Dalyan – Top 10 things I will miss the most

Dalyan – Top 10 things I will miss the most

A friend kindly pointed out that when I left Dalyan, after a 36 week and 3 day stay, that there was probably a lot I would miss. Here’s my list of what I think I will miss the most:

1. People – obviously I’m going to miss my family and friends. This visit has also meant I’ve been lucky enough to meet up with both old and new friends. I’ve been so grateful to meet some very special people who I love spending time with. I will particularly miss the banter and jokes that I can have with friends in Dalyan, it’s hard to find that same sense of humour when I’m away.

2. Independence – it’s going to be tricky having to get used to fitting to Captain Caveman’s schedule again. I’ve had 8.5 months of being able to do what I choose to do, when I want so it will take some adjusting to.

3. Boat trips – I’d been doing a few per month so it was going to be hard not to be enjoying all the lovely boat trips and swimming in the turquoise water.

4. Food – of course I will miss the massive choice of food available in Dalyan. Not having an oven in Phong Nha will take some getting used to. I was also going to miss Kate’s fruitcake and the fresh bread for only 3 lira a loaf at the local bakery.

5. Speaking the lingo – I’d made a bit of progress learning the Turkish language and was beginning to like being able to make myself understood. Despite having kept up some Vietnamese practice on Duolingo no one in Phong Nha understands a word of my Vietnamese, and never has.

6. The dry heat – although I’m not good in high temperatures I find it much easier in Turkey with the dry heat than the humidity of Vietnam.

7. Booze – in Dalyan there is so much opportunity and choice where alcohol is concerned. Going to a bar to drink or to someone’s house for a wine or two is no problem and mostly within walking distance. There’s never a day goes by without an invite to something involving a drink.

8. Supermarkets and shops – I’m not much of a shopper but I will certainly miss being able to walk or cycle to a supermarket, pharmacy or shop to buy essentials.

9. Exercise classes – I’m going to miss being able to go to Zumba and Pilates every week as I’ve really enjoyed how they had benefited my bad leg.

10. Transport – I’ve been spoiled by being able to use Mark and Kate’s electric bikes, I will certainly miss being able to whizz about with assisted pedalling when it’s hot or hilly. It’s also easy to go out and about with a taxi or a bus to a nearby place in Dalyan. It’s not as simple or as affordable as that in Phong Nha so it means relying on lifts and other people.

Dalyan – 2nd June

Dalyan – 2nd June

It was my last full day and night in Dalyan on Thursday 2nd June and I wasn’t at all ready to leave. I was obviously looking forward to seeing Captain Caveman again, after 257 days apart, and was keen to find out what he had planned for when I arrived. Captain Caveman is a good planner but a man of very few words so he was keeping anything he did have in mind to himself. He did send me a photo of the place we would be staying at when I landed in Ho Chi Minh City. I was pleased it looked like the monsoon rains there were subsiding a bit and it was mainly happening in the afternoons.
Here, in Dalyan, it was a lovely sunny day and definitely bikinis and pool weather. Our complex was full of holiday makers in or around the pool and it was the first time I’d seen it busy.
At lunch it was time for my next leaving ‘celebration’ as I’d been invited out to Hotel Dalyance. Angela had organised for us to have a little gathering with Nick, Maddie and Lyndsey as they were unable to make my party that evening. I met them at Casablanca hotel first and had a coke before we wandered round. I was tempted by the chicken and mushroom alfredo but was conscious I needed to not have a reaction to the creamy sauce so I ordered the beef wrap with chips. I was not disappointed as it was delicious and a very generous portion for a lunch time meal. Others did have the pasta dish, Lyndsey had an omelette and everything looked amazing too. I even had a glass of red wine with my food but found I couldn’t manage all of the beef wrap and took a doggy bag home. It was a lovely afternoon and I was going to miss my friends, we were already talking of reunions in September. Just before it was time to say bye, both Maddie and I had bad stomachs, as is often the case with the pair of us, so Nick had to drive Maddie home without me saying farewell. I cycled home but had to take some stomach medication to make sure I was ok for tonight’s excitement. Kate had certainly pulled out all the stops with what she’d organised for my party tonight and I was looking forward to seeing everyone! By 5pm I was not any closer to being packed for my departure to Vietnam. The apartment now looked like a bomb had hit it and there were various half filled boxes all over the place. It was hot and I had a dodgy stomach so I had a little rest and lots of water before setting off for my leaving celebrations. I still had all day tomorrow to sort everything out and get packed – loads of time, what could possibly go wrong!!?

