emu’s and flowers..

Even though I’ve flown to Turkey and back again since then, I’m so far behind with my blog that I have lots of ‘days’ to catch up on!
Back at the end of January I woke up in our apartment on the 2nd day of my visit. After not being with Berkay in person for 9 months, the little things are the important ones. Little things like waking up and cooking breakfast then sitting and eating it together. Our favourite breakfast is sucuk (Turkish spicy sausage) and egg, lovely served with fresh warm crusty bread and orange juice. Yummy.
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After breakfast and a long, lazy morning we headed to Fethiye. Fethiye is our favourite place so whenever we’re thinking ‘I’m bored, what shall we do now?’ we usually end up back there. This time we ended up in Saliha Sultan Pastanesi for some lunch of the sweet kind. Saliha Sultan (Previously Sultan Pastanesi) sells amazing cakes, baklava and other sweet treats.. I had profiteroles with a crazy amount of chocolate sauce, and Berkay had a huge banana cake covered in a chocolate and pistachio shell… photos don’t even do them justice! Of course it was washed down with a glass of cay.
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After walking around Fethiye in an attempt to work off a mere bite of our lunch, we decided to drive to Oludeniz. It was a fairly warm day, but rather cloudy so the sea didn’t look the usual magnificent shade of turquoise.  It was very empty, apart from a bit of building work going on and a few paragliders floating above us. It’s always funny watching out for paragliders coming towards your head, you see the shadow of their parachute on the ground, turn to look up and realise you need to very swiftly move out of the way because its speeding right towards you to land! I giggled at the little reminder on the floor – brilliant.
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We rarely venture into Oludeniz, I can count on one hand the amount of times we’ve been there in the past 6 years, and never to the ‘strip’ or any of the bars or restaurants, only to the beach – it’s not really my cup of tea, it’s somewhere that I think looks lovely from above, but a little disappointing once you’re stood looking at it from ground level. On the way back we took the road through kayakoy, just to enjoy the scenery – even the infamous Emu! SO fluffy and SO cute, in a weird way.
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Just before sundown we went back to Calis and back to our apartment at Sunset Beach club. I love these apartments and we have stayed there several times – they’re very empty out of the summer season and we were some of the only people staying there – most of the pools had no water in them, but the one right outside our balcony door did which made for some lovely photos when the sun reflected off it.
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When I’m visiting Turkey we don’t like to eat out in restaurants, it just feels more personal and more ‘normal’ for us to cook and eat at ‘home’ together. I always say that being in Turkey isn’t really a holiday for me, it just feels like going back home, so we like to do those everyday homely things that everyone else takes for granted. Berkay cooked our dinner this day and it was delicious – love that Turkish rice and homemade ‘real’ chips, yum!
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After dinner we went to visit some of our other Turkish friends – on the way we drove past a flower seller who was asking people if they wanted to buy any. Berkay wasn’t going to stop the car so I jokingly said ‘ohh, don’t you want to buy me any?’ to which he responded by abruptly pulling the car over, jumping out, running over to the seller and coming back to the car with a big bouquet. ‘I was joking, you don’t have to buy things just because I ask, if I said I wanted an elephant would you buy me one?’ I asked – ‘If I could find one’ he said …. Bless him. Such a romantic when he wants to be… even if the days when I’d get cheesy roses are long gone.. (:
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A Drive around the Fethiye Peninsula

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The Fethiye penisula is a beautiful place to drive around, with stunning panoramic views of Fethiye, Çalis, Şövalye Island and the Mediterranean sea. 

While I was over there in April and we had a rental car, we took full advantage and drove around after a BBQ at Aksazlar koyu. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we had Boncuk with us so off we went, windows open, ears flapping and tongues out, cruising along the single, circular road.

We passed Aksazlar koyu and the huge private hillside resort of Letoonia and pulled over the car at one of the many popular look out points. There were a few cars there, people on scooters, mopeds, quadbikes, some had wandered down the cliff slightly and were sat among the trees eating sunflower seeds, while others, like us, just stopped to take in the views and enjoy the tranquility.

You can never quite capture the moment through a camera lens, you have to be there to appreciate just how beautiful the views are – to the right, Babadağ mountain makes a wonderful backdrop to the green trees, red roofed houses and sails of boats in Fethiye harbour, and to the left, views across the water to Calis and it’s beach.
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We got back in the car and carried on driving, but not for long before we had another ‘photo’ stop, if you do drive along here you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say you’ll want to stop every 5 minutes because at every turn you’re greeted with a different, stunning view. Along the way around you come across and go past several little bays, Küçük Samanlık Koyu, Büyük Samanlık Koyu, Boncuklu koyu and Kuleli to name a few – plenty of places to drive to and stop for a drink and a dip in the sea, we often go to these bays with our friends for picnics and the calm, sheltered water makes them ideal for children swimming and paddling.
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We bypassed them all and just drove. As you get further around the hillside, the drive does became a bit..hairy. Narrow road, pot holes, bumps and falling rocks. It’s quite nervy when you’re in the passenger seat and all you can see to the right out of your window is a steep drop down to rocks and the deep, blue sea, I definitely wouldn’t recommend doing the drive at night, we did once, at twilight, and the road isn’t lit at all…eek!

I could just pack up the car with a picnic blanket, food, book, music and sit and look at the views for hours. Calm blue sea, sailing boats, crickets chirping – pure serenity.

You can’t beat the feeling you get when you pull up in the car, get out and stand at the edge overlooking the place we all love, standing next to strangers admiring the same view, and give each other that knowing look – ‘we are so lucky.’ 

 

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! (: