Sunday 29th January
Today it’s market day in Göcek. We don’t hang around this morning. One cup of tea and then we’re up and about; feeding the animals, rubbish bags into the car, laundry into the car, laptop and electricals into the car and we’re off. We stop off at our closest neighbour so we can tie up Lina and Aussie but also because he likes to visit the market. Unfortunately there’s no one in. This could spell trouble with the dogs. They’ve already followed us down from the house (as we expected) but if they’re not tied up they might follow us all the way down the hill. We’re just debating driving back to the house to tie them up there, when they suddenly spot something and start barking and running into the undergrowth. Whilst they’re distracted we drive off. I’m still watching my rearview mirror expecting any minute to see all 4 of them chasing after us. Fortunately we make Göcek without a doggie escort. At the Göcek house we get the laundry on, start downloading some movies and then head off to the market. It’s bigger than on our last visit. Last time the wet weather had deterred many stall holders. There’s plenty of choice in vegetables; almost half the market is made up of fruit and veg but there’s only one meat stall and that’s just chicken and one cheese stall. We stop and have our breakfast – potato pancakes with pickles and Turkish tea. After a couple of circuits of the veggie stalls we have enough to start our own farm produce shop, but we will definitely be eating healthily this week. Let’s hope the resultant wind farm doesn’t blow the new house windows out!
We head to the supermarket for the odd few items we couldn’t buy at the market. We really wanted some fish but there was a tiny selection at the market, nothing in the supermarket and nothing in town because all the fishmongers are shut.
Shopping done and it’s back to the Göcek house. We need to publish the blog, do another wash, download another movie or 2, answer emails etc. The internet via Daz’s Turkish Sim card is only good for the most basic stuff up the mountain and sometimes even that’s a struggle so we’re trying to get it all done down here where the internet is pretty good. Finally we’re done and we head back up the mountain. We manage to get there before it gets dark and all the animals are fine and waiting for their dinner. After unpacking the car and having dinner, we treat ourselves. It’s movie night, The 9th life of Louis Drax and a bottle of red wine. Daz sold this film to me ‘Hels it’s got Jesse from Breaking Bad and the guy from The Fall – James Dornan’. He knows I think both these guys are hot. It’s an excellent movie although Jesse plays only a minor role.
Monday 30th January
We had hoped to take the dogs out this morning but there’s a fine drizzle. Instead I make up some more sawdust bedding bags for the dogs and cook up some dog food with the meat we bought in the market.
I attempt our third cake – carrot cake.
At last a success. It’s really good and looks and tastes like it should unlike the last 2. Dinner is mushroom stroganoff. Movie night 2 is a disaster – Silence with Liam Neeson. We manage about 40 minutes before the boredom becomes too much. Even Minature Whiskey (favourite cat) is bored but still overwhelmingly cute.
Tuesday 31st January
Today we head off to find a new walk. We head for the gorge that sits below us on the mountain and then walk / climb up it, until an hour later, we finally hit the ridge line. Once at the ridgeline we see there’s a track just below us. We start following the track downhill and realise we’re coming round the back to the fireman’s lookout. So now we can just follow the road back to the house. A challenging circular route.
Back at the house, after tea and cake, we decide to find some chores to occupy us. First we get some wood from the wood pile by the other house but the chickens roost here and there’s chicken muck everywhere. We wonder if we can tempt them into roosting in the pen so we create some perches in there and we plan to feed them here from now on.
Once that’s done we head off to try and clear the paths as Tayip requested.
Tonight’s dinner – Braised Coconut Spinach & Chickpeas with Lemon. This evening’s viewing – Planet Earth. Absolutely stunning.
Wednesday 1st February
We have some visitors this morning. They’re here to do some pruning and trim back the vine on the trellis outside the old house and prune some of the olive trees in the Orchard. They don’t like Lina so we have to tie her up until we head off for a walk. A nice circular route passed Tayip’s uncle.
We stop and wait for the mobile shop for our milk purchase whilst Lina takes a dip and then Daz pasteurises the milk and makes his yoghurt.
In the afternoon we do some more work on the paths and go up the hill to collect some logs for Daz’s woodwork project.
We are achieving greater success in attracting all the chickens into the pen at night.
At least this reduces the ‘shitting zone’. Dinner is warm potato, egg and tomato salad. Another success.