I had to cycle Bluey2 to Kaan’s Tequila boat, the venue for my final leaving party at 6.30pm. Kaan helped me on board as the promenade had not been finished and it was a bit of a to do to access the boats. He was also a bit worried that we had too many people as I think Kate had almost 30 potential attendees at one point. As I got on, one of my friends was stressed and came straight over to me, he had to get off because his wife was at home, quite ill and they couldn’t make it, which was understandable. Sarah arrived and had her dog, Yaps, in tow. Kate is allergic to and not a fan of dogs so then I had to faff about several times taking Yaps off the boat, but she kept getting back on. Yaps didn’t understand when I told her she wasn’t invited, and the boat was already too full for her to come, she just wanted to stay with Sarah. Kate had made one of my favourites, lemon drizzle cake and buns, which she had put on the table for all to share. She had brought my delivery from Trendyol (an online shop) for something that had arrived just in time for Vietnam. Kate had also took the opportunity to invite Shiela to bring her accordion and guests had been encouraged to request some songs for her to play later. I was very happy, who gets a real life accordion player at their leaving do? It was certainly a new first for me and I was so pleased. Mark had kindly taken over dog watch at the back of the boat as he could see I was getting thirsty while we waited for some stragglers! We waited another 10 minutes after the departure time, until 6.40pm, as we were still missing a couple of people who had not shown up yet. As we had only booked Kaan and the Tequila boat for 2 hours, we wanted to make the most of our booze cruise. Kaan’s fridge was so fully stocked with everyone’s preferences that we were certainly on for a great trip.
Kaan was much happier that we had only 20 people on board; 4 had cancelled because it was a bit too busy for them, 2 no shows, 2 because of sickness, 1 had to work, and 1 decided to wait in Aşkın’s bar as we would be back by 8.30pm.

Kate and Kaan arranged for us to go to Jimmy’s island, I did a short speech to thank everyone for coming. I confessed I would miss everyone and that I was lucky to have had the chance to have spent so much time with such fantastic people. I was so surprised to see so many come to see me off (or make sure I left). I cut the cake and everyone had a slice or a bun, it was so delicious and perfectly moist. I played waitress for a few minutes, to help Kaan out and to make sure everyone had a full glass as we sailed along the river.  Mark told me he had a present for me but he hadn’t wanted to give it to me in front of everyone (oo-er, that would get the gossipers going)! Kate had even suggested it would be more convenient if I could get it tomorrow, at their place, instead and I wondered what it could be. They both signed a card with a cat on to give me and I would keep it in my diary, which Ann bought me (to remind me of Dalyan).
Kate had got her play list at the ready and had selected a relaxed stargazing selection which had worked well for her before.
Shiela got her accordion out and we went on to sing a variety of songs. It was mainly Kate and I who did the singing but it was good to see Nanny Kay joining in on the ones she knew from singing group. Ma & Pa joined in too and Adam was forced to get involved when it was time for his request. Shiela had been learning ‘Friggin’ in the Riggin” by the Sex Pistols all afternoon and did a pretty excellent job while Adam, some of the men and I gave it our best shot.
It was absolutely brilliant, Shiela played lots of great songs and we all loved it. When Mark questioned Kate’s choice of playlist, as Van Morrison crooned ‘Moondance’, she decided to turn it up a notch with her playlist, to party and dance mode.

The drinks flowed and we were positioned in a beautiful location at Jimmy’s island. Adam got off for a wander and found some donkeys and an English caravan club member to occupy him.
I’d asked Annie to take some photos which was fortuitous as I either forgot, or took terrible ones. As we danced well past 8.30pm I realised I had a party dress stuffed in my bag, as well as a bikini and a towel which didn’t get used. I managed to change without going to the toilet, not revealing anything inappropriate, and I tried to get as many drunken photos with everyone as I could. I missed a few people out though which was disappointing.
Kaan was amazing, and much to my astonishment, didn’t set off back to Dalyan until 10.30pm because no one had given him the instruction to. Of course, I’d had no WiFi while on the boat so the people who had gone to Aşkın’s for 8.30pm had either gone home without seeing me or were a bit peeved when I turned up a lot later than planned. In true leaving party fashion, I was hammered, so were most of us who made it out out! Matt, Mark and Kate were almost as plastered as me and were so funny at Aşkın’s. Adam and Kath were definitely merry on account of none of us having eaten a meal since lunch. Viv’s husband, Paul, was glad to see her and Nanny Kay were back safely and was happy we’d had an incredible time. Jamie was still there and I’m so glad I got to have a hug and a chat before I left, especially as I’d hardly seen him this visit. Even Gareth and Julie were still out with family so I got to say farewell to them too. Debbie (Darling) and Roy had waited as long as they could but I was very disappointed I wouldn’t get to see them one last time. When I went back to join Ma & Pa at the table, Matt was buying a T-shirt and was trying it on – he doesn’t usually do many boat trips so I was impressed and happy he had made it. I even said Vanessa should go away more often as Matt was on top form, being the life and soul of the party a few times.
We had more drinks at Aşkın’s then went on to Sofra bar, which I don’t remember an awful lot of. I do remember my parents, Matt and I thinking we were the lasts ones standing at Sofra bar and deciding to go to Sunset bar for a last drink. They set off walking and I went to get my bicycle to ride there. When I arrived they weren’t there and I suspected they had given me the slip, but I still rode back to Sofra to check. Luckily, Davut and Şükrü miss nothing and said they had walked down the left path towards home. Merrily I cycled back to Sunset bar where I had drinks with Annie. We finished the amazing night off with me playing gooseberry and drinking Amaretto until about 3.30am. Good old Bluey2 managed to get me home, somehow unscathed. I didn’t quite appreciate the fact that this would be my last chance to sleep in a bed, until Sunday night in Vietnam.

