Datça to Dalyan – 15th October

Datça to Dalyan – 15th October

Captain Caveman was awake early on Saturday 15th October, checking the updates on the miners rescue mission. It was fortunate that Captain Caveman wouldn’t need to join the rescue efforts so we went to meet my parents for breakfast. It was our last feast at Datça Vineyard and, this morning, it was even better because we were the only guests. The lady had already set us up two tables, one per couple, overlooking the vineyards. Each table had a feast of all the breakfast items except for cereals and eggs. I helped myself to cereal, the lady brought the rest of the family their choice of eggs and some çay. We filled up our water bottles then went back to the room to pack before the noon checkout. We were sad to be leaving but there were a couple of things to help soften the blow; while we had been gone we had arranged for cleaners to clean our apartments and we were about to treat ourselves to some takeaway wine from the vineyard.

Captain Caveman had the idea that we might want to stop off at the massive Migros supermarket in Marmaris before heading to Dalyan. The weather had turned a bit and updates from Dalyan told us it was raining there. While we had the car it would be helpful to my parents to stock up on anything hard to carry so we did just that. Captain Caveman and I also got a trolley full and we ended up filling the car up between us with lots of essentials. By late afternoon it was rainy so we only just made it back in time to unload the car and get it back for 5pm.

Here’s what Captain Caveman and I bought at Migros and the prices in lira:

Apples 7.21
Envelopes 7.90
Mouthwash 7.95
Bin liners 10.74
Red peppers 12.97
Schweppes bitter lemon 16.00
Schweppes tonic 16.00
Tomatoes 18.32
Turkish salami 21.90
Gherkins 22.05
Spinach 22.92
2 x salt & vinegar crisps 24.50
Blu-tac 24.50
Yoghurt 26.50
3 x pasta 28.50
Washing up sponges 30.45
3 x passata 39.60
Corn on the cob 44.92
Cheese balls 47.95
2 x Cherry & apple juice 48.00
2 x orange juice 52.00

Total spent 562.78 lira (£26.80)

We decided to brave the rain and reconvene in Lukka bar for a beer, seeing as that was where the car was being collected from. We contemplated eating there but, instead, we booked a table at Duble, a nearby Turkish restaurant which had been getting good reviews recently. It was only in the old market square so if it carried on raining we all weren’t too far from home. Mom had a glass of white wine which was only 50 lira (£2.38) but the rest of us shared a bottle of red. The bottle was 250 lira (£11.90) but, as it happened, would have been cheaper by the glass. For starters Dad and I had chicken soup which could be the best I’ve had in Dalyan. Mom and Captain Caveman had liver plus we had about 3 lots of warm bread. Dad and I both had the beef casserole for mains, Mom had lamb chops and Captain Caveman ordered something none of us knew what it was. It was a shepherd’s casserole and we all loved our food, I couldn’t finish all of mine, as usual, so Captain Caveman popped home to get my tupperware. The whole bill came to 1,180 lira (£56) which wasn’t bad for what we had.
As the rain started to get heavier there were a couple of blips in the power so it was home time. We got back to a lovely, clean apartment just as a storm started.

Dalyan – 9th & 10th October

Dalyan – 9th & 10th October

I was up and feeding the cats around 7am on Sunday 9th October, the mornings were starting to get a little chilly now. Captain Caveman was still a sneezy mess despite 180mg of fexofenadine each day. The internet was still patchy too so we decided to cycle over to our apartment for breakfast. We left the cats out playing and had a lovely leisurely journey back in to town. We ate fresh bread, various spreads and I had yoghurt with jam.
The issue of the pool and garden maintenance raised it’s head again when we were told of complaints from some neighbour’s guests. The pool and garden was unkempt, the communal electric was off and the rentals in 2 apartments had complained to their Estate Agent. They had asked for a full refund and moved out, we couldn’t understand the issue with the electric though. Captain Caveman took over the communal payment of the electric for our complex, of 10 apartments several years ago. He had also had a notification from the bank that the payment would be taken tomorrow. As far as we were concerned there shouldn’t have been a problem but it was about to turn in to one.
We stayed home for lunch and had the Slimming World style pizzas with a glass of wine. When we got back to Mark and Kate’s house the sun was almost setting and the cats arrived early for feeding.
We had dinner of the leftover chicken and salad picnic, I had a glass or 2 of wine and Captain Caveman had a beer or 2 while stroking JC, the cat!

