On Wednesday 20th April I wandered in to town ready for my Turkish lesson at noon and really enjoyed the class again. It was certainly a sign that the holiday makers were back in Dalyan because on the way to town I passed 2 shirtless fellas – it wasn’t that warm! After our class, Vanessa and I went to Okyanus for lunch, it’s becoming one of our favourite places to eat and drink on account of the nice people who work there and the good value for money on their menu. I had a chicken wrap, Vanessa had a tuna sandwich and we both enjoyed a good meal. Mark and Kate were already back from a trip to Ortaca so Kate came to join us at Okyanus. We had more drink, while Kate ate some food and then we went to join Mark, Matt and the rest of the pool group at Retro bar. It’s becoming one of my favourite bars in town on account of the music playlists the owner, Nazim, has playing – it lives up to the name. That evening a group of us went to the Four Seasons restaurant to eat dinner, we’d not been there for a few years. The prices of steaks were easily double what I had paid on the last time I ate a steak at a restaurant in Dalyan but I really fancied one. I had the mushroom soup to start and a plain steak for main and couldn’t fault it. My meal with 2 glasses of red wine came to 400 lira (£22) and was one of the nicest meals I have had recently. My fellow diners really enjoyed the prawns and stuffed mushroom starters and the mains were excellent too; beef fajitas, chicken curry, mixed casserole, and onion steak. There was even a complimentary cheesecake for us to try which we could only just manage on account of being too full. Our waiter happened to be the painter who had decorated my parents’ place, and he and the other staff were very good. We ended up having a great night and even had a dance to Pitbull before we left. I decided to sleep at my parents’ apartment that night so I didn’t need to cycle or get a taxi back to Mark and Kate’s.
I had a fairly quiet day on Thursday 21st April; I was back at Mark and Kate’s around lunch time and plopped myself at my laptop for the afternoon. I had arranged to meet Maddie and the rest of the gang for a bit of a welcome back drink at Tez bar from 6pm. Mark and Kate were staying in so I borrowed Mark’s electric bicycle to get there quicker. It was good to see Maddie, who was back for nearly 3 months, Tez bar was mega busy with everyone who had come to welcome her back, which was nice. I only had a couple of drinks before heading back to my temporary home. Tomorrow I was off on a trip to Fethiye with family and friends – I was definitely looking forward to a change of scenery.
Tuesday 19th April started with me catching up on some laptop related tasks and eating Christmas cake for breakfast. The fruitcake was really good and I was really pleased to have been given a whole one to myself – Kate does make a great fruitcake. At noon I met up with Vanessa and we went to zumba class which was really good fun but a tad warm – we were convinced it was more difficult this week. For lunch I joined family at Firat’s and had a lovely meal with complimentary lavaş bread to start. My Chicken shish was really tasty and the lamb shish was praised by my fellow diners, as were the cheese rolls and I’d definitely go there again. The sun was out and the outdoor seating had a mix of shady and sunny spots which was nice. We managed to find some curtain hooks to buy loose in the ‘Turkish Quarter’, where the man at Terzi’s was really helpful.
Back at Mark and Kate’s I joined them with a beer on the jetty to watch the sun go down, the sky was beautiful and the views of the river were amazing.
Kate had arranged a boat trip on Monday 18th April with Mehmet Özalp. Mark, Kate, their 2 friends and I got picked up from the jetty after Mehmet had already picked the others up in Dalyan. We had a hot drink and met both familiar and new faces as we sailed out to sea on what was a warm, but fairly cloudy, morning. The sea was not as choppy as recent trips had been and I was getting used to not getting seasick by looking at the horizon. By noon the sun was out, we were anchored up so Vanessa, Kate and I got in the sea. It was chilly but bearable and fine once we were in. I quite enjoyed swimming and was finding my bad leg was working much better than it had been. when I got out of the sea I noticed one of my bracelets had worn out and was broken. I was rather upset by this as it had been a gift from friends Hoa and Phil, in Sapa, who I had not been able to see for a while now – unfortunately it had to go in the bin. Mehmet provided a delicious lunch which even included prawns and there was enough for seconds for those who wanted it. We changed location and we had more swimming after lunch and more wine. After a glorious day I got off at the jetty with Mark, Kate, their 2 friends and a bag of crabs! That night we had a chilled evening and I was glad of a relatively early night.
