A Boncuk update …

It’s been a long time since I last did an update on Boncuk on my blog, and since it was 5 years ago last week that we found her, I thought now would be the perfect time!

As you know, Boncuk now lives with Berkay’s family on their farm in the village. We went to spend a few days with them in April, and again in September, so I’ve seen her twice this year. Although we don’t get to see her very often, she definitely has not forgotten us and still greets us with an excited waggy tail every time she sees us. The few days we spent with her in April she was very clingy to me and would sit outside the gate waiting for a glimpse of us when we were inside the house. She followed me everywhere when I was walking around the farm, it was so cute. She wouldn’t even let us drive off in the car without trying to jump in.. and one day we gave in and let her come for a little trip up one of the mountains – she laid on my lap, head on my arm, face looking out of the window, ears flapping in the wind. Then when we got out of the car and went for a walk it was just like old times, when we used to take her on lots of walks around Fethiye and Calis. Bless her. Leaving her in April broke my heart, I bawled my eyes out knowing she’d wonder where we’d gone again. I hope she doesn’t think we abandon her over and over again. Someone told me dogs have no sense of time and I hope that’s true, I hate to think of her waiting for us and wondering when we’ll be back.
 
 
In September we went to visit again for a couple of days and she was her usual, cute self. Greeting us with a waggy tail and big smiley face.  I was also really amazed that she still knows the ‘tricks’ we taught her –  ‘sit’, ‘lay’  & ‘paw’! One night I was searching for her for ages, calling her name, trying to find her around the farm, under the cars, in the hay shed, but she was nowhere to be seen. After a while, Berkay found her asleep, curled up in a ball under the sofa on the terrace. So sneaky!

She really is the sweetest dog I’ve ever known. I was worried when we first took her to the village that maybe she’d lose her loving, soft temperament since she’d have less human interaction. Turkish people don’t really look at pets the same way we do, no baby talk to the dogs, minimal fussing and stroking and definitely no cuddles on laps like she used to have with us… they have their own dog who is chained up all day and is very much a guard dog, who wouldn’t think twice about chewing your arm off! Boncuk has kept her loving personality though, she’s still timid and never growls at anyone, all she’d do is lick you to death! She’s a bit of a wimp to be honest! Although she’s not allowed indoors, apparently whenever it’s thunder and lightning she runs in and jumps on the sofa if she spots the front door open!
 
It’s so hard leaving her but I know she’s well looked after in the village. Berkay’s brother loves her and she likes her life there. She loves to roam free around the farm and plays with the lambs and lets the little chicks run all over her. She plays with their other dog and follows Berkay’s step-mum around on her farm duties! Sometimes I feel really bad for her, wondering if she misses the old days, when we’d take her for walks along Calis beach, playing fetch in fields and up on the hills overlooking the sea.. she used to love playing fetch with her ball and now she doesn’t even have any toys… but I hope she doesn’t miss it.
 
People often ask why we don’t bring her to England and I would love to, the money isn’t an issue I would happily pay it, but she wouldn’t like it here. We both work all day 5 days a week, so she’d be on her own in our flat (with no garden) for 9 hours a day and that’s just not nice for her. She’s never been an indoor dog, she only knows life outside, so she’d hate being cooped up indoors alone all day, it wouldn’t be fair on her.

We’re lucky she can stay with Berkay’s family and we can still go and visit her – it certainly makes visiting the village more bearable for me. When I get too stressed or overwhelmed with village life I just take myself off outside, call for Boncuk and sit having a little chat with her.

I can’t believe it was 5 years ago we found her as a teeny tiny puppy!

 

Denizli – The City Centre, the Cable Car & the Cool Cockerel.

Around 1.5-2 hours away from Berkay’s family village Beyagac, is the busy city of Denizli.

Both Beyagac and Denizli City are in the province of Denizli, but Denizli City Centre is the capital of the whole province. The city is very much a working, industrial centre with factories and a lot of textile production. In summer it’s hot, in winter it’s cold, even down to snow, so the climate varies a lot with the seasons!

It has a lot of tourists passing through, but mainly just on their way to Pammukale and Hieropolis, a short distance away from the city centre. The city seems to get more modern every time we visit, with new buildings, shopping centres, and even a cable car being built since our last visit 2.5 year ago.

We were in Denizli  visiting Berkay’s uncle, his wife and their two children. They rent an apartment right in the centre of the city. Berkay doesn’t know his way around, so we met his cousin e-route. While waiting for him, we had some beautiful views across the area, if a little foggy due to weather and pollution! The rest of the family were out, so me, Berkay and his cousin went straight towards the ‘Denizli Telferik’ – the cable car up the side of the mountain with absolutely amazing views. I plan to write about this more in a separate post, because I loved it so much, so I’ll save the further details for then!
  
After coming back down to ground level, we drove to the family home. I really like visiting their home, they’re so welcoming and friendly and after a few days in the village sitting on the floor for every meal, it was nice to see an actual dining room table and chairs again. Berkay’s uncle is a fireman in summer, and goes off to the mountains for days at a time, to wait at look out points and search for first sight of wild fires. In winter, he is a bus driver. His wife is a stay at home mum at the moment, but used to work in local factories making slippers – part of the cities big textile industry. They have a 15 year old son, and a 6 year old daughter, Berkay’s two cousins. It’s funny to me because that’s quite an age gap  and it’s identical to the age gap between my brother and sister, who are the exact same ages. A few years ago, my family came to visit us in Calis, and Berkay’s uncle came from Denizli to spend the day with us – with Berkay’s cousin and my sister the same age, only 1 at the time, we got a cute photo of them sat in a hammock together in Guvens restaurant. 4 years later, in April 2016, they were reunited again at Guven’s restaurant and danced together at our wedding – bless them!

