Dalyan – My last weekend and January birthday celebrations

Dalyan – My last weekend and January birthday celebrations

My last weekend in Dalyan started on Friday 10th January with a walk with Milo, Maddie’s cute cockapoo, followed by a make do breakfast to eat up what I had in. For lunch I had gluten free pasta with bacon, pesto and parmesan then I went for my last hairdresser’s appointment with Emrah, until April. I was sniffling with a cold and my eyes kept watering so I wasn’t really feeling it and didn’t go for curls this time. Emrah still made me feel good and look a lot better than I did when I walked in and so I tootled round to Lukka for some dinner of a bacon cheeseburger (no bun) and wedges and a drink of cherry juice – another alcohol free day! I finished the day with Milo walks, playing with the pooch and Netflix. I had received the photos of the apartment from Greg (see below) and he had been able to send them on to the estate agent to update the website – they looked good and the bathrooms were at last captured so that potential customers could see them more clearly.

I woke up still feeling ill on Saturday 11th January, which was a bit of a shame given it was my birthday. Milo and I had a little walk before coming back for a flu remedy and some gluten free breakfast for me and some fresh biscuits and a treat for the pooch. I caught up with a bit of blogging, watched the last of Atypical on Netflix and packed my bag ready for being back to Fire Opal that evening.
We had another longer walk before I headed over to my place to get ready to enjoy my birthday. I don’t cope well with the ingredients of the Tylol cold remedy and so my heart was already at twice the speed it should be by the time Sarah arrived. I still had the wine I’d bought myself from Serendip at around £25 per bottle and so we opened that and had some gluten free bread sticks with it. The wine was amazing!
Because there were a few mates who lived a bit out of the town centre it worked out easier to meet at Lukka bar for a birthday beverage during the day so we headed there. The sun was out and so too was almost everyone I knew in Dalyan at that point in time. I bought Sarah and I a bottle of prosecco and Kaye bought me a rather large (premium) whisky to ‘kill or cure’ my cold. I felt pretty drunk already and the Tylol was having, what I can only imagine was, a bit of an amphetamine-like reaction.
I moved from table to table saying hello and cheers with everyone, including those who probably had no idea it was mine and Sarah’s birthday booze-up and my farewell drinks – I took loads of photos (some were so blurry I had to delete later but a few came out rather well).
Sarah had booked a table for the sit-down birthday meal at Rendezvous, where they serve my favourite meal. I was well on my merry way by this time and had a great time at Rendezvous where the owner and his staff really looked after us – so much so that they joined our party of 4 (probably feeling sorry for us) as we headed to Mustang Bar where we had organised birthday drinks with pretty much everyone in Dalyan who could come.
Of course it got messy as I danced and rapped my way through the night and I bought all the girls a rose from Ismail, the flower man, and even made him stay for a dance. Katrina arrived and brought me a really lovely gift – she had made me a glittery wine glass with ‘Jaqueline de Plonk’ on it. Maddie and Bianca were back from Istanbul and joined us as well as a few others and we had a good laugh (mainly at me dancing).
We were meant to go back to Lukka bar for last orders but for some reason we went straight to Sky Lounge. In there I got stung for the priciest cocktails on the menu and didn’t end up getting home until stupid o’clock.

On Sunday 12th January I was quite hungover and the cold was worse! In my wisdom when I had got in from celebrating birthdays I had decided to empty all of the kitchen cupboards so that I didn’t forget to do them. I also had to check with Mehmet at Lukka bar to see what time I had said I was having Sunday dinner (my last one for quite some time).
At 4pm I went round to Lukka with various bags to return or give away to people before I left. Sarah got Bacardi, prawns and sugar, Maddie olive oil, Katrina flour and olives, Leanne her coat, wig, feather boa and some snacks for her kid, Andy a beer. When I arrived at Lukka a lot of the familiar faces were there to laugh at the sorry state I was in. I ordered orange juice then went to pick up some earrings I had ordered for Tatas, in Vietnam, the same stone as my ring and Amanda’s earrings. On my way I popped in to Mustang to pick up the cake plate, Sarah’s glittery glass and to thank them for the night. It was a bit worrying that I got applause from the staff when I went in! I walked back to the bar after returning the plate and it’s surprising how many people offer you wine when you are walking down the street with an empty glass!
Back at Lukka I forced the roast beef dinner down me (with my own gluten free gravy) and an orange juice then a coke. Katrina did me my last gluten free apple crumble which was delicious and then it was time to say goodbye to everyone, which was sad!
I ran a few errands, went to the bank and then back home to start packing. Vanessa popped over (as is our leaving Dalyan tradition) and we had a cup of black tea and a good natter. I also managed to give Vanessa the last of what was left in the fridge and a few bits from the cupboard.
All that was left to do was store all of the stuff away in the lockable cupboards and pack for my journey to Vietnam. It was gone midnight when I got to bed and my alarm was set for 5am the next morning!