Thursday 2nd February
Today we drive to Göcek once we’ve tied Aussie and Lina up at the neighbour and asked if he wants to come into town. We need more dried food for the furries so we need to visit the vet. Then we do some laundry, some shopping and post a letter. We download some more films and research local tourist attractions. My mum is coming out soon so we’ll be able to do the touristy sightseeing things with her, which will be a much needed relief. Cabin fever is already setting in.
Back at the house we bake another coffee and walnut cake (using a different recipe) and it turns out well. Dinner is broccoli and stilton soup which turns out to be rather disappointing.
Friday 3rd February
We’re both a bit apathetic this morning so we don’t do much. We play a couple of rounds of Gin rummy. The weather has been cloudy or rainy for the past few days so we can’t work a sweat up as there’s no hot water from the solar heater! Well that’s our excuse anyway.
Saturday 4th Feb.
Another quiet cloudy day. We take the dogs walking and Tayip’s brother visits with some friends, but they don’t stay long.
Sunday 5th February
Market day again, so we skip breakfast as we are looking forward to pancakes at the market. Down at the market we buy chicken carcasses to make the dogs’ food and then our vegetables, cheese and eggs we will need for the week’s recipe list. We also buy a halibut and ask him to fillet it for us so we can make Zanzibar soup. Then we have our pancakes, a potato filled one to start then a lemon and honey one to finish, all washed down with Turkish tea. Yummy. We enjoy sitting at the pancake stall watching the locals go about the market.
Monday 6th February
At last we have some sun, but it only lasts about half a day so the much delayed shower is only about 32 degrees, but beggars can’t be choosers!! Daz cooks a lovely roast chicken dinner and I bake another carrot and walnut cake…scrummy!
Tuesday 7th Feb
We’ve booked a horse riding lesson today and the sun is shining as we drive down to the coast and along to the stables. We haven’t ridden in about 18 months and that was American style, so rather than going out for a nice hack along the beach we thought it would be better to have a lesson first. The stables are very nice and we meet Yusif, part owner and instructor. After an obligatory cup of Turkish tea he soon has us saddled up and riding around the arena.
We do some easy trotting and moving around the arena and slalom poles, but after an hour we are both hot and aching in places that haven’t seen any action in months! The stables are near Fethiye, so we have arranged to meet Dave and his partner Bev, from Calish Beach. We then go out for a lovely walk in the sunshine, taking them geocaching around the local area and beach. To finish off we have a bite to eat and drink in a beach front restaurant.
It was lovely to see Dave again and to meet Bev and to introduce them to geocaching although I don’t think they’ll be converts.
Wednesday 8th to Monday 13th February
The last few days have been pretty mundane. We haven’t done much as we’re saving our sightseeing trips for my Mum’s stay. However Daz has been creative. There’s his woodworking project –
and his kitchen creations. One is spinach and mushroom plait, the other?????????
On Monday we’re up early to feed the animals as we need to be at Dalaman airport for her arrival at 0815hrs. It’s still dark when we do the feed and even the chickens are a little confused and don’t want to come down from their perches! Fortunately the airport is only a short drive away and we are there just in time to greet mum as she walks out of the arrivals’ hall. She might be getting on in life (she’s 85 this year), but she has flown overnight via Istanbul to see us once again (her last foreign visit was to us in Iceland) – amazing! Daz picks up her suitcase and nearly falls over with the weight!! She’s brought us some goodies from England, hence the excessive weight. We are soon back up the mountain, drinking tea and relaxing. Mum’s in the new house, upstairs with an ensuite. Fantastic views.
As it was an overnight flight we don’t have anything planned other than a short walk around the property and land. The rest of the day we spend catching up on gossip, playing cards and an afternoon snooze.
Tuesday 14th February
Happy Valentines Day! We are off to Fethiye today to show Mum around. We walk along the harbour looking at the boats and trying to spot a turtle but with no luck.
Then it’s off over to the weekly market. It’s much bigger than the Göcek Sunday market and Mum is soon parting with her Turkish Lira on gifts for people back home.
We have to drag her out of the carpet shop as Daz definitely won’t be able to lift her suitcase to go back home! Mum is amazed at the choice and size of the market and thoroughly enjoys the hustle and bustle. We pick up some provisions and then have a lovely lunch at a waterfront restaurant. We also manage to speak to a couple of boat captains about a boat trip. We are particularly tempted by Tom who promises us a day’s trip with fishing and a BBQ on board.
