On Friday 29th November I had been invited to the local girls night out and had accepted so Captain Caveman and I went for a light and cheap lunch at a place that always seemed to be closed when we went past. Çiçek had been recommended by followers of a Dalyan Facebook group I’m a member of and was serving a selection of dishes which we selected from the kitchen area and they were brought over.
We had chicken stew, spinach, meatballs with potatoes and cold drinks – the food was undoubtedly great and traditional Turkish at its best as well as being a great price.
In the afternoon Captain Caveman and I called to Backyard No9 again with Lexi but it was closed so we had a drink in the Rock Bar. We had a drink in Lukka Bar where I met one of the girls before heading over to Casa Nova for a drink and to meet the others. Our meal at Spice Garden, an Indian restaurant, was brilliant and the buffet was 80 lira for an all you can eat. They do very good gluten free choices, the wine is nice and the place is nice and warm. Jamie was missing a good night out but we kept a chair for him at his request!! I also got to meet some of the girls on a more sociable basis which was good fun.
November was ending and the time was going so fast! On Saturday the 30th I had been in Turkey 3 months and we were starting week 13 already. Breakfast was with Captain Caveman at Soul Kitchen where we had our usual of potato skins and baked beans for me and menemen for him. There was a protest being held at the beach so Captain Caveman and some Dalyan dwellers went, taking Lexi, while I went dogging by myself.
For lunch I had figs and cheese on gluten free toast before heading to the market to buy our fresh vegetables for the week, on the way back we had an afternoon wine and cheese at Soul Kitchen. In the evening we ate at home – a chicken salad and a couple of gins! Inspired by our Russian lodger we had decided to try a budget week to see if we could survive on 500 lira (about £70) for the week!
There was no time for breakfast on Monday (18th November) morning as I was being picked up at 06:30am for a drive to Muğla. I was stood outside prompt (a little hungover) and it was a bit chilly and still dark when Leanne from King Emlak arrived. The drive was quicker than expected and so we stopped off at a cafe where I had a couple of teas and gawped at all the amazing gluten offerings they had. My residency meeting was at 8:30am and we had to wait in a corridor with all the prepared documents.
The appointment didn’t last long, they checked all my paperwork and took my fingerprints (all of them) on a machine. No questions were asked and they gave me some paperwork which said I now had a 1 year residency in Turkey. It was a bit of a relief as it meant I could continue my 4 month stay here without having to leave the country. I could also come and go as much as I liked between now and the 4th November 2020.
To celebrate we had lunch at Jiks where I had to have a couple of soda waters before my chicken shish on account of having no breakfast. I managed a glass of red wine with my lunch though. We had a stroll and another drink at Amy’s too. On Mondays a lot of places take their day off and although we had planned to go out we decided to stay in. I enjoyed some wine gums (brought by Captain Caveman’s parents), a red wine and some really nice onion soup with cheese on gluten free toast. Overall a successful Monday!
On Tuesday 19th November, while Captain Caveman tootled off to the mudbaths for the day, I took Lexie to the vets in Ortaca with Hilary. She was very well behaved and we also got to say goodbye to Jilly who was being adopted from the shelter too. I didn’t really eat much (gluten free toast with fig jam, yogurt with honey, a bit of cheese and some wine gums) before going to the Tuesday quiz at Lukka with Sarah, Arif and Jamie. I had the (gluten free) fish and chips washed down with a bit too much wine and we had a right old laugh at the quiz. We even managed to learn some rude Turkish words!! Jamie and Sarah brought snacks and we didn’t win but enjoyed it – even Lexie had some attention, meeting other dogs in the area.
While Captain Caveman went dogging on Wednesday 20th November I took Lexie to Köşem Restaurant to help with preparations for the forthcoming winter fayre. Lexie wasn’t too keen on it but she got lots of fuss off dogs, cats and other helpers. I put trees up while others decorated them (after last year where I was told I was shit at decoration).
For lunch Captain Caveman and I went to Okyanus, a place which hadn’t impressed last year, but turned out to be a great little spot. Our food was lovely, the sun was shining and Lexi got on well with the resident dogs and cats there. Jamie (our new friend) came to join us and I’m blaming him for being a bad influence because then we ended up having one at Soul Kitchen before ‘going for one’ at Lukka. Sarah joined us and we had a bit of a boozey night but luckily I was looking forward to having a loll about on Thursday.
Captain Caveman went bumming while I looked after Lexi on Thursday 21st November. I was hungover and felt like death and didn’t do much apart from feel sorry for myself and be glad I wasn’t bumming!