Dalyan – the 1st full week of January

Dalyan – the 1st full week of January

The first full week of January started on Monday 6th looking slightly stormy out so I stayed in, had gluten free cornflakes for breakfast and then set about some important tasks. I had less than a week until I left Dalyan and headed back to Vietnam so I applied for my Vietnamese 3 month tourist visa, booked a flight to Istanbul and chatted to my parents over the phone. They were due to go on holiday the next day and they also agreed that it would be wise to have a night in Istanbul rather than chance missing my connecting flight which would be 3 hours after I landed at the new airport. Some flights recently had been cancelled or delayed and I didn’t want to take that risk of missing my next one especially as I still needed to collect baggage and then recheck it in – I didn’t chance it and booked the Yotel airport hotel.
I was also meant to be having a week in Hanoi and more Vietnamese lessons but decided it would be better to get to Phong Nha earlier due to Tet holidays approaching. I decided to book a flight from Hanoi to Dong Hoi, the same day as I arrived and then I would meet Captain Caveman there. He booked the Vinpearl hotel in Dong Hoi for 2 nights before we headed to Phong Nha for him to go back to work.
I tidied the apartment and took some photos in readiness for the Aussies doing some more professional ones while they were here.
By lunchtime it was raining and I had some gluten free toast with cheese on before heading over to meet the Aussies for an afternoon at BC Spa. I had a swim, a sauna and a steam room before having my usual back massage. Khatuna said I still needed more work and there were some really sore bits but I didn’t know if I would be able to fit any more in before I left, but I hoped so.
In the evening Sarah and I had arranged to meet for one drink at Jiks and then head to Rendezvous before 8pm for dinner where the Aussies would join us. After waiting awhile we ordered as we were hungry and we were almost finished eating by the time the other two joined us but they had already eaten at home anyway. This time we were allowed the dog, Yaps, in the restaurant who sat quietly under the table. I had my favourite crispy belly pork dish after a mushroom starter and we shared a bottle of white wine. Sarah and I finished the night off with a wine at Sky Lounge where we were happy to see the price was only 20 or 22 lira. However when we got the bill they tried to charge us 30 lira per glass and said the menu was old, we were having none of it and said we were paying the old menu prices and stood our ground.

It was the Aussies last day in Dalyan on Tuesday 7th January and they were on a mission to finish all the stuff required in their Fire Opal apartment, to get it ready for renting out in 2020, before the next leg of their Turkey trip. They also had ordered a new IKEA sofa which was still to arrive and be put together as well as scheduling in the retaking of the photos for both their apartment and ours. Unfortunately the link to our apartment on the estate agent’s website has a picture of a chest of drawers on as the first photo of a video and because we had changed all the furniture I needed it replacing. The idea was to take some better, up-to-date photos to send to the agent so they could replace that video and update their website with a true reflection of the place. I was waiting for the cleaners and the electrician to come and then I had an appointment with Maddie who was running through some dog and house-sitting rules as I was moving over there for a few days to look after Milo, the cute cockapoo. All was ready for the next day and Milo was happy to see me and I could tell we would get on well. Maddie, her family and I went for brunch at Heybe’s (I had a very nice bacon, beans and mushrooms) and then I went home to see how the B1 occupants were getting on. The sofa had just arrived and they had also ordered/bought lots of fresh breakfast produce to take their photos with. I got back to mine to find the electrician couldn’t make it, the cleaners had been but the floor was still soaking wet and I didn’t want to walk on it for a while so found more things I needed from IKEA for Sarah to get me the next day. I had chestnuts for lunch with an earl grey tea before the Aussies came over to take photos of every room, for the website.
In the evening I left them erecting their sofa bed and taking their own photos while I met Sarah at Jiks for dinner and I had a chicken salad (with chips) which was excellent. It wasn’t a late night as tomorrow would be an early start.

Our choice of breakfast place on Wednesday 8th January was closed, we were a little early and on a tight deadline to get back for the airport pick up so we went to Jiks. The Aussies had Turkish style breakfasts while I had bacon, beans and mushrooms with orange juice and a tea.
The day had come to say bye to my Aussie friends and now our new neighbours at Fire Opal. They were off for another visit to Cappadocia while I moved in to a friend’s for a spot of dogsitting and birthday planning. The Aussies gave me an amazing birthday gift before they left and I got emotional, it was a silver ring with a zultanite stone – it changes colour depending on the light.
The sun was shining and it was a lovely day for dog walking – Milo was super excited to go out and although I had to leave him while I went home to supervise the electrician changing the light (which was super quick) we pretty much bonded the first day.
In the evening Milo and I stayed in and had my first takeaway delivery from China Town with a bit of red wine I had left over from the photo shoot. I’d also started to feel a bit sickly and tired so I was glad of a bit of Netflix and sleep.

I woke up in Maddie’s bed (while she was in Istanbul) with Milo looking at me on the morning of Thursday 9th January. I let him out for a pee and he came straight back to bed as it was still early and we had a cuddle to keep warm – it was pretty cold in the mornings in Dalyan but the forecast for the rest of the week was still sunny.
I went over to Sarah’s to collect my IKEA stuff and then we went over to Jiks for brunch, she had a full English breakfast and I had the chicken salad with chips. I walked Milo and then settled down for a bit of Netflix and some snacks, with leftover China Town curry for dinner. It was a relaxing day in readiness for my last weekend in Dalyan, it also happened to be mine and Sarah’s birthdays which we had planned to celebrate!

