Dalyan – 25th May

Dalyan – 25th May

Wednesday 25th May turned in to one of those days! I was already missing Vanessa, who had gone back to England on Saturday, the day we all had the jolly out with the Muğla Chamber of Commerce and Business. I knew I was going to miss her at Turkish class, and for drinks with the pool gang later that afternoon. I used leftover Yorkshire pudding mixture to make pancakes for breakfast before going to Turkish class, which I ended up late for. Today we started learning more about family in Turkish which is similar to Vietnamese in the hierarchy and complexity of who’s who.
While we were having our Turkish class, Kate arrived early and was able to make use of the lovely swimming pool at Casablanca hotel, I’d forgotten my swimmers. After her lesson we ordered food and this time I went for the cheeseburger which Vanessa had recommended from last week. Kate ordered a spaghetti bolognese which didn’t come with cheese but the waiter brought some when asked. We had a beer to wash down our very tasty lunch and then we went over to Retro bar to join the pool gang. It was very busy at Retro today, lots of the women were already sat outside so we joined some of Kate’s friends. My friend, Annie, who I met on a Dalyan boat trip, had just arrived in town so she came to join us for a beer too.
When Nazim closed Retro bar’s pool table, so that he could get the place ready for the Wednesday night quiz, some of the pool guys were disappointed that they weren’t able to continue playing.  Matt got everyone together and suggested they go to Sinan’s bar, which had a pool table and was nearby, a few of the fellas were quite drunk and it was almost 5pm. Most of the people I was with, left, and either went home or to Sinan’s. Kate had gone home to feed the cats but was coming back to join us. Annie and I went to Sinan’s as it’s on the way back to her hotel. It was only my second time of being in Sinan’s because in the past I’ve usually found it a popular place for smokers so have always avoided it. It was friendly and seemed nice, a merry Matt was just happy to be playing pool again. By the time Kate arrived at 7.15pm, we were sozzled but some of us were booked in to do the quiz at Retro bar. I still had my shorts and strappy top on but not enough time to change so I had to cycle down to Retro, with Mark and Kate, looking underdressed.

While Annie had to get back to her hotel to get ready for dinner, Mark, Kate and I cycled back to Retro bar and joined my parents in readiness for the quiz. I said hello to Nazim, Andrea, Nusret, Gonca, Murat, Deniz and then went to see Dick and his team to wish him well for the quiz tonight. Mark and I were pretty drunk so sharing a bottle of red wine was probably a bit silly, but seemed more cost effective as we got a good one at a decent price from Nazim. From what I remember, the quiz went well, we didn’t win but we had a good laugh. There was a massive storm where it rained really hard, I had the sense to move Bluey2 to a sheltered area when Kate moved their bikes.
We paid our bills then things got a tad messy as we all decided to go to Sofra bar and we invited Nusret and Gonca with us too. At Sofra we drank draft beer and I danced with my parents and Nusret. I tried to ruin a karaoke singers song and don’t even know what the song was. I took lots of photos and after Nusret, Gonca, Kate and my parents had all left, by 12.45am, Mark and I ordered another pint each. We got chatting to a young fella and Mark got his skipper’s ticket out, presumably to show he could drive a boat. I think I got in very late and I was certainly still awake when the call to prayer went off – Thursday was going to be a struggle and a half!