Captain Caveman came home and we were planning the rest of the day when the doorbell rang. An English friend of Captain Caveman’s and a Russian girl were at the door, and were coming to stay for a couple of days. They were currently cycling long distance, him raising money for charity along the way. I, in my hungover state, had completely forgotten all about what day it was and that they could be arriving. Captain Caveman was well aware but had still not acquired a bed for the spare room so they were going to have to sleep on the floor!
I was starving and wanted lunch so we went to Pamukkale Restaurant, only to find they were only serving pide and pizza – I was gutted! I would love nothing more than to eat the sucuk pide but instead they were able to rustle me up some chips. I was still hungry when I got home so I had crisps, carrot and hummus as a snack.
The Riverbums have been going for 7 years and so we had been invited to an anniversary party at Nazo’s. Of course we had only been part of the ‘bumming team for a relatively short time. The steer was we all brought a dish each and then we share the buffet. I took havla (a sweet treat made with tahini which I bought from the shop). Captain Caveman took a whole roast chicken which he’d had in the oven that morning and was still warm when he carried down the street.
Nazo’s is a lovely bar with a great garden area out the back and a big dog who really wanted some buffet. We even got a medal and a certificate for volunteering with the Riverbums which were given out earlier in the year but we were in Vietnam.
At the buffet I ate chicken, yogurt, carrot, radish and crisps for my first lot before having 2 pieces of gluten free cake which was delicious. I also managed to have 3 red wines and a laugh with our fellow Bummers.
In the evening we went to a restaurant we had really enjoyed last year but had not being able to visit this year before it closed. M-Eatery was now reopened for the winter and had a lovely fire to keep warm inside. I had baba ganoush for starter and had a little bit of Captain Caveman’s halloumi then the beef with chips and red cabbage which was so good and, of course, we shared a bottle of red wine.
By lunchtime on Saturday 16th November we had already entered in to a different kind of day. After my usual breakfast of gluten free toast and a bit of cheese Captain Caveman and I went up to the dog shelter for a bit of dogging. We walked a few dogs and then I gave Lexi a bath because she was leaving the shelter and had very muddy paws. We had agreed to look after Lexi until she was ready to go and pretty soon she was going to live in Scotland.
As it was Saturday night we decided to take our new friend, Lexi, to the local to meet our friends. We also were the designated welcome party for Sarah and Katrina’s mate, Jamie who was landing in Dalyan about 9:30pm and we were all looking forward to his arrival.
Jamie arrived at Lukka bar straight off the plane, practically, and so we were already merry and had a great night – my face hurt from laughing so much!
On Sunday 17th I ate my gluten free cornflakes and had an earl grey tea and we took Lexi for a walk. We had already booked in for Sunday lunch at Lukka bar and so we ended up getting on it again at 5pm, then staying to watch the Brazilian Grand Prix from 8pm. I only had 4 red wines but I think it could have been a top up from the previous night. I couldn’t get too pissed as I had a very important appointment on Monday morning but we were having such a good laugh it didn’t really matter.
We had a fun day on Tuesday 12th November. There’s a boat which goes every Tuesday to the mud baths so we decided to get on that and I chose to take my breakfast of gluten free toast with mulberry jam with me in tin foil. Unfortunately it went soggy so I only ate a little of it and fed the fishes with the rest. We had a hot drink at Okyanus while we waited for the boat and then off we went on the boat across to Köyceğiz lake. We left at 10:30am and then had until 2:30pm to go in the hot pool, the mud bath, the dome pool or swim in the lake. We did all of them except the mud and I even had the fish feet thing to get rid of my dead skin – 6 minutes was enough! It was a great day out and really cheap and I was already looking forward to going again.
In the afternoon we decided to buy some furniture from a woman on Facebook who happened to be singing at Mico Hotel before getting ready for fish and chips at the Lukka bar quiz in the evening.
I was meant to eat more for breakfast on Wednesday, 13th November, as I would need my energy for a bit of dogging! I ended up having gluten free cornflakes with milk before heading off to the shelter on foot while Captain Caveman cycled. We had a good morning of walking as many dogs as we could but as the amount of visitors declines in winter months there were some who didn’t get one. There was also a couple of dogs getting adopted including an older dog who had been in the shelter a while. There was talk of some further adoptions but as we left, the charity workers were arguing with the staff about not giving as much care and attention as they should. On the way home Captain Caveman lost his house keys and I had a message from a Dalyan dweller who was buying us some bedding at IKEA, to tell me all the codes were incorrect. Captain Caveman went back to the shelter only to find that his keys had fallen out of his pocket in the puppy kennels!