Dalyan – the 1st weekend in January

Dalyan – the 1st weekend in January

On Friday 3rd January I had agreed to do a one-off comedy night at Lukka bar as Jaqueline De Plonk and there was a select few booked in to watch. I had written down a few pointers as well as a few funny stories a little on the rude side. I’d also prepared 3 songs for the beginning, middle and end of my set and requested that cherry juice be poured in to an empty red wine bottle so that I could pretend to be drunk throughout the set.
I had borrowed a wig, a trench coat and a feather boa for the act but unfortunately the wig wouldn’t stay on and the rest of it was off by the end of the night. It was a good first experience and people did laugh – only 3 people didn’t come back after the interval! I was tipsy as the cherry juice prop had not materialised and instead I had drank red wine so a few of us went to Sky lounge afterwards.

On Saturday 4th January I felt a little hungry when I woke up and so I headed to Lukka bar for my breakfast which sorted me out. For lunch I had homemade chicken soup at home and had some floral gums while watching Netflix and doing a bit of blogging. Jamie and Graeme were off for a meal and so Sarah and I had decided to have a date night of our own and had also asked the Aussies to join us. The place we chose wasn’t open so we ended up at Kordon, one of my favourites for gluten free food. Amanda wasn’t impressed as she really hates the look and smell of fish and there was a counter displaying an assortment of fresh fish. She didn’t eat because they had already eaten at home but then Greg decided to just have a starter – of calamari!
I had the steak and a side of beetroot and thoroughly enjoyed it but I decided not to drink which meant I’d had 2 alcohol free days in January so far!

Serendip, a local vegetarian restaurant, was having a closing/moving sale at mid-day on Sunday 5th January so Sarah and I decided to pop along to see if we fancied anything. I bought 3 bottles of discounted but decent red wine and was about to go home to do some chores but Sarah didn’t want to go home yet and wanted to get some soup. We ended up at Le Cafe (another new place for me) for brunch where I had fruit salad and yogurt and her the chicken soup. It was a little pricey but the earl grey tea was large and the inside of the cafe was really nice. Later I joined Jamie, Graeme and Sarah for Sunday lunch as it was their last one as they were off back home on Monday. I ended up drinking a bottle of red to myself too and even took my own gluten free stuffing and gravy!
I said my goodbyes to Jamie and Graeme that night and we arranged to see each other again in Dalyan on the 29th April.

Dalyan – the start of 2020

Dalyan – the start of 2020

My 2020 started in Lukka bar, Dalyan, enjoying the night a bit too much which meant I didn’t leave the house on Wednesday 1st January due to being hungover and having been accidentally glutened.
While I was feeling sick as a dog Captain Caveman was off on his journey to find new caves in Laos and the Aussies were downstairs building furniture and updating their new pad.
I forced myself to have roast potatoes with gluten free gravy for lunch but felt too ill to eat much. I tried to drink as much water as possible too. By the evening I was peckish and so I had gluten free pasta with bolognese and some walnuts, a gluten free chocolate biscuit and a babybel cheese. I didn’t have any alcohol until Thursday 2nd January and you probably already predicted I wouldn’t be a dry January participant.

The Aussies had already found a new place for breakfast which I didn’t realise was open so we all headed to Köşem where the Turkish breakfast looked good and I had my usual English version. While they had appointments I did a bit of shopping and had a drink in Jiks with Sarah, Jamie and Graeme before meeting back up for dinner. We had decided to try Serendip but it was closed so we settled on Heybe instead. I had a prawn starter and a chicken shish which was very nice and washed it down with a wine or two.
I had a relatively early night though as I needed to be prepared for my debut comedy night on Friday as Jaqueline de Plonk.

Dalyan – New Year’s Eve

Dalyan – New Year’s Eve

I was very happy on Tuesday 31st December, the last day of the year, for various reasons; I had had a great night’s sleep in our new bed and it had passed the test, the sun was shining, we were getting more enquiries to book Fire Opal for 2020, I had an appointment for my hair doing, I got to speak to Captain Caveman and I had entered the Volkan Adventures raffle of which the draw was at 4pm.
But first of all my Facebook feed was going mad with friends posting their 10 years difference photos so I was also curious. Apart from being a bit fatter and looking a bit older mine could have been taken a lot closer together. Both were taken with Aviva friends and it also reminded me that today was my official date of leaving Aviva 5 years ago – time really has flown by!

My brunch consisted of cheese, dates, walnuts and olives before heading off to be fussed over by Emrah who was doing something new to my hair today. I had requested a 1920s up do in readiness for the Gangsters and Molls new year’s eve party at Lukka bar. A lot of my mates were going to other venues but given I can have a drink right on the doorstep and the owners have become great friends I chose to go there.
After having my hair backcombed and pinned to a style I worried I’d never get out I tootled over to Lukka to meet Sarah for an afternoon drink and to wait to hear the raffle results from Volkan’s Adventures.

