Turkey was a great country to visit, but by jingo was it hot!!!! We didn't realise just how warm it would be until we landed, but the Captain's dulcit tones informing us that the weather in Dalaman was "hot and dry" brought about a crackle of excitement on the plane from all of us rain weary folk!
Having just had a hot flush on the plane, I was more than a little alarmed to find that the few steps from the plane to the terminal bus caused me to start perspiring in the same unladylike fashion!
However, when we arrived at our hotel the Manager explained that the temperature had risen that day by 10 degrees making it 46 degrees rather than 36! And that's the way it stayed pretty much all week – a few degrees cooler at night, but apparently the hottest June in Turkey for 10 years It made me think of the old adage 'Be careful what you wish for'!!
All that said, Turkey is a beautiful country; the people are friendly, the food is fabulous and there's plenty to see and do. Our hotel was pretty small, but set up on the hillside with a 1.5km walk to the sea. The view from the restaurant terrace shows the little resort of Olu Deniz, and we decided to explore it on our first day, and spend some time on the beach.
It was a lovely walk, and as we passed the pretty little Mosque it burst into life with a single voice chanting a prayer. This happened several times during the day and night, and all other music had to be turned off at those times – not that you could have heard it as the prayers were very loud. We never did find out if it was recorded or if there was some chap actually chanting, but either way it was rather nice.
The beach – when we got to it was very stony (a bit like Brighton but hot!) and had a deep shelf into the torquoise water, which was lovely and cold. Of course our walk down had been easy, but the return journey was a tad more testing – the final hike up the hotel driveway pretty steep – and so a dip in the pool was required before heading to our thankfully air conditioned room
That night hot winds blew through the resort, and reminded me of a holiday I had in Tunisia in 1978 – the Scirrocco winds came in from the desert, making everything hot to the touch – really odd! All was still and sunny by the next morning, and we decided to stay by the pool for the day, and plan a few excursions.
Any visitor to Turkey is always recommended to visit the markets and the local town of Fethiye has a huge covered market every Tuesday. We headed there a few days later on the Dolmas (local bus service) and spent the first hour completely absorbed in the food market.
I have never seen so many beautiful fruits, vegetables, cheeses and spices all meticulously laid out in brightly coloured displays. We bought ripe figs that melted in your mouth, and watched the locals bartering over prices for their wares – it was fascinating.
The main part of the market though is taken up with clothing and bags – all copies of very famous names – and of course there's jewellery too! Large canvas sheets cover the entire area to protect you from the sun, but they also block out any breeze, and sadly after about 10 minutes we had to go and find somewhere to sit and drink water in the shade! We did brave it several times though and got some bargains before clambering back onto the Dolmas and heading for our hotel.
I found that my poor old arm didn't like the heat at all, and swelled up alarmingly, and that having a hot flush while walking around in the mid 40s was pretty exhausting, so we decided that our next adventure would be a boat trip with plenty of sea breezes.
The great thing about this part of Turkey is that you're spoilt for choice when it comes to boat trips and they're really well priced. Anything from £10 for a full day which includes a barbeque lunch with food they cook onboard!
There are natural mud baths, hot springs, Turtle Beach – where you can feed the turtles, The Blue Bays and the Lycian Tombs which are engraved with incredible scenes from Ancient Turkish history. We decided on The Blue Bays as neither of us felt we'd do particularly well if we had to walk anywhere in the midday heat, and it was the perfect choice
The little boat (that you can see here) took to us three stunning bays where we were able to swim in the incredible clear and cold water and sunbathe on the deck of the boat while the sea breezes cooled us. There were around 30 other people on board and we all got on famously. Lunch was barbequed on the boat by the son of the boat owner and we all ate at tables set up in the main part of the boat – we were spoilt for choice!
I have to say the food in Turkey was delicious – similar in some ways to Greek fare – and just as beautifully presented. Staying with the barbeque theme, Colin and I had also spent a fabulous night in an open air restaurant in Kaya. We had our own seating area complete with cushions, carpet and curtains, and having chosen the meat we would like to cook, a barbeque was brought to us, along with our food and we made our own meal!! It was fun and quite romantic too as the skies darkened, the candles danced and Turkish guitar music played…
It was incredible how quickly the week went by, but we did manage to cram in a day at the Blue Lagoon which was just around the coast from our resort. Very still and very beautiful, and very funny when I tried to sunbathe on my front and found that I need to shove a rolled up towel below my chest otherwise I looked like someone trying to balance on a couple of basket balls!!! After that, I tanned my back by standing in the cool water and reading my book
We got back home in the wee small hours of the morning, and were rewarded with enough sunshine to dry one line of clothes before the heavens opened and I had to lug in my dark wash!!!
I know I'm lucky and just wanted to say a wee thank you to ALL of you who have 'held my ha nd' and kept me going through the harder times, and who continue to bolster me up when I have a wobbly moment….
I'll be back with you on Sunday at 7pm (which incidentally is a day like no other on QVC so DON'T miss it!) and am so glad to be able to put this last year truly behind me. I look forward to hearing how your weeks have been and if you've had the chance to go away anywhere at all, but in the meantime I send you my love as always, Ali xxx