On Saturday 16th April I got up fairly early and went out to the market. First, I cycled over to my parents’, put some of my stuff away and went to make up the spare bed so I could stay there when I needed to. Bluey2 was doing really well cycling on the Dalyan roads now and I was enjoying being able to ride about like a local. I was in a rush at the Dalyan market today because I’d planned to meet Jamie for lunch but I bumped in to quite a few friends and got talking. In the end I bought just a few bits and went back to my mom’s to put stuff in the fridge. I met Jamie at Porta Dalya where he was nursing a hangover after a boat trip with Turgay yesterday, who also rocked up to say a quick hello. The restaurant had no pasta left so Jamie had a pizza and I had chicken breast and chips which was tasty but it wasn’t our favourite chicken alfredo. It was good to see Jamie back in town and have a brief catch up but we both had prior engagements to attend in the afternoon. I met Vanessa, Jackie and Tracey at Rehab bar and the usual pool games were underway. When everyone had gone I sat and had a good chat with Jackie and Chris, we had more drinks and then found ourselves going for a bit of an impromptu dinner at River House. At River House Chris ordered liver and onions, Jackie had the chicken with almonds and I had chicken with halloumi. Jackie and I also shared a carafe of white wine, the food and wine was reasonably priced and we all enjoyed it. Kate messaged to tell me she had made me a treat and wanted to know if I was coming back to their’s. Not wanting to miss out on anything, and while it was still daylight, I set off on Bluey2 and just made it to Mark and Kate’s as it went dark. I was excited to find that Kate had made proper Cornish pasties which were fantastic, she’d made me some curry paste too and had got the fruit soaking in readiness for Christmas cake making tomorrow.
I decided to cycle Bluey2 to town on the morning of Sunday 17th April. Kate was up and about early with her usual routine of cats and plants, Mark was still in bed. I had more visitors to Dalyan who had brought me some treats out which I was very grateful for; Yorkshire tea, a bottle of Silent Pool Gin and some slow cooker sachets. The day started with us going out to get some milk at about 2pm. Having waited ages for the washing machine to stop and it didn’t, we left it and went for a late lunch with wine at Bistro Blue. It had only recently opened for the season so it was nice to see Selahı and Annie again. I had the beef fajita wrap, my fellow diners had the warm liver and onion salad and we all had a couple of glasses of wine. Next we went to River Terrace where we had beers and one of the party got confused when returning from the toilet and couldn’t find her way out to the bar. She ended up slipping out the back exit and walking round on the road, which made for much amusement for the rest of us. Mark and Kate came to join us and we decided to go to Yener’s Place for dinner. I stuck to beer as the wine was very pricey at 370 lira (£20) for a bottle of red wine, but the food wasn’t bad. I couldn’t eat all my İskender kebab so took half home, the others had casserole, beef fajitas, lamb shank and chicken with pineapple. It was a lovely night and I appreciated Kate making the effort to come out to meet my visitors as they had not yet met. By 10.30pm Mark, Kate and I were back at their house where Kate had made 4 Christmas cakes. She gave me one which was really kind and meant Mark wouldn’t have to be mardy about me eating any of his.
It was all go on Thursday 14th April; I was awake at 7.30am, Captain Caveman had a friend staying at his apartment, my parents don’t have WiFi yet so I had temporarily moved back to Mark and Kate’s house. The sun was out and it was Easter weekend so things were busying up in Dalyan now. Before 10am I had booked our lodger a taxi, discussed ingredients of a recipe with Kate, borrowed a bicycle pump from Mark and walked home, while noticing that Alegria restaurant was back open. When I got home I tried to pump up Bluey2’s tyres but the pump broke meaning I would have to walk today. I was moving all my stuff that I couldn’t leave in a cupboard at Captain Caveman’s to my parents’ place so that I could stay there when I didn’t need to use a strong internet connection. I packed up lots of things, including the entire contents of the fridge freezer. I had pasta for breakfast then walked all my stuff over to my parents’ in the hot sun. The pool guy was there cleaning their pool ready to fill it up with water. By 5pm, I took the last of my stuff to my parents’ place and I was off to meet Debbie (Darling) and Sarah at Sofra bar ‘for one’. When I returned to pick up Bluey2, Mark had already stopped by while I was out and pumped up my tyres with another pump. I went to the bank to get money from my English card and there was a lot of people complaining that the bank wouldn’t let them use their foreign cards, mine wouldn’t work either. For some, the limit per day to withdraw from our Turkish banks had been reduced to only 300 lira (£16) which was pretty low and concerning. After a couple of pints of draught lager, I made it back to Mark and Kate’s. It was just before dark and I saw a dog waiting outside the gate. He looked like he wanted to be friends, possibly with the cats. There was also a stork in the garden which had recently been soaked with the hosepipe. We had some red wine and Mark prepared us a cheese platter for a late dinner.