The raffle was broadcast live on Facebook but I didn’t catch mine and so I went home to listen while getting ready for the evening. I was really pleased that we had won a boat trip for 2 people on their Beyond 12 Islands and a £40 voucher! It’s also valid for 2 years, not that we will need to wait that long.

(https://www.facebook.com/volkansadventures/)

The Aussies were on their way back from their Izmir and Ephesus trip and had agreed to meet me and Arif at Lukka once they were ready. I had agreed to look after Yaps, Sarah’s dog, as she, Jamie and Graeme left to go to the Casa Nova party. I started on the prosecco and waited for the Aussies and they eventually arrived looking gorgeous in their outfits – Arif and I were already drinking and I had gone past the eating dinner stage by then but settled on some BBQ chicken wings.

By the time midnight came around I was on the very large rhubarb and ginger gins and someone had given me a party blower that I wasn’t being annoying with, at all! As the countdown began Mehmet, the owner, gave me the microphone to do the countdown while he set off the fireworks! After that it was chaos as I went round everyone wishing them a ‘happy new year’ (taking selfies) and I didn’t even have an emergency sausage roll about me to prevent the New Year’s Eve snogs!!!

Dalyan – between Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Dalyan – between Christmas and New Year’s Eve

The weekend between Christmas and New Year was a good mix of emotions; Captain Caveman was leaving to go back to Vietnam and then a cave expedition in Laos, I was going to spend more time with the friends who’d arrived for their winter break and of course I would be planning my 2020! On Friday 27th December I had chicken, cheese and orange juice for breakfast and I helped Captain Caveman clingfilm 2 bicycles (a first time for me and will probably be my last) and pack his stuff. This year he was packing all his stuff in the cupboard above the stairs which required a ladder so that I didn’t have to, which was much more convenient for me. By lunchtime we were opening the prosecco and having a cheeky bucks fizz before heading over to Lukka bar to meet Jamie, Graeme and Sarah. Normally Captain Caveman and I don’t do Christmas presents and so I was really surprised when Jamie had brought over a massive tub of floral gums as my Christmas present from Captain Caveman. Jamie also got me some presents and were wrapped up – gluten free chocolate biscuits, gravy and stuffing. Sarah presented her pompom rug and (thankfully) it went down extremely well! We celebrated with a bottle of prosecco and Tiny Dancer cuddles while eating lunch. Jamie had offered to drive Captain Caveman to the airport but we decided it would be easier to have a taxi and then we could all have a drink – which we did! Our Aussie friends joined us and we even ventured to Mustang bar for more booze, but came back to Lukka for dinner and to see Captain Caveman off. We finished the night with a couple of gins and I gave the Aussies our IKEA order as they were off to Izmir the next day.

On Saturday (28th December) it was odd waking up without Captain Caveman, I had gluten free toast with butter and an orange juice for breakfast and started selling more stuff online, including drawers for the Aussies. They were throwing a load of towels and blankets out so I took them for the dog shelter. For lunch I made myself a roast dinner with my gluten free gravy and I collected our new cushions and table cloth from DLBS. I also started the first lot of dying of our beige and pale blue throws. The first lot I dyed to navy blue and it turned out rather well so on Sunday (29th December) I did a couple more, this time to a burgundy colour.

I met Jamie, Graeme and Sarah for a Lukka Sunday lunch (I even took my own gravy) and in the evening Jamie invited us all to his villa for a cheese night. He had brought over about 10 different cheeses and it was a great evening. Sarah and I left their villa (https://www.facebook.com/villaedmandalyan/) and walked home in the rain having had a lovely weekend.

The end of the year, and decade, was approaching and on Monday 30th December I had a quiet day in readiness for the onslaught of what would be a messy new year’s eve (I didn’t know it at the time)!
I had my gluten free cornflakes for breakfast, our new double bed arrived (earlier than expected) and the men popped it together in no time and we got a free fitted sheet and pillow cases with it. I managed to put the clingfilmed bicycles in the under bed storage without too much difficulty and then had a lay on the new bed to test it out. For lunch I ate the remaining mushroom risotto from the freezer, I helped myself to a lamp which was being thrown out by the Aussies and sold all of ours and their drawers to make way for the new purchases.
In the afternoon I visited my good friend Vanessa for a cup of tea and a natter, I also borrowed a suitcase as I would be leaving for Vietnam in a couple of week’s time.
In the evening I watched a bit of Atypical on Netflix, which made a nice change.

Dalyan – Boxing Day

Dalyan – Boxing Day

I had left over chicken and an orange juice, but made Captain Caveman a bubble and squeak type of dish, for breakfast on Thursday 26th December before we got ready for our boxing day boat trip. We had booked it a while ago when Sarah had said she would be going on the Captain Boris boat and so we had decided to book it too. Our Aussie friends also wanted to come but this was the day they had to meet the estate agents and do all the formalities of buying their new apartment on the same complex as us. They were about to officially become our Dalyan neighbours and were buying a lovely 1 bedroom ground floor apartment, with a great poolside terrace, at Fire Opal. (Photo by the new owner below)

The boat trip started with tea/coffee and biscuits, (gluten free ones for me which were a bit like licking sand but I was grateful to see they had tried) while we sailed off on a short journey across the river. We docked and were given the chance to have a walk up and around the ruins of Kaunos which we were both up for, especially given Sarah had with her the unfinished pompom rug and was staying behind to finish it. Jamie and Graeme were arriving later so it had to be done. The boxing day walk was lovely – me and a lady called Andrea even had to stop for a pee in a school in Çandır village. The boat picked us all up at Çandır next to some very accessible tombs (if we had been wearing the right footwear) and it was very picturesque. We got back on the boat to find Sarah had completed the rug and was also on the gin!