Back home I had a quick lunch of yogurt and honey as the carpenter’s were back to finish off some last bits on the fitted wardrobes. We left them to it and headed off for a cheeky drink at Jiks. Luckily the IKEA lady came good in the end (the product numbers are not the same in every country) and we got the stuff for our new bed, which we picked up in Lukka bar over a glass of wine (of course).
Dinner was at River House which turned out to be another one of my new favourites. The starter of garlic mushrooms was great and the chicken risotto main was superb! Captain Caveman had the mantı dish (a traditional dumpling which looks like pasta containing minced meat and served with yogurt and butter), the carafe of wine was smooth and went down well.
When we got home we admired the new wardrobes and I was even happy with where the mirror (which should have been on the wardrobes but I didn’t like it) had ended up. Fire Opal B6 was starting to look how we wanted it to and we were happy to have the work completed at last.
The rain came down quite heavy during the early hours of Thursday 14th November, bumming was cancelled because of the weather forecast. I had 2 small gluten free chocolate cakes as well as gluten free toast with mulberry jam and an earl gray tea for breakfast. I managed to order minced beef at the butcher’s in Turkish so that we could have a spaghetti bolognese that evening. Captain Caveman’s task of the day was to help the dog shelter out by making leads and fixing some old ones. By 11am the rain had eased off but the sky looked like it still might rain again later. It was a quiet day and very relaxing, which made a nice change.
It was a significant day for history on Sunday 10th November! In Turkey they remembered Atatürk who died on this day in 1938, the English expats held a gathering for Armistice Day and we made the most of Captain Caveman’s parents’ last day in Dalyan.
I had arranged a boat trip (maybe the last of the season?) with Yusuf Toprak from Amy’s Bar for the 4 of us and to join us would be 4 of the Grubb family plus a Turkish friend of their’s.
We had a breakfast at home because we had all the lovely fresh produce we had picked up from a local cheese and jam maker so I enjoyed 2 slices of gluten free bread with mulberry jam, white cheese and an earl grey tea.
At 10:30am we grabbed our bags and walked a few steps to the river and our boat for the day. The crew of two were ready for us and we got on board, it felt fresh but the sun was out and it looked to be a good day. Vanessa and Brad arrived with Di but the other two from their party appeared to have overdone it on the previous evening and were no longer joining us.
There was morning tea or coffee with pastries and we set off to the sea and towards some quiet bays for swimming. It had been Brad’s birthday the day before and so he was in a bit of a tangle but had made it! Vanessa said she wasn’t drinking but before noon she and I were having a nice chilled glass of rosé wine.
There were so many chances to swim in the sea and I was surprised how warm it was considering it was November. Captain Caveman even did his own beach bumming by cleaning up lots of rubbish he found in a bay. Lunch was a BBQ and buffet which is always excellent and had chicken, lamb and fish as well as all the mezzes. There was more wine and relaxing and I even swam from the boat and in to a cave to explore before Captain Caveman and Vanessa joined me.
In the afternoon we sailed to the beach for birthday singing and cake – this time Brad had us sing Happy Birthday to him instead of having to sing it to himself in a late bar! Yusuf even asked if we would like to try a swim in the lake, which we did and were the only ones there! It was cold at first until you found the hot thermals beneath your legs and there was only a couple of us brave (or daft) enough to get in. We finished off the day with a fruit plate and a sail back to Dalyan all fully relaxed.
In the evening I thought we would be going out to dinner to celebrate for the last evening but, as everyone was full and tired from the day out on the boat, we sat on the sofa and relaxed! Yusuf had given us all a lovely day to remember – the photos don’t do it justice as we were too busy having fun!
The week had gone fast – Captain Caveman and I were sad to have to say farewell to his parents the next day.
We woke up in the Richmond Hotel in Pamukkale on Saturday 9th November after a good night’s sleep and went for the buffet breakfast. Of course a lot of the choice was full of gluten so I had cheese and fruit with Turkish tea while Captain Caveman filled his boots (well, his face) with delicious food.
We decided to have a bit of free time to enjoy the hotel’s thermal pool before we headed off to sightsee at Hierapolis (the waters of Pamukkale). Richmond Hotel was very reasonably priced and near to where we needed to be so I would definitely stay there again.
Captain Caveman parked at the North carpark so we could stroll through and along the top of the travertines, right up to the South gate where we could see more of the pools and even have a paddle. It was impressive but it was clear there had not been a lot of water as some were empty. Captain Caveman and his mom went walking in the pools while his dad and I stayed up the top. It was a great view, fairly busy with tourists (including one in a bikini looking a bit nippy). The photos don’t really do it justice but I took some on my phone anyway and we were pleased to have seen the famous site at last.