By 7.30am on Monday 10th October all the cats had been fed and were playing outside. Bebek and Bubble liked to pretend they were modelling for a photo shoot on top of the sex swing. By 9am Captain Caveman (still a sneezy mess) and I were at Migros picking up some breakfast and provisions. We bought 3 croissants and 1400g of chicken for 123.39 lira (£5.74). I took a photo of the prices of taxis in Dalyan and was getting excited at the arrival of my parents later tonight. They were due to land at 10.30pm at Dalaman airport and we were looking forward to spending lots of time with them.
Back home we shared the croissants and Captain Caveman went Dogging at the shelter. I got involved in pool and garden maintenance issues over messages about the contractor and the communal electric. There were complaints via our Aussie friends about the garden not being tended too and questions asked about if anyone had seen a gardener. I’m no Miss Marple but, by my account, no workman had been since about the end of May. My photo of my bicycle this morning showed the hose pipe and Rosemary bush had not been touched since I left for Vietnam on 3rd June. More back and forth comments went on with some owners about the state of the overhanging bushes and trees (including the ones I had cut down a year or so ago and had resulted in Bougainvillea-gate). I got annoyed, took the scissors down to the garden and started snipping away – I knew that failed hairdressing course would come in handy one day!
Once I’d done as much as I could reach, I sent photos to the affected neighbours, informed them it only took me 10 minutes and messaged Captain Caveman to tell him to pick up the spiky cuttings and bin them when he got back. I was getting a bit peeved with the whole situation! When Captain Caveman returned I made suggestions to get another maintenance company lined up for 2023. If he waited much longer to get someone to price for the job we would miss out as all the good ones get snapped up. My thumb remained numb for the rest of the day, from trimming a hedge with kitchen scissors.

I took a photo of the spare bedroom which now had a new bedside table. I’d bought it last year at IKEA and not put it up, so Captain Caveman had done it. We were ready for having guests now and there were a few due.
News of flash flood warnings in central Vietnam came and we were glad that we weren’t there at the moment. Our friends there were preparing for power outages and severe floods. Meanwhile my parents were at Manchester airport ready to come to Dalyan, after 3 months back in Sheffield. When Captain Caveman returned from Dogging he picked up all the sharp cuttings from the pathway, surveyed my handiwork, got annoyed at the garden situation and didn’t even thank me for trying to help.
That evening, after watering the plants, playing and feeding with the cats I got ready for a night out. Jamie came to pick up Captain Caveman and I at 7pm and we went to his villa. Drew had cooked us a lovely lasagne and we had quite a bit of red wine with it. We got to meet (again) Edna and Norman, Jamie’s dogs, who we would be looking after soon.
It was a lovely meal, Jamie dropped us back off and went to pick up his friend from the airport. Tomorrow was going to be a busy day!

Dalyan – 8th October

Dalyan – 8th October

While I cleaned and hoovered the lounge, kitchen, dining area and our bedroom on Saturday 8th October, Captain Caveman went to the market. I thought the idea of him getting up early and leaving was so that he could buy provisions and prepare us a nice brunch. There wasn’t any bread or milk in at Mark and Kate’s so by the time I had finished cleaning I was very hungry. Captain Caveman eventually rocked up at 2pm with a picnic lunch and a cooked chicken from the butcher’s. He wasn’t hungry as he’d had a gözleme at the market (because he was there too early). Captain Caveman had also taken himself off supermarket shopping so that’s why he’d been a while. Here’s what he bought, prices in lira;

Migros supermarket

Cherry jam 22.00
Salted nuts 25.90
Stringy cheese 33.50
Wraps 37.50
Eggs 37.90
Mozzarella cheese balls 47.95
Halloumi cheese 52.95
Turkish salami 54.90

Total spent 312.60 lira (£14.53).
That wasn’t a bad price to say there were 3 lots of cheese, which is can be expensive.

After eating our lunch in the (almost) fur free dining area we sat outside and Captain Caveman had a beer. I watered the plants, fed the cats early and we had a walk to the Kingfisher restaurant for dinner. We shared some mezes as a main course, I had a glass of wine and Captain Caveman had a beer. The setting is rustic but beautiful and there are lots of turtles swimming in the surrounding water. The service was excellent and we really enjoyed our evening before walking back after sunset. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, Captain Caveman started an argument when I pointed out how nice the orange sky looked, reflected in the water. He disappeared to take photos and I walked home by myself and had another early night.

Dalyan – 4th October

Dalyan – 4th October

On Tuesday 4th October I went to the local doctors to see if I could get my Corona vaccine booster because my ‘Life Fits in to Home’ app had told me I was due one. This would be my 4th Turkish Pfizer jab, in addition to the 2 Astra Zeneca jabs in Vietnam prior. At the doctor’s they said they needed 6 people so they took my phone number to let me know when they had enough takers. I tootled off to Turkish class next and I really enjoyed my lesson.
At midday I made a halloumi salad for lunch which was very nice then we waited for the temperature to drop a bit. It was still 30°C when Captain Caveman and I went out for a spot of shopping. Here’s what we got and the price in Lira;

Turkcell phone top up for the month
88.00 lira (£4.12)

Migros supermarket

Onions 3.92
Vine ripened tomatoes 13.31
1 litre Tonic 16.00
1 litre Bitter lemon 16.00
Red peppers 16.05
Batteries 19.20
Orange juice 23.25
Barbecue sauce 34.95
Turkey 51.90
Toothpaste 65.00
Slippers (men’s) 89.90

Total spent 299.48 lira (£14)

By 5pm we were back home, on the balcony, sipping beer and nibbling on cheese while contemplating what to have for dinner. I cooked rice and a kind of chicken fajita dish which Captain Caveman had in a wrap but I just had rice with it. It was very tasty and set us up for the evening.
By 9pm we were back at River Terrace where we joined some friends of Kate’s plus Gay Gaz who was a bit excitable. He had completed a microlight flight this morning and was now thinking he was immortal – he had booked to go to Babadağ to do the paragliding next! We limited our drinks to just 2 beers each and Debbie (Darling) came to join us for the second half of the live music. After, there was talk of more drinking in Sofra bar but we declined as I had a busy day tomorrow and we were trying to stick to a budget.