We will check the weather for the next few days and make a plan. Mum is very impressed by Turkey especially the incredible view across Fethiye harbour to the snow capped mountains on the horizon backed by incredibly blue skies. She chats to several Turks and tries to memorise ‘hello’, ‘good morning’ and how to say thank you in Turkish!
Wednesday 15th February
Today we just spend the day at home, walk the dogs, read, play cards and relax. It seems we’ve unleashed a ‘card shark’. It turns out Mum is another card counter and as competitive as Daz. His winning streak is at an end. She even beats him at backgammon (Hee hee). Apparently Mum was a keen card player as a child and we introduce her to Gin and Sergeant Major and whilst claiming ‘Beginner’s Luck’, she just keeps on winning.
Thursday 16th February
We’re off on a sightseeing trip today. First we head to Iztuzu beach, a beach visited by nesting turtles but they are not due for another couple of months, then it will be longer still until the baby tutles hatch and make their run for the sea as seen on “Planet Earth 2”.
We are alone on the long sandy beach and we have a nice walk before checking out the turtle rescue centre. But unfortunately this is also devoid of turtles and is in fact closed. Any stricken turtles should call the next nearest rescue centre!! After the beach we head around to Dalyan town. This is a lovely town on the banks of the Dalyan river and overlooked by some amazing rock tombs from the Lycian Era.
We have a wander by the river then head into the town centre for lunch. We enjoy a kebab and ‘mixed toast’ which is basically a mixed beef sausage toasted bun. The proprietor is very friendly and tells us there is a festival on this Saturday, the Sea Bass festival. There will be some fishing, where the person who catches the most seabream is crowned festival king, and then feeding (BBQ sea bream obviously) and singing. Apparently the singers are both local prodigy who are famous in Turkey and will be returning for a concert. We may have to come back! We then head out of town and catch the car ferry across the river. It’s a small ferry, only 2 cars but we are the only customers at this time of year! Across the river we drive around and up a hill to Kaunnos, an ancient Roman archaeological site.
There is quite a nice view from the site down to the sea and mum is very impressed by the theatre and other relics. There’s even a geocache to find! From here we head to Koycegiz lake and a renowned mud and swimming bath area that is popular with the summer tourists. Just as we set off we come across an indigenous tortoise crossing the road, no it’s not a joke and there were no chickens crossing either.
We stop to say hello. He’s a speedy fellow for a tortoise and not unfriendly, staying out of his shell for the occasion. Pictures taken we carry on. The drive through the pine forest is lovely and we pick up a geocache on the way too. When we arrive at the mud baths on the lake shore it’s actually got some customers, but only in the swimming pools that are heated by a geothermal source. The smell of rotten eggs (sulphur!) is strong and the mud baths do not look at all inviting.
Darren is disappointed that all the bikini clad women covered in mud are absent. From here it’s time to head home, so we catch another little ferry across the Dalyan river and head home. Darren cooks pancakes for tea, yummy!
Friday 17th February
Another quiet day at home. We drive up to the fire lookout ( we tried to walk it the other day but it’s too tough for mum). The views are stunning and mum’s suitably impressed.
Then we walk down with the dogs whilst Daz takes the car back. Now Mum and I can have a lovely stroll downhill with the dogs. Daz meets us halfway to finish the walk and is sitting on the roadside with his new friend, Eric, the tortoise. Our second wild tortoise spot. Sadly after a long downhill, the last stretch is up hill, back to the house and I remark it’s a shame Daz didn’t leave the car here. Mum keeps stopping to catch her breath and I assume Daz has gone ahead to make tea but then the car appears. He’s only gone back home to fetch the car to get mum up the steep drive. Favourite son-in-law is definitely getting serious brownie points in the bag! Back at the house we’re just in time to see the peacock display.
Back at home it’s time for lunch and a round of cards. Sadly he might be favourite son-in-law but Mum’s not averse to trumping him at every opportunity – most entertaining!
Saturday 18th February
We are off to the fish festival!! It’s a cloudy day, so the festival will cheer it up hopefully. When we get to Dalyan we notice the market is on so we do the obligatory market sweep and pick up some Turkish biscuits and walnuts.