While I went to the loo a plan was hatched for Captain Caveman to walk back to the car and drive it to meet us at some vague point at the bottom of a hill, of which none of the remaining three of us had a clue how to get to. We then had to wait rather a long time in the sun and walk back the way we had just gone, lost! It didn’t surprise me that Captain Caveman had to come and get us in the car, after which we drove back to Dalyan in (mostly) silence for about 3 hours! It was a tiring day and I think if time wasn’t an issue I would have stayed for longer and took our time seeing more. We had not realised how wonderful Aphrodisias (the day before) would be and could easily have made a longer trip. On the way back we saw the cafe made from an actual plane, it’s the 4th time I’ve been past but never visited.
Back in Dalyan later that evening we had a dinner at Kaunos Antic restaurant, another first time for all of us, which turned out to be absolutely lovely for food and service. We even polished off the night with a complimentary fruit plate and a shot of amaretto each!
The weekend was a busy one and on Friday 8th November Captain Caveman, his parents and I packed an over night bag each and got in the hire car ready for a mini adventure out of Dalyan. We had hired a car from Süleyman Çardak at Complete Holiday rentals especially so that we could journey out of Dalyan for a day or two’s exploring. Our first stop on the way to Pamukkale was for a delicious breakfast at Orfoz in Akyaka, which I’d visited a couple of times already on a Volkan Adventures day trip. We had the traditional Turkish breakfast which was delicious (I so wished I could eat all the gluten-filled items though).
I’d been a few times to the same spots and you can read my previous blog about the trip I took with Volkan here:
We did the boat trip with some other tourists down the Akmak river before driving to our second stop at Afrodisias.
None of us had been before and it was very impressive. We saw the archeological museum, the temple of Aphrodite, as well as Aphrodisias theatre and stadium which were all amazing and we had a glorious sunny day with hardly any tourists around.
We arrived quite late at our pre-booked hotel in Pamukkale, The Richmond, which was big and very busy – it was the kind of hotel with free products and a large outdoor pool. We checked in to our neighbouring twin rooms and I had an overpriced wine from the minibar. We’d took the windier route there which had been a little hair-raising at times so I needed a bit of alcohol to calm my travel sickness. Dinner was a large buffet in the dining room and was actually quite nice for the price. I had lots of salad, chicken and rice and we had a bottle of wine in the bar while watching the live entertainment. The belly dancer was good and managed to get several volunteers including a rather tipsy Japanese man who was very good, we managed to evade the joining in!
On Monday 4th November it was a very busy house, trying to get ready for Captain Caveman’s parents arriving the next day. We still had the workmen trying to fit a very awkward wardrobe and the kitchen cupboard wasn’t finished yet either!
We went for brunch at Dalyance where Captain Caveman ate menemen and I had bacon, sausage, mushrooms and beans. The food was good and a first time of eating breakfast there.
While the carpenter struggled to finish on time we had a drink in Jiks and then went out for dinner in the rain. We tried another new one, Nehir, where we were the only people in because of the weather and the season had ended. I really enjoyed my chicken with salad and potatoes while Captain Caveman had a pide which also looked great.
When we got home we had to apologise to our new neighbours as the workmen were still there and it was a very late night!
It was a little stressful on Tuesday 5th November after not getting to bed until almost 2am! I didn’t have too much to eat in the day because we needed to get organised as the house was covered in dust and in complete disarray. The cleaner was meant to be coming in the morning but I’d had to cancel it as we didn’t know if the wardrobes would be finished. We worked hard to clean everything as best we could before I rebooked the professionals in for 3pm. We use the ones with our rental management company and they are very good and can do it much faster than us. I had also decided to view a balcony table and chairs I’d seen a month ago but the owner had only just arrived in Dalyan. We had a a drink in Rock bar and then one in Amy’s (where I took a bag of crisps for my lunch), after we went to check out the balcony furniture, which we bought and took home.
Captain Caveman’s parents were a little delayed but luckily we had booked a table at Serendip for 9:30pm. As usual the food was fantastic and I really enjoyed the lentil soup as a starter. We shared the mixed mezzes and a cheeseboard and the gluten free bread had been improved to a homemade version which was very good. (They gave me two portions of it at no extra cost, which was appreciated). After dinner we had a nightcap at home and the parents had no idea at how bad the apartment had looked that morning.
They were only staying 6 nights but we had a full itinerary lined up and so the alarms were set for the next day!