Dalyan – 2nd October

Dalyan – 2nd October

Captain Caveman was back to his sprightly self on Sunday 2nd October, which looked to be another sunny day. He went to Migros supermarket as they opened at 8.30am to buy some breakfast items. He bought 1 simit, 1 croissant and 1 chocolate & nut croissant for a total of 25.35 lira (£1.20).
We ate breakfast and, while I caught up on my Turkish, Captain Caveman went back to the supermarket for a bigger shop. Here’s the shopping basket and prices in lira;

Migros Supermarket

1 litre soda water 9.75
Salt 11.50
Cheese 15.50
2 packs of chicken livers 16.81
Apple and cherry juice 21.60
A knife 22.95
3 tomato puree 23.76
Marmalade 24.40
Washing powder 29.06
Roll-on deodorant 30.45
Chicken 41.24
Paper towels 79.90
Toilet rolls 119.90
Olive oil 154.90

Total spent 601.72 lira (£28.83)

Back home, we had a nice chicken salad for lunch and then we had to get ready for the biggest event in Dalyan that I’d ever been to!

At 3.30pm we made our way to the Kaunos tea garden where Victoria Louise Scott was getting married to Bünyamin. A while a go I had received an invite to her Facebook group event which I had read out to Captain Caveman so that he could add the itinerary to his phone. These were the details he had:
4pm Wedding ceremony at tea garden
4.30pm boats to the beach, canapés & drinks on board, photos at the beach
6.30pm back up the river by boat to Paradise hotel for the evening meal
8.30pm evening wedding party.
I decided to wear my pink dress and Captain Caveman wore trousers and a shirt, despite it being extremely hot. When we arrived at the tea gardens there were already lots of guests having a refreshment. There was very little shade and we were melting so we decided to grab a beer. We were joined by Mark, Kate, Debbie (Darling), Roy, Nikki and Bianca. Debbie (Darling) and I stood together to watch the ceremony which was very nice. There were lots of guests, as Victoria is very well known in Dalyan, she is also an Admin for the Dalyan Visitors Facebook page.

Captain Caveman and I followed Mark and Kate towards the boats after the ceremony, Debbie (Darling) and Roy were going to go straight to the hotel and see us there.
When we got to the boat, Mark, Kate and Daisy were on Turgay’s boat but it was now full so we hopped on the next one. Captain Caveman ordered a beer and I had a red wine, both cost the same, 70 lira (£3.35). We had a couple and enjoyed some canapés as we sailed down the river. On the boats we had lots of music and dancing and we got involved in the celebrations, feeling so pleased to have been invited. All of the guests we met were lovely and it was an amazing day. Victoria looked absolutely stunning and everyone had dressed up for this momentous occasion. The traditional Turkish band followed us from boat to boat and were incredible (and loud), the young drummer was fantastic.

We arrived at the Paradise hotel and rejoined Debbie (Darling) and Roy who were already sat at a table and had a wine bucket crammed with bottles of wine. There was also a lot of bottled water on the table which, when we went to sit down, a guest came to move out of the way. She took the waters and a bottle of wine to another table and we thought maybe we were in her seats so we moved down a bit. The table was set lovely and there was a post box for us to put our money/cards in. I didn’t realise how close to the top table we were until Victoria and Bünyamin came in to sit at their table, right behind me. The food came out quickly and was absolutely delicious, Captain Caveman shovelled it in like he was starving and ate anything from my plate that I couldn’t manage. The wine on the table to toast wasn’t to my taste as I’m not keen on sparkling rosé so we stuck to our own red wine. We managed to see Deidre who we missed meeting up with in Holland and she helped me sign the wedding book. Because I had contact lenses in, I had trouble seeing what I wrote. Steve came over with a whisky and I had one with the boys to mark the happy day. We were having a lovely time with lots of dancing and drinking. We were pretty tipsy but we had to leave fairly early as we had Drew’s birthday at River Terrace to attend.

At River Terrace we managed to just catch Jamie and Drew before his celebration ended. On the way home my sandal strap broke and I had to hobble down lovers lane to the bar. We then sat to watch Daisy perform her singing but I really couldn’t drink much more. It had been a great day and we had loved seeing so many people having such a good time.

