Tuesday, 30 August 2011

PH and the mystery of the missing equilibrium

Mrs C knew something was amiss when she bounded into the staffroom with her picnic hamper. The room was silent. There was no-one there. The table was tidy, empty apart from a piece of paper. She checked underneath – still nobody. Slightly frowning she felt her way to the fridge and took out her glasses; then she read the note.


It was 8.48 and Mrs C was a bit late. Relieved that at least she wouldn’t have to eat all the cheese scones, apple and damson pies and bottles of ginger beer that she had packed in her hamper Mrs C made her way to the kettle for a soothing cup of tea. She wasn’t stupid. She knew something was up and she knew that the mind clearing qualities of a well-brewed lemon and ginger tea would help her laser sharp brain to start functioning properly. So pausing only to refrigerate her home made produce she made her way to the hall. It was 8.57 am.

There were 5 men in black standing in the hall. The staff were sitting in a semi-circle facing them. More silence. A bright light shone on a white screen on the wall and everyone was staring at it. Hmm images but no sound – again. Ms Morley was on the case though. No-one could make a computer work the way Suzanne did. Maybe it was her high-tec tool kit that she kept strapped to her person, ready for any eventuality or maybe it was the commanding vibes she exuded – ‘you are a computer and you will work for me’. Either way, as Mrs C slipped, almost unnoticed into a chair beside Mrs Mojab the computer leapt into action and one of the men in black started to speak.

“Ladies and gentlemen”, he began, removing his dark glasses to create a closer connection with his audience. “We find ourselves in troubled times and only you can help us”. He paused for effect and indeed it was clear that he had the staff’s full attention. Louise had stopped texting and Carolyn put her list of Italian verbs to one side. Behind them Nigel opened his eyes, whilst Alison and Sally hid the notes they were passing to one another.
“Time is not on our side. We have just six weeks to find and restore the equilibrium of life itself before it is too late”.

Well, whatever the staff had expected to hear, it wasn’t that. Murmurs of puzzlement buzzed through the crowd. Emma looked bewildered, Louise started texting again; even Gayle looked confused. Emily stopped writing and raised her hand. Was she going to ask the question that had been going through their minds?

“How man 'L's are there in curriculum?” Well, maybe not. But then came a voice from the back of the hall. “Excuse me!” There was, as I say a voice, but no person. That was weird. Then there was a rattle. “Excuse me! Can someone help?” There was someone in the kitchen – in fact it sounded as if there were several people in the kitchen and they were trapped!!!!

The 3 Chris's – and a James were instantly on the case. Years of team training were evident in the way they tackled the emergency. Chris V vaulted out of the window (luckily open), whilst Chris M and Chris E took hold of either side of the metal shutter. Meanwhile James sprinted out the hall door to fetch the key. Within seconds the situation – potentially very nasty – was resolved as Lynn, Jill and Barbara managed to open the catch and pull the shutter up. Everyone stood and beamed!

“This is just what we need – teamwork!” boomed one of the men in black. “If I may carry on...” The staff were quiet ( a first, probably) as the man from the government – for that is what he was – started to explain the terrible position that they found themselves in. The equilibrium of life was a secret document, signed by the leaders of all nations and so far it had kept most of the world from killing each other. But the document – on a flash pen (Play, £16.99) had been lost when the politician looking after it had been on holiday. Without it, the world could go nuts and Britain could do nothing. There was another factor too that would mean the UK's fall into disgrace and anarchy would be complete. Spooks was to finish. The last ever series was to be aired that autumn. When that went what would the British people do? It didn't bear thinking about...

But what had PH to do with this? Man in Black 3 smirked, clicked his fingers and there, on the screen was Kalkan bay and Snake Island, Turkey. The staff gasped. They'd seen this image so many times on Mrs C's white board. This bay is where the flashpen was lost – (luckily encased in a waterproof case).

“We need you, as a team, to get it back for us. So we are sending the whole school on this mission. Your students will think it is a new trans-European (and into Asia) project of course – but you will be undertaking a venture that is so important and unbelievable that if you were to mention it to anyone they would laugh at you. Your plane leaves in 6 hours. Pack your snorkels. This autumn term will be very different....”.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Doy Doy and the Silver Wedding Do

A night to remember - for all the right reasons... and a few others too!