I woke up coughing on Friday 15th April and thought I may have Corona. I did a test and waited for the result with a nice cup of Yorkshire tea. I had some strawberries with yoghurt for breakfast and got a message from Ann to say she had some symptoms but was negative. My results also came back negative and I went to go about my day, I was using the spare room as my office. For lunch I had a crisp sandwich and then helped Mark with a tree he was trimming. He was using a saw on a palm tree and making it look like hard work. I found 2 axes in the shed and suggested we used those instead. Later I sat in the garden with a beer and enjoyed the afternoon sunshine.
Unfortunately Louisa, Linda and Alex were going home on the evening of Wednesday 13th April. We’d made a plan that we would meet for lunch after my Turkish class and then eat again before they got picked up for the airport at 7.15pm. While they spent the morning doing their packing, or trying to finish the last chapters of their books, I was also packing. We had a friend staying so I was packing my stuff up too, ready to move out for a week. Mark had kindly offered to change a light bulb at Sarah’s which she hadn’t been able to reach. He couldn’t remember where she lived so he called for me and we went over to her house. She was on a work conference call so we went straight to the bathroom where the bulb needed changing. When Mark got up the stepladder and started to take the bulb out from the second step, the light came on. I was washing the light fitting and drying it on kitchen roll laughing to myself. Mark changed the working bulb anyway, using a new one from a cupboard full of boxes of lightbulbs and we left. Neither of us could believe Sarah had been without a bathroom light for such a long time when it was so easily sorted! I went to Turkish class which went well as we were practicing conversation. When we finished at 1.30pm, the plans to meet for lunch had changed as my friends had already had lahmacun from Kebapçı Yusuf for lunch. I was really hungry and had not had any breakfast so I took up Vanessa’s offer of lunch at Jiks. I had a chicken pizza and it was really nice but rather filling. After, I met Louisa, Linda and Alex who wanted to go to Lukka bar so that Alex could play pool. I played pool first while the ladies read their books then Linda had a game while I drank cherry juice. At 4.30pm my friends were hungry and fancied getting an early dinner. We opted for a last Turkish meal at Çağrı where I was too full for anything other than chicken soup. Louisa had a lamb wrap, Alex a chicken shish and Linda a tuna salad. The food was nice and I really enjoyed my soup. The car to the airport came at 7.15pm and we all said our goodbyes, hoping they would be able to come visit again. That night, I went over to Mark and Kate’s and I had a relatively early night. JC, the cat, was pleased to see me and was the only cat in when I went to bed.