Dalyan – 27th & 28th September

Dalyan – 27th & 28th September

Our Turkish class was cancelled on the morning of Tuesday 27th September. This meant I could enjoy an unexpected easy day at home. For breakfast I had peaches, figs, yoghurt and honey while Captain Caveman made himself an omelette to have with fresh bread. Our Aussie friends had took themselves off to IKEA in İzmir and Captain Caveman had started to do some small jobs around the apartment.
I got on with pickling some beetroot and onions and then we got an unexpected invite out. Kate messaged to let us know that Daisy would be singing at River Terrace that evening so would we come along to support her. Of course, we said yes but decided we would eat at home first. Captain Caveman had his first go at making the pizzas on wraps and they turned out pretty nice. He also did a Halloumi side salad and we opened a bottle of Tılsım red wine to go with it.
We got to River Terrace before Daisy started singing and she was a bit nervous, she has a lovely singing voice though. By 10pm she was performing a great version of Country Roads, she was pretty good at an Amy Winehouse song too. The customers seemed to enjoy the music, the regular singer and guitarist were also very good but Ali, one of the owners, was totally impressed by Daisy. Kate and I even got up to dance with some other customers from another table so I’d say she had a successful night.

Captain Caveman went to Migros supermarket twice on Wednesday 28th September. The first time he bought 2 chocolate croissants and an onion loaf which cost a total of 40.45 lira (£1.98) and we had a lovely breakfast. On the second visit he bought eggs and bin liners for a total of 54.80 lira (£2.67). For lunch we had the onion bread with hummus, haydari, carrots, gherkins and olives, which was nice.
I spotted a bicycle for sale and enquired about it as it would be great to have some wheels to get about, especially when I’m doing any house or pet sitting for friends. I arranged to go to look at the bike tomorrow and was looking forward to being mobile.
That evening Captain Caveman and I went to the Retro bar quiz with Gay Gaz, Amanda and Greg. Surprisingly we managed to come joint first in the quiz but when we got home Tom, the quizmaster, had put a comment on Facebook that our score was wrong by 10 points so we didn’t actually win. I replied that we hadn’t marked our own so it’s not like we were cheating! I don’t really like quizzes because I’m not very good at them, whereas Captain Caveman loves a quiz. Tom Cree, the man who does the quiz, is very good and makes it more fun. I also like going to Retro bar as it is one of my favourites.

Dalyan – 24th September

Dalyan – 24th September

Captain Caveman dislikes that I don’t get up early so on Saturday 24th September I had set my alarm to make sure we got to the weekly market. This would be the first time in about 3 years that Captain Caveman had been and he was looking forward to it.
We mainly purchased fruit and veg; onions, potatoes, olives, red cabbage, lettuce, spring onions, figs, plums, peaches, pears and honey. As Captain Caveman was paying and there were no receipts I didn’t note the amount we spent but to give you an idea the most expensive item was a jar of local honey at 80 lira (£3.80).
On the walk back from the market I bit in to one of the pears, only to find it was bad. For lunch we had a lovely salad which Captain Caveman bought a fresh cooked chicken from the butcher’s to go with. That was also 80 lira (£3.80) which is still cheap in English equivalent but the last time Captain Caveman had been here they were only 15 lira but worked out at £2.50 then. I let him know that bread loaves, which used to be 1 lira, were now 3 lira so that he wouldn’t be taken by surprise at the bakery.
In the afternoon we had peaches, plums and figs with a drizzle of honey on – that was delicious.
By 5pm we were in the A101 supermarket buying more essentials, then we popped to Migros for what we were still missing;

A101 Supermarket
Lemons 5.24
Clotted cream 23.50

Total 28.74 lira (£1.37)

Migros Supermarket
Tomato Ketchup 22.00
Gluten Free flour 23.50
Halloumi cheese 28.30
Gherkins 31.90
Mozzarella cheese balls 34.90
Yoghurt 35.95
Fabric Softener 36.90
Washing powder 38.75
Nuts 44.90
Mouthwash 54.90

Total spent 352 lira (£16.77)

We called in to Jiks pub after for a drink where we sat in the beer garden with Sue, Shiela and Ian. I had a cherry juice, Captain Caveman an Efes Malt. We noticed that the service in Jiks wasn’t as sharp as it once was and they had new staff.
Back home, the lights on the pool were on and didn’t seem to be on a timer any more, there were also new additional lights that had been installed. The pool looked like someone had tipped some salt in it but it was still dirty and we hadn’t seen a pool guy yet.
For dinner I decided to try an old favourite from when I used to eat healthy. I think it came from a Slimming World idea to make pizzas from wraps and keep the toppings basic. For each pizza I used 2 spoons of passata as the base, 1.5 slices of salami, 4 olives, 2 mushrooms, a few slices of red pepper and 3 small balls of cheese, sliced thinly. It takes only 7 minutes in the oven and it was the first time Captain Caveman had tried them. We enjoyed the low calorie pizzas, so much so that I got annoyed with Captain Caveman for snaffling it in too loudly. Captain Caveman was annoyed with me for commenting on his lack of manners so I went to bed early.