Photo credit – Annie Miller

Dalyan – 27th May

Dalyan – 27th May

On Friday 27th May I’d called Mark when I got in, at 4.30am, to check he hadn’t fallen in to a ditch on the way home and he’d been fine. Kate messaged me around 9am, asking if I had been out with Mark last night. He’d got in around 4.30am but was unable to tell her what happened as he had fallen asleep. I updated her on the goings on and, when I told her about my foot she was very helpful. She offered to bring painkillers and a dressing because today we were off out on a day trip, which Kate had organised. By the time I had showered and checked my cut toe I had received a message from Des which was simply a photo of him having a beer while waiting for his airport pick up with Fikri. I messaged Maddie to thank her again as she’d been worried about me going home alone and had offered to come over if I needed her to.

My parents came to call for me, as we were meeting at Kaan’s Tequila boat at 10.15am, but I could hardly walk. There was spots of blood on the apartment floor and my sandals were ruined. As I hobbled towards the boat I told my parents of last night’s shenanigans. It was going to be a long day, luckily I hadn’t drank much last night but I could only imagine how bad Mark must be feeling this morning!
On board Kaan’s Tequila boat we grabbed a hot drink on our way to pick up Mark and Kate from their jetty, then off to a calm little bay for swimming. Kate sorted out my foot and dressing so that I could get in the water for a swim at Hole Island and Kath lent me her pink crocs so I could do the steps easier. Brenda (from Barnsley) gave me some paracetamol and within 20 minutes the pain had eased. There were a couple of hiccups before lunch; Kate cut her foot on some rocks and Kaan had assumed today’s guests preferred Efes Malt to normal and there wasn’t going to be enough for everyone. Kate decided to swim over to the neighbouring boat and do some beer swaps so that there would be more of what everyone wanted. Kaan made us a lovely BBQ lunch and we had a really tasty meal followed by quite a few vodkas for me, Adam, Mark, Kate and Kaan. There was plenty of swim stops, Mark and Kaan even treated the ladies to a ‘diet coke ad’ type shower together, which none of us can ever unsee. It was an honour to be in such winning company; not only had Kate brought her medal to show everyone but another guest had brought her swimming t-shirt for when she took part in the recent swimming event from Iztuzu beach. Mark chose to model both the shirt and the medal and we all got to touch them!

In the afternoon Kate banged on her playlist and we had a good old dance. Linda was the best dancer of the day as, not only was she a great mover, her stamina was worthy of a medal. Despite my recent injury, I managed to dance, my parents had a good boogie too and it was such a lovely bunch of people. On the way back in to Dalyan we dropped Mark and Kate off at their jetty and they were definitely staying in tonight. After another amazing boat trip a few of us went to Tez bar for another drink. I had invited Kaan to join us but he was too busy getting ready for Tequila bar tonight and his next boat trip tomorrow.
I could see my parents may have been persuaded to be out out, as they chatted to Adam, Kath, Jill, Mark, and Linda but I was begging for mercy. All I needed was to stop walking/dancing on my cut foot and rest up a bit.
I hobbled home, had a shower and a bacon sandwich while watching some TV, but was in bed by 11pm. I even managed to sleep through the loud Jazz Bar noise.

Muğla area – 21st May

Muğla area – 21st May

What a day Saturday 21st May was!!!
The Muğla Chamber of Commerce and Business had invited lots of us on a free day out to show us some of the local area and join in on a cultural day trip out. There were quite a few of us leaving Dalyan from the turtle roundabout at 10am and there were several buses and coaches ready to take us. Victoria Louise Scott and Alp Aslan had been instrumental in organising us and it looked to be an interesting day out. I was lucky enough to have a bus buddy, Linda, sit beside me, my parents were across the aisle and Mark & Kate behind me. Lots of familiar faces and friends were there too as we took a short drive to our first stop in Gokova. We spent about an hour exploring Idyma Antik Kenti, the ancient city of Idyma, where there was restoration work and amazing views from the ruins of a castle. Some of the group were more adventurous than others and spent time walking through the site. I’d worn sandals and didn’t want to risk slipping now that my leg was almost back to normal so I took it steady. The guide was very informative and there was tea or coffee provided in a shaded seating spot as well as toilets (both squat and western style). It was easy to spot our hosts Victoria Louise Scott (VLS) and Alp as they had outfits on that stood out. The sun was out, it wasn’t too hot to be sight-seeing and everyone seemed to be finding it interesting so far. We got back on our respective buses and we were off to a famous town in the Muğla area.

Our next stop was a place that my parents and I had been to more than once but we were still looking forward to it. The Azmak Turu (meaning Azmak creek) in Akyaka flows from Gokova and so a free boat trip was organised for everyone before lunch. We saw lots of beautiful scenery and wildlife, even some turtles. I took a few photos of the river and the people on our boat then relaxed and enjoyed the ride. We saw Adam and Kath who were there on a separate trip and they were coming in on a boat as we were leaving.
I had a feeling we might be running a bit off schedule as we were meant to be at another place of interest for 1pm. We were lazing down the river at 12.40pm but we were still all enjoying the free day out.

