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!

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