Friday, 11 July 2014

Day 5: Likya Winery and Gombe Lake

There is something enticing about being in a predominantly Islamic country and going to a Vineyard.  It's like breaking the rule and at the same time doing it legally.  In Islam, alcohol is forbidden.  That's all I know.  I am raised as a Catholic.  

I am getting tired of paying over priced alcohol.  So when we found about this "wine tasting" in Turkey, I thought, it would be an experience.  It was an experience alright.  Luke had to drive 3 hours both ways to get to Elmali and back.  There are no signs directing you to Elmali.  At a crossroad, Luke had to do the tourist way and shouted "Elmali!?" to the tambay as we don't know where to go.  Luckily, he directed us to the right path.  :P  The drive was very scenic but boring until we got a little bit lost and had to stop in a petrol station to ask for directions.  When we finally reached the vineyard, there was no tour, no wine tasting.  Apparently, the new leader of their country changed the rule and you can't taste wine anymore.  So with blind faith, we bought 3 bottles of wine.  I am not a big wine drinker to begin with.  The owners of the Likya winery is very accommodating though.  We had a tour in their factory and we also had a chat with the owners.  As for the wine, we haven't tasted it yet and we are saving it for another occasion.  A bottle by the way cost 10 quid each. 

I've taken photo of the Gombe lake from afar.  There is nothing interesting about it in my opinion but it just looked nice so we had to stop.  On our way back to the hotel, we got stopped by the Turkish police.  They had guns with them and as usual, I sh*t myself.  I am very anti-guns.  I don't see the point of having one.  Anyway, they were asking for our passports but Luke only had his driver's license with him and I've got my residence permit with me.  Good thing one of the police is nicer and told his buddy to stop bullying us and let us pass.  He told us that next time, we should bring our passports when travelling.  

For dinner, we went to Kas.  I was extremely hungry by then.  We initially planned to just stay in Kalkan but the food is very unsatisfying and expensive for Turkey standards.  We went back to the same restaurant from the previous night as we loved their service and food.  We told them that we drove all the way from Kalkan and gave us free coke.  We gave 10 TL in tip or we had to as the server didn't bother giving us change.  

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Day 4: Saklikent and Kas

I am pleasantly surprised with Turkey.  The country have so much to offer.  It caters to everyone.  Historically, they have UNESCO heritage sites, there is an abundance of beaches and for the dare devils, you can do paragliding, camping, hiking.  For a week, we were able to do different things and visited different areas.  Sounds hectic?  No.  As we have a great location, everywhere is of driving range.  Daily, we wake up just in time for breakfast, we leave on our chosen time without pressure, we eat when we are hungry and most importantly, I can take my afternoon nap.  You have no idea how amazing that feels.  For someone who travels 20 hours weekly for work, everything is a luxury.

1.  Saklikent Gorge

I wanted to hike.  I thought it would be a good exercise and honestly, I wanna see the big rock formations.  I thought it would be easy.  I didn't realise that you have to go through a natural spring water which is as cold as ice and swim through the small gaps in the gorge. The whole scene reminded me of 127 hours minus the accident.  :P  It takes an hour to get to the end of the hike which you will be rewarded with a waterfall.  We almost made it until I had an accident.  With 150 metres to the waterfall, I climbed the rocks and slipped.  It wasn't a very high fall but a fall nonetheless.  Luckily, I didn't hit my head and I went straight through the water.  I am not sure if going to the waterfall is worth all the effort but as soon as i slipped, we had to abort the mission.  After all, I have been to better waterfalls in the Philippines.  :)  

Walking will take you about an hour depending on your pace of course.  The entrance fee is 5 Turkish Lira per person so that's less than 2 quid.  You have to wear a footwear with grip which is free in the restaurants.  Yes, that's their way of luring customers to the business.  I didn't mind as it helped us through the hike.  You will also have to hike in swimming costumes as you have to swim at one point.  Bring water and water proof bag. 

This day, I discovered Turkish pancake or Gozleme.  I started with Cheese pancake and had 4 different varieties in the trip.  They have a different pancake compared to the western world.  Theirs is more like doughy but crepe thin.  

2.  Kas

We decided to check out Kas.  Luke intended to stay here initially but his workmates are staying in the area so we went to Kalkan instead.  Thank God for that.  Kalkan is way better than Kas and is less touristy.  The only upside of staying in Kas is that, they've got better restaurants with better prices.  If I have to describe Kas, it has to be Manila bay with better restaurants.  Don't trust me as I'm not the Kas expert though.  :p 

This is the day that I've discovered Pide.  Pide is like Turkish pizza.  The ingredients are basic but as it was made fresh, it taste better than store bought pizza.  I also had a yogurt drink thinking that it would resemble Lassi, the indian counterpart.  It was more salty and tasted horrible I learnt my lesson and didn't order it again.  :P

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Day 3: Xanthos and Patara Plaji