From Akyaka we went back on our buses to Thera Antik Kenti in Ula where we were the first tourists to see some important excavations. Very recently some ancient coins had been discovered and we were also able to see the team of archeologists at work at this ancient site.
When we arrived the road was not fit for the big bus we were on so we all had to get off and on to a rickety old dolmuş to take us ‘1km’. There wasn’t enough seats for everyone so I thought my parents were getting a lift in a car with the tour guide. Unfortunately, they were expected to get on with us and there was only standing room. My Mom is awaiting a hip operation and my Dad has bad knees but I could only choose 1 person to switch my seat with. Mom squeezed herself in to my seat behind a metal sign at the front of the bus and I stood at the back with Dad. The doors didn’t shut, my Dad’s eyesight is poor and I was worried he would fall out. The journey was certainly longer than 1km and was incredibly bumpy and windy – I was having trouble holding on and keeping upright.
By the time we arrived we were definitely running late and everyone was hungry. There was lunch provided and we got in the queue for a spinach and cheese pancake and an ayran (yoghurt drink). I had to be careful as both of these things can affect my stomach so I gave my Dad the ayran and just had the one pancake, my Mom had 2! We had a short but good speech from the mayor and then we went to find out more about the ancient site and have a look around it. We volunteered Mark to go to have a look beyond the path, with a police escort and when he came back we joked how funny it would have been to have brought some old coins and pretended to have found more. By this time it was noticeable that we were miles from anywhere with alcohol – a cold beer or a glass of wine would have gone down well. It was getting hot now and we were ready for our next sightseeing stop, after the rickety bus back to the big bus of course. This time we made sure that my parents and I had a seat but unfortunately this meant Chris and a few others had to stand up. I put my facemask on because of the amount of dust but they are no longer needed on buses in Turkey. We were meant to have been at our next stop a while ago, we didn’t eat lunch until 2.10pm and we were just back at the big bus at 3pm – about an hour over the scheduled itinerary.

Our next stop was only 15 minutes away and still in Ula, at a lovely wedding venue with a lake and a zip wire. Mark and Kate were off the bus before us and as I got to the door of the bar area Mark asked which wine I’d prefer. By this time we were all quite ready for an alcoholic beverage so I said I’d have any, not realising Mark was joking! There was a Turkish wedding taking place but there was no alcohol and there were a few disappointed faces. Someone asked the guide if there was any chance of a cold beer and suddenly the queue for the zip line turned in to the cold beer queue, as a crate was brought out. People grabbed seats where they could and had a chilled out time while watching others go on the zip line. My mom had to go off in search of a glass for my Dad as he won’t drink out of a bottle, he didn’t look too impressed that she could only find a water glass. The place was lovely but I only had time for 1 beer before it was back to the bus for our next part of the tour – it was proving to be the cheapest day I’d had for a while, as we only had to pay for our drinks. The Muğla Chamber of Commerce and Business really were giving us a very full day and there was much more excitement to come.

Our next delight was to visit the old village of Ula and join in on a procession through the main street to lead to the village square. Once there, we were ushered in to a shaded seating area to watch some folk dancing, amongst other specially arranged entertainment. I will be honest, I’m not a lover of organised fun and I could also see my Dad’s interest was starting to wane somewhat by this stage. The male folk dancers were pretty good and not dissimilar to Morris dancers in the UK, without the bells on. The female folk dancers looked less enthusiastic and gave the impression they would rather be getting back to cook dinner. There were free Turkish teas and ice creams going round but for some reason only Mom got an ice-cream out of the 3 of us. Some random savoury treats came round and we all got one but I gave mine, which was on the spicy side, to Little Corduroy. By 5pm we were watching with intent as volunteers from the crowd were asked to bite an apple on a string without using their hands. Next, there was a competition to see who could get a coin out of a dish of yoghurt with their mouth. By the time musical chairs was being played my Dad had decided he’d had too much fun for one day and my parents took themselves off for a walk. Amazingly, Kate and a Turkish man were the last to dance round the one chair and, when the music stopped, the man pulled the chair from under her for himself to win. Being in the teaching profession this neither surprised nor phased Kate and she accepted defeat gracefully to the cheating man, who happened to be one of the big wigs in Ula. His cheekiness was not ignored and Kate was awarded the winners medal – I never thought I’d be friends with a real-life musical chairs champion! There was a Turkish version of master chef next, where VLS made us chuckle by doing her impression of Greg Wallace (from MasterChef), trying to eat as much of each dish as possible.

As the day’s schedule continued to run over time, my parents had returned to sit on a bench behind me. I spotted one of our group, in fact a man who likes a drink now and then, stood behind an ambulance but in front of a building and decided it might be wise to see what he was up to. A few of us had struck gold; he was outside a pub, obscured by the ambulance, and they sold beer and wine. We didn’t intend not to go back but we just really fancied a nice glass of wine so Lily Fish ordered wine for us ladies while I popped back to our Dalyan audience members, including my parents, to let them know where we were.
Before too long the rest of our friends had joined us and the pub staff were like deers caught in headlights as we all tried to order first and second beverages. As Kate and Mark tried to leave to join us, Kate got asked to present another winner with their award so was delayed. This was fortuitous for us in the pub, as when she left, the dinner buffet had already opened so she brought us all some bread. Without further ado Chris was off to the nearest shop to buy crisps and, to top off our day of culture, we all had crisp sandwiches and another beverage.
We took over the beer garden and had a lovely time, even Alp and VLS arrived later, probably to check we were behaving. When Mom and I went to replenish stocks of bread we felt a little guilty as there were so many local people queuing to eat the free buffet dinner, so we just got a small amount of bread to keep us going.
After another crisp sandwich, one more beverage for the road and a good old laugh about our amazing day out, it was time to get back on the buses. I don’t recall if we saw the educational film about Ula but it was just after 8pm when we set off back towards Dalyan.

