10 August 2014

August 2013: This Time Last Year...

I can't help looking back in time, I know that I'm lucky but this time last year I spent the month of August in Turkey. I want to rewind back to the golden sands and baking temperatures that I luxuriated in this time last year! Have you been to Turkey? I suggest that you get a grip of things and book that flight now! Turkey, I love you! Seni Turkiye'yi seviyorum! 

Çalış Beach welcomed me once again to witness its sunset one final time. After sailing through another semester at University College Birmingham I packed my bags once again, this time I took a flight to Turkey for I had some holidaying to do! Turkish Airlines flew me from Birmingham International to Dalaman airport via Istanbul's Ataturk airport, might I add that the flights I took with TK were out of this world. The cabin crew served a flawless service, offering several free poured mixed drinks was amazing, I arrived in Istanbul feeling live! Getting back to Çalış, Turkey meant so much to me, that holiday resort town had seen 13 years worth of holidays for me and my immediate family. I'm in a thinking kind of mood, just go with it please! I will always have time for Çalış for its a simple town that has a slow pace, catering to the family market means things don't get too crazy. You better Çalısma!

I had five weeks to get my tan, I didn't want to laze away the days on a sun lounger, no girl I had grand plans to travel around the area to see Çalış from a new view. Hitting the ground running I visited the local market, limiting myself to one visit was a wise choice because after a decade of the same outing it sometimes gets tiresome wading through crowds of newbie tourists. I knew what I wanted to see, I don't have time for ditherers so its get it done and leave! I had spent two years away from Turkey due to work commitments in the United States so I was really excited to be back in the heat of Turkey! Taking to the waters of the Aegean Sea I accompanied my family on a boat trip to sail around several beauty spots along the Turquoise Coast, I channeled Ariel from Disney's the Little Mermaid for the crystal clear water just had to be enjoyed. My first few days merged into one beautiful state of mind the holiday that I had waited for two years had arrived, I wanted an ice cold Ayran!

I wasn't going to sit pretty, I was hungry for more! Getting to grips with Istanbul helped to understand why she was such a hot mess during the summer of 2013. It had probably just been over a week since I touched down in Istanbul before I was hitting the tarmac once again, I chose to fly with Pegasus from Dalaman to Sabiha Gokcen International Airport on the Asian side of the city. Girl had some shade thrown in 2013, I did feel an atmosphere but Istanbul is a crazy place so that just felt natural. Istanbul is a perfect contradiction, it has modernity but holds and represents Turkey as the Ottoman Empire it was once known as. Taksim Square and Istiklal Caddesi brought international realness. Sultanahmet rewinded back to the Ottoman Empire!

Two days was ample time to seek adventure in Istanbul, it was a touch up trip because I had been there before so I grabbed the experience by the jewels completely! Sultanahmet showed me the opulence of Top Kapi Saray, the sultan's closed palace oozed style and royal highness, I didn't want to leave! The Blue Mosque tempted me but I didn't get the chance to see inside the Hagia Sophia, by any means I'm not the religious type but I would have converted to preach in such a out of this world environment. You already know that Istanbul was named Constantinople during the Roman rule so the Hagia Sophia was a Catholic church. The Turkish reclaimed their Mosque, transforming the church back into a Mosque! Istanbul had me from the first moment! I was in heaven! Evet T!

Turkish food is amazing so it grates on me when Brits abroad don't respect their surroundings, I'll let them have that but I made sure I got back to what I loved! My American summer in 2012 had been something else but I wanted some tomato soup with cheese in Fethiye! I had my soup was great, it gave me a slice of freedom to explore the town of Fethiye once again. The fish market has a distinct smell but I saw it all as an experience. I haven't been far this summer but I have managed to see some great places in this country opposed to my usual foreign summer holiday. My love of Turkish music was catered for in Fethiye, making sure I visited my usual CD shop I spent 90 Turkish Lira on six current Turkish albums. Over the years its been clear to see Fethiye has changed lots, gaining a McDonald's and Burger King to add the fast food culture. It's all good in moderation I'll stay faithful to my tomato soup!

Let's go to the beach! I got my tan on and my drink on during a two day break to Ovacik. Spending one day by the pool nursing a severe hangover wasn't easy! Ölüdeniz beach was calling so well spent an eventful day at the Sugar Beach Club, we soaked up the sun, getting on the cocktails! Things got boozy but that wasn't the end of our drinking antics for a shameless night out was had in the party resort of Hisarönü! The hangovers were worth it, I had not been to Turkey for almost three years so I lived it up before my final year at University College Birmingham begun! Let's just say that week was crazy to say the least, holidays are for our enjoyment, I fulfilled that request completely. Away from the beach and mountains I went on a Jeep Safari with a difference! It was probably my tenth one so I knew what the day entailed so I just enjoyed it to the fullest. Leaving one week to the next I relaxed by the pool, it would be the final holiday spent at our villa at Onur Sitesi.

Concluding my five week holiday in Turkey showed me a peacful stay at Muzzy's Place in the village of Kayaköy to be welcomed back into the peace and quiet, holidays can be eventful and get crazy, I was looking forward to have some down time. A sumptuous yet simple village breakfast was enjoyed by all, well I enjoyed the lot so that's good for me! Abandoned by the Greek settlers the once lively hilly village has served a state of calm. I wouldn't fancy being removed from my hometown because I have right to remain by birth so that's where that ends. My usual routine would be to walk right to the top of the hill, the view was amazing to say the least but I chose to explore the lower village. I was a child once but no I don't like to be surrounded by loud noise when I'm sunbathing or trying to swim a full set of lengths that wasn't an issue at Muzzy's Place for everything fell into place. Love it!

In the here and now I adopt a feeling of contentment I was so lucky to experience an amazing five weeks in Turkey. The three years or so that I been away made all the difference, I have learnt to look a at my previous travel experiences and feel very appreciative. Çalış Beach served its golden sunset one more time for me, getting to know the Onur Beach Cafe offered me a chance to support an independent family run business. Fethiye was darling, reinforcing my love of Turkish food especially tomato soup with cheese and a ice cold glass of Ayran. The party got started during my weekend in Ovacik, the beach and booze made sure things got crazy indeed! Kayaköy served abandoned realness, enabling me to recharge my batteries before the return flight back to England. But Istanbul turned it, I would have to call it my Turkish Delight because I loved it and then some! Turkey is amazing, I plan to see a non-touristic part! There we have it! August 2013 was amazing!

Turkey! I shall be back one day!

Joseph Harrison 

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