Friday, 26 August 2011

A walk in the night

It was 1am and I needed to go home - home being the Lukka apartment in Kalamar Bay. Dave and Charli had gone on ahead and Caroline was off out with her friend. So I left Doy Doy with hardly a backward glance at the harbour, still shimmering with the reflected lights from all the restaurants and bars,and started to climb the hill through old Kalkan.
It was still hot - maybe 26 degrees - but the breeze seemed to pick up as I trudged upwards; some relief for attempting Cardiac Hill after an evening of fine food and wine. The dogs were awake now, although I clearly wasn't there first choice of companion, with no morsel of food on my person.
The shops were closing up for the night and the magical displays of brightly coloured lanterns were disappearing one after the other, so that Kalkan took on an altogether different quality from the bustling bazaar that I knew and loved. It was quiet and slightly mysterious, with dark alcoves and hidden twists and turns. It felt rather like a Turkish Hogwarts; Hagrid would love it here.
At the taxi rank the drivers were sitting around playing cards and I hestitated. I really wasn't that tired and my mind was racing. It was only a mile or so to Kalamar Bay and it felt cool enough to walk it. So I set off - on level ground this time - along the road to Kalamar.
Most of the restaurants still had a few people sitting around in them, although the waiters were clearing up; stacking chairs and washing tables. I passed the Chinese restaurant with it's glowing red lanterns and Bread & More,  from where Turkish chatter sprang from the few folk  huddled round the bar.  A dog from the restaurant crossed the road towards me, tail wagging, clearly in anticipation of some kind of treat from me.  A few kind words didn't really fit the bill but he seemed a well brought up, friendly dog and he nodded at me in polite acceptance of my attempt at communication.  I walked on, up the hill past hotels and villas, most of which were closed up for the night.  Silent swimming pools glimmered in car lights as taxis hurtled past. Up above a million stars sparkled in a clear moonlit sky.   Human life seemed to be vanishing to be replaced by the sights and sounds of a Turkish night.
I turned left, down a little lane that I believed cut through to our apartment.  All was dark here and I did wonder whether I ought to stick to the main road.  But this was Kalkan, beautiful, quiet, safe Kalkan, so I had a quick slurp from my bottle of water and carried on. The breeze had stilled and it felt as if the air was holding it's breath, waiting for something.  Ahead of me lay a dirt road with scraggly bushes to the right of  it and the tall stone wall of a villa on the left.  Shadows bled into darkness and the branches of a tree I passed under rustled suddenly. I walked a little faster, feeling this was not my place to be at the moment.  Then I heard footsteps.  There was definitely someone behind me.
I quickened my step, not daring to look behind, not daring to picture the scenes that wanted to enter my head.   I couldn't hear anything any more, apart from my heartbeat and the swish of my bag rubbing against my side as I increased my pace again.  Something caught my eye.  Up ahead, I saw a moving light speeding across the sky - a shooting star.  Oh I should have made a wish I know, but it was a prayer that I was uttering to myself at that point.  And then I heard a bark.  Just one - that was enough.  I turned to see the dog from the restaurant  standing about 20 yards away.  It had something in it's mouth -  A flip flop. He was carrying one of my daughters flip flops that I'd ended up putting in my bag when she changed into her oh so practical high heels!
The dog triumphantly carried the flip flop all the way back to the apartment for me, tail wagging constantly and clearly proud of his good deed.  What a dog!  What a place!  I just thanked my lucky star I was in Kalkan.  Where else!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The best way to wake yourself up.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

I'm never going to get old

Woman - I went to the doctors today and he said I'd have to give up drinking and starting exercising more.
Man - So what are you going to do?
Woman - Change my doctor of course! (That's me...)

The older you get the more important it is not to act your age. (That's me...)

Today is the day I start showing the world what living is all about.
I'll wear my cardigan inside out.  (That's me...  but maybe not for the right reasons.)

At your age people expect you to be calm, dignified and sober...
Disappoint them.  (That's me...)

As you get older three things will happen.  The first is your memory goes.  I can't remember the other two...

When a recipe says 'add wine', never ask 'to what?'

So who am I really?

I am Marianne Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Keeping Cool in Kalkan

Keeping cool in Kalkan

I was so glad my daughter had packed our first aid kit. With due irreverence to the 20kg weight limit imposed by the airline flying us to Turkey, she had simply swept everything into a suitcase. We therefore had a rich collection of pills, potions, sprays and dressings to heal us whether we were suffering from swine flu or athlete's foot. We'd also brought a waterproof arm stocking – for putting over plaster casts – and it was this that I was most grateful for.