It was the last full day and night of Louisa, Linda and Alex being in Dalyan, on Tuesday 12th April. The pool was still dirty, a bit smelly and not fit to sit around, or go in, so I’d arranged for us to go to Hotel Dalyance. Sonuç had said we could use the pool and loungers for free so I had let Louisa know. Meanwhile, at Mark and Kate’s house we were all up and getting ready for a busy day. The first job was to go over to my parents’ place to put the curtains back up in the living area. Mark gave me a lift in his buggy and helped my parents out with a couple of jobs I couldn’t do. Once the curtains were up and the electric turned on, we carried the unwanted armchair down the stairs and put it with the unwanted curtains at the side of the bin. It was hot and I was inappropriately dressed in thick trousers. As soon as we put the armchair on the ground we both went to sit on it for a rest! I didn’t have my phone with me but I insisted on Mark taking photos of us in an armchair beside the communal bin for a laugh – another first for me! We felt the need to have a cheeky shandy at Jiks where we bumped in to Roy and his mate Kev. We just had the one as Mark had to go shopping and I had to get to Hotel Dalyance. When I arrived, Louisa was on a chair beside the pool, reading her book, Linda and Alex were over the other side of the pool on the sun loungers. I was hungry and was looking forward to our lunch today. I decided to try a Turkish dish which I’d not had before called Içli köfte. They are bulgar wheat dumplings filled with mince and herbs and were very nice. After a few hours of very hot sun, Linda and Alex went back to the apartment but Louisa was keen to stay and relax longer. We had a special cocktail made by Sonuç which was milk based. He’s better at fruit ones but Louisa had reacted to orange juice earlier so we went for this one. On the way back I suggested a drink in the sun at Okyanus or Tez bar, before we went to get ready, and Louisa said she would meet me in 5 minutes. Kate was at Tez bar as we walked past and was cold so she asked me to lend her leggings and a jumper. I dropped my bag off, got a warm top and the clothes for Kate then went to Tez’s. Unfortunately Louisa didn’t return straight away and decided to have a shower and come out as a group. This meant I hadn’t been to have a shower and was still on my first drink but sat with Mark and Kate, when they arrived. I’d already arranged to meet people at the Rum Bar at 7.30pm to celebrate Louisa’s last night but my friends wanted to go for a meal first. They didn’t fancy joining me at Tez bar as they were already hungry so I said I would meet them at Kordon restaurant, next door to the Rum bar, when I had finished my drink. The lady selling flowers came round and persuaded Mark to buy a rose for Kate and then she gave me a free one, which was sweet of her. Kate went on ahead to meet her friend at the Rum bar, Mark and I finished our drinks and paid. As we were walking down the river, Mark pushing his bike, and me carrying my rose, it was getting a bit chilly. Mark went on to Rum bar and I said to let everyone know we were running late and had gone to eat. We received a warm welcome from Muharrem at Kordon, not least because there was a fire on inside and it was very toasty. I enquired about the giant prawns and found out that they were 650 lira (£34) for 3 so I didn’t bother. Linda and Alex decided to have a whole fish each, Louisa had lamb and I had hummus, mushrooms and beetroot as a main course. The food was lovely and we went to the Rum bar after where Mark, Kate, Sue, Ann, Debbie (Darling), Roy, Kev, Ali, Cheryl and Sarah were already waiting for us. Linda and Alex didn’t stay long and most of my friends were a bit worse for wear. We had some nice cocktails but, after Louisa got insulted by one of my merry mates, I needed to get involved in making sure Fikri’s taxis were ordered. At the end of the night, Louisa and I joined Mark, Kate and Cheryl at Sofra bar and we ended up having a sing song while Davut, the bar man, laughed at us. It was about 2am when Louisa and I got in, we’d left the others singing Meatloaf songs in Sofra.
When I woke up on Monday 11th April it looked like rain and I hoped it wouldn’t hinder today’s planned outing. I’d booked Louisa, Linda, Alex and I on Thomas’s boat to Köyceğiz as it was market day. The return journey is 150 lira which isn’t cheap for locals but for the English visitors it is quite a bargain. Luckily we wore warm clothing for the journey as it was very cold and windy. We even had to turn the boat around to pick up cushions which blew in to the sea, twice! When we arrived in Köyceğiz my friends were hungry and asked if we could find somewhere for lunch that was in the sun. Initially we sat at a table outside, overlooking the lake, but we had to move in to the sheltered seating. Louisa had a chicken dish, Linda egg on toast and chips, Alex had a chicken sandwich and I had a chicken quesadilla which was massive so I had leftovers. We had a walk around the market and a few shops but I didn’t buy anything. On the way back it was cold again and I fell asleep due to being up until 4am on the previous evening. We met back up at Lukka bar where I paid our Friday night bill as well as the bill for soft drinks after my comedy night in January. That evening, a request to try Kebapçı Yusuf again was taken up and this time they had lamb shish available. I had chicken shish and a glass of red wine but was too full to manage a dessert. The others were going to have the same dessert again but there was none left. Linda took Alex to the bakery to get some cookies and baklava which didn’t all make it back to the apartment. After eating, everyone was ready for an early night and so we all went back home. As is often the case for me, it wouldn’t be that simple on a Monday! Mark and Kate had been out at River Terrace and Sofra and had invited us to join them but I’d declined due to having a 14 year old boy and nannan with us. When I got in, Mark and Kate had gone home but Kate had messaged to say she had left her bag at Sofra with all her baking ingredients in. She was making me a Christmas cake and asked me to pick up the bag, and that Şükrü knew about the bag. I got Fikri’s taxi, it was only about 8.30pm, and we went to Sofra bar. I asked Şükrü for Kate’s bag and he said he had already told Kate that Mark had the bag, I got back in the taxi and went to Mark and Kate’s. When I got there the ‘missing’ bag was outside, by the front door! The night continued with wine for Mark and I, Kate was having some strange blackcurrant liqueur and then started on the Bailey’s. She had a new Tequila board which she had acquired from their recent trip to England, so we all had a shot or two, just to try it out. I stayed over as we were up late, I wasn’t drunk but I knew I had to be up early tomorrow as I had a lot of jobs to do.