Mum has another holiday gift spending spree and buys some more pashminas for people back in the UK. We then walk along the river towards the town centre where crowds are gathering. We can see people wandering around with fishing rods, so it’s obvious the fishing part of the festival is over. Once we get into the crowds we can see huge queues of people all being served up fried fish, chips and a bun. We join a queue and are soon enjoying the fish, not only is it delicious it’s free too. You wouldn’t get this at the village fete back in the UK!
As we sit enjoying the food there is some prize giving going on at the nearby stage. Then we hear the crowd clapping and whistling for the first of the famous singers. It’s a man, but that’s about all we know. The music is good though and gets even better when the female vocalist starts her set later on. There are lots of families out with their children and it’s a great atmosphere.
Daz enjoys a few beers (I’m designated driver 🙁 !!) and the female singer but then it’s time to go home. A lovely day and amazing that they must have fed more than a thousand people bread and fish for free… not since Jesus have we seen such a generous festival council!!
Sunday 19th and Monday 20th January
A quiet couple of days, apart from Market day on Sunday in Göcek we take it easy, enjoying the sun and mountain air. Favourite cat is still being spoilt rotten and the ‘card shark’ is still winning most games. We’ve even introduced her to ‘Hand and Foot’ ( a form of Canasta).
Tuesday 21st February
Another road trip today. A drive out to Tlos ancient city and Saklikent Gorge. The weather is anything but nice up on the mountain as we set out but soon we are on the coast and the sun is shining. Tlos is an ancient Lycian settlement on a hill range about an hours drive away. It has been further settled by the Romans, the Byzantine Empire and latterly (19th century) by the Ottoman empire. As well as the normal Roman amphitheatre, stadium and necropolis there are ancient burial tombs from the Lycian Era cut into the hill side and sarcophagus dotted around the land. It’s an amazing site and although on a rocky hill we manage to drag mum to the top.
We are all very impressed with the views and the ancient relics. From here we take a drive through the gorgeous countryside to Saklikent Gorge. This huge cleft in the mountains reminds us of Ha Gorge in Crete. But at least here there is a raised walkway that takes you part way into the gorge so mum is able to enjoy the sights too.
The river rages below us as we walk along and soon we come to an area where the river comes directly out from underneath the rock face to join the main confluence. It’s an amazing place and in the summer when the river isn’t at full flow you can wade across and carry on up the gorge for a couple of kilometers to the first waterfall. We think from there you would need rapelling equipment again, so we won’t be doing it with mum!! There are 2 guys with backpacks who seem determined to go upstream despite the deep, fast flowing river which they will need to cross. Good luck to them, it’s going to be cold!
After lunch we head back to Fethiye to pick up some fish (sea bass) from the market for tomorrow’s dinner. We also get talking to the proprietor of a carpet shop and he soon drags out lots of carpets, ancient and new, for our consideration.
They are incredible and each tells a tale of the creator. Many are the work of young girls trying to prove their suitability to their future mother in law. The proprietor explains the different patterns, symbols, materials and the quality (knot number) and how to differentiate between hand and factory made. It’s very interesting. Mum is very taken with one carpet although I’m convinced I saw it first. We’ll see who decides to actually make the purchase , but I think Mum is very keen. A great day out!
Thursday 23rd January
Yesterday was a quiet day at the farm with baked sea bass for lunch.
Today another road trip. This time we are heading for Karakoy, a deserted village that was abandoned around the time of the first world war and Oludinez beach, mecca for paragliders landing from Babadag mountain.
We decide to drive across the mountains from our house instead of going straight down to the main road. It’s a lovely drive and there are quite a few villages that seem cut off from the world. It’s a very primitive way of life, something we aren’t used to in the West of Europe, but everyone we see has a smile on their face and a friendly wave. We reach Karakoy, the abandoned village. It’s now a tourist attraction sitting on a hilly peninsula above Fethiye. We enjoy a nice walk around in the sun, looking at the old dilapidated houses and churches. The village was abandoned between 1915 and 1925 when there was a period of population exchange between Turkey and Greece, mainly to swap out the Christian communities (Greeks) for Muslim communities (Turks). After we stop in a little eatery. We order pancakes and the old woman comes out and lights a fire in the fireplace then starts rolling the pancakes. We are soon tucking into delicious potato pancakes and decide to follow it up with a lemon and sugar one.