The approach to Kalkan bay is from halfway up a mountain. It's hard not to stop and stare at somewhere so beautiful, but that being rude and us being in a taxi we charged down the high street awash with people clutching their genuine fake handbags from the local market, past the town's Labradors stretched out anywhere they could find a hint of shade, hung a right at the town's one roundabout and hurtled towards our holiday home in the fast lane of the dual carriageway to Kalamar Bay. Strangely we knew it wasn't a dual carriageway, but if felt safer to pretend...

And so there we were in our own little bit of paradise. There was a stillness in the hot air and the magic of Kalkan started to work after our long journey. The unpacking could wait; the infinity pool beckoned. The family dived straight in.

But I had a problem – an insect bite on my leg had started to redden a few hours before we left the UK. I had antibiotics for it but during the journey it had become volcanically hot and swollen, and blisters including one the size of a satsuma had erupted. Thank heavens for the waterproof stocking. True, it was meant for an arm and was not the most attractive of accessories, but it did the job and covered the blisters. I dived in and it was cool, very cool. I was on holiday!

The best cure is swimming in the sea”, I was informed by Suleyman as he delivered a fresh loaf of bread the next morning. This view was echoed by our wine waiter (he tasted it for us; how kind). So I headed down past the bougainvillea clad villas to the terraced rocky coves of Kalamar bay, where each turn would reveal another secluded spot to laze in. The sea was crystal clear, clean and deep as forever. I grabbed my snorkel and took the plunge - yes, my leg stung, but there was plenty to take my mind off it! There were fish everywhere; shoals of tiny ones all playing follow my leader, electric blue stunners and even mini sword fish drifting through the blue.

When I emerged it wasn't just my spirit that felt renewed. My leg looked better too. The salty Mediterranean had started its cool cure. Kalkan worked its magic that week and I returned to England fully chilled, in body and soul. 

Trip Advisor v me.... and I appear to be on the losing side:(

I know I can be impatient, particularly on computers, and tend to click, click, click away when if I only waited 10 seconds or so something might happen.  I think it comes with the teacher territory - if things don't appear instantly on a screen it gives the kids the opportunity to be diverted and then KBOOM!  the lesson is shot to pieces.  Also I love trying out new things and I don't like waiting!   Sadly, this clicking habit of mine has led me into conflict with Trip Advisor and I fear I'm on the losing side.

So far this summer I have written about 6 holiday reports about my recent trip to Kalkan.  I enjoy doing these and hope that they are of interest to people who have been or plan to go to the same places as me.  I also think it's a great way of giving feedback to the restaurants, hotels etc that I write about.  However, this summer Trip Advisor has not published any of my reports, although they have written and thanked me for each one I have done.  I've been trying to discover why this is, but the cogs of Trip Advisor seem to move pretty slowly and I haven't had a definitive answer.  Looking in the Sunday Times today (21.8.11) I imagine that I am considered to be a fake reviewer, although a simple check on all my entries ought to show that isn't the case.  The other reason that could be causing these problems is that I have inadvertently opened 2 accounts - because we changed internet providers a while ago making my email account redundant.  This can't be a unique problem though.  I perhaps clicked away to quickly, creating a new account, linking it with facebook and trying out lots of the new apps.  Now I feel that I've been chucked out the Trip Advisor basket like a mouldy blackberry.
I find this all really frustrating as I am trying to do as much writing as I can.  Also, we had some really special times on our holiday - good times made memorable - and I wanted to thank the people involved and let others know about it.

So I shall carry on with my writing - remembering to save it (which I didn't sadly - so that's a good few hours of my life wasted).  I will get it published somewhere and Trip Advisor can go find itself someone else to undermine.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Kalkan the movie - final version! (Probably)

This is probably the greatest video ever made using these images. Prepare to be amazed. The music is by Zealot, featuring Caroline Cheetham on vocals and lots of others playing instruments. Sadly they are no longer a band - in fact this must be about 8 years old now!
So without further ado, here is Kalkan, the movie!

