Hello all. I’ve just returned from a brief 5 days in Fethiye. I decided to take my mum, my sister and a close family friend with me so that they could see and experience where I will be living from next April. Without boring you with the details, we were able to stay in the apartment I will be living in once I move. A good thing seeing as I took about ¾ of my wardrobe with me this time. Call my psychic but I’m thinking I won’t be needing my flipflops and strappy tops in the UK for a while…

Now my old mum, bless her, dislikes 3 things; foreign food, hot weather, and countries where English is not the main language. But fair play to her…she made every effort to enjoy herself and I think I might even have seen her smile a couple of times (although it may well have been wind!). She did however come out of the bathroom once asking me which was shampoo and which was shower gel as it was all ‘in foreign’ – a bit of a concern seeing as I’d bought it in my local Co-Op. But, then again, she’s not known for her awareness abilities.

I started by taking them to my favourite part of Fethiye, the marina and promenade – culminating in a gorgeous stroll along the front where you can listen to the gentle lapping of the waves and feel a light breeze, something you need when the October temperature is still a healthy 29OC – slightly different from the torrential rain we’ve been experiencing in the UK recently.

Looking out from the promenade at Fethiye

There are a lot of improvements taking place in Fethiye at the moment and the promenade is not being left behind. By the time it is finished it will be just under 3 miles long and stretch from Fethiye all the way to Calis (pronounced Chalish), a slightly more touristy resort with a lovely pebble beach and the location of my favourite restaurant, Le Sat, which is unfortunately pronounced Le Shat – luckily this isn’t a reflection on the taste (or appearance) of the food which is amazing, and you can eat whilst admiring a gorgeous view that encompasses both Calis and Fethiye. If you’ve slightly overdone it on the dessert you can catch a bus (Dolmus) or a water taxi back to Fethiye.

My other favourite place in this area, and where I took them the following day, is Kayaköy. Kayaköy, is where Anatolian Greek speaking Christians lived until approximately 1923. After the Greco-Turkish War, Kayaköy was largely abandoned after a population exchange agreement was signed by the Turkish and Greek governments in 1923. Many of the buildings were also damaged in the 1957 Fethiye earthquake. It is now a ruined ghost village that you can wander around for just 5tl (unless you climb up the back way, but you didn’t get that from me!) and you can still feel the souls of the past residents as you climb over rubble and peer up at the remaining wall markings in the churches and chapels. On the way back we briefly stopped in Hisaronu – a town made for tourism where you can get a cheap beer, an even cheaper haircut and bikinis the size of hankies that shouldn’t be seen on anyone bigger than a size 6 but quite often make it onto someone a tad bigger.

The ghost town of Kayakoy

Inside a chapel at Kayakoy

On our last full day we popped over to Olu Deniz. A beautiful place with one of the most photographed beaches in the Med. Again you can still get bikinis but at least the people wearing them tend to look in the mirror before they go out in public.

Olu Deniz beach

We finished off the holiday with a meal at the Sundial Restaurant, which is also a hotel (www.sundialotel.com). If you are ever passing through, do visit, and make sure you get there just before sunset and you will see one of the most spectacular shows put on by mother nature. The restaurant itself uplifts the mood even further by playing tunes from Les Mis whilst the sun goes down. And I couldn’t help being a little, just a little, distracted by the Patrick Swayze lookalike waiter (well, if you squint anyway).

Sunset over the pool at the Sundial

Of course, this trip wasn’t all about fun. I had to do some serious stuff too and I couldn’t have done it without the help of my good friends Julia and Mick who live in Fethiye. Not only did they take everyone to all the places I’ve mentioned above but they also had the patience of saints when it came to the official stuff. Firstly I had to get a tax number. This, unsurprisingly, involved going to the local tax office. It seems tax offices look the same the world over – grey, drab, dreary and with no personality whatsoever (hmm, sounds like a few of my ex-boyfriends) – the only difference with this one was that the view out of the window was of bright blue sea and sailing boats. It was a surprisingly easy process with the most difficult bit getting someone’s attention in the first place. But once I’d got over this small hurdle I became the proud owner of a small piece of card with a number on it in less than 15 minutes.

After this we went to the local bank to set up a bank account. Again the whole process was surprisingly easy although, as in many hot countries, no-one was going to do anything quickly. I am still suffering from writer’s cramp after having to sign each page of a 53 page contract. No, obviously I didn’t read it but I suspect I signed away my soul around page 35 and my organs around page 48. Then I had to go downstairs to the cashier to actually put money into the new account. Now us British do love a good queue and we like nothing better than tutting at someone who pushes in but this particular form of queuing goes against everything my stiff upper lip has ever experienced. You go to a machine and put in your bank card (if you have one) and a number is generated. You then wait for this number to appear on a screen which directs you to a cashier. If you are an ‘Exclusive’ member, which luckily Mick was, your number gets bumped up the queue but if you haven’t got a bank card you have to wait until everyone else has gone. I’ve heard rumours of people being in there 2-3 hours, but then I’ve also heard rumours about Bigfoot so who knows! The numbering system itself is a bit of a mystery too as it doesn’t run in any sort of sequence. We were number 3102 and were called after 9001 – explain that! But after 90 mins I had a bank account with a whole 50tl in it (don’t spend it all at once I hear you say!).

Sadly the thing I got most excited about was signing up to the local supermarket’s loyalty card. That’s right people, you are now reading the blog of an official Migros shopper.

I also used this trip to hone my language skills. I’ve got the basics, you know – hello, the bill please etc etc but I’m struggling with the word for thanks which is ‘teşekkürler’. Whenever I try to remember how to pronounce it the smutty part of my brain comes up with ‘testicular’ but I’m not sure saying ‘bo****ks’ to everyone will win me many friends although I guess it depends on what sort of friends I’m looking for! I also came unstuck when I had to order 3 moussaka’s as I’ve only managed to learn up to 2 (well, these things take time). Luckily the family friend who came with us, Liz, works for a company called Euro Talk (www.eurotalk.com), a publisher of interactive language learning software, including CD-ROMs, downloads, online and apps.  They also do 133 languages, which is more than anyone else and she is sending me the Turkish language one (obviously, I mean why would she send me the Swahili one!) so hopefully I should be able to count to ten by the time I go for good (I’ll never need to order more than 10 moussaka’s will I?).

Until next time…

Sunset over Fethiye. Sigh!