All served with spicy pickles and Turkish tea. After food we head out and drop down the otherside of the peninsula to Oludinez. This is a beautiful beach and lagoon. The waters are very blue and we can see the draw that brings in huge numbers of tourists in the summer. Even though it is still winter the beach is littered with sunbathers catching a few winter rays.
No sooner have we pulled up than we are badgered by someone trying to sell us a paragliding tandem ride. This guy is quite chunky and purports to be a seasoned pilot with over 12000 jumps. Later we learn he is nothing more than a tout for other pilots! Although the price he quotes is attractive we would rather go with someone we trust! We sit having a drink on the beach front and another pilot shows us his pictures and videos, he seems more professional so we take his number and tell him we will be back next week once mum has left. It’s been a lovely day of sunshine and sights.
Friday 24th February
Boat trip day! We are off out early today as we are meeting a man with a boat, Captain Tom and the Summer Breeze, for a day out on the high seas. Well we are going bay hopping and fishing. The weather, unlike yesterday is cloudy and chilly, great! Mum is quiet this morning and it’s not until later we realise he was worried about the boat trip. Last time she went on a boat she was ill, but that was over 50 years ago. But the sea is calm and she soon perks up. We spend the day motoring around the coast, dropping anchor occasionally for a spot of fishing. Even mum has a go, but yet again the ‘competition’ is eventually won by Daz the seaoned cheat fisherman with a score of 7 fish to 4. Mum didn’t catch one. But we enjoy a fab barbecue which Captain Tom cooks on a small grill at the back of the boat, served with an assortment of salads. Later we ask to visit one of the islands, Sovalye. It has a geocache. We are soon rock hopping looking for it, this time I find it first and claim the win. It’s a small island with no roads but lots of pricey houses looking out over the hills or beaches, very nice. A spot more fishing and then it’s back to Fethiye harbourfront. A nice day, if a little chilly with Captain Tom!
Sunday 26th February
Finally it’s time to say farewell to mum, she flies back today. We certainly think she won’t forget the wonders of Turkey in a hurry. Last night we had a final walk around the Göcek seafront and then she treated us to a lovely meal in the number one (TripAdvisor) local restaurant, West.
It was definitely worth the number one spot and was absolutely delicious. A fabulous treat. We drop her of early at the airport then the rest of our day is normal Sunday Market routine.
Monday 27th February
We pop over to Calis Beach today to meet Dave and Bev who have some mail for us. Brett, a colleague from our Army days, and good friend has sent us a great Christmas present, a new groundsheet for our tent. It will add another layer of protection to the tent base and will also allow us to put up the tent in the rain! It also extends the life of our tent which is not to be sniffed at. He’s also included some cyclone proof tent pegs (does he know something we don’t) and some para cord – very useful. Bonus, thanks Brett. We take a walk with Dave and Bev down the sea front to Fethiye from Calis and see some motorised paragliders.
I’m still hoping for a turtle sighting, and even though the walk is 5 kilometres I still don’t spot one, but we do find another geocache.
We enjoy a nice lunch on the front near the Marina and at one point I think I see a turtle’s head pop up in the water over the road, but I can’t call it a real sighting as it’s gone very quickly… who knows in my fervour to see one maybe I’m starting to hallucinate turtles!!!
Wednesday 1st March
Today it’s tandem paragliding day. We head over to Oludinez beach and drive up Babadag mountain to our takeoff point with our pilots from Reaction. Daz of course is completely relaxed whilst I’m pretty damned nervous which only seems to entertain my pilot. I’m not sure how I’m going to feel but once the take off is done, I relax a little and enjoy the incredible views. We’ve picked the perfect day and my pilot is keen to extend my torture by picking up some thermals and going higher. I’m OK except when we try to do some fast turns (very scary) and when my kite is right next to Daz’s or my feet are on his canopy (I hated this bit, really hated it but my pilot just ignored me!!!). The landing, like the takeoff, is a doddle. I’m so glad we did it and Babadag is one of the best and most popular sites for paragliding in Europe; the views are stunning.
Back on the ground we meet a local recumbent enthusiast.