Dalyan – 24th May

Dalyan – 24th May

Now that I knew I was going to Vietnam to see Captain Caveman I was a bit concerned there were still things I needed to do and places I wanted to go before I left Dalyan. On Tuesday 24th May I started a list of those things, acutely aware I had less than a fortnight left. Ma & Pa had invited me to the beach today and I was looking forward to it. There are 2 ways to get to Iztuzu beach by public transport; boat which is currently 60 lira (£3) or bus which is 28 lira (£1.40) return. We got the bus as this takes you to the quieter end of the beach and I got a return ticket because it was too hot to walk the length of the beach to get to the boat end. I paid 90 lira for 3 sunbeds and a parasol which we unfortunately selected in the smoking section but didn’t realise. I’m not a massive beach lover as I hate sand but with smoke and fag ash blowing at me it was less pleasurable than it should’ve been. The sea was chilly but good enough for a deep paddle, refreshing. I’d took a picnic of a cheese and ham sandwich, water and a grapefruit drink but my parents had a sandwich at the beach cafe, for less than £1.50 each. I shared some of their chips and had a peach tea too. Back on the beach I continued to read my book, Mike Tyson’s autobiography, which is really good.
I’ve stopped buying credit for my Turkish phone, which I rarely use, because it’s a waste of money. It also forces me to not have a phone when I’m away from home or somewhere with free wi-fi – it’s a good way to switch off more. When the wind got up and sand was blowing about we decided to leave, via the cafe for refreshments. My parents had a Magnum, I played it safe with a Calippo orange lolly but then we missed the bus and had to wait half an hour for the next one. I was booked in for Pilates at 6.30pm so didn’t want to miss that, first though, Mom suggested a cheeky drink at Tez bar where they had an Efes and I had a Summer IPA. I went home to get ready and left them at Tez while I went to my class. Back at the apartment the roses outside Amanda and Greg’s were really blooming, the pool was looking good and had been used. I did notice a tree branch from the neighbour’s was sticking out at a jaunty angle, directly in to the path to walk to the pool. After Bougainvillea-gate in September I decided it was not my business to involve myself in getting it removed, there were quite a few owners and renters in the apartments right now who could let the gardener know.
My Dad suffers with his indigestion if he eats late so I was surprised when my parents were up for going out for dinner at 8pm. We went to Firat’s which is another one of their favourite places to eat. As an appetiser we were brought a rather large lavaş, or balloon bread, with some garlic butter. Mom ordered a fresh sea bream, I had a pide and Dad had a beef casserole with cheese that was hotter than the sun. We had a glass of wine each and I took some of my pide home as it was a massive portion. It was a really lovely day, spent with my parents, and almost the calm before the storm as the rest of the week was about to get a tad lively!

Dalyan – 23rd May

Dalyan – 23rd May

The temperatures in Dalyan were heating up and, because all sides of the apartment were now blocked by buildings, there was very little draft through when I opened all windows and doors. On Monday 23rd May I was determined to take it easy as I was hoping to be refreshed and lose a bit of weight before going back to Vietnam. Captain Caveman had been working so much I was sure he would have lost weight and I didn’t want to look too fat at the side of him! I went shopping for a few essentials and made my sausage casserole in the slow cooker. I ate simit with cheese spread and plum jam for lunch and was a bit sad that I probably wouldn’t get to finish the jams I had left in the fridge – maybe I could give them to Dad as he loves a good jam. There was good news too, my Vietnamese visa had been approved and I could enter Vietnam at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) on the 5th June. It was valid until the 5th July so Captain Caveman booked me a flight from Danang to Singapore on the 4th July, for if I needed it. My original plan had been to accompany Des to Istanbul when his 30 days in Turkey was up, but that hadn’t worked out. Instead I got on with organising a leaving drinks for him, later this week.
Before 5pm I had my Yorkshire pudding tin in the oven and decided to open the bottle of mulberry wine I had. It was a bit sweet for me but I managed a glass of it with my sausage casserole and yorkshires. After dinner, I finally got the TV fixed, which was good news. I was considering taking the Firestick to Vietnam so we could still watch the Grand Prix but I thought better of it.
I had a bit of Kate’s fruit cake with butter before bed and I washed it down with a gin and pink grapefruit! It was nice to spend the day at home for a change.