I decided I needed to redeem myself somewhat with Linda and Alex on Sunday 10th April. Having ruined yesterday’s plans to enjoy a bit of history, by being hungover, I was on the case today. I’d already found a book to swap with Linda and I took that down to her. She’d already kept herself busy by doing a bit of tidying of the garden borders which were full of weeds and rubbish. We had decided that the 4 of us would get the little rowing boat to the other side of the river and take a walk to Kaunos. Linda had heard a little already about Kaunos so was keen to visit, I have been several times over the years but this would be my first time in over 2 years. It would also be the furthest I had walked since my leg injury which was 4 days less than 2 years ago. The rowing boat was 15 lira for a return trip and we were helped in to the boat. We walked along the path and called in to the cemetery where a family of donkeys were saying hello to the residents. We walked up the hill to Kaunos, by which time it was getting hot and I was glad to have my factor 50 suncream on. It cost 17.50 lira (less than £1) each to go in to the site, which is a bargain. Linda and Alex were very enthusiastic and went off to check out the ruins while Louisa and I took it a bit more steadily. I noticed there were more fences across parts of the ruins which had been accessible before. We bumped in to Maria and Co and I had a nice chat with them before going to the amphitheatre. More info about Kaunos is on this link: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaunos I sometimes forget that Dalyan is a small town so I was surprised when we got a hello and a comment from other sightseers who had seen us in Lukka on Friday night. After a couple of hours we were ready to go back and grab a bite to eat at one of the pancake cafes. We didn’t bother walking to the tombs on account of the terrain being too rough for my leg and it now being extremely hot. At the cafe it was cooler in the shade, I had a tea and chips but the others had pancakes with sugar. We took the rowing boat back and I went to collect my parents’ keys from Lukka bar. Appo was there to tell me that we hadn’t paid our bill on Friday night and produced a receipt with Mark, Kate and Jo written on it. I was in a rush as the blind man had turned up a day early at my parents’ place and I needed to let him in.
I did my best to explain, without any WiFi access, that they weren’t straight but he was having none of it and they didn’t get put up correctly. He said it was because the windows themselves were wonky, which they were. After the blind man had left I went to join Louisa, Linda and Alex who had found themselves a table outside 2 Charlie’s bar and were having a shandy. I had just poured mine when I got a call from Mehmet to ask me for the keys back because the painter was coming. I left my shandy and went back to my parents’ as Danny had come to let me know some info about the bathroom ceiling. He spoke good English and was explaining about the leak and why the ceiling still looked patchy. It was very hot and I was persuaded to have a lift back to the bar on the back of Danny’s motorbike. Obviously I happened to see lots of people and when asked who the young man who had dropped me off was I replied that I didn’t know his name – I was old enough to be his mom so that would give people something to gossip about! After a couple of shandies we decided to head back home and we would go out for dinner later. Linda had suggested we go somewhere for fish and went back with Alex to get ready while Louisa and I joined some of the gang at Sofra bar for a drink.
Kate and Mark both recommended Balıkcim, also a favourite of my mom’s, so when Linda returned she was without Alex as he was worn out and resting. The 3 of us left everyone and went to Balıkcim where the food was so good that I forgot to take any decent photos. I had şakşuka and beetroot as my meze starters, we got bread and both Louisa and I ordered the prawns in garlic butter. Linda ordered a fish and the food was very good, washed down with a glass of wine for Linda and I. Louisa had a rather strong vodka and coke which lead us two to stay out out after the meal. Linda went back to the apartment to keep an eye on Alex while Louisa and I joined Mark back at Sofra.