Dalyan – 18th September

Dalyan – 18th September

I had in my diary to meet Amanda & Greg, our Aussie friends downstairs, for breakfast at 10am on Sunday 18th September. That didn’t happen on account of us still being in bed. While they went off to investigate where their favourite Turkish breakfast was, Captain Caveman took one for the team and braved a Sunday supermarket shop at Migros.
It had been a while since he had been in a Turkish supermarket for a big shop but he did well, here’s what he bought and the prices in lira:

Plastic bag 0.75
Onions 4.36
Potatoes 5.47
Apples 6.33
Lemon juice 7.75
Garlic 8.55
Carrots 10.50
Cherry tomatoes 11.90
Tonic water 13.50
Rice 14.00
Big tomatoes 15.21
Red peppers 17.11
2 cans of Grapefruit juice 19.90
Orange juice 26.00
Bananas 26.95
Toastie Bread 27.95
Eggs 42.50
Minced beef 48.50
Turkish salami 49.90
Butter (Turkish) 53.95
Beetroot 59.90
Chicken 61.58

Total spent 532.56 lira (£25.77)

Prices had gone up several times recently in Dalyan so it was quite a pricey shop but we needed essentials. We probably could have done without the beetroot but it would easily make a big jar of pickled, that would last a while.
I was rather surprised that he’d not bought any alcohol, especially as we had been invited round to a friend’s house in the afternoon for drinks.

We met a couple at Lukka bar so that Captain Caveman could buy a phone from them, then we ended up having a beer, as you do. At 2.30pm we met up with Brian at Lukka who needed a DVD player so we had a good chat with him then a quick drink at Tez bar because Lukka bar was full, for Sunday lunches.
At 3.30pm we popped to Selçuk Market which is our corner shop and Captain Caveman chose a bottle of wine which he liked the name of. We bought some strange looking soda water which turned out to be diet lemonade. We arrived at Adam & Kath’s house where everyone else was already there; Mark, Kate, Daisy, John, Andrea, Dawn & Steve.
They have a snooker table so we all played pool after a few drinks and they put on a rather nice buffet. We definitely drank more wine than we took with us, though, but we didn’t have too late a night as tomorrow we had a celebration to attend. On the way home we passed a bench with a life-sized doll on it, which grabbed Captain Caveman’s attention.

Rhodes – 15th September

Rhodes – 15th September

We stayed in bed late on the morning of Thursday 15th September, which was nice. Our room at Lefka Hotel had a shutter on the outside of the patio doors which made it dark and quiet.
By 1pm we were eating leftovers for our lunch and decided to open the bottle of Cair red wine, which was great. In the afternoon we went to the supermarket to stock up on cheese, salami, crisps and deodorant before getting ready for our last night in Rhodes.

Michelle and Steve had kindly booked us our ferry back to Turkey tomorrow morning so we made the most of our last Greek evening. Captain Caveman changed some more dollars and we had a walk around the old town, including a mooch about the Gate of St Anthony. We watched sunset at the beach and had a cold beer at the Malt House, which was lovely.

Captain Caveman had booked us in for an eleven course tasting menu at Piatakia for dinner and it was great. The food was excellent and I was brave to try everything except for the tuna and mussels.
On the way home we had one more drink to break up the walk back to our hotel, at a bar I forgot the name of.

Photo credit – some taken by Captain Caveman

Rhodes – 14th September

Rhodes – 14th September

Captain Caveman and I had originally planned to be back in Dalyan by Wednesday 14th September, however things had changed. Unfortunately, we would miss Sausage Dick’s departure without having seen him this time and there was still no sign of the missing sausages. One of the reasons we decided to stay longer in Rhodes was that Captain Caveman can only stay in Turkey for 90 days which means that he has to spend a month elsewhere this winter. 
At 6.20am I was waking up Captain Caveman to look at the stunning sunrise from our hotel balcony. We went back to bed after taking photos and I had an extra snooze before we got ready to check out. We were moving again and we were disappointed not to be staying for longer in Vlycha as it was really lovely.

Our next stop was back to Rhodes Town where Captain Caveman had booked for us to stay at Lefka Hotel & Apartments for 2 nights. We got the bus from Vlycha, outside the TUI Blue hotel, to Rhodes Town. We got off in town and then had to walk, via one of Captain Caveman’s shortcuts, which I was convinced was longer. When we arrived at the hotel there was no one in reception and we were too early to check-in. We left our bags and walked back in to town for some lunch. We went to a restaurant, called Nimmos, which was friendly and fairly busy. We both ordered beer, Captain Caveman had fried cheese and I had chicken kebab. The food was tasty, not the best in the world, but we had been rather spoiled recently. On the way back to the hotel to check in we called in to the supermarket to buy water. I happened to spot the same Cair Cabernet Sauvignon wine from Vlycha for €10 so we bought a bottle.

Lefka Hotel was very nice, we liked our room and the small, clean bathroom. We got ready and went back out for sunset in Rhodes Town. Captain Caveman insisted we try Piccolo Pizza which was a small stall in the old town that had the best pizza and had been recommended by Google. We found a gorgeous little wine bar, called Obscura, where we enjoyed a couple of glasses of very good red wine.

It was after 8pm when we set off walking back towards our hotel for a delicious meal at 4 Rhodies, which was on the way. We over ordered on the food which was outstanding and we had to take a doggy bag back to he hotel. Captain Caveman had liver and I had a huge cheese salad but we kind of shared, there was lots of bread. We had a carafe of the cheap wine which was actually very good for the price. The mains were an egg and potato dish for Captain Caveman and a pork dish for me, both excellent. We walked home stuffed and ready for bed, tomorrow would be our last day in Rhodes.