I may have nodded off slightly on the way back from Ula to Dalyan. When we got off the bus, my bus buddy, Linda, headed straight to the bakery who had stayed open for her to collect her lost purse and she was very grateful to get it, and the contents, back safely.
I had a spare breadcake in my bag and we had decided we were going to have a drink in Sofra bar. My parents, Linda and I tootled off to the bar where it was already heaving and we had to wait for Şükrü and Davut to sort us out a table. Mark and Kate were worn out, well that musical chairs medal must have been heavy, so they went home.
By 11.15pm Alp was doing ‘Tequila’ on the karaoke and rocking the place. Linda didn’t stay out, on account of her having to get back home and we only had a couple before realising we were tired. It had been an incredible day, something for everyone to enjoy and it had cost us only the price of our drinks. We were very grateful to all of the people involved in the organising; Alp, VLS and the Muğla Chamber of Commerce and Business.

Photo credit – from various attendees of the day trip including Alp Aslan and Victoria Louise Scott

Dalyan – 16th May

Dalyan – 16th May

I woke up on Monday 16th May to news that Captain Caveman had booked my flight to go to Vietnam next month and all I had to do was apply for a visa online. The cats were fed, the plants were watered and I had fruit cake with Red Leicester cheese for breakfast. In the afternoon I cycled back to Captain Caveman’s apartment on Mark’s electric bicycle to be greeted by a tortoise. I had no idea how it had got to be shade-bathing near to Amanda and Greg’s apartment but it was surprisingly spritely. I tried to feed it some leaves but to no avail and so I left it where it was to wander about, while I put some washing in. The pool was starting to look much better for a clean and a refill and I looked forward to getting in it when I moved back home, in a few days time.

That afternoon I met up with my parents, Des had gone to Kargıcak beach for the day with a friend. We decided on a visit to Dalyano where I had a couple of margaritas (well, it was a Monday) at 90 lira (£4.60) each. They were pricey but very good and the place was very busy for a Monday afternoon. For dinner we went to Yakamoz which has always been a firm family favourite and, as we ordered wine, I remembered when I came here with Kelly, Claire and Clare – it seemed so long ago now. The staff at Yakamoz were lovely and even took some group photos of us, despite the strong sunlight intruding on the quality of the images. Dad and I drank red wine to go with our beef casseroles while Mom had white wine to go with her fresh fish and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there.
By 7.30pm I had to get back to Mark and Kate’s for the cats so I said bye and rode off. Tomorrow I had a very busy day ahead and I needed to get organised to start to leave Dalyan.

Dalyan – 15th May

Dalyan – 15th May

Sunday 15th May was great! After sorting out the cats and plants, I made myself tea and toast then got back in to bed. The Deep Blue Leg-Ends had another couple of outings in the diary and this morning we all got an invite to Steve and Michelle’s 40th birthday in Rhodes in September. Steve, who had broken his leg in Deep Blue Bar last month, had to go back to the Fethiye hospital so we decided we would have a small reunion, in Çalış when Mark and Kate got back from England. JC and Kylie, the cats, decided they were going to stay out of the sun today and were lolling about in the living area.
My parents had a walk over to Mark and Kate’s to surprise me with another visit. The 3 of us chose to try Dalyan Bungalows, which we had noticed from the ferry last week. It’s a fairly new place and we thought we’d give it a go for the afternoon. Surprisingly, beers were only 40 lira (£2 at the time) and the menu was quite varied. Mom had beer, I had an orange juice and Dad ordered a large white wine. This was 80 lira a glass and also confused things because any subsequent wines we ordered were just the standard size but still cost 80 lira. My parents ordered a main dish but I wasn’t that hungry because it was so hot. I ordered a couple of mezes as a main and the waiter asked if we wanted to share a salad. This came with the starters but it went on the bill as 80 lira as well, which is a little pricey for a salad we didn’t really choose the ingredients of.
The food was nice, the views great and the place has a very good ambience about it. After lunch we decided to move to a comfier seating area in the shade with a glass of wine to relax.

I was back in the sex swing by 5pm and word must have got out with the neighbourhood cats that there may be some treats going. An imposter cat who looked like it could be Casha’s mother had popped over to get some attention. By 6pm I was watching the sun go down on the jetty with a glass of red wine.
For dinner I made myself a simple pasta dish, had an extra glass of red wine and went to bed. In bed I watched Bad Vegan on Netflix and then looked at flights to Vietnam. From tomorrow a negative PCR test was no longer needed to enter the country which meant it might make it easier for me to be able to extend or get another visa after the first 30 day one runs out. As I fell asleep I had no idea just how good this next week was going to be, let alone the rest of May!

Dalyan – 11th May

Dalyan – 11th May

I woke up to a photo and a message from Captain Caveman on Wednesday 11th May. He was off back in the cave but had sent me a snap of the pool at Elements in Phong Nha. This time next month I hoped to be swimming in that pool. I fed the cats but there was no Casha snuggles this morning and I got ready for another exciting day out.