Plans for UK South Coast Super-highway sponsored by Microsoft

M*27 to be extended from Dover to Devon
The M*27 is enroute to be the first true Super-Highway here in sunny England as Microsoft branches out from cyber-space to tackle the real life difficulties of life in the slow lane in the UK.

Microsoft have plans for huge investment in this project, transforming the desperately slow and overcrowded link roads between Dover - the gateway to the UK and Devon.  The 10 lane highway will incorporate a dial-up-a-ride lane which may take a little longer, but will be cost-effective and reliable.  Drivers using the Microsoft Super-highway will be able to programme in their destinations or ask for directions and useful,  specific messages will appear on Twitter boards displayed alongside the road. 
Brighton will be one of the key stopping points on this route and there is much excitement about the new development in this diverse, forward thinking city.  Plans for keeping Brighton 'green' have been exercising the minds of many locals and 'in the cloud' parking is being created to provide a Park and Ride with a difference.  (The cloud is thought to be either under the Southwick Tunnel, inside the old Waterhall reservoir or Worthing.)
Speed limits will vary according to the traffic, but there will always be a super-fast lane available - at a small additional cost.
 The M*27 will cut journey times dramatically with Dover to Exeter achievable in less than 3 hours instead of about 8. Oh bring it on!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Tasty Turkish treats in Kalkan

Kalkan, Turkey does food really well - and that's understating it. Looking back at my recent stay here these are ten of my top tasty morsels in some of our favourite places. The pictures show the places. not necessarily the food.  This is because we tended to leap, slavering onto the delicious grub when it was brought to us and only thought about pictures when we'd finished eating!
1. Iced cherries - Doy Doy
Iced cherries on the bar.  Charli, Koray, Caroline, Clare and Dave behind.

2. steak salad - kulube beach restaurant
Kulube beach club restaurant - 10 m from sea and sunbeds - perfect place, perfect food.

3. Sea bass with blue cheese sauce - Doy Doy
True, no food again - but you can see we were happy and well fed!

4. Kebab takeaway from Cafe Vita
Cafe Vita had some great food and we loved our take-away

5. jaipur chicken curry, steak with stilton sauce and salmon with mustard sauce - Saffron

This pic doesn't do Saffron justice - must find another.  The food was excellent here

6. breakfast at Sulleyman's - Sulleyman

Sulleyman was our taxi driver who invited us to his home for a Turkish breakfast. Wonderful

8. chicken shish kebab - bread and more
Such a fun night - great floor show!

9 seafood tagliatelle - Fener cafe
Loved Fener cafe and our lovely waiter.  He came from Efes, Izmir!

10 broccoli soup and other delicious things - Doy Doy
Hey!  That was our wine!!!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

How I fought a big bad bite in Kalkan, Turkey

This is the strange tale of my right leg's holiday in Kalkan, Turkey recently.
I have taken preparation for my holiday seriously this year.  Not in any practical saving money for it sense, sadly.  Rather in losing lots of weight so that I look and feel better.  This has involved going cycling lots amongst other things.  And that is what I did a month ago in Devon and again a few weeks ago in Brighton on the Downs.

I felt quite pleased with myself by the week I went on holiday.  I'd lost several stone and felt pretty fit and toned.
However, there was a little problem developing.  The weekend before my cycle ride on the Downs I'd woken up one morning with a small but very itchy bite on my leg.  I thought it was probably a mosquito - awful things.  I must admit I scratched a bit, but not excessively.
On the cycle ride I drove through numerous cow pats and other lovely country things, replaced my chain, helped others do stuff with their bikes and generally got stuck in.  I can't say I noticed my bite at all.
Then on Wednesday - 12 hours before I was due to set off to Turkey on my holidays I noticed my bite was feeling itchier and looking a little red.  Hmm.  I decided to go to the doctors to be on the safe side before I zoomed off.  The doctor reckoned the bite was showing signs of infection and rather apologetically prescribed some antibiotics for the first week of my holiday.  Hmm, not great but they weren't going to stop me enjoying myself.
So a few hours later, in the middle of the night, we set off for Gatwick.  I'd managed to grab a few hours sleep, but my leg did not feel any better.  By the time I got on the plane the swelling had started to spread and my leg felt rather hot and uncomfortable.  Still, I knew the drugs would kick in soon.
This was my leg after about 3 hours on the plane.  Flying was probably not what my leg really needed, although it seemed ok at the time.
We arrived at Dalaman airport at midday and strangely it was hot, hot hot!!!!  Luckily the transfer we'd booked to take us to Kalkan turned out to be a very comfortable BMW with loads of leg room.  I covered my leg with a cool damp flannel, but my leg was getting hotter and swelling more.  Also I noticed that a few blisters were developing.  In all we travelled for about 6 hours - 4 on the plane and 2 in the car.
By the time we arrived at our apartment in Kalkan I really wanted a swim to cool down.  The pool looked so inviting.
But what to do about my leg?  One of the blisters had really expanded.  However, it didn't hurt and I needed a dip So I covered it with a dressing and a plaster cast covering we happened to have - my son having broken his arm a few years before.  This worked a treat, protecting the other guests from the sight of my nasty bite and keeping it dry and clean.
However, the blister continued to grow - as did the swelling in my leg.  It didn't stop us going out for a meal, but it was getting a little uncomfortable to walk up and down the steep hills of Kalkan - particularly the up bits naturally!

