Thursday, 10 September 2015

A Photo Diary: Travel Turkey in Ten Minutes

Greetings!  I am so glad to be getting back into a good blogging rhythm, which will probably soon be completely upheaved by the fact that I myself am, so to speak, upheaving back to Brighton to continue studying there.  Scary, scary stuff.  In order to distract myself from the daunting task of packing the entirety of my possessions, I therefore thought I'd bring you something similar to my Spain Holiday Round-Up post (except in a different country entirely).  This one's a little more visual though; I've pulled together some of my favourite pictures from the time we spent in Turkey and tried to put them in some kind of order to give you a taste of some of the things you can experience in that particular part of the world, hopefully, all within 10 minutes. 

On the second day, we managed to hire a car (we realised two weeks relying on public transport might not have been the most reliable plan in the world) and took a trip to a local town called Dalyan.  We had some lunch by the water, and found a hotel where we managed to book a Hammam (see my post on the Turkish Bath experience here), before heading off in search of Iztuzu Beach (also known as Turtle Beach).  

The drive up gave us a great view of the massive stretch of beach, which sits in the middle of the mountains, bizarrely enough, and is a nesting and conservation area for hundreds of turtles.  This means the opening hours are quite strict (I believe it was 10am - 8pm), but there was still plenty of time to catch the sunset. 

 Sarigerme was another great spot we visited a few times.  A little more touristy, this is definitely a much better place than Dalaman for bars and night life.  One of our favourite places we found in Sarigerme was called Street Bar - we spent a whole afternoon there drinking cocktails, using the pool and lying on big 4 poster sun loungers like celebrities.  We actually ended up coming back to Street Bar on the first Sunday night for a foam party, which proved, well, interesting.  Let's just say don't order a Dolphin Special (a particularly intoxicating blue drink comprising of not four, not five, but six different spirits) after already visiting 3 bars and enjoying a few gin and tonics at home before even going out... unless you want to chunder.

In other news, Sarigerme beach is really, really nice.  We made the slight mistake of sitting quite far up the beach on sun loungers we'd hired from the bar.  It was an absolute sun trap, to the point I was slightly worried about getting permanently attached to the plastic that coated the lounger.  In the afternoon we retired to one of the tables (see below... and the best part is you get to eat while sitting on a sofa) for some lunch.  We probably would've been better off taking food with us to eat on the beach as the food wasn't fabulous, but if you're hungry enough, you won't even taste it - I speak from experience.

The ruins of Kaunos, in Dalyan are well worth a visit too.  This was one of my particular highlights.  I don't know if it was because we went at the end of the season, but I actually only saw three other people I could identify as definite tourists (some kind of miracle).  We got a lift across the river with a lady called Mina who only charged us 5tL each to get to the other side via paddle boat.  Once we were across, we had a great view of the huge Lycian tombs carved into the side of the mountain.  We wandered around for a little bit taking it all in before stopping for a quick pomegranate juice (unbelievable, try it) and heading home. 

One thing we read about countless times on Trip Advisor was the 'Twelve Islands Boat Trip'.  So we bit the bullet and booked ourselves tickets which were £18 each and included transfers to the port and a whole day's trip.  We had a great day, making two stops for snorkelling and swimming in the morning, and we even saw a huge turtle swimming in the water alongside our boat.  We'd bought a couple of snorkels the day before to try out, and once we got the hang of them, it was so cool to be able to see all the different colours and sizes of fish doing their thing under the water.  The boat had a diving platform on the upper level too - all I can say is, definitely hold your nose!  After a barbecue lunch served on the boat, we stopped at three islands in the afternoon for more swimming and snorkelling, and got to see some more Lycian ruins including the remains of an underwater lighthouse.  

We also visited the town of Köyceğiz one day to have a little look around before driving on to the massive lake close by.  The drive was beautiful; we had a great view of the lake driving over the mountain roads, and stopped in a tiny village to have a little swim before heading back home via Dalyan for a drink.

One of my favourite places we visited was the bigger city of Fethiye.  Unfortunately I forgot the memory card for my camera when we visited so I only have the photos below which are from my phone!  Fethiye was great though, with plenty of backstreet bazaars, some amazing real leather fakes and Turkish delight which proved too tempting to resist.  It's well worth looking round the fish and fruit markets, which are bustling, smelly, noisy - the epitome of city life.  For around £2 a local restaurant will cook your choice of fish from the market for you, serving with accompaniments and drinks and cooking according to local recipes and experience.  There are some really nice bars and cafes in the back streets, too - we visited one that did great iced coffee, which we found to be a rareity in Turkey, but it was so welcome on that particular day as it was so hot in the city!

Before  heading back to Dalaman, we drove on a little further to visit Blue Lagoon, a beach close to Fethiye and renowned for it's clear water, stunning surroundings, and a few sightings of turtles.  We got to the beach quite late, which was unfortunate because you do have to pay to get in (I think it was around £5) but again it was really nice to see the sunset.  The beach is made up of lots of white pebbles, which was a welcome relief to me after the sandy beach of Sarigerme, the remnants of which I still keep finding in my handbag.  The water is warm, very clean and so refreshing, and there are plenty of little cafes where you can get a bite to eat if you so wish.  It was really nice to visit in the early evening because it was so quiet and peaceful, although we would've liked to stay longer but the beach closes at 8pm.  All in all though, Blue Lagoon is also well worth a visit, and for me, this topped off a fantastic two weeks in a country full of endless wonders.  Great food, great company, beautiful surroundings, endless good weather - what more could you ask for from a place?!

Ruby x