Angela, Nick and Maddie had organised a boat trip out to sea with Princess Ekincik. My parents got on in town while I got picked up at Mark and Kate’s jetty. The owners, Ismail and Ivona, are really nice people and the boat is lovely. There was tea, coffee and homemade sweet treats for us to have as we sailed down the river. It was a bit choppy and there was a storm forecast so I made sure I looked out to the horizon for most of the journey so that I wouldn’t be sea sick.
We had an amazing lunch onboard, there was swimming and we had a couple of drinks too. By 5pm the wind was getting up and the journey back had been very choppy, resulting in me being sick. I wasn’t coping with the sea well and, as the boat sides were zipped down to keep us dry, I found the cigarette smoke made me feel worse and I started coughing. When the homemade chocolate brownies with fruit came round I couldn’t even manage that so I got mine to take away. I had been invited to my first Turkish wedding, Ivona and Işmail would hold their celebrations on the 31st May, in Çandır.

By 6pm I was back at Mark & Kate’s where I found JC snoozing on a beanbag, by the pool. Feeding time was at 7pm and I managed to get Bubble and Squeak to eat outside with JC, without Bubble scoffing her sisters’ food. At 7.30pm I got a taxi to Retro bar where we were booked in for the fun quiz. This time I joined my parents, plus Penny and Phil. Deniz was there and had decided to accept the bar job which was great news. Ann was joined by her 4 friends, on the table next to us, they were doing very well on the quiz and it got quite competitive, with lots of banter. At the end of the night I went to buy several packets of salt and vinegar crisps, now that I knew they existed. Penny and Phil agreed to share my taxi back but invited Maggie and Phil to jump in too. I have no idea how the 4 of them got in the back of the taxi!
Back home the cats were waiting for me and we had a few tickles before bed.

Dalyan – 8th May

Dalyan – 8th May

Sunday 8th May was one of my favourite days and I felt so lucky to be able to have an amazing day with family and friends. I’d arranged for 7 of us to go to Çandır Resort for a Turkish breakfast. Ma, Pa, Vanessa and Matt were picked up by one of Fikri’s taxi drivers and driven to the ferry crossing near to Mark and Kate’s house. I cycled Bluey2 over and met Mark and Kate as they were walking to the meeting point. The ferry crossing was about 8 lira for each passenger, one way, and I had arranged the minivan pick up when we reached the other side. The journey wasn’t for the faint hearted and the venue is not to be confused with Çandır Terrace, which is not as remote. Our table was on the end of the balcony with lovely views of Çandır. The breakfast was massive and only just fit on the table, Mark was in charge of pouring the tea. The Turkish banquet costs 150 lira (£7.80) each, it took us about 2 hours to eat and it was definitely the best one I’ve had in a while.

After our feast we did the reverse journey and my stomach started to have a bit of a problem, despite me avoiding the pastries. Luckily my bicycle was next to the ferry stop and Kate gave me her key so I could cycle back to their’s to go to the toilet. Everyone else had been invited over too, so they took a slow walk back while I ended up waking up Phoebe who was in ‘my room’. Mark was a great host, making sure everyone had a cold beer or glass of wine, he wiped down chairs and arranged them on the shaded terrace, next to the pool. My Mom was excited to try out the sex swing and we also all had a walk down to the jetty to admire the river views. After a few drinks we decided to get taxis in to town, I left Bluey2, and we went for more drinks at Sofra bar. Strangely, and probably because of my stomach, I only had 1 beer at Mark and Kate’s then 2 pints at Sofra. The men seemed to have a thirst on and were racing through the beers, while pretending to be watching the football. Mark, Kate, Daisy and Phoebe had to go to eat at Balıkcim around 8.30pm because it was their last night in Dalyan and the rest of us discussed dinner plans. Vanessa was hungry and Matt fancied River House for Sunday dinner, my parents wanted to join them. I had still got a dodgy tum so was wary but eventually agreed to go join Matt and Vanessa who had already gone over there. When we got to River House Matt and Vanessa were nowhere to be seen and I text her to ask where they were. My parents and I sat down and ordered drinks, Mom and I had a soft drink but Dad went on to red wine and was quite drunk. We didn’t hear back from Vanessa, Matt and her had gone home because Matt was also drunk and had not wanted to leave the bar. Dad said he didn’t want to leave Sofra as he tucked in to his meatballs, mom tried to enjoy her lamb chops but was annoyed with dad and my Sunday dinner wasn’t amazing. It was very potato heavy and they had sprinkled an unnecessary paprika powder over the whole thing. It was cheaper than anywhere else in town though so would be fine if there weren’t other, better, Sunday dinners available in Dalyan. I asked to take my apple pie home as I wasn’t too hungry and then we walked home, with Dad in a bit of a tangle.
It turned out that all of the 3 couples ended up having words that night. Vanessa had gone out for a walk to calm down, Mom had to put up with Dad either snoring or choking in his sleep, and Kate was not happy at Mark staying out with the girls until the morning. I, on the other hand, was blissfully unaware and thought it had been a wonderful day.