I am very lucky that I found my partner and my best friend.  With my husband, I can be myself.  I have been in relationships where I had to change myself not for the better but so my personality can fit my partner.  But I learnt early on that you can't expect people to change and you have to love them for who they really are and not their potential.  My husband and I have different interest.  Music wise, we are the polar opposites.  Travelling though is a different matter.  We are explorers, we aren't afraid to try out different things, eat different food and immerse in the culture.  Luke loves long drives.  As long as there is petrol in the car, sunblock and money in our pockets then we are ready to go.  It does help that we are both low maintenance.  When I first started travelling, photo was the priority.  As a middle class Filipino, sometimes you only have one chance to visit a place so you want proof.  Now though, I get to enjoy the experience.  :)

Luke and I didn't have any plans.  Just like everyday of this trip.  I went to Turkey to really get away from England and work.  I just wanna relax and expected daily beach trips.  But Luke and I can't sit still.  The owner recommended Patara Plaji(beach) to us but on our way, we saw Xanthos so we drove there anyway.  It is a UNESCO heritage site.  It has ruins.  Not Roman, but Lycian.  To be honest, I didn't know the difference but its just amazing to see that after hundreds of years, the amphithreatre looked intact still.  The best of all, the entrance and parking is FREE. :)

It was a very hot sunny day so after 10 minutes or so of exploring, we left for Patara Plaji.  The Patara Plaji is a UNESCO heritage site as well.  On the way to the beach, there was a long drive where you can see ruins just like Xanthos.  The drive reminded me on Bopal in India when we went to see the Bhimbetka Cave Paintings.  At the end of the drive was a 5 minute walk to the beach.  The beach reminded me of Candolim Beach as they both have strong waves and massive shore.  The only difference is Patara have whiter water and lesser stores.  To be honest, there were only one small pub hut and shared toilets.  Umbrellas and sun beds are available for rent in the area.  I suggest renting one as the sand gets really really hot when the sun is strong.  

Unlike all the beaches that I've been in, I was amazed that no one bothered me through out our whole stay in the beach.  No lady walking offering massages or selling souvenirs.  Although the wave is strong, the water is shallow so you can go very far without swimming.  A plus when you are a non swimmer like me. :)  

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Day 1 and 2: Kalkan, Turkey

I have to admit, I've been neglecting blogging lately.  Between work and my non-existent social life, I don't really have the time to write.  Since Berlin, I have been to Prague, Malaysia and almost a month holiday back home in the Philippines.  It was exciting but also resources draining.  You think you won't spend money 'cause you are in your own country but it's the other way around.  I found myself converting peso to pounds all the time and thinking everything was cheap.  It was, until every expenses added up.

Turkey was not on my travel bucket list.  I thought I was done with Europe and Asia so I was thinking of Mexico, South America or Caribbean but those aren't visa free countries. I am limited to countries that don't need visa to travel and sometimes, I have that to be thankful for.  This is why Luke and I ended up in Morocco and Turkey this time.  I am a Filipino passport holder and resident of the UK.  Because of my status, I was able to travel to Turkey with my online purchased visa.

When I told Luke that I wanted to go to Turkey, I didn't really have an idea where to go.  If I have to be honest, he made everything happen.  Just like our wedding, my responsible husband took control.  He went online, asked friends and researched places where we can both enjoy.  Luckily, he made the right choice.  

Kalkan is a very picturesque city.  Its nearest airport is Dalaman which is an hour and a half drive.  Possibly the best place for me and Luke to stay in as everything is of driving distance.  We lived near the Sehir Merkezi (town centre) but to explore and do some activity, you have to drive a bit further.  

Our first day was uneventful.  We took an afternoon flight which arrived at 10PM.  With 2 hours time difference ahead of England plus driving time, we were in Kalkan by midnight.  I wasn't expecting much to be honest.  I learnt that if we weren't staying 5 stars, that I should be fully prepared with toiletries and low expectations.  :-P  The place where we stayed in was a 10 room guest accommodation with amazing ocean view.  

 View from our room.
 The pool with amazing view.
 Lunchtime view.

Our second day didn't start right.  First off, Luke was disappointed about the breakfast.  This is something that we always look forward to when we go on holiday.  But in Turkey, you get Turkish breakfast which means, olives, mixed fruits, cheese and bread.  It supposed to have eggs on it but our small hotel didn't provide for one.  When the owner told us to help ourselves to breakfast, Luke can't help but add, "to what?".  She's a sweet lady but her breakfast didn't satisfy our hunger at all. Nothing was on the agenda that day.  We both just want to top up our tan.  But with both Asian genes, tanning came to easy for us.  By 2PM we retreated to our room and got ready to explore the Sehir Merkezi.  When we asked the people how long will it take to the town centre, they replied, 5 minutes.  But with strong sunshine, it felt like 30.  The same day, we asked for a rental car.  Walking became unbearable.


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