AUGUST PHOTO SERIES – DAY 5 – KALKAN


Kalkan is a beautiful former fishing town about 1-1.5 hours drive from Fethiye. Its inhabitants were mainly Greek until the 1920’s. It is now a popular tourist resort but the focus is still very much the stunning harbour and sea views, with hundreds of roof top restaurants providing the perfect dinner spot. It is very hilly, with steep slopes and cobbled streets and the lovingly known ‘cardiac hill’ – we have walked it a few times, its easy to see where it gets its name! There is a small beach and the lighthouse and breakwater give great views around the bay and back over the town itself. I haven’t visited for a few years but it was always much more classy than other resorts, we all know how much I love Fethiye and Calis, but Kalkan is just a little more upmarket, but the restaurant menu prices definitely reflect that. There aren’t many hotels, most of the accommodation in the area is in the form of apartments and villas, some of which are high up and have beautiful infinity pools looking over the bay. Boutique stores and lots of bougainvillea line the old town centre… It’s also quite popular with celebrities!

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. ❤

Saklikent gorge

Sometimes when abroad, it’s nice to stray away from the beach and pool for a few hours and see some of the natural beauty of the country you’re visiting.

If you’re in the Fethiye or Kalkan/Patara area, a visit to Sakilikent gorge is the perfect opportunity to do just that.
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The gorge is about an hour from Fethiye, easily accessible by car or by one of the many tourist buses/jeep safari’s that go there.  We’ve been twice and loved it, although it can be a little scary..the first time  we went with my mum, who didn’t enjoy the experience in the slightest.

The gorge is 300m deep and 18km long,  one of the deepest in the world, but only 4km of it is walkable. You can only enter it in the summer, between April and October, as in the winter, all the snow from the mountains means the flow of water is too strong, too deep and too dangerous.

When you first arrive, you have to pay an entrance fee, last year it was around 5tl, but it can change each year. Before you enter, make sure anything you have is secure and made waterproof… cameras, phones, cigarettes, keys.. whatever you have in your pockets will get wet. It’s also wise to bring a paif of sea shoes with you, or you can hire some jelly shoes from a stall opposite the entrance, DO NOT wear flip flops or shoes that fall off, because they can and they will. The amount of solitary shoes we saw flowing down the gorge was amusing…
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A solitary flip flip belonging to someone very unfortunate..

Once you’ve paid the fee and have entered, you’re greeted with a very old, unsturdy looking bridge, complete with missing pieces and dodgy nails, high up over deep, fast flowing water…crossing this bridge is the easiest part!
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The old bridge suspended above the water is the only way to enter the gorge.

Once you’ve crossed that, you get a seating area, benches, trees, a small cafe and very pretty looking rocks with the water flowing over them. The sound of the water is impressive! A lot of people only enter the gorge to sit here, because it is so beautiful and cool. The water is freezing, the spray it creates is cooling and the trees provide a lot of shade, its a welcome relief to the 40+ degree temperatures outside!
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If you are feeling adventurous, you can carefully make your way down the rocks to the main section of the gorge, but in order to get to the the other side and start the 4km walk, you have to cross the main fast flowing section of water. This is the difficult part, and it’s terrifying! The water  is often waist height, and is so fast and so powerful. It’s also freezing… literally if it was any colder it would be ice. There is a rope attached to the rocks either side which you cling on to in order to cross, but its still difficult, definitely not recommended for older people or children, although I have seen some who managed to cross, I’ve also heard horror stories from people who haven’t been so lucky..
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Us clinging on for dear life to cross the river.

Once you’ve managed to get across, hopefully without loosing a shoe, camera or your pants in the process, it becomes a more pleasant experience…temporarily. The water the other side varies in depth, but for the first km or so, it’s only ankle deep. The water is cloudy and the bed is slippery and covered in obstacles like rocks, hidden by the cloudy water. It’s advised to stay a foot behind someone in front of you, if they trip over or fall down a hole, you know to avoid that part 😉 There really is no other way of knowing..
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The gorge is beautiful and impressive. In some areas there are rocks suspended above your head only by another rock..  If this gorge was in England you’d have to wear hard safety hats, straps and goodness knows what else. At the end of the 4km apparently there is a waterfall, although we’ve never made it that far, as the further in you get, the more difficult it is. There are big boulders to climb and manovue around, big dips down, steep steps up and fast flowing water knocking you off your feet. I dont know anyone who has managed to come away without at least one bruise! It really is much more fun than I’m making it sound though, the natural beauty of it all is amazing. If you have a waterproof camera, definitely take it, there are some fabulous photo’s to be taken!
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Once you’ve had enough and have turned around and made the long walk back to the entrance, you step back outside and the heat hits you again, suddenly the freezing cold water doesn’t seem so bad! You can talk a slow stoll around the shops, market stalls, icecream stands etc around the riverside. On one side there is a lovely cafe/restaurant which has wooden platforms suspended over the river where you can sit and relax with an Efes or  icecream to recover. There are hammocks to sit in, and pillows to sit back on. The cafe we went to had a great open buffet with trout fish or chicken and endless amounts of traditional Turkish food to chose from. Delicious and very relaxing!
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It’s a very different and fun, if sometimes slightly painful, day out! 🙂