Dalyan – 29th April

Dalyan – 29th April

I had previously arranged with Kate to go on a boat trip she was organising with Kaan. Friday 29th April was Des’s first full day in Dalyan and also his actual day off so it worked out well. I was really looking forward to it.
I woke up at Debbie (Darling’s) and fed the cats, had a bit of a tidy round in preparation for the cleaner coming and walked to the bank to meet Des and to get ready for another great day out. We all met at the boat and got a cup of tea or coffee before setting sail to pick up Mark and Kate from their jetty. We went out to sea and the boat was a bit choppy but not enough for me to actually be sick. The morning was quite cloudy and in fact pretty chilly at first, I was even wearing my hoody for a while. This didn’t deter me from getting in the sea when we had the opportunity though and it turned out to be ‘alright once we were in’.
Des got introduced to everyone and I was pleased to see that he was quite the social butterfly, getting on particularly well with the ladies. The BBQ lunch was delicious and I had a wine or two to wash it down, followed by more swimming. The group on board were all lovely, easy going people including Kate’s daughter, who had just arrived in Turkey for a holiday. I spent some time sunbathing on the top deck as the sun came out in the afternoon. 
When we got back to dry land a few of us arranged to meet up, with Ma & Pa included, at Sofra bar for a couple of drinks. There was only delivery food available there now that the holiday season had begun so a pizza and a pide for my parents was ordered. The rest of us were too full from the boat trip and were busy taking in all the action. Daisy and Kate did a bit of karaoke and were surprisingly good, Des managed to make more new friends and we were invited to join a day trip to Marmaris next week.

Dalyan – 27th April

Dalyan – 27th April

Wednesday 27th April had a bit of panic about it, compared to any other day in Dalyan. I got up to the news that Drew had tested positive for Corona upon landing in England. Typically I had hugged and kissed him at 8pm last night and so I got the LFT out to do a test. The rules here now are that no one has to isolate or do anything if they test positive but I think that’s irresponsible. Other people who had been in contact with him decided not to bother with a test because they couldn’t see the point any more. My unvaccinated friend was arriving tomorrow from South Africa and I didn’t want to pass it on if I had it. I was also conscious that to get in to Vietnam I still needed to have a negative PCR test, I didn’t want to catch it and still felt it was important to at least know if I was positive, even if I didn’t have any symptoms. My result was negative however there was still a chance I may not yet show positive on the LFT. I decided mixing with a load of Dutch people at King’s day would be silly and sent messages to cancel. Everyone told me I could still attend because it no longer mattered but I held firm on my decision – no one wants to kill a grandma. I messaged the teacher and attendees of my Turkish class to check if I was still able to attend and they agreed. I still decided I would wear my mask for it though, just in case. Afterwards Vanessa and I went to Okyanus for lunch, I didn’t touch or go near anyone and we sat outside by the river. By 3pm we had joined the usual pool group at Retro bar, and sat outside. We were joined by Kate, Jackie and my parents and a few beers were consumed. I was going to go home for dinner but I got an invite to eat with Jackie, Chris and my parents at the Turay hotel, by the river. The views were lovely and the menu looked great so we ordered drinks and food. My Dad was slightly disappointed that his meatballs didn’t come with cheese as requested but the food was good and we shared a cheesy garlic bread. The beef fajitas that my mom had and the casserole got great reviews. By 7.30pm we were having a free tea in our shorts with a blanket on, as it had turned cold. Still in our summer gear, we said our goodbyes and set off back home. Unfortunately, Debbie (Darling) had some bad news, her husband, Roy, needed emergency surgery on his spine and she was in a bit of a tizzy. I called in to see Debbie (Darling) and Roy, Sarah was also already there. I offered to house and cat sit so that they could fly to Istanbul early tomorrow morning and took the keys. I met Missy, Bebek and The Terrorist, the 3 cats, and was assured the 2 dogs, Socks and Brin, were being looked after by someone else. Debbie (Darling) and Roy were going to bed but Sarah poured another drink and insisted on calling in to her house to see her freshly tidied and cleaned house.
I finally got in to bed and was extremely tired – I needed sleep to be ready for the next few days!

Dalyan – 24th April

Dalyan – 24th April

A while ago I had decided that we would have a belated birthday celebration for my Mom on Sunday 24th April.  Kate had suggested Kaan and so I had organised the trip with him on his boat, called Tequila. In the morning Mark, Kate and I had a few things to do before my parents got to the boat so we booked Fikri’s taxi to take us. I dropped Mark and Kate off at the boat where they went to put up the bunting, I then went to pick up the birthday cake from Louize. I asked Fikri to take the cake to Kate while I went across to see a friend off. She was going back home to England today and had bought my Mom a bottle of champagne for her birthday boat trip which was really lovely of her. I got to the boat after everyone else and we set sail for the lake. On board was Vanessa, John & Andrea, Jamie & Drew, Ann, Maddie, Angela & Nick, Nanny Kay, Viv & Paul, Mark & Kate, Ma & Pa and me. By noon Vanessa, Kate and I were swimming in the lake and the BBQ lunch was set for 1.30pm, we all had a few drinks too and it was a lovely sunny day. We changed location to Little Dalyan, which is a sheltered spot at the back of the beach where we had more swimming and my leg was getting much stronger! After a lovely lunch we presented Mom with the cake and we all had a bit of it. Mom was surprised and we even made her cry, I think she was touched to get some cards and presents from people too. In the afternoon she opened the champers and we all had a little glass or two to celebrate a bit more before going back to Dalyan.