We sailed to the beach and while the crew got ready for a massive lunch the captain, Sarah, Andrea and Grace all decided to have a swim in the sea. Captain Boris asked me to record it and make an appeal for anyone watching to donate £5 to a charity of their choice because it was very cold, although sunny. After much hilarity and Captain Caveman wishing he’d gone for a swim instead of just a paddle we said we would do it next year! The food was excellent and all but the couscous was gluten free and so I had 2 platefuls and Captain Caveman had 3! It was delicious and probably the best chips I’ve had in Dalyan. There was chicken, meatballs, casserole, salads, potatoes, cabbage, aubergine, yogurt dips and chips served with Tılsım red wine.

It was a great day out and we went to Lukka bar for a drink afterwards and then to meet our Aussie friends at Fire Opal. We ended up eating at Backyard No9 where everyone had pizza and I had a burger without bread which was very tasty. Sarah joined us a bit later and a tad tipsy as she was excited that Jamie and Graeme were on their way to Dalyan.
We all went back to Lukka bar to wait for them but the Aussies and Captain Caveman were almost asleep and went home about 10.30pm. Sarah and I managed to welcome them but were also flagging and I just had the one drink with them before heading back home to bed.
Friday was going to be a busy day and it was time to say farewell to Captain Caveman!

Dalyan – Christmas Day

Dalyan – Christmas Day

Our Christmas day fell on a Wednesday so it was a day for dogging, we got up early had bacon sandwiches and walked up to the shelter where we walked as many dogs as we could in the time we had. Hilary asked me to walk a small dog called Sandy who had been hiding since he got there and had never been taken out – he was shy, nervous and extremely cute but we had to carry him out to get him to start walking. He shared his enclosure with the Spice Girls (Emma, Mel and Vicky) and after a short walk he was so keen to get back inside – most of the dogs are not excited to go back in unless there is food! Captain Caveman took photos of the dogs too and we had some really nice weather. We were in a bit of a rush for the afternoon events and, as you may expect, things did not go according to plan.
We walked back home, showered and then headed out to buy the rest of our Christmas dinner before meeting friends for a drink, which we were already late to.
Captain Caveman had done quite a lot of prep already and so my job was to buy a chicken to cook and prepare the chestnuts. When I got to the butcher’s they only had the big chickens left and so we ended up with a massive one for 52 lira (they are normally 20 lira). We put the chicken in and headed to meet the gang at Rock Bar for a couple of cheeky drinks and to wish them well for their Christmas. The sun was shining and it was nice sitting out with a cold drink.
Back home we decided that we would have the baked brie as a starter, Captain Caveman basted the chicken and we headed over to Lukka for a cheeky glass of wine. Lots of people were there enjoying a Christmas dinner or drinks and the sun was shining. Unfortunately a dog fight broke out between Nips and a rival dog and nobody could stop it – a workman in a truck, 2 shop owners and the bar man all tried and still the dogs would not stop! People eating dinner weren’t impressed and I sent someone to pull the dogs apart but unfortunately they got bit and came back to the bar bleeding badly. Luckily Captain Caveman had some Newskin at home and I went to get it while the bar owner, Mehmet, poured his best vodka on to the wound. I did well to manage to not faint at the blood and went to get a photo of the dog to report it to the shelter people so they could collect Nips and get him neutered.
Back home I cooked the prawns as another starter and popped the chestnuts and red cabbage on. Captain Caveman had done us a gluten free alternative to pigs in blankets which were dates stuffed with cheese and wrapped in American style bacon, which turned out to be the highlight of the day!
I enjoyed the Christmas dinner and the chicken was so tasty that I had to have more.
Our Aussie friends were arriving about 11pm but we were already done in, even though I’d only had one glass of wine with my Christmas meal and we never did open the prosecco which Captain Caveman had purchased for us. We let them know we would see them the next day and went to bed early leaving them to check in to Dalyance hotel.