Back in Fethiye we have a lovely lunch and then Daz treats himself to a haircut and a Turkish shave. The guy is incredibly thorough. Daz is given two shaves with the cut throat, 2 shampoos, a blow dry (Hee hee), burning off of remaining facial fluff, ear and nasal hairs and a shoulder and head massage.
And he looks great for it, with the softest skin. Our last stop in Fethiye is a return to the carpet shop we visited over a week ago. Mum decided not to buy the rug we both loved but after extended discussions Daz and I have decided a beautiful Turkish rug is the perfect momento of our time spent in Turkey. We ask to see some others but it’s the first one we still love. So an expensive day and now it’s time to head home.
Friday 3rd March
Yesterday was a morning of torrential rain but that meant it was another planning session. Tayip is back next week (7th) so we’ll be heading back to Bodrum and then north to Istanbul. We’ve been doing a lot of research not only for Turkey but also Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan so that we have some idea of places we’d like to visit and how we’ll manage with the timing constraints due to visa restrictions. It’s also a baking day because Dave and Bev are coming to visit the mountain and we want to treat them to lunch after they’ve looked after us so well. Arghhhh – best do some cleaning too includes removing the vile ticks from the cat – arghhhhhhh! Gross.
We head down to Göcek to pick up Dave and Bev, they’ve picked a beautiful day to visit. Back at the house we show them round. They love the new house and the idyllic spot. They’ve even brought treats for the animals. After a tour we stop for coffee and carrot cake.
Then we walk up the mountain to the fire lookout. Bev even spots another tortoise – apparently they’re coming out of hibernation now and are a common sight unlike my precious turtles. After our walk we have lunch; warm potato and egg salad followed by a lemon tart. We then head down to Göcek for a walk along the Marina and stop for a beer. We sit on a jetty out over the water enjoying the sun until it sets behind the coastal hills. Then it’s time for Dave and Bev catch the bus back to Fethiye. It’s been a great day and Dave and Bev are a super couple, and we’ll definitely stay in touch and perhaps meet them again in Turkey, one day.
Sunday 5th March
Hi it’s Daz, my turn to blog today. We are off to the market his morning, but it’s not a big shop as we only have a couple of things to buy. Then we head over to Yanikular for a horse riding lesson followed by a hack out. On the way we stop at a beach just outside Göcek which is popular with the locals. Even in early March there are lots of families out having picnics and barbecues. We also pick up another geocache on the headland just couple of kilometres from the riding stables.
We have our lesson which is quite sedate, and watch the locals having a Sunday ride/walk experience in the arena with us. They pay 20 Turkish Lira to sit on a horse and be led around the arena 4 times. It might sound strange but it’s very popular. Then after a rest we head out on the hack. It’s a beautiful sunny day and we make our way along a small road to the beach, with a little trotting along the way. There’s me and Hels then another man and woman and the instructor/guide. We get to the beach, part sand and part pebble. We walk our horses through the surf, past fishermen and more families picnicking. Then we head round the back of a cafe onto a sandy track at the rear of the beach. There are two large dogs chained at the cafe but they’re barking and pulling at their chains trying to get to us. The horses seem fine as they can see the threat, but no sooner are the barking dogs behind us than the horses start to get skittish. Mine makes a bolt for it, and it takes me a few seconds to get its head turned around and get it to stop. Unfortunately Hels is now in big trouble and she can’t get her horse under control. Her horse has bolted and I watch as she hurtles along the grassy area to our front, then my horse starts playing up again and as I settle it. By this time Hels is in full on screaming mode. I am really worried now, but still struggling with my horse. The next thing I see that Hels is down, near a tree and I fear the worst. I dismount and run with my horse over to her. As I near a few people from the beach have reached her. She is still lying on the ground, in a patch of brambles, making a pathetic mewling noise. I tie my horse to the tree and race to her side. She’s conscious, but badly shaken. I ask her if she is OK, and listen as she tells me in some pain that she doesn’t know. Moments go by, I can hear the locals asking about ambulances as I worriedly gaze down at Hels. She has numerous scratches from the brambles and is covered in dust and sand. Finally she manages to sit up. She’s in pain, but we think nothing is broken. ( Hels: I’ve never been so terrified and by the time I entered full scream mode, I was just mindless with panic. My horse was heading towards a deep ditch on the left and when I finally turned her, she was heading straight towards a large tree with low branches. At this point I decided I needed to leave company with the horse rather than hit the branches at such speed. All I could think was ‘ how do I stop this horse and I wish we had some insurance! The shock and pain of the fall was horrendous but possibly worse the locals who were first at the scene were desperately trying to get me to stand up when I was still lying in a quivering agonised pile!!!) We decide to walk the horses back to the cafe at the beach and get a coffee so Hels can settle her nerves. But she is still very trepidatious about getting back into the saddle. But as the old saying goes, it’s better to get back on the horse that bucks you (maybe!!) ( Hels: Actually it’s ‘get back on the horse that threw you!’). We ride back towards the ranch, no more trotting or white knuckle gallops thankfully. However our guide does divert from the path into the river. It’s a great photo opportunity with the horses walking up the shallow river bed and we stop for a group photo when all of a sudden my horse gets on its knees, sits down and rolls over in the cooling water. Thankfully I somehow manage to dismount in this process and only get soaked rather than squashed! My horse then gets back up and starts pawing at the waters madly, finally it settles and I can remount, now soaked through! So an eventful ride, and that’s why I am writing today as Hels is really sore and achey from her terrifying ordeal.