By nearly the end of the evening my leg looked like this:  I couldn't believe how much the blister had swelled up and I was concerned at how red my leg was.  Naturally I was worried about the blister bursting - the skin was stretched so tight, but luckily it still didn't hurt.  It reminded me of one of those shiny bars of posh soap you sometimes get...  I put my leg up and then suddenly my daughter said what was that.  She had felt moisture on her legs.  When I looked down, the blister had burst and there was fluid all over the balcony.  Yukk!!!!!
However, it was bed time so I kept taking the tablets and slept with my leg on a pillow.  I was sure it would all look much better by the morning.

But that was not to be.  By the morning it was just as swollen and getting redder.  Also there were more blisters forming on my lower leg.  I was worried.
Luckily our rep was available and very kindly took me to the local clinic.  The unfortunate news was that he was called away just before I was due to see the doctor.  Not a word was spoken but eventually I realised he was asking me to get out of his surgery and let his nurses dress it, whilst he saw a real patient - but not before I'd laid down on his couch which is what I thought he wanted!
The nurses had big needles and lots of pots of orange and purple potions.  There were quite a few blisters by this point and they popped them all, which worried me a little.  They then applied loads of gunk to my leg - but it still didn't hurt much.  After that they wrapped it up so it looked a bit like this.

Luckily, I had my plaster cast cover and I was still able to go in the pool - carefully.  However, the instructions were to keep it covered with the gunk for the day and then remove the dressings.  By now I was getting plenty of advise from people as to how to deal with it and I also consulted the internet and all its quackeries to see what I should do.  I was worried.  I had visions of losing my leg, or worse, to that nasty flesh eating bug and I felt that the antibiotics had not had much impact - it was 2 days by now since I'd started taking them.  However, local advice from several Turkish and English people was to go swimming in the sea so that the salt could start to dry out the wound.  And the following day that's exactly what I did.
Luckily the sea round Kalkan is crystal clear and beautifully clean.  So I grabbed my snorkel and off I went.

My leg looked like this after the blisters had burst and stayed a bit like that - with some added orange and purple colouring for a day or two. Blisters seemed to develop and ooze, which was lovely for everyone!

But after my first swim in the sea there was a noticeable improvement.  My leg looked less angry and the swelling had subsided a little.

 The same thing happened after the next swim, and the next.   It stung a bit when I climbed into the sea, but that must have been the salt doing it's work!  My leg was starting to return to normal.  My antibiotics ran out after a week and I decided not to take another course that the Turkish doctor had given me, as I felt he didn't understand I was already taking some.  Plus, it seemed on the mend.
As the weeks drew on my leg improved enormously, almost visibly subsiding when I came out the sea.  However, I had one nasty experience to come.  One day as I was walking towards the sea a dog appeared - a pet of some Turkish guests at a local hotel.  He saw me and barked rather aggressively and then came up to me and started licking my leg.  I thought he was going to bite it.  The owner took  no notice and I had to almost kick him away with the help of a nearby waiter,  before the dog would leave me alone.  But I survived intact!
It still hasn't completely healed over two weeks later, but it's getting there.  It looks more of a burn than a bite and I am curious as to how and why all this happened.  I reckon that dirt got into the bite when I was on my cycle ride - but I could be wrong.  Either way it was a little added interest on my holiday and it really didn't spoil anything at all.
Kalkan is wonderful and I love it and lots of the people there.  In fact I love it almost as much as my right leg - but not quite!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Things to do in Kalkan, Turkey - Jeep Safari encore!