Dalyan – Christmas Eve

Dalyan – Christmas Eve

Tuesday 24th December, or Christmas Eve to many of you, started with a bacon and mushroom gluten free sandwich and an earl grey tea at home. Captain Caveman was still on a mission to finish as many jobs as possible and had also started to pile up all his belongings on the floor in the spare room, ready for packing or storing – he still had to dismantle two bicycles ready to be stored under the new bed, once it arrived in January. We were also meant to be joining some Dalyan Dwellers on the sunshine bus for an afternoon on the beach but everyone was watching the weather to see if we would take Plan B instead.
While other buses went ahead as planned our one decided to cancel and head to the local boozer instead. At 1pm we downed tools, grabbed some snacks and headed to Lukka bar where I had a cheeky cider and Captain Caveman had an Efes Malt. Maddie had to work at Dalyance at 3pm so we all decided to go with her and I had wine and we decided to order food. On first glance the lunch menu at Dalyance is certainly a gluten free person’s nemesis but the staff and chef get the requests easily and can adapt the dishes. I had an amazing steak wrap (without the wrap) and chips which basically came as a huge pile of steak strips, onion, peppers, salad and sweetcorn and it was really tasty. After Dalyance, four of us went to River House for dinner where I had garlic mushrooms and chicken risotto with wine, the others had lamb dishes which looked impressive.
To finish off our evening we had one more drink in Mustang bar (I had the obligatory Bailey’s and some crisps). Sarah was really enjoying herself and so we left her there talking to some friends and trying to stop a small dog from being ‘raped’ by the huge lion-faced dog who was persistent with her.
It was a good day but I was tired and we had to be up early on Christmas day!

Dalyan – Christmas Eve eve

Dalyan – Christmas Eve eve

Christmas Eve Eve can often be more festive than Christmas itself but nothing had prepared me for the level of excitement I would endure on Monday 23rd December! There was no time for wasting on meals, so I had toast with butter for breakfast and just some chestnuts for lunch, as Captain Caveman and I got on with DIY and house stuff because he had only 5 days left until he headed home to Vietnam. In the evening Sarah needed our help with a pompom rug that had now become urgent but, for those of you who know me well, I hate anything even remotely arts and crafts! We went to Jiks in the rain to meet her and get a drink and dinner – I had steak (the first I’ve had there) as I was starving and it was good. Once we had eaten Captain Caveman calculated the size of the rug and I was dragged in to tying pompoms on to the matting while she made more. As if the task couldn’t have been any more painful but then a woman, who Sarah knew, came to check what we were doing and tell me I was doing it wrong! If the rug wasn’t a Christmas present for Jamie I wouldn’t have helped but I knew she was struggling to finish on time. We left after that with it half done and leaving Sarah with the ‘helpful’ woman. We were looking forward to a nice and quiet Christmas Eve to be honest.

Dalyan – the weekend before Christmas

Dalyan – the weekend before Christmas

The weekend before Christmas was not festive for us here in Dalyan and the sun was mostly out despite it getting a bit colder in the evenings now.
On Friday 20th December Captain Caveman, Sarah and I set off nice and early for a shopping trip in Ortaca and Fethiye where we bought stuff for the apartment, including a bargain rug from Madame Coco and some dye to change the colour of some of our beige and pale blue throws. There was a great place called English Home which we got new sofa throws from and I noticed there was a cinema.
We had a treat for lunch with a KFC (I took the batter and skin off) which I really enjoyed – especially the huge tub of sweetcorn.
In the evening we had drinks at Lukka, Jiks and then a meal at China Town. I’ve not been this year because even though they do gluten free food I’ve been ill from food there in the past. I had chicken tikka, Captain Caveman had a biryani and Sarah had 2 chinese dishes. It tasted good but wasn’t as good as Spice Garden and it was cold and draughty sat near the window.

On Saturday (21st December) I was still suffering with a bad back and so Captain Caveman went dogging without me and I went to Sarah’s and then to a friend’s house to collect some unwanted books – I got plenty and now we have a good stash ready for our rental guests when they come. Captain Caveman and I went to Jiks where I had a chicken casserole for a late lunch and Sarah came to join us.
In the evening I had a bad stomach and so we stayed in and had an early night. We also thought it was our anniversary but it turns out it was a day later.

We woke up and congratulated each other (again) on our 8 year anniversary on Sunday 22nd December. Captain Caveman made me a gluten free bacon sandwich and I also had some chestnuts and Turkish delight as a top up when I got peckish.
We met Maddie, who’s family was visiting, and had our first lunch (this year) at Heybe’s. My jacket potato with bolognese and cheese was excellent and Captain Caveman enjoyed his Sunday lunch before I left them to it and headed off for another back massage at BC Spa with Khatuna. I was tender afterwards and so we stayed in and Captain Caveman made us a lovely pasta dish with bacon and pesto – you could tell he’d found the ‘international’ shop.
We had promised Sarah who was desperate to get us to visit the Sky Lounge that we would go out and so we ventured for a couple of white russians – they were expensive but very good!

Dalyan – My top 20 places to eat of 2019

Dalyan – My top 20 places to eat of 2019

As I’m no longer in Dalyan I can look back and rate the restaurants and cafes in and around the town to be some of the best – many people will say it’s hard to get a bad meal in Dalyan. So I’ve knocked up a list of my favourite 20 (more difficult than I thought it would be) based on the following criteria: price, quality, service, staff, choice, food, location, cleanliness, views, toilet facilities and if able to eat a gluten free meal. I’ve not put them in any particular order as it would be impossible to rank these amazing places.

1. Lukka Bar – this place is great for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has various event evenings throughout the year which I enjoyed and the staff are very helpful. The bar is clean and the toilet facilities up to scratch. This place is everything you need whether you’re a local, expat or holiday maker.