Bruges – 5th September

Bruges – 5th September

Monday 5th September found me checking my emails as soon as I woke up. The Ibis hotel had good WiFi and a small desk behind the bathroom sink. Of course, our first priority was getting breakfast so we went to Maro, in Bruges. I had pain au chocolat with tea and Captain Caveman had a croissant with an espresso. They were good but not quite as perfect as Charli’s in Brussels. We did get a morsel of carrot cake to try though and that was pretty good. A table next to us was having the champagne brunch which looked good.

Our next stop was the Launderette as we were running short on clean clothes, I’d not quite accounted for it being so much cooler and had mainly shorts and dresses with me. Captain Caveman changed some more money, bought a conditioning bar, for my hair, and an adapter plug for our friends who were coming to Dalyan in September.

We had a lunch time stop off at De Halve Maan (The Half Moon) where I had 2 beers, Captain Caveman had 3 beers and we shared a cheese plate and an assorted charcuterie plate. The total came to €44.50 (£40 approx) which seemed reasonable.
We walked back to the hotel, it was cloudy but fairly warm. The cleaners had been and done a full clean even though it didn’t really need it.

That night we were booked in to Ribs ‘n’ Beer, where we ate at the last time we were in Bruges. It rained so we both got wet walking there and this was the first time I felt cold. Captain Caveman and I both had the all you can eat ribs and it was fantastic. The ribs were €23 each which was great value and our total bill, including 5 beers came to €68 (£60 approx). Walking the 20 minutes home was chilly but the rain had eased off and we were so full from so much food.

Dalyan – 30th August

Dalyan – 30th August

I was woken at 4am on Tuesday 30th August by someone calling me from Vietnam. I had forgotten to put my do not disturb on and it would be 8am there, I didn’t answer it but then I couldn’t get back to sleep. As the call to prayer went off I checked emails then had a sandwich which I still had left from the airport lounge.
In the afternoon I went to get my Turkish phone sorted because the SIM card was no longer working. It cost me 300 lira (£15) for a new one with 15GB of data, some texts and minutes. If you’re not a resident then it costs another £5. Next, I went to the pharmacy to get contraceptive pills and antihistamines. This cost about £7.25, much more expensive than when I last bought any. My last stop was to Migros to get toilet roll, noodles, spaghetti and milk at a cost of 86 lira (£4.30) – prices in Turkey were definitely increasing but seemed generally cheaper than the UK. When I got back to the apartment, I noticed that the outside lights were on, which was good but the light at the top of our stairs wasn’t working. The gate proved hard to get in and out of with shopping bags because of the overgrown garden and the broken wire netting on the gate. I had leftovers and a crisp sandwich for dinner then an early night. I decided to wait until Captain Caveman arrived so he could deal with what needed to happen about the pool and garden maintenance which definitely needed some attention. Captain Caveman was on a flight from Saigon at 9.25pm (Vietnamese time) and would be in Istanbul by the time I woke up in the morning.

Dong Hoi & Phong Nha – 7th August

Dong Hoi & Phong Nha – 7th August

I had a woolly head when the alarm went off at 7am on Sunday 7th August and I wasn’t fit for anything! Captain Caveman had to persuade me to get up and get ready as we were off to Dong Hoi on a shopping trip. We haven’t had the shopping trips with the Phong Nha Farmstay this year, which I used to like as they rarely left so early! The weekly trips had stopped running during the pandemic and never restarted, I guess because there were no other monthly renters so it didn’t warrant just taking us. While Captain Caveman had been working so much he didn’t need to go as often and I made do with whatever we had in the freezer.
Captain Caveman had booked an Oxalis car and driver and he was here early. Rain had been forecast so we hoped to get some shopping done, meet a friend and get back before any predicted stormy weather.
We got our usual driver, Dung, who’s always nice and friendly but professional. He also keeps the car clean and has the AC on, so we had a comfortable drive to Dong Hoi. By 9am our Bo Ne from Mr Bull’s was ordered and we were sipping the free tea, I was feeling somewhat delicate. I had my steak breakfast without eggs and it actually sorted me out a bit, until I started with a bad stomach.

We went to the Co-op Mart where we spent about 1.4 million vnd (£50) on groceries, including 4 bargain bottles of Merlot.
Our next stop was the WinMart where we spent 666,000vnd (£24). 
For those wondering how we had managed to spend £74 on shopping (and we weren’t finished yet), here’s what we had bought in the supermarkets;

Co-op Mart
1 white carrot 7,134
1 lemon soda 8,500
Tissues 13,000
Hand sanitizer 14,900
3 carrots 15,667
Pasta 23,000
2 red peppers 26,733
Passion fruit 28,106
2 packets of crisps 36,000
3 mangos 64,326
Mushrooms 64,900
6 soda waters 105,000
3 cartons orange juice 132,900
4 bottles of red wine 612,000

Total spent 1,378,866vnd (£50)

WinMart
3 salted lemon drinks 20,700
2 baguettes 30,000
1 bag of Lay’s crisps 31,000
2 teacake loaves 39,800
1 Tupperware box 43,000
2 Beef steaks 44,200
Spaghetti 49,000
200g Cheddar 74,600
Pasta sauce 78,700
1kg chicken breasts 119,900
200g butter 134,500

Total spent 666,100vnd (£24). Butter seemed to be a similar price to the UK and Turkey and airfryers were now all the rage. There had not been any white wine in either of the supermarkets so I suggested we try the Wine Plaza, at the back of the Vincom centre.