So here's the video!

And some more pictures of the day.
These are from the ancient Lycian city of Xanthos.

 This was the Byzantine church.  This Lycian community dates back to at least 500 BC. They took defeat very badly and twice committed mass suicide as a society rather than be the losers in battle.  Or rather it would appear that the men killed all the women and children and then themselves...so no room for dissent then.

And this was the entrance in the amphitheatre that the Christians came through when they faced the lions, who were kept in pens to the left of the picture (see the picture underneath too!).

Apparently there were seats for 5000 people to watch these events.  Close by was a nice swimming pool (with a children's pool), presumably where they could go and relax afterwards.

Things to do in Kalkan, Turkey - A Jeep Safari

Beautiful Kalkan has plenty of attractions to appeal to holidaymakers, but it is also well placed as a base to venture further afield and discover more about Turkey.  Jeep safaris are a popular and affordable way to explore and there are a number of places where you can book these in Kalkan.  The best way is probably to wander around the town in the evenings and have a look at what is on offer.  Abi Travel, Adda Travel and Club Lycia all offer jeep safaris and they all charge around the same amount..

The most popular trip seems to be the all day jeep safari that takes in Xanthos - amazing ancient Lycian ruins, Saklikent Gorge - the second longest in Europe and Patara - a beautiful 10 km beach that is home to Loggerhead turtles.  In August 2011 this trip was £25 per person and included all entrance fees plus lunch.   All the locations are fabulous and unique and so are the activities at the gorge!  Tubing ( or white water rafting as some guides call it) is fantastic fun and involves whizzing down a 3 and a half km stretch of fast flowing, but shallow river.  However, it does cost 30 TL extra.  Mud bathing is also included  in the activities ( and the price), so you should come back looking 10 years younger...
This is how our day went.
9.30 am  - The jeep will pick you up from your holiday accommodation and you then drive out of town towards Xanthos.

10.30 - Arrive at Xanthos where you have around 40 minutes to explore the Byzantine and Roman ruins.  Look out for the amphitheatre where the Christians battled the lions (you can see their pens), the Roman swimming pool - with baby pool attached and areas of mosaic that have lain there for thousands of years.  You may be lucky enough to find a guide who will make the experience come alive for you.  A small tip would be appreciated for this.
11.45 -Saklikent Gorge - breathtaking to look at.  This amazing place is clearly a huge tourist attraction and there are plenty of ways to spend your money here!  Lunch is included, but not drinks or toilets or shoes to wear in the gorge.  They are not expensive, but you will need some cash.  Also, if you wish to do tubing / white water rafting you need to pay here. (Credit cards can be used).  There are also lots of stalls selling souvenirs, clothes etc.

12.00 - Set off into Saklikent Gorge, crossing a fast flowing river - you will get wet!  There may well be people who will offer to take your picture and help you across the river - again for a small fee.  Clamber  for a km or so along the gorge - probably the coolest place in Turkey!
 1.00 - lunch provided back at the huge restaurant area.  Choose from trout, chicken or omlette with numerous side dishes, all freshly prepared.
2.00 - White water rafting time.

 Brilliant fun - don't sit in the tubes, lie across them and paddle!  That way the stony bumps in the river come as less of a shock!  Lots of helpful people hang around the river with buckets of water, ready to drench you as you go past - and the water is cold!!!
3.00 - Mud bath - The jeep leaves the road and drives over the silt  on the dry part of the river bed until it arrives at a muddy pool.  Remember, bathing in this will leave you looking 10 years younger.  You may want to ask why that is...  After bathing and drying, it's into the open air jacuzzi to wash of all the mud and admire the new you.
4.00 - half hour drive to Patara beach - beautiful 10 km long sandy beach which offers beautiful bathing - although there is a strong undercurrent here.  In the cafe by the beach there are pancakes to buy and the usual refreshments.

5.30 - Back to Kalkan after a brilliant day!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Boats and more in Kalkan, Turkey

The sea was a millpond early that morning - unbelievably blue and dotted with a few yachts slowly gliding across the bay.

 It had just gone 7 am and was pleasantly warm..  The signs suggested that it was going to be hot, hot, hot.