Dalyan – 22nd May

Dalyan – 22nd May

Sunday 22nd May should have been a day to stay home and rest up, and it did start out that way!
I got up late, despite not having had much sleep due to the music of the Jazz bar, and then the early call to prayer. For breakfast I made myself beans on toast with 2 of Dick’s sausages. I cooked a whole pack so that I could make a sausage casserole tomorrow too. I was a bit annoyed that my TV, which had not been showing any programme listing information, was still not right so I had to play Russian roulette with what might be on what channels. I wanted to record the Grand Prix but couldn’t work out when it would be on. Instead I listened to music and was pleased I’d made it to the sofa today. For lunch I had a cheese sandwich with the Red Leicester from Dick and the spare breadcake from Ula that was still in my bag.
I realised we had possibly been neglecting Des, who had been busy working and catching up with his new Dalyan friends. We agreed to meet at Backyard No.9 and I invited some of the gang so that he wasn’t bored with just me. My parents and I were the first there, Sarah was going to join us and Des arrived just as we had ordered our drinks. Mark and Kate were already out with a few others at Rehab bar so said they wouldn’t be coming. When Sarah arrived she had brought me a pair of sunglasses which she was recycling. They were slightly broken but I cleaned them on a serviette and popped them on to try them out for size.
I love the pizzas at Backyard No.9; three out of the five of us ordered one. Mom had tuna and onion pizza, I had the Dalyan pizza with feta, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and peppers, Sarah had one with parma ham and rocket, while Dad had a cheeseburger with chips and Des chose a pasty type dish. It isn’t the cheapest place but the ingredients are quality and fresh. Ülkü and her team are really nice and friendly plus the outside space is very tastefully set up. It was a lovely meal and we enjoyed the wine too.
After we had eaten, Mark and Kate were on their way home and popped in for a drink and a chat. They had to get back to feed the cats so only had one beer – they can’t be party animals every night!!
We also went home reasonably early and I promised myself a couple of rest days from tomorrow. I was still waiting to hear if I had been granted a visa for Vietnam yet and hoped that tomorrow would bring good news.

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

Çalış – 19th May

Çalış – 19th May

I met Ma, Pa, Mark, Kate, Vanessa and Matt at the Dalyan bus station at 10.20am on Thursday 19th May and we were off on another adventure! I’d luckily managed to change my breakfast arrangement to Friday and therefore I had not eaten when we got on the bus to Ortaca. At Ortaca we changed to the bus to Fethiye, as there isn’t a direct bus to Çalış. Mark and Kate were going to Fethiye first and the rest of us were going straight to Çalış where we would meet Steve and Michelle for lunch. When we got off the bus at the Citroen garage, ready to walk a few kilometres in to Çalış, a bus arrived which we got on to. I don’t have a Kent card, which is used for transport, so the regular cost was 14 lira (72p) from Dalyan to Ortaca, 28 lira (£1.44) from Ortaca to near Çalış, then 10 lira (51p) in to Çalış itself. The total journey was just over an hour and a half and was quite pleasant. When we arrived at Summer Breeze, a lovely restaurant and bar on the sea front which Julio recommended, most of us had a soft drink and then decided to order a breakfast. The prices were very reasonable and much cheaper than most places in Dalyan so we were quite happy to stay there until Steve, Michelle, Julio, Serem, Mark and Kate were going to join us later. By that time we were well and truly on it with the drinks and were having a lovely time. A guy in white shorts, and no shirt had skated past us showing off his muscles so we, and another table of ‘Brits abroad’ couldn’t help but show their appreciation. He then came back, stopped his skate board in front of us and thanked us for making his day. I didn’t even get my camera out, I was so surprised – you can’t take us anywhere. The rest of the party arrived and we continued to have more drinks, Steve had received positive news from the hospital that his leg was doing well. He didn’t drink but they did have a breakfast and propped up his leg on a spare chair. About 3.30pm Can, the man who sells sunglasses, came round and we all proceeded to try several pairs on. I treated myself to some fake Ray-Ban’s for 250 lira (£12.82) and a couple of others bought a pair.

At 5.15pm we decided to move locations, Julio and Serem had their car so this was useful to get Steve to Charcoal Palace. The rest of us walked, this time I didn’t get lost, and I was able to enjoy the fish and chips I’d missed out on last time. Steve, Michelle and I even ordered an extra battered sausage and chips to share and I thought the food was amazing. I don’t eat peas, tartar sauce or curry sauce but my friends loved the accompaniments. I tried one of Kate’s onion rings and they were very good too but I was conscious of a batter overload. My Dad had said he had not liked the fish and chips last time so I was surprised to see him order them again. This time he said they were better, but still not as good as Tony’s chip shop, back in Mosborough, Sheffield. My Mom and Vanessa decided to order the chicken fajitas and they looked incredible, as did Julio’s chicken shish which he had eaten there before. I couldn’t finish my small portion of fish and chips so I asked to have a doggy bag, unfortunately they forgot and must have thrown it away. Steve and Michelle of course were sensible and went home at a reasonable hour. It had been so good to have a Deep Blue Leg-Ends reunion and of course there were plans for another one next month. Vanessa, Matt and my parents also decided that getting a taxi back from Çalış to Dalyan for 600 lira (£30.77) would be a good option and for the 4 of them it worked out £15 per couple – well worth it!