Our next stop at the Wine Plaza was a bit unusual; we walked in to a birthday celebration of the owner. They had us join in the photos in front of the flowers and then gave us both a glass of red to join in. They were lovely people and we ended up in there for much more than the 5 minutes we told the driver. We left having bought 3 bottles of nice white wine, one of which was 900,000vnd (£32.40), the other 2 much cheaper.
This was all before lunch time and we were meeting Thao at 11.30am for Banh khoai, crispy pancakes. Before that we went to QB Casa where Captain Caveman had a juice and I had a peach tea.

It was great to see Thao as we had not seen her for a while, we all ate the same thing and it was a little bit of a wait for the food because it’s so popular. After lunch we went around the corner for fresh coconut, sat opposite the market.
Back home we watched a bit of tree moving from outside of Elements and chilled out by the pool. We finished off a lovely day with crisps, fresh sandwiches and white wine. I got a message from my mate who arrives in Dalaman airport 3 hours after I do to say we could meet up and we pencilled in Ölüdeniz or Fethiye for the 29th.

Hanoi – 6th July

Hanoi – 6th July


I had a bit of a funny turn at about 2am on Wednesday 6th July. Kat turned the light out for us to go to sleep and I lay down. I got an overwhelming feeling of not being able to breathe properly and my chest was very hot to the touch. I scared her as she wondered if I was going to need medical attention and I didn’t know what was wrong with me. When I sat up I seemed to feel better but when I lay down I got worse, I turned my head toward the Aircon and we left the torch, on Kat’s phone, on until I calmed down a bit and eventually fell asleep. Thinking about it, it was the same thing I had when I got on the plane in Singapore so I wondered if it was just from lack of sleep and a bit of stress.
When I woke up, Kat had already been out to buy us some local food for breakfast. She had got me xoi ngo (or xoi bap), which is sticky corn rice with mung bean and fried onion. It’s very filling and tastes great. Kat had xoi xeo for herself, which was similar to mine but without the corn. We ate it with kombucha, which I didn’t particularly enjoy but it did cut through the stodge of the breakfast well.
After breakfast I got ready and we decided to go over to West Lake so we could grab a drink at a cafe. Our first stop was at Mystic cafe where they put up a parasol for us to sit by the lake. It was hazy but hot and I borrowed a sun hat from Kat. I had a fresh iced tea and the menu looked good so we ordered lunch there. I had a chicken taco and Kat had chicken salad, both were great value for money. Next we stopped off at Huy Long cafe on a nice corner spot, Kat had a coffee and I had a fresh lemon juice.
Kat had stuff to do in the afternoon so she kindly dropped me off at the accommodation which Captain Caveman had booked from tonight. We loosely said we would meet up later and off I went, to the Euphoria reception desk to check in.

I was excited to find we had been upgraded to a snazzy 2 bedroom apartment at Euphoria. I roughly knew the area too so, after unpacking and taking some photos, I had a walk to the shopping centre next to Fraser Suites. I was surprised to see that the Annam Gourmet shop sold Yorkshire tea bags but 80 were 450,000vnd (£16.20). I found that wine was cheaper and bought 2 bottles of screw top red and some croissants for breakfast tomorrow. I wasn’t sure if I would be eating out tonight but noticed the pizza place had 2 for 1 offers on Wednesdays which was good.

Back at Euphoria, I chilled out a bit and worked out how to operate the TV so that I could put my Youtube playlist on. Kat was coming over later but I got peckish and thirsty so I ordered pizza and started the wine. Kat arrived with treats of cheese, olives, Korean chocolate nibbles, some pastry things and peach cider. We had a bit of a picnic for our dinner, with wine and some great tunes. At first I was reluctant to try the Ricco Tiramisu gluten free sweets, but Kat insisted. I’m glad that she did because they are life changing and I need to have more if them in my life. We went to bed late and it was pretty luxurious to have a bedroom each tonight.