Berkay’s little cousin, Eylul (which means September in Turkish.. guess when her birthday is…), was trying to communicate with me in Turkish, and although I do know some, not enough to hold a conversation. She had a little toy laptop which said the alphabet and words in Turkish and English, so she tried to teach me some using that bless her!
 
We had lunch which Berkay’s aunt had prepared, and just sat relaxing in their home for a few hours. It was nice to eat around a proper dining table whilst sitting on a chair – no pins and needles from sitting cross legged on the floor , although its not without sacrifice – they don’t have a ‘normal’ toilet, only a hole in the floor style, so I tried to limit my wee breaks. I still haven’t entirely mastered the art of the Turkish toilet and have to strip naked on the bottom half of my body to avoid splashes… awkward!

A while after, we walked to their local weekly market, which was really busy, full of people buying their weekly fruit, veg and other goods. It was even bigger than Fethiye market and actually covered two levels, one underground! It had all the usual stuff, food, clothes, shoes, nuts, baggy pants! It was so noisy and a bit overwhelming – the photos I took make it look quiet, but they were taken in a more quiet spot away from the hustle and bustle of the fruit and veg section which was just chaos.  On the way back we saw a weird rainbow, a kind of upside down very faint small arc – I’d never seen one like that before! 
 

In the evening, Berkays uncle, aunt and youngest cousin, went to a friends ‘going to the army’ party – they asked if we wanted to go but I said no.. I still don’t really understand the mentality behind gatecrashing strangers parties! It’s a bit odd. Instead, Berkay’s older cousin showed us around a part of the the city centre called Çınar, just a short walk from their house.

This is a very modern part of the city, very popular with young people and families, even late at night. We were out around 9pm but it was busy and bustling! There are lot of bright lights, bars, cafes, restaurants, coffee shops, street food stalls, big name brand shops and some quirkier ones. “Googil cafe” and “Woops” just made me giggle. There are also several McDonalds, Burger King’s and even a Starbucks in the city. Whenever I read about such places coming to Fethiye or other areas, it seems to cause arguments as people assume these places are only popping up to appease tourists or expats – it’s just not true. Whilst a lot would prefer their little tea houses, the more modern, younger Turkish people appreciate a big Mac or a Frappucino as much as the rest of us, and you can find these places in most of the big cities in the country, even the least touristy ones possible.

 
Another thing that seems to be increasingly present all over the country is the multi-coloured umbrella. We all know and love photographing the famous ‘umbrella street’ in Fethiye, but I’m not sure which was actually the first in the country, there is now one in a lot of different places, some more impressive than others!

Wherever you go in Denizli, you will see the famous Denizli Rooster everywhere – statues, posters, humorous references etc. It has been the symbol for Denizli City and province for over 900 years. This special breed of chicken is unique to Denizli and is only bred in the area, it has very specific characteristics and is valued highly. I’m no chicken expert, but research has told me that they are unique in their long crowing abilty, colour and weight, and a great lot of effort goes into the conservation of the population of these special chickens.

 
After wandering around for an hour or two, and a quick trip to LC Waikiki, we went back to the families house. I do love how hospitable they are, without a second thought they gave up the children’s beds for us and made sure we had plenty of clean bedding and pillows. It does amaze me though, where exactly they keep their clothes as there’s never any wardrobes etc!  Although I’ve spent some time with Berkay’s other family members, it’s usually us who are the youngest in the room, so the one thing that I really noticed from being around Berkay’s younger cousin, is the respect he showed to me. He’s 15 years old, and has clearly been raised to respect his elders, which sounds weird as I’m only 25 myself! Around Berkay, he acts ‘normal’ as they are cousins and more like brothers, but as soon as I walked into the room he stopped slouching or laying and immediately sat up straight and ‘proper’. He also has a lot of respect for his own parents, there was one point where his mum smashed a tea glass in the kitchen and he jumped up off the sofa, asked her if she was okay and grabbed the hoover to help her clean up – he’s not a stereotypical moody teenager that’s for sure!

The morning after, we had planned to go back to Fethiye after breakfast, but as I’ve already tried to make clear, these particular family members are just so nice it’s hard to say no, so when they suggested we stay for lunch and go with them to a local picnic place, we couldn’t resist. We decided we didn’t have time for a BBQ, so instead took bags full of coke, nuts, sunflower seeds and of course blankets to sit on. The place we went to was called ‘Servergazi Piknik Alani’ and was really nice with big tall trees all over, BBQ facilities, benches and play areas for the kids. It was really pretty, and Berkay’s youngest cousin picked out a whole bucket full of daisies for me, bless her. Despite a lot of begging, we declined their offer of dinner and managed to ‘escape’ back to the car and get on the main road out of Denizli to make the 3.5 hour journey back to Fethiye.
 
 
I really like spending time in the city of Denizli and there’s so much to see that we haven’t even explored. It’s very ‘normal’, not touristy, not villagey, just ‘normal’ life, and I think it would be a nice place to live. Hopefully we’ll go back to visit and can go and see some different places, there’s always something interesting to photograph!