Mom, Dad and I called in to Lukka for just a drink then decided to eat dinner. Dad ordered a cheese burger, Mom a chicken curry, and I had the sweet and sour chicken which was the best I’d had in Dalyan. It was 185 lira for my sweet and sour chicken which came with rice, chips and lots of vegetables but somehow I managed to eat almost all of it.
That night I was so glad to get to sleep back in my own bed and was looking forward to an early night, even though I ended up watching the Grand Prix.

Fethiye and Çalış – 23rd April

Fethiye and Çalış – 23rd April

What a day Saturday 23rd April was!
It started with me waking up with a strange woman in my hotel room and me asking who she was. I had half the bottle of red wine left but couldn’t find the cork, both Mark’s jumper and Kate’s jacket were on a chair and towels were strewn on the sofa having once been blankets. A bunch of keys and 2 sets of sunglasses were on the desk, Michelle and I were both fully clothed. I felt fairly ok though, as I was probably still drunk, and so Michelle and I went to meet everyone for breakfast. I was too delicate to eat much but I hammered the fresh juice and tea as everyone was recalling the awful events of last night. Matt was feeling better and grateful to have gone back to the hotel earlier last night whereas Vanessa was feeling bad for poor Steve. When we got back to the room Michelle checked her phone and had lots of messages and missed calls from Steve. He’d already had Julio visit him at the hospital and was waiting for a doctor after being told he’d broken his leg in more than one place. Michelle found Steve’s shoe which we had put on a shelf, she gave me some fresh lemon juice and left. I went back to bed for a bit but had to check out at noon. I could hear my parent’s kettle in the room next door so I knew I was going to get complaints for being noisy until about 4am. We all met back up at Address, a restaurant on the river, where Mark was the only one having a beer as no one else could manage alcohol. I started to feel unwell but we still all paid (30 lira) for our tokens for the ferry from Fethiye to Çalış – our next adventure was about to start.
I was sat on the ferry boat in Fethiye worried that I had started to feel very unwell and that I might not make the trip across to Çalış. I was sat between Matt and Mark and I could feel myself getting worse, there was no toilet on board so I contemplated getting off and getting the next boat in an hour. The plan in Çalış was to go to a restaurant called Charcoal Palace so I asked Mark for the directions from where the boat stops. I reminded everyone I don’t have a SIM card in my phone but I would come to meet them at the restaurant in 1 hour’s time – it sounded simple!

As I got off the boat I headed straight for the big Migros Supermarket nearby. I had a very strange feeling and felt like I needed to get some essential ‘lady items’. In Turkey I’ve found it quite difficult to buy tampons in a supermarket. They can be found in the pharmacy and some of the bigger supermarkets and I was in luck. I picked up what I needed and then noticed the massive check-out queues and started to have a cold sweat. A young lad noticed me, he opened up another till and hurried through the process. I made it to a cafe but only just and I was not well at all.
After a cup of sweet tea and a 45 minute sit down I had to force myself to go back to the ferry. I had a map of where Charcoal Palace was meant to be, in case Mark’s directions weren’t clear enough, and on I got. I felt like death, I was deeply regretting Tequila and extra red wine last night now and was not confident I would make the bus journey back to Dalyan later, either.
As I got off the boat I obviously went the wrong way but asked several people for directions, most had never heard of it but the ones who did ‘know’ sent me in the opposite direction. After walking for far too long in heat and having finished my water I decided to jump in a taxi. It was meant to be 5 minutes walk from the boat but the taxi was heading down a dual carriageway and back to Fethiye when I stopped him and got out on the central reservation without paying.
No one had heard of Charcoal Palace; some were convinced they knew and each bar, shop, travel agent or taxi rank I asked didn’t know. I knew that out of everyone already at the restaurant, Mark would be the least likely to have left to look for me so I found a bar, logged on to their WiFi and messaged him to say I was lost. I knew my parents didn’t have a working phone so didn’t bother them and I eventually found a taxi rank who knew where it was and said it was walking distance. I had just started to walk when I saw Kate on the street, who’d come to find me. We also saw the man who had given me the first lot of incorrect directions when I was 2 minutes walk from where I needed to be!!
Of course I had missed out on having fish and chips with everyone so I had a pint of shandy. I was hot, sweaty and cheesed off already when Kate informed me that Mark isn’t good at directions and not to listen to him! His phone was in his pocket and he hadn’t noticed my message either so it was good that I had finally been found. most of the group who live in Turkey full time were so happy to have eaten good food and I gathered I’d missed out on amazing fish and chips or battered sausages. They said the chicken shish was also amazing, and portion sizes were generous meaning great value. I was disappointed to miss out but I couldn’t eat anything now and would save it for another time. Kate came up with a wonderful idea that, instead of getting the buses back, we get taxis and I was very happy with that suggestion. It was slightly unfortunate that Kate and I had to listen to Mark, the most chatty bloke I have ever met, talk to the taxi driver for the entire journey back to Dalyan. The cost of the taxi from Çalış to Dalyan was 600 lira (just over £30 per taxi). My parents, Vanessa and Matt went in one taxi, Mark, Kate and I in another. It was probably the best tenner I have spent, as I was feeling very queasy all the way back. That night I had an early night as we had another big day planned for tomorrow and it looked to be a good one.

Dalyan – 19th April

Dalyan – 19th April

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.

Dalyan – 18th April

Dalyan – 18th April

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.

Dalyan – 16th & 17th April

Dalyan – 16th & 17th April

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.