Dong Hoi & Phong Nha – 25th June

Dong Hoi & Phong Nha – 25th June

Captain Caveman had booked a car to take us on a shopping trip on Saturday 25th June. It wasn’t my idea of something good to do with a day off but Captain Caveman does enjoy shopping much more than I do. We were in the car and I was about to discuss my declined visa extension situation when Captain Caveman noticed a missed call from his boss. It’s not uncommon for this to happen on a day off early in the morning, so I wasn’t surprised. Captain Caveman was asked if he could be ready to go to do day 2 of a Hang Va tour, to cover for the Vietnamese tour guide who was on his way out. I thought we would have to turn the car around and go back but Captain Caveman pointed out that he couldn’t do it. This was the first time I’d ever witnessed Captain Caveman say no to one of his bosses asking him to do extra but, of course, I was pleased.
In Dong Hoi we got the driver to drop us off at Mr Bull’s for breakfast where we ordered Bo Ne, I had mine without eggs. It was delicious but I sensed Captain Caveman’s mind was still on the Hang Va issue. The operations manager, called him to say it had been sorted but they had sent in Tatas to cover, so now could Captain Caveman cover for Tatas on her pre-briefing duties. He agreed as they were both on the same Son Doong tour tomorrow. This meant he had to be at work an hour earlier this evening, at Son Doong Bungalows. I was definitely getting an idea of how busy Captain Caveman had been these last few months and I knew he was going to be very disappointed that I wasn’t able to get a visa extension without having to leave Vietnam.

Our first shop on the shopping trip was the Co-op Mart, the biggest of the supermarkets in Dong Hoi, and it was busy. We spent a lot of money, I had forgotten to bring the shopping list but I think we remembered most things between us. The next place was VinMart, which is now called WinMart, and has new products in. I was so excited that they had small rice cookers for less than £20 so we bought one to take back to Turkey. Next stop was for tampons, also tricky to find in Vietnam, which they sell in the Medicare shop but were 174,000vnd (£6.26) for 2 boxes. Our last stop was the wine shop where Captain Caveman came back to the car with a box containing 3 bottles of white wine and 2 bottles of Bombay Sapphire gin for a bargain total of £50.
We were meant to be spending some time in Dong Hoi and had planned to go to Tree Hugger for lunch and White Russian cocktails. Captain Caveman wasn’t in the mood now and suggested we just go straight back home.

It’s been a while since Ive done a big shop so here’s what we spent in the 2 supermarkets.
£1 = 27,768 Vietnamese Dong (VDH)

Co-op Mart supermarket:
1 can of ginger ale 9,500
Baby wipes 12,300
2 onions 15,774
Bamboo Cotton buds 20,500
3 carrots 21,886
1 packet of pasta 22,500
Washing up liquid 22,500
1 packet of Grape haribos 25,200
Sugar free Milk 27,200
Passion fruit 30,751
4 cans of tonic 31,200
2 red peppers 32,347
3 mangos 39,063
Frozen sweetcorn 43,600
Mushrooms 50,500
2 chicken breasts 50,580
1 Tupperware 53,000
1 Tupperware 59,000
1 pomelo 59,988
Frozen strawberries 63,800
Tin foil 69,900
1 bottle of olive oil 130,000
3 cartons of orange juice 132,900
2 bottles of red wine 306,000

Total spent 1,355,189vnd (£48.79)

WinMart supermarket:
2 small cans of coke 15,800
2 baguettes 19,000
3 salted lemon drinks 20,700
1 teacake loaf 22,900
Pineapple 29,80
1 plastic bottle 33,500
Pork mince 54,264
Pork mince 56,662
Frosties cereal 54,700
6 Strongbow ciders 108,600
1 rice cooker 544,000

Total spent 959,926vnd (£34.56)

I was surprised at how cheap the bottles of Strongbow were as in Dalyan it was getting difficult to get even Turkish cider for less than £3 per bottle.

On the way back to Elements we came up with a Plan B and C for me and we decided I would apply for another e-Visa. I already had a flight booked from DaNang to Singapore, used as proof of leaving Vietnam after 1 month, so it made sense to take that. If another 30 day e-Visa was granted I would come back to Vietnam the next day and carry on as we were. If I didn’t get another visa then I would still come back in on the free 15 day visa exemption, get my stuff and go back to Turkey, or England perhaps.
While I applied for my e-Visa, Captain Caveman unpacked the shopping and put it away. I got confirmation of my visa application, paid $25, and was told I would have notification by Wednesday. In the afternoon we didn’t really have much leisure time as we were busy with ‘Operation get me back in to Vietnam’ and Captain Caveman had to unpack, pack and prepare for work. I was lucky that Captain Caveman is so organised and calm in a crisis because I had been ready to have a mini meltdown.
For dinner I had a bit of a concoction; yesterday I’d made tortilla but the frying pan was a bit iffy and it had stuck so it was more of a ‘deconstructed Spanish omelette’, I’d only made it to use up the potatoes, onions and eggs and had ended up with 2 in the fridge. I fried some of it up like a posh hash brown with some bacon and pickled white cabbage. It definitely wouldn’t win any awards for how it looked but it tasted great. For afters, I had fresh pineapple and passion fruit which was so good. I also noticed that the WinMart had charged us for 2 lots of pineapple but we only had one.
When Captain Caveman returned from his briefing, having had to deal with a late joiner and more issues than he’s used to because that would’ve been Tatas’ job, he brought booze! His last group were disappointed that he was unable to do the gala dinner with them and had saved him some of their bottle of whisky – he said they were a really nice bunch of people. He kindly shared it with me and we listened to Kate’s Ultimate Boat Trip Playlist which she had shared on Facebook. There were some brilliant songs on there and it was about 24 hours long, I wondered if we could do a boat trip to celebrate when we returned to Dalyan and do the entire playlist.