Friday, 18 September 2015


At the end of our first week in Kalkan, we drove Mum and Dad to the airport, and then decided to stop off for a bite to eat in Fethiya on the way back.
Fethiya is a fishing town that definitely feels like it has recently had a tourism hike, although, like Kalkan, it is in no way as touristy as Mediterranean centers in Spain and Portugal.  Dad had recommended that we head to the fish market where he promised that they would allow us to choose our fish and then seat us at a table while it was cooked up before us.  This sounded like a wonderful idea, so we came up with the simple plan to drop my folks off at the airport at about 8pm ready for their flight back to the UK and then drive to Fethiya for a simple supper.

It would have worked too, if we hadn't gotten hopelessly lost trying to get to Fethiya (the signs just stopped and we ended up guessing which direction we needed to head in) and ending up miles away.  By the time we made it, the market had closed for the day so instead we (un)graciously admitted defeat and went for a stroll to stretch our legs along the harbour front, admiring the boats and the sunset.
Fethiya is a very pretty area, and you got the feeling that later on it would become very lively as the locals clocked off and rocked up to unwind in the bars and restaurants that littered the harbour front.  Neon colours blazed out over the bay and many of the restaurants featured little rivers or pools looping around the front.
In one bar a bunch of young local boys and girls were cheering on the Turkish football team in front of a giant screen set up outside whilst in others couples sat outside smoking shisha pipes and talking quietly.  There were also children's parties set up in the many restaurants facing out over the bay.
The boardwalk was packed full of local Turkish people enjoying the early evening breeze and there were a multitude of places to stop and indulge in a cocktail or three, turning your back on the world and gazing out over the water.
We didn't linger too long as we knew we still had a good couple of hours of getting lost in front of us (we didn't get back until midnight, at which point we ordered a pizza).  Next time we return though, we will make sure we get to Fethiya in time for the fish market restaurants.
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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Lobster at Sunset

When Mum and Dad were first wondering whether or not to build in Kalkan, the first port of call was to come over and conduct a wreckie of all the potential sites.  This could not be completed in one hit, so they needed somewhere to hole up and stay whilst they completed their research.

They chose the Likya Residence Hotel and Spa as their base and were impressed with the quality of the food in the hotel restaurant, so on our final night with them at the end of the first week, they treated Steve and I to a slap-up meal there, high on the cliffs above Kalkan Town, overlooking the harbour.
We wandered down the hill (top tip, don't bother with heels in Kalkan, you will just fall over.  Wear flats) just before sunset to have a look at the view out over the bay before being escorted to our table.
When I say escorted, I don't mean by a human being.  There are packs of stray dogs in Kalkan, all of whom are very friendly, and they each have their own turf.  When you enter one of their patches, they will pick you up and walk with you down the hill until you arrive at the patch of another pack. The dogs will then hand you over to the next pack, making sure you are in safe paws before trotting off back to their business, and the next pack will then escort you further down the hill.  It is a very surreal experience.  Most of the dogs are collared and tagged, and they are all looked after by the local restaurants, bars and hotel owners.  This blonde boy was our restaurant escort.
The view from the hotel was stunning, a panoramic sweeping vista of Kalkan Bay framed by the Taurus mountains.  You could see right down in Kalkan Harbour and when the sun set and the lights came on, the entire hillside lit up like a Christmas tree.  It was a simply stunning location to sit in, enjoy the light breeze off the hillside and enjoy one of the best meals I think I have ever had.
I started with a cocktail, one that was easily one of the most delicious things I have ever drunk and I only wish I had the first blue clue as to how to recreate it.  It was a gin (obviously) fizz and was muddled through with a simple basil sugar syrup and slices of cool, fresh ginger that infused gently as your stirred.  It was sublime.
The Likyan clearly likes its table theatrics, and this was evident from the start when they delivered the traditional bread basket, served with its own table toaster for you to toast your own.  This came with a herb infused butter and was closely followed by an odd combination of a homemade ravioli and hummus.  We didn't order this - it just showed up and Mum and I then spent the next 10 minutes cooing over the crockery.  Those white plates are so impractical, take up a ridiculous amount of space on the table, look nigh on impossible to store and yet I must have them.  Just have a look at the other plates and bowls further down as well, they are things of pure beauty, like the sails of the ships in the harbour below us.
Dad and I then opted for the oysters with chilli for our starter.  Not as good as a Whitstable oyster I must say (they were rather small) but tasty nevertheless.  I am probably slightly spoiled when it comes to oysters though, living where I do.  By the way.  You can't eat the starfish so don't try.
For my main I opted for the lobster.  The waiter came and asked me what size I wanted, and I did originally ask for a small until Mum told me to go larger and she would have some of it.  So I did.  I also ordered a portion of chips, as I am of the firm belief that you can't have lobster without chips.

