A continuation of my TopDeck Turkey diary. If you haven’t read the first post in the series yet go and start here.
My TopDeck Tour of Turkey was officially over at breakfast time (sad face), but I had one more full day to spend in Fethiye before starting my (very long) journey back home. I got up and ate with all the others, most of them were going on a boat trip to the Blue Lagoon and surrounding coves which sounded totally lovely but wouldn’t get back to the hotel until after I needed to leave. I said my goodbyes, packed up my things, put on loads of sun cream and headed down the hill towards the Marina.
The view of the water from our hotel.
Fethiye, I discovered, is a really quite beautiful town with warm sunshine and lots if sea views. I took a gentle walk along the Marina walls to Calis, which it turns out was a five mile round trip when I checked afterwards! The path was easy promenade style, very well preened with gardens, memorials, fountains, cafes and benches all the way along. It’s a harbour and so there were boats most of the way too, some were off on a day tour a bit like the one the rest of the tour group was taking. I could see the hotel from the other side of the marina, was fascinated by the huge cruise ship that seemed to spin around several times, and took loads of photos of boats and the water. When I got back to Fethiye I had some Turkish tea at a local café overlooking the water. I like the tea, it’s quite bitter, so when I drink it black (as the Turks do), I add a sugar. The owners, an old couple, were very friendly and chatted to me as I drank; I am sure they were simply trying to get me back there for lunch later, but still it was nice to learn a bit about the town and the view.
Views of the Med in Fethiye. Warm, sunny, beautiful water and views. So nice.
From there I headed into the markets and town centre with one main goal: Turkish delight. I wandered up and down the streets, got some water and an apple from a shop, and enjoyed popping in and out of all the jewellery, rug, gold and souvenir shops. The market area, which is more like Covent Garden than a market-town-market, had umbrellas over one street and balls over another, nice and colourful. I felt absolutely fine on my own here, no concerns like in Konya or Istanbul. I even heard English voices, the first time in a week. I wandered by a traditional Turkish Delight shop and a stopped to look, a guy came over and offered me some to try. It was good – proper stuff. I followed him into the shop to see the prices and the range and wow, what a shop! There was fresh Turkish Delight all along, a proper artisan style place. He asked if I liked pomegranate and offered me some of that one to try, which made me smile as it was that flavour I was looking for based on a recommendation from back home. I took it and left the shop saying I’d come back later, but after tasting it turned around and went back for a box full! So good. I bought the pomegranate and pistachio one, just a small box, to take home. I also tried the Nutella and pomegranate one, and the traditional rose, if the shop owner had given me a chair I could have been quite happy there all day!
The Turkish Delight from shops like this is way better than the stuff you get in the supermarkets.
I think they need to replace some of these umbrellas!
I wandered to the fish market, which is a huge covered area where freshly caught fish of all kinds from the Mediterranean is on sale to the public. You can buy a fish and then take it to one of the surrounding restaurants where they will prepare it and cook it for you to eat straight away, which is a great idea. By now it was well into the afternoon so I decided I should have dinner, although I knew what I wanted and it wasn’t freshly grilled fish (that was yesterday!). I was after a kebab, a proper one, so I went back to the harbour to find one with a great view of the Mediterranean. I glanced over a few menus and was disappointed to see how English it all was – I guess they need to accommodate their summer tourists but it was a shame in my opinion. I headed back to the market area and found the perfect little kebab shop with seating outside, nestled in amongst all the shops I’d wandered around earlier. The kebabs here look similar to those you might see in the UK but with two significant differences – actual flame instead of heat lamps, and big chunks of actual-meat-looking-meat piled on the skewer rather than processed and reconstituted rubbish I haven’t eaten for years at home. I went for the chicken, which was utterly delicious. It came with rice, chips, salad and yoghurt sauce and cost 15 Lira – if you’re ever in Fethiya I definitely recommend this little place, go and find it.
Mmmmm kebab. Definitely never having a greasy kebab at home ever again (not that I’ve had one for years). This is how it should be done!
It was sadly time to head home, which was going to take around 24 hours all in. I chose to just meander my way home without photos and video and just enjoy the journey as much as I could, knowing it was going to be long and stressful anyway. I walked from the hotel to the main bus station where I caught the bus (10 Lira and an hour) to Dalaman Airport, a very small but convenient airport with decent seating and a nice coffee shop. I first had a short internal flight to Istanbul (Ataturk) where I stopped in an air-side hotel to get a few hours sleep before catching my flight home early the following morning. Once back in the UK it was a short walk to the train station at Manchester Airport and a couple of busy trains back to Lincoln. I was both sad to be leaving Turkey and such a fantastic week with TopDeck, but also happy to be home where I could be with my family and sleep in my own bed.
I would definitely book another TopDeck tour given the opportunity, and have recommended them to friends a number of times since I did this trip in September. Coach travel might be seen as more for the older traveller in the UK, but it is a great way for young people to see the world with very little fuss and bother. With TopDeck you get the travel, hotels and quite a lot of food (not all meals but a significant number), as well as the services of a very knowledgeable guide to show you around. You also have an opportunity to make friends with like-minded people, and based on the people I met on this trip, some who you may end up being friends with for a very long time.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of blog posts featuring my trip around Turkey. I’ve certainly enjoyed writing them.
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Thank you SO MUCH to TopDeck for inviting me to join them on the tour. TopDeck covered my flights and the tour itself in return for coverage here on Splodz Blogz, and I covered all other expenses (including food, entrance fees and excursions) myself. I definitely recommend this kind of travel to anyone who wants to explore somewhere new without any hassle. Take a look at the TopDeck website for the full range of tours available.