That was the day we took to the high seas - well the bay of Kalkan, on the good ship Dilara, along with another 20 or so people, mainly Turkish, for a leisurely all day trip around the bay. This included a mud bath, lunch, swimming stops, more food, more swimming and a little tea and cake just to ensure we didn't go hungry... all for 40 Turkish lire.  Omur, our constantly smiling, larger than life captain  made sure we had a fantastic time - and didn't starve.

The harbour at Kalkan was busy at 10 am when we arrived to find the Dilara.  A large and varied assortment of boats offered daily cruises and moonlight trips for public or private groups.  We'd booked the day before and I suspect that is pretty essential, especially in high summer.
Like an overfilled bookcase the boats were squeezed together against the jetty  for people to board and it seemed impossible that any boat could leave without walloping into its neighbours.  But the rather beautiful little gulet next to our larger cruiser managed to manouvre its way out and within a few seconds there was no gap where it had been and once again the water lay still and calm.  I guess doing this every day all through the summer season means the crews have this down to a fine art.  Next to us now was the Sea Bella, which was crewed by Johnny Depp in his pirate attire, or so it seemed.  Larger than most of the other boats, the Sea Bella visits beautiful Kapatas beach on it's daily tour.  Omur told me that it was often very choppy enroute to Kapatas and therefore most of the boats stuck to the bay. 
Kalkan harbour is the focal point of this lovely town and it was great trying to pick out places we knew - generally eateries- as we drew away from the shore. There are apparently around 200 restaurants in Kalkan and many of them have rooftop terraces to eat on, which provide a view and a breeze on hot summer nights. I've yet to have a disappointing meal here and have several times come close to perfection...
But that's another story.
But for now it was bye bye Doy Doy (a favourite!) and hello deep blue Mediterranean.

We were welcomed on board with a glass of apple tea and quickly spread ourselves out on the sun deck.  This never became crowed as people moved around - down below there were tables and chairs, along with food and drink, and there was another area for sunbathing at the front of the boat. It  was going to be hot, so the canopy was much appreciated too.

Then suddenly rush hour in Kalkan harbour began as all the boats  burst into life and started to leave for the open water - and within 5 minutes there we were, out on the deepasforever beautiful blue Mediterranean heading for Mouse and Snake Islands over a slightly choppy sea. 

This was to be our first swimming stop and for me my first snorkel of the day. The islands were pretty barren but the rocks tumbled down into the sea and provided the sort of environment where I could imagine some strange exotic sea creatures hanging. However, the fish were keeping well out of my way sneaking between the rocks and diving into dark crevices.
And so back on the boat and across the bay we went, stopping  next for a mudbath beauty treatment in a small cove, as you do. This mud apparently takes 10 years off your appearance - unlike some other sources where you only lose 4 years! 

Then we tootled off again to another bay, another swim and lunch - which had been cooking on the boat since we'd left Kalkan.  It was tasty, Turkish and plentiful, with at least 10 dishes and the smiling Omur keeping a careful watch over us, plying us with drinks.  Sadly, I didn't do the meal justice as my sea legs had buckled from under me as the boat rocked in the increasingly choppy seas - but my other half managed to finish mine off as well as his!
 After lunch we moved on to a beautiful calm bay, which we shared with a magnificent yacht that was docked for lunch.  Part of the fun of this trip was being nosey and wondering who were these millionaires cruising around the bay with us.
By now everyone was leaping on and off the boat from the highest points and it was a truly wonderful hour or two spent in these crystal clear waters.  They looked so shallow, but were really as deep as forever and the fish that had eluded me so well in the morning were floating around in abundance here:  beautiful fluorescent fish and shoals of tiny little silver fish that  all changed direction at the same second - how do they do that?
And Omur  and the crew made sure we ate well.  Melon, cherries, plums and other fruits were laid out for us and then tea, cake and biscuits!
We had visitors too.  Enterprising locals appeared - some to sell their jewellery and friendship bracelets.  Another boat appeared trailing inflatables for  whizzy rides around the bay if we wished.  It was all great fun.
Plus of course there was our wonderful sun deck to laze around on and, in my case, read the same page of a book at least 5 times and still not remember what it was about...
Finally home, after making some new Turkish and English friends; leaving the fish and the millionaires to their own devices as the sun went down over beautiful Kalkan bay.