I could tell that Kate was on her way to getting merry as she had started to speak more Turkish to Serem, at first we were exchanging idioms but we were slowly getting off track and had to resort to speaking English. Mark had considered going home at a decent time too, but Kate was out out – we were also expecting another couple of their friends to arrive. I decided I would share the taxi back with Mark and Kate as even 200 lira each would be a reasonable amount. I joined Mark, Kate, Julio, Serem, Adam & Damla for a drink in Motto bar which turned in to a few more for some of the contingent. We eventually got a taxi after Kate negotiated the bar man down to an excellent price of 500 lira. The journey back started with Kate being chatty but then she fell asleep, Mark said almost nothing the whole way back and the Fethiye shopping made it back to Dalyan. I got dropped off at home and gave 200 lira to Kate regardless of the taxi price. It was midnight when we got in and it had been a long day with lots of laughter, great food and a fair bit to drink. It was worth it to see Steve and Michelle again but I was a bit sad when it suddenly dawned on me that I wouldn’t be in Turkey for the next Deep Blue Leg-Ends get-togethers!

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 – 28th April

Dalyan – 28th April

On Thursday 28th April I was busy; I sorted out an airport pickup taxi for my friend who would arrive tonight. I had a new cat and house sitting responsibility for a few days while Debbie (Darling) and Roy went off to Istanbul for his emergency surgery. I popped over to see my parents on the way to Debbie’s, where I would be staying for about 4 days. The cats were lovely but definitely not as well behaved as Kate’s however they would probably be low maintenance and be out a lot – a bit like their owner. Debbie (Darling)’s house did have the added benefit of having a cleaner and I even got some chocolate orange left on my pillow!
For dinner I suggested we try Mahir restaurant in the mosque square and we also would meet my friend there too. I first met Des at Momma D’s rooftop bar in Phong Nha, Vietnam. Captain Caveman and I became good friends with him and we had some good times. He is the same guy who is unlucky on dates wherever dogs are around and had an horrendous experience leaving Vietnam, once they stopped extending tourist visas during the pandemic. Des was going to be staying at the Tufan apartments, a little out of the main centre of town, for a whole month in Dalyan. I hoped he would like Dalyan and I was already concerned he might find it a bit boring or too expensive.
When he arrived it was great to see him, he looked well. He no longer had long hair, had put some weight on and had been working out. I introduced him to my parents and he sat down to eat with us. We had beers and ordered food which was all Turkish meals except for me. Dad had meatballs again, but this time with cheese on, Mom had lamb shish, Des had Adana kebab and I had fish and chips. All the food was lovely and we said we would definitely eat there again, the prices were pretty reasonable as well. My fish and chips was 85 lira (£4.60) and the batter was excellent. The service was good too and after we had eaten we were given some ‘erik,’ which were green plums, and a chocolate each. We didn’t stay out late though as Des and I had a busy one planned for his first full day in Dalyan tomorrow.

Dalyan – 20th & 21st April

Dalyan – 20th & 21st April

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.

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.

Dalyan – 27th March

Dalyan – 27th March


Sunday 27th March was a great day in Dalyan, the sun was shining and I still didn’t have any Corona symptoms – I was feeling a lot luckier than some of my friends too. As I had invited 6 people over to mine this evening for a meal, it was time to get preparing and get out the spare chairs.
I decided I would have a tidy up and make some veggie wraps for a starter, taking in to account allergies. The beef, potatoes, carrots and curry paste were already in the slow cooker and would be ready before lunch time as I’d been up so early.
I popped to Migros supermarket for a few essentials and here’s what I bought:

Fresh bread 3.00
1 bag of pasta 4.20
Hummus 15.05
2 Avocados 15.90
1 bag jasmine rice 16.50
1 jar of peanut butter 17.95
Cling film 19.90
1 lipsyl 24.95
Lavaş wraps 26.50
1 bottle of red wine 56.90
2 packets of sanitary towels 71.60

Total spent 272.45 lira (£14.16)