2. Soul Kitchen – one of my absolute favourites for breakfast or a pre-dinner drink. Such a great welcoming cafe style eatery in a perfect location for a sunset. I cannot fault this place.

3. Ekin – an ideal place for breakfast by the water with lots of photo opportunities. It’s a car/taxi journey out of Dalyan but is worth the short journey. Service is quick and the food quality top notch.

4. Jiks – the lady who cooks here is fantastic, simple food made with love and always consistently good at great prices. Open all year too and ideal for any meal or drink.

5. Rendezvous – this place serves my all time favourite dish of crispy belly pork, has an excellent chef who will cater for dietary requirements and has a clean modern look that is welcoming. It’s also open all year round too and is ideal for dinner.

6. River House – I discovered this to be one of the best places this year as it’s a new one. The risotto is fantastic, the staff friendly, service excellent and they do a lovely carafe of wine. Open all year round and with views of the river it gets my vote!

7. Kordon – the owner here will go out of his way to meet dietary requirements for any meal and is really welcoming. The food is superb and choice vast, my favourites are the steak, chicken shish and the side of beetroot. The location by the river is great and it’s also open all year round.

8. Yakamoz – the location of eating by the river with views of the tombs takes some beating. The steak and salads are of the best I’ve eaten in Dalyan and I love the relaxed way of the staff there. The toilets are good and the food quality and choice is high. My favourite for a lunch or early dinner during the spring and summer season.

9. Backyard No9 – this amazed me and has probably the best WC in Dalyan. While the food has limited gluten free choices the drinks and location make up for it. It has a relaxing garden for warm days and nights or a small cozy indoor restaurant for colder months. The staff are lovely too.

10. Bistro Blue – a firm favourite for our whole family we visit this place for breakfast, lunch, dinner, just drinks or to throw some shapes to the fab music. The owners and staff are warm and welcoming and the cocktails and food choices are of the best in town.

11. Ramazan Han – in my opinion this is the best place in Dalyan for steak! I also love their garlic king prawns and the aubergine dishes. Choice is plentiful, it gets busy in summer so book for dinner or get in early.

12. Bistro Clou – ideal for lunch and while the location is next to a carpark the delicious food soon makes you forget the view. I love the mezzes here and the specials board usually has good, reasonably priced options on.

13. Adilan – ideal for lunch or dinner and the owner’s recommendations for food or drinks are always spot on. The jacket potato which accompanies some dishes is fantastic and the prices here are reasonable for good quality. Always a favourite of mine and not open in the winter.

14. Serendip – if you would like to try something a bit different then this cafe is a welcome addition to Dalyan. The homemade vegetarian menu is amazing and the wine is excellent. I was very impressed with the mixed mezze plate and the cheeseboard.

15. Okyanus – this year I think this place has improved so much. It’s a great location, next to the river and its traditional Turkish food is delicious. Ideal for lunch time drinks with friends too.

16. Yummy’s – the owner has a really great way about her and is passionate about what is served to your plate. I liked the breakfasts and the salads the best but be warned, the portions are big!

17. Caunos Antic – I only got to try this place once before it closed but the dinner we had with family was excellent. Ideal for dinner and the starters were particularly tasty as well as the staff being really efficient and attentive.

18. M-Eatery – this is not the cheapest place in town but you certainly get what you pay for. The food choice and quality is good, allergies can be accommodated easily and they have funky crockery too. The toilet is great and the wine list ideal.

19. Yener’s Place – the best gluten free pizza in town! Nothing is too much trouble for dietary requirements and they will be very thorough with your order. All of the food is good and the service excellent.

20. Bakery No10 – this place has been my saviour this year. The only decent gluten free bread I have ever had in Turkey!! The owner is an amazing baker and her cakes are out of this world delicious. She also does normal homemade bread and cakes too.

Of course these are just my top 20, I could go on but I won’t. This year I had a list which I didn’t even finish in 4 months (and I eat out a lot) so maybe take a chance and try some you’ve not been to before.

Dalyan – the 3rd week in December

Dalyan – the 3rd week in December

We had decided to hold a movie night on Monday 16th December so we had the man round to fix the TV to the wall – I couldn’t watch I was so nervous he would drop it. Captain Caveman went to beer club and I found myself locked in. I was due at the hairdresser’s when I had a funny feeling to check the work of the same handyman, who had put netting on the gate/door to stop the street cats coming up the stairs. He’d only attached it to the inside so that I couldn’t open it and so I had to have Captain Caveman come back to open it from the outside!
I had my hair done by the lovely Emrah then I chose the movie for later. We would watch 6 Underground on Netflix and Sarah was invited round for a roast chicken dinner, cooked by Captain Caveman. The film was good and we all enjoyed it with a few glasses of wine.

We had breakfast at Gölbaşı on Tuesday 17th December and it was the first time Captain Caveman had been and my first breakfast there – it was impressive. We then drove to Dalaman and for lunch we called in to the prison. This time I ordered döner meat with normal rice and salad while Captain Caveman had an egg pide. For the 2 of us with drinks it came to about £6 and the food and service is so good.
We did a bit of shopping in Ortaca before heading back home where we stayed in and had leftover chicken with salad for dinner.