Monday 6th March
Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to Daz, happy birthday you old git you…. Happy birthday to you! Did you all sing along? Yep it’s my birthday, but it’s a very quiet affair. After yesterday we are both very tired, and Hels is still in some pain and still picking bramble splinters from various parts of her body. 48 years old today, I even have a shave to celebrate. We spend some of the day tidying up as Tayip is back tomorrow and it will be the end of our stay here in the mountains. A great birthday activity – NOT!
Tuesday 7th March
We have a lazy morning, Hels is still stiff and sore, but slept better last night. Then we head down the mountain to pick up Tayip who has returned from Thailand. We enjoy lunch in Göcek then bring him back up the mountain. He is soon busy unpacking. First he says hello to all the animals then unpacks his suitcase and bags which are full of cuttings from his travels in Thailand and Vietnam.
He’s collected mainly Fig, but also mulberry and a few other bits and pieces. We sit and have a glass of wine with him in the evening, chatting about his plants, and his travels. He explains grafting and shows us some of the techniques he uses with his cuttings. He is amazingly enthusiastic and loves ‘The Fig’. He doesn’t like to be known as a Turk but simply as ‘The Fig Man’.
Wednesday 8th March
Rain rain rain. It’s been raining during the night and the day looks grey and dismal. But we are up early as Tayip is going to give us a lift to Mugla, about 2 hours up the coast, where we will catch the bus to Bodrum. We say goodbye to all the animals and then head off.
On route we stop at a roadside stall for freshly squeezed orange juice and Tayip chats to the stall ower about grafting prickly pear.
Later we stop for a typical Turkish breakfast in a tent, on a farm, in the hills before Mugla.
It’s a great breakfast, all the produce is from the farm it is served at. Even the bread is freshly baked on the fireplace. By Mugla Tayip has already collected 2 lots of fig cuttings; one lot from a tree on the breakfast farm and the other from a dying fig tree on the roadside.
In Mugla Tayip shows us around the old town and then sadly we have to say goodbye at the bus station.
He has not stopped talking about the flora of Turkey and his plans for figs. There may even be a book to write in the future he thinks. We wish him and Deborah well in their future endeavours in Turkey.
It rains for most of the bus ride to Bodrum and the bus is full, hot and sweaty. I can feels Hels stiffening in pain at every jolt in the road and think we might have to postpone the start of cycling for a few days rest in Bodrum. Mind you, I have some parts to replace on the trikes, and that means a major mechanical overhaul. It could be days before they are rideable again!!
Thursday 9th to Saturday 11th March
Thank God for Bahar (our Bodrum friend and host) because the weather is so vile we’re not going anywhere in a hurry. Tayip has run into terrible floods on his ‘fig’ trip.
In fact some days we barely make it out of the house especially after a particularly raucous, over indulgent sesssion at the quiz night. We have been to check our trikes but realise we don’t have the right tools for the required modification.
Finally on Saturday the clouds clear and it’s safe to go forth and enjoy a fabulous Turkish breakfast; locate a 10mm Allen key to get the trikes sorted and organise our biking gear. The forecast is looking good so I guess our procrastination must cease. Sunday or perhaps Monday we will hit the road again.
Trike modifications complete.