By lunch timetime I had eaten a couple of the wraps to test them out. They both had carrot, red pepper and avocado in but some with peanut butter and some with tahini – they were quite nice and very healthy.
I transferred the cooked beef masaman curry in to a pan and washed my jasmine rice, ready to put it on while I went out to meet my mates.
Vanessa came over around 2pm for us to do our Turkish homework together, I was out of water so we had to have wine! By the time it got to 4pm we still hadn’t finished it but had arranged to meet Matt, Julie, Gareth, Mark and Kate at Okyanus for a drink. I bunged the rice in the slow cooker and off we went. We had a couple of drinks there while sat in the sun then, decided to grab some wine and beers from the shop and go back to mine. Julie and Gareth felt they were imposing but I insisted there was enough to go round and was glad I’d made the starter. Of course the rice was overdone having been at Okyanus an hour after I should have turned it off but we made do. There was just enough room for the 7 of us, we had a good laugh and gave the ball a right old kick. The masaman curry went down well and I even got my cheese and pickles out for afters – it would have been lovely with a bit of fruit cake too! Some people had a bit too much wine, including Kate, who refused to go home and fell over. Her and Mark were eventually the last to leave after the 2nd taxi was called and I insisted they go home as I had work tomorrow and still wanted to watch the Grand Prix, which I had recorded.
I managed to watch the Grand Prix, drink more wine and go to sleep in the early hours of Monday morning, after a fun-filled weekend.

Dalyan – 7th March

Dalyan – 7th March

Rain stopped the work on my parents’ apartment on Monday 7th March and the pool at Captain Caveman’s Turkish apartment overflowed. I struggled to guess my wordle games this morning but eventually managed it. I tried a new one called Nerdle, which Kate had recommended to me, then I suggested it to Captain Caveman. He was now on his way back to Phong Nha, having been to visit Raj at Curry King in Tam Coc.

After being on my laptop until lunch time, I popped to Migros supermarket for some shopping, here’s what was in my basket:


Bread 3.00
1 simit 3.27
Pasta 3.64
Chocolate 7.12
Turkey slices 9.45
2 Bounties 9.74
Toastie loaf 10.95
6 eggs 13.98
Salami 14.72
Crisps 16.31
Chicken 46.30

Total spent 138.38 lira (£7.45)

Back home I had a simit with cheese spread and crisps for lunch, then strawberries with yoghurt and honey for afters.

As I had leftover Sunday dinner, I ate that and really enjoyed it for my evening meal, with a bit of broccoli from the freezer. Before I went out that night, I called to check my parents’ place was locked and I noticed that the gardener had been round. This was unusual as the weather had been awful and they don’t usual start cutting the grass until April. I took some photos so I could let Ma & Pa know about it and went to join Penny, Phil, John, Mark and Kate for more Monday Mayhem.

The specialist section of the Wonky’s quiz this week was James Bond, of which I knew very little about. Lucky for Penny and I, Kate had taken control of the whole thing. While Phil and John got bossed about, I just drank my wine and let them get on with it, until it got to the music round. By the end of the night, though, some of our team was a little inebriated and I had to resort to some cheering up tactics. I had to pull out the only thing I knew couldn’t fail to take one’s mind away from one’s problems! My secret skill is I can flip a considerable amount of beer mats with one hand. Mark didn’t believe I could do it, so I told him to video it! It had been a while, but my Dad had taught me well and, after steadily building them up one or two at a time, and numerous failed attempts, I managed it. By this time Mark had got bored of filming and, if I remember correctly, Kate was having a Bailey’s. As soon as filming stopped, the pressure was off and I managed to flip the 20 beer mats – Dad would have been proud!
Mark and Kate left by taxi, instead of cycling, and Penny kindly gave me a lift home. I had arranged to meet Kate at 2pm tomorrow as we were off to try something new.

1st attempt of the beer mat trick – video by Mark
4th attempt at the beer mat trick, 12 beer mats – video by Mark
7th attempt at the beer mat trick, 20 beer mats – video by Mark