It was hard to believe that Christmas day was only a week away as we got up early for dogging on Wednesday 18th December. It was a good day and I had a massage in the afternoon at BC Spa because I had pulled a muscle and was a bit sore. In the evening we met up with Sarah for a trip to Balıkcım, I don’t usually eat fish but I plumped for a filleted sea bream and it was very nice. Captain Caveman went for meatballs and he enjoyed them, as well as us sharing the mezzes and wine.

While Captain Caveman was fit enough for bumming, on Thursday 19th December, I was back in BC spa being pummeled to within an inch of my life. Khatuna, the masseuse, also identified the problem area and told me I wasn’t drinking enough water – I knew that already!
In the afternoon we were booked in for a pedicure with my Dalyan friend, Vanessa, and we had a good nattter, matching polish and a cheeky drink in Jiks. Captain Caveman and I also stayed in Jiks for dinner (well, it would be rude not to and we hadn’t much in at home). It was good to see Vanessa as I’d not seen that much of her this year and she was off back home for Christmas.
We had a relatively tame evening as we had a full day of it booked in for the next day as well as a busy weekend!

Dalyan – the 2nd weekend in December

Dalyan – the 2nd weekend in December

I really enjoyed my sourdough with cheese spread for breakfast on Saturday 14th December before we headed off for a spot of dogging in the rain! By the time we finished walking the dogs I was absolutely soaked – Captain Caveman had his waterproofs on so was fine.
Back home I had a cheese sandwich for lunch and we went to the market for fresh produce in a bit of a downpour. I’d seen a TV for sale on a local Facebook page so we decided to go to look at it but it was a bit out of Dalyan and the seller wasn’t able to accurately describe where his house was. By the time we eventually tracked him down there was a massive storm and we had been past about 6 times.
When we got home we unpacked our exciting new TV only to find that they hadn’t given us the instructions and the remote so Captain Caveman had to go back! I took photos of the old one and got it advertised only to have a potential buyer booked in for the next morning at 10am. We celebrated with a glass of wine and arranged for a handyman to come put it on the wall on Monday. We ate a spaghetti bolognese at home and then went to meet Sarah at Jazz bar, where Captain Caveman nodded off while the band was on and we were chatting.

It was the winter fayre at Köyceğiz on Sunday 15th December and I had agreed to join Sarah on Captain Boris’s boat trip while Captain Caveman used his new drill on some erections and the DIY IKEA assembling.
The boat trip was great, cold at first but then the sun came out and by lunchtime it was t-shirt weather again. We had a lunch by the river followed by a glass of wine at a bar. Of course we had a mooch around the fayre but I only bought a jar of cranberry sauce while Sarah got herself a new hat.
There was rather a lot of mulled wine left so Sarah and I ended up a bit sloshed, met Captain Caveman in Lukka for a drink where Maddie and Bianca joined us before we all trotted off for a lovely dinner at Rendezvous – I just love the crispy belly pork there (served gluten free style).

Dalyan – a short trip to Izmir and Ephesus

Dalyan – a short trip to Izmir and Ephesus

Having said goodbye to Lexi the previous evening we were still up early on Wednesday 11th December to set off for our little roadtrip to Izmir and Ephesus just for a couple of days. Armed with a list of IKEA items Captain Caveman drove from Dalyan towards Izmir but neither of us had eaten breakfast so had to stop for a snack on the way. We lunched at IKEA after a massive walk round the place – I hate shopping! The food was very cheap but the beef meatballs had gluten in so I spent a lot more time than I would have liked in the loo and have decided I’m not a fan of the square toilet seat. We managed to buy a boot and a backseat full of IKEA stuff before going to Emen hotel in Izmir. It was really lovely and in the evening we ate at a small Turkish restaurant round the corner where I had lentil soup, salad and a chicken shish. We didn’t even have any alcohol that day!

On Thursday 12th December we skipped the hotel breakfast and headed towards Ephesus calling for a pitstop on the way, as well as stopping off to buy Captain Caveman a multipocketed waistcoat (for aeroplane travel when he has limited luggage allowance), and a drill. Ephesus was great and we could have spent more time there had we not got there quite late. In the evening we stayed in a cute little B&B in Selçuk (called Nica) where all eating establishments appeared to be closed so we ended up back at the restaurant next door where we enjoyed a feast!

Before we drove back to Dalyan on Friday 13th December (we had to get the car back by 5pm) we had a leisurely breakfast of cheese, jam, honey and olives for me then went to visit the museum a few doors down the street. It was impressive but the weather wasn’t great and we decided to head back early. On the way back we bought some groceries including some gluten free sourdough from a bigger Migros supermarket than we have in Dalyan. I ate some with cheese spread as soon as we got home and then got ready for another birthday night out. The guy from Dalyan Window Cleaning and the apartment cleaners had been in while we were away and the place looked really nice. Captain Caveman had to unload the car in the rain but then he decided to keep the car for another week. We met Maddie and Bianca in Lukka before heading to Spice Garden for dinner. The buffet wasn’t on so we ordered from the normal menu and it actually worked out cheaper and it was a great night.