I realised my error the second my 4 plates arrived, all for me.  This was an obscene amount of food.
I tried, I really, really tried but I could not touch the edges of the chips, or the salad, or the cooked vegetables.  I did eat all the lobster, even after Mum decided that she didn't want any after all, and the lightly pickled crudites were crunchy and delicious, an amazing counterpoint to the lobster and one that I must remember for the future.  This meal was just divine and the others all had similarly wonderful meals, although none were quite as large as mine was.

After gorging myself on shellfish, I went for a walk around the bar and pool to try and alleviate the overstuffed feeling I was experiencing.  The pool and bar are wonderfully camp, and look like something straight out of Cocktail.  It was a really lovely place to sit and digest, before the waiters bought over the dessert menu.   
I couldn't face the thought of anymore food, but Steve had eaten decidedly less than I had and tucked into the mezze platter of sweet things, with a plethora of fresh fruit, ice cream, macarons and baklava as well as Turkish delight and sweet fudge..
As the night deepened the moon rose above the mountains and cast shimmering reflections over the bay.  I tried to capture it with my camera but the photo's really did not do the landscape justice, it was truly beautiful
Mum, Dad, thank you for a wonderful meal and a wonderful holiday.  You really spoilt us.

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Monday, 14 September 2015

Kalkan Catch Up

Last night I dreamt I went to Sandele again....
It's been a busy couple of months, and, as always, the blog always falls to the bottom of my priority list when things are a bit crazy.  I'm currently directing another play which is taking up all of my time - I'm at rehearsals three nights a week after work, sometimes four nights, and when I'm not at a rehearsal I'm sourcing props or costumes or music or doing the risk assessment.  Shit, I haven't done the risk assessment yet.  Add that to the to do list.

We have also had BBQ's (fairly damp ones), birthday meals for friends, I caught up with Leonie in Tunbridge Wells for cake and a walk (not at the same time) one Saturday, grabbed lunch at Bill's in Soho with Kate and Jo one Sunday, went to Steve's cousins' wedding in Henley (they had the same band as we had at our wedding, a fact that didn't register with me until the car journey home when I told Steve how much I had loved the band and he informed me who they were!), had lunch at Byron Burger in Bluewater with Jo and Ellie, and we also got to go and see Madness perform at the Kent County Cricket Ground which was just amazing.  Shay was nearly in tears at the gig as she was so happy! Needless to say, a couple of hours to sit down and draft a post has been a little hard to find when you also add in regular life stuff like cooking, sleeping and laundry.

We did manage to get away for a couple of weeks though to my parents place in Kalkan in Turkey which was just amazing and I can't wait to show you some of the places we went to.  There will be some posts up this week about some of things we did.
Sandele is the villa and it is heaven.  The pool has a view straight over Kalamar Bay to Snake and Mouse Islands. We were there for two weeks, the first week with my folks and the second was just the two of us.  We did nothing, apart from a couple of trips out to see some of the sights.  Other than that, we rested and talked and swam and I read 15 books in the two weeks.  15.  The next few editions of The Reading Nook will be fairly cramped I think!
My parents designed and built the villa about 18 months ago, and they chose Kalkan for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, it is still remarkably underdeveloped and unspoiled and I really hope it stays that way.  Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of hotels and privately owned villas there, but there are no high rise hotels obscuring that beautiful view.  We were based in Kalamar Bay (it means Squid Bay, think Calamari) which was on the other side of Kalkan town.  The town itself is lovely, full of history and boutique shops with bars and restaurants open to the sky and water along the harbour, often with sofa's set out on the pavement to entice you in for a cocktail and a shisha pipe.

We didn't venture into town too often though, mainly because it was incredibly hot when we were there and it just got hotter and stickier later into the evening in the town centre which can be a bit uncomfortable.  There was more of a breeze up on the hill and we were content to BBQ for ourselves, sit outside, listen to music and talk late into the evenings.  It was perfect.
I did come home with a brilliant (and now sadly faded) tan and a catalogue of injuries.  We knew that the villa was not suitable for our friends with small children.  Apparently it is also not suitable for people as accident prone as me.  Just look at the inside - all that glass, steel and marble and steps that have a larger drop than normal?  I walked into / fell down most of it and came home with an inventory of bruises down my legs, stubbed toes and a gash across my foot.  At least I didn't bleed on anything white.
We ate well, finding lots of places to stock up on fresh fruit and veg, and surprisingly even managed to get hold of some of the best BBQ pork ribs I have ever had.  We also got what we thought was a leg of lamb, but later suspected to be goat, which was just wonderful.
We also took full advantage of the hot tub on the roof, staring up at the stars as the light faded away behind the mountains.  The second week there was an internet outage and we were completely cut off from the rest of the world for 5 blissful days.  I highly recommend it.  Steve was a bit more upset about this.  The Ashes test was on and he missed it. 
This week I am back at work.  It's raining.  I'm in cardigans, jumpers and tights.  The students are back soon.  It feels like summer is well and truly over.

Can I go back to Sandele please?
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