Dalyan – 1st to 3rd March

Dalyan – 1st to 3rd March

I’d successfully survived 5 months of being in Turkey without Captain Caveman and my first month of working online. Tuesday 1st March started with the realisation that my internet was off. It needed renewing on the 28th February but I’d overlooked this so I trotted off to the Captain Net office to sort it out. I walked through the roadworks and noticed there was progress but it was still moving slowly. The lady at Captain Net saw I had some English money in my purse and asked if she could buy a £20 and a £10 from me for ‘her piggy bank’ and I agreed. The rate was 18.5 lira to the pound now and looking likely to go up again. Back home, with the internet back on, I read an amusing article on Facebook from Vietnam about having sex during Corona.
I hadn’t eaten breakfast so I had beans on toast for lunch while pondering my choices for dinner. That’s when I got the bad news; today was actually Pancake Day! I was confused, I had no idea why I had thought it was last week but felt pp certain I had read it somewhere. Never one to pass by an opportunity to eat pancakes, I whisked up a mixture and popped it in the fridge. I decided beef stew would go with it for dinner but I just had the one then decided to join friends for a cheeky vino.
I met Mark, Kate, Andy and Kaye at Lukka bar for a drink and Kate had brought me some Thai curry paste from her trip back to England. She worked out it would be easy enough to make here and set about sourcing some of the ingredients, such as lemongrass, from an App called Trendyol which a lot of people use over here. Kate, Kaye and I chatted while Mark and Andy played pool. The consensus with everyone, but Mark, was that it wouldn’t be a late one however, as can often be the case, that didn’t quite pan out. Kaye and Kate decided they were going home, I’d ordered a 2nd glass of wine, the blokes were playing pool and arm wrestling with Appo, the waiter. Mark insisted on Kate staying for another drink as he didn’t want to go home yet. I could see he was being daft so I offered to drink some of the bottle of wine he’d just ordered so they could leave sooner – I’m kind like that! It didn’t work and everyone went home, leaving Mark playing pool with the staff. It was after midnight when I failed to force-feed pancakes to my impromptu house guest, despite my best efforts to help sober him up.

On Wednesday 2nd March I woke up late and got ready for my Turkish class. I met Kate at Lukka, she had brought her blanket to crochet while I had my lesson then I stayed and had lunch while she had her lesson. I tried the chicken and mushroom penne and it was a really tasty and healthy sized portion. I chatted with Katrina and Abi who were having sweet and sour chicken, another dish I needed to try. When Kate finished her class she was heading up to Rehab bar and asked me to join her. The cleaner was at mine so I agreed, despite the heavy rain, the new road was starting to flood and by the time we got there we were soaking wet. I had a Turkish cider while we took off our layers and arranged wet belongings in front of the heater. The blokes were playing pool, as they do on a Saturday afternoon, and there was some banter going on. One bloke was in trouble with his wife because he’d bought cucumbers instead of courgettes and had to traipse back out in the pouring rain to get the right vegetables.
My Sheffield friends, Vanessa and Matt, had flown from England to Antalya and were currently on a coach to Ortaca. We were all looking forward to them being back in Dalyan about 5.30pm so, after pool, we hung about in Rehab bar for them to arrive. When they arrived we all had hugs (get the LFTs at the ready) and it was great to see them. More drinks followed but I still limited it to just the 3 ciders as I didn’t want to go mad. Unfortunately, we experienced a new first in Dalyan and had a bad meal. We ordered a takeaway, to eat in Rehab bar, which was pretty terrible but we were all hungry. Vanessa ordered a pide which looked like burnt cheese on toast, Matt and Mark ate their’s without complaint, Kate and I had a chicken burger each and shared chips – the chicken burgers were grey inside. We still ate it all though, but made a note not to have another takeaway from the burger place next door to Rodrigo’s bar. It was definitely the worst meal I’ve had since I’ve been here. I walked home with Vanessa and Matt and was home by 9pm to a newly cleaned apartment and an early night.

I had cornflakes for breakfast on Thursday 3rd March then did a bit of work before going to meet Ann at Porta Dalya. As I was leaving the house, Penny called but I didn’t answer it because I didn’t want to be late.
When I arrived, Ann had already got a coffee and I ordered a diet coke. When our lunch arrived Ann had underestimated the spicy arrabbiata sauce on her pasta and had to get some yoghurt. I stuck with the chicken and mushroom Alfredo which is always a winner. We had 1 glass of wine each and then we were sensible and went home.
I called Penny back and she was at Lukka bar, my loaned bicycle was ready to pick up, so I went to meet her. When I arrived there was quite a crowd sat drinking in the sun. I ordered a cider but then my phone rang, it was Captain Caveman so I went back to the apartment so we could chat. He had an invitation for me! Vietnam had been promising to open to international arrivals and the date was set for 15th March. He wanted to know if I wanted to come to visit sometime in May or June for a few weeks and, of course, I said yes! His colleague has a wife who was keen to visit too, so Captain Caveman put us in touch to discuss travelling out there together. He sent me his schedule up to July and he’d got some tours back-to-back to accommodate gaps in which I would be able to visit. I went back to the bar feeling delighted that I would be getting to see my other half within the next 3 months. I drank my cider with a big smile on my face, then Penny drove me to her villa to pick up the bicycle. I cycled it back to Lukka not knowing it had gears so found it was like peddling through treacle. It certainly warmed me up and I was once again, mobile! Having got a bit of a sweat on from cycling, I ordered another cider, not realising I had missed an upsetting incident. Debbie (Darling)’s street dogs, Socks and Brin, had gone on a cat chase with a terrible result, Socks was in the dog house and tied up at the bar, Debbie was upset. Sheila arrived next and we got chatting about music and her accordian playing. She is part of a singing group in Dalyan, which Kate and I got invited to and we agreed to give it a try next week. I didn’t stay much longer and went home for a good home cooked dinner of stew, Yorkshire pudding and broccoli.
Before bed, I checked the cost of flights to Vietnam, there were no direct ones as yet but the ones via Singapore Airlines were £581 return. I was so excited to perhaps be able to plan to see Captain Caveman, that it took me a long time to get to sleep!

Dalyan – 18th to 20th February

Dalyan – 18th to 20th February

I had more grapefruit for breakfast on Friday 18th February and I had invited Ann over tonight for curry. I got on with making that and had more Baba Ghanoush with bread for lunch. It was my weekly weigh-in day and I had put on 1kg which was disappointing, but not surprising.
When Ann arrived at about 6pm I already had a beer on the go but she brought round 2 bottles of white wine and I’d already bought 1. She also bought me an ornament for the apartment which was very thoughtful. We decided to go to Lukka bar for just 1 drink and we did just that and came back so that we could eat chicken curry. The food turned out well and we had a good night, listening to music and even dancing. At one point we both managed to do a plank for at least 30 seconds! Ann couldn’t stay over because of the dogs and left about midnight, having had a great night. It made me appreciate not having any neighbours so we could have the music loud and sing.

I finally got round to opening the plum jam I bought in Fethiye before Christmas on Saturday 19th February. I had it on toast for my breakfast and it was really good with massive pieces of plums in. The spinach I had taken out of the freezer, in an attempt to make Saag Aloo yesterday, had finally defrosted so I made it today instead. I had managed to find most of the ingredients that I needed here but because I can’t eat chillies, I left them out. The curry that night was good but I didn’t eat too much of it – there was still some leftover too. I had a couple of glasses of white wine and a relatively early night, despite the noise of the Jazz bar keeping me awake.

I was pleased to speak to Captain Caveman on Sunday 20th February at 9.30am. We used the background changing function on the phones which looks as if you are somewhere else. I showed Captain Caveman that you could do this with a photo or video from your own phone. We were definitely missing each other now and this week would mark 5 months of us living in different countries. It wasn’t the longest we had spent apart in the 10 years together, but it was still hard and there was another 6 months to go, if we stuck to the plan. Captain Caveman had a week off coming up so he had planned to go to Hanoi – the trains had recently recommenced since they stopped due to the pandemic. I had toast with plum jam for breakfast and went shopping to Migros and A101 in the afternoon. Here’s what I bought and the prices in lira:

A101 Supermarket

3 onions 1.64
2 soda waters 3.80
3 red peppers 8.35
Toothpaste 22.90
White cheese 25.20

Total spent 61.89 lira (£3.32)

Migros Supermarket

Cornflakes 9.30
Quark 9.30
Tomato paste 10.24
Turkish salami 13.04
1 litre milk 14.91
500g chicken 20.22
500g minced beef 35.25
Red cheddar 46.71

Total spent 158.97 lira (£8.52)

Although the prices in English seemed cheap because of the current exchange rate, I was still using Turkish money that had been deposited at almost a third of the rate so my shopping today had cost me more like £36!

I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t have lunch but I had yet more chicken curry and Saag Aloo left for my dinner. I even warmed up some lavaş bread to have with it.
I was about to start my 3rd week of being busy so I got on with a couple of tasks to make it easier for time off in the week if I needed it. It was a great weekend, mainly spent at home instead of in the pub, for a change! The rest of the curry went in the freezer as I think I might have eaten enough of it for now.