The first day of our holiday wasn’t even a whole day, it was more like a few hours. Still rather eventful. Having booked with the most dreadful of travel agents (Imperial Travel) the departure did not go without trouble.
Despite having checked and double-checked that all necessary bookings and changes have gone through we still somehow managed to run into trouble for no fault of our own. Imagine my surprise when we found out that Elliott’s name change and our extra bag of luggage (booked more than two weeks ago and confirmed) have not actually gone through onto the airline’s system. Yet again another call to the travel agent (I had to fight for the right to actually speak to an agent as they were all engaged at the moment. They suggested they call me back later. When?! When I am in the air?). The best solution they came up with was that I pay yet again for the changes while they transferred the money to my bank account.
Once all that was sorted we had a snack and headed to the gate in a rather rushed attempt not to miss the plane. We rally could have been earlier and the crew didn’t fail to point it out.
A few hours later we landed in Dalaman, went through passport control and that didn’t go uneventfully either. Everyone was rather surprised that I was coming in from England holding a Bulgarian passport. The immigration officer topped them all. He started at my passport, flipped through it several times, obviously confused by the numerous stamps.
– Do you have an English passport? – he asked.
– No – I shook my head.
– No – I shook my head.
– Do you have an English visa? – he continued.
– No, I don’t need one – I answered and continued – I can reside in the UK without a visa since Bulgaria is a member of the EU. (Don’t you know these things officer?!)
A short exchange of words followed between the officer and his colleague, a suspicious look at me, and at last a stamp appeared in my passport. On a page of its very own! Haven’t you ever dealt with people owning a passport that didn’t belong to the country they lived in!?
The car rental guy that was supposed to meet us wasn’t there but after a short phone call, offered by a friendly local, working in the car rental business, he appeared, we took care of the papers and were off to the beginning of our holiday.
Driving in the dark at 2am wasn’t the best of things and we were hungry on top of that. Eventually we bumped into a local diner and decided to stop for dinner. I must describe this place as it became what was probably the main focus of our holiday. It is called Gar Lokantasi 2(!), later we found out that there was a No.1 as well and they both belonged to two brothers. they could have really gone a bit more creative on the names. Still though what an amazing business they had! The food was amazing, portions were great, and service was outstanding. The waiter hardly spoke any English and we hardly spoke any Turkish and still we managed to establish a relationship that only got better as our stay progressed. Shame our Turkish wasn’t better and we couldn’t talk more to him!
Every time we went there they kept giving us free stuff – freshly baked ekmek, delicious salads, tea, dessert! Half way through the waiter learned our drinks order, and we didn’t have to ask for it, he just brought it over!
After a substantial meal we were back on the road for the final few kilometers to our hotel. It still took us ages to find it, but once we did, we quickly settled down in rooms that were very nice, both overlooking the pool and the village. Good night!
We thought we would take it easy on our first holiday day and after some late morning floating in the pool we headed to the Blue Lagoon which was the nearest beach. On the way into town we stopped at a travel agent to book a trip for the following day, we grabbed some very late breakfast and settled on the pebbly beach.
The water was crystal clear, a wonderful intense blue color. Irena and I took a swim across the lagoon to some nerby rocks separating us from the open sea. There were a couple of gulets anchored on the other side that looked worth exploring (even if just from a distance). After considerable amounts of sun block, ice cream and lounging about the sun finally set and it was time to head back to the hotel for a shower and then over to nearby Fethiye and our restaurant for a mighty dinner.
Day 3 was a boat trip day. We spent the whole day sailing from one lagoon to another. And we had a blast. It was truly spectacular. The mountains covered in pine trees all around us, the vertical rocks keeping guard on each side of white beaches washed by turquise waters, a bright sun. Ahhh….!
We jumped, we swimmed, we lounged, we napped, we ate….we lived! There was one really cool spot, and when I say cool, I mean cool, literally! There were some underground waters coming in between the rocks into the little lagoon making the water interestingly spotty. Lovely warm water mingles with freezing cold water creating rather adventurous swimming environment. Will I or will I not hit a cold spot! Ouch! I just did!
That day we chose a different restaurant for dinner, a local, rather expensive looking one that Irena had spotted in the guidebook, claiming to serve good vegetarian dishes. Food was good, and it was expensive. Service was good too but all was well calculated and rather rehearsed, artificial. It wasn’t an experience we would recommend.
We were supposed to go to Marmaris and the surrounding area for the day but Irena got burned the day before and we thought that going to a hamam (planned for the end of the day) and getting seriously scrubbed wasn’t the best of ideas. Instead we decided to improvise a trip to Pamukkale which turned out to be the highlight of our holiday.
It took about 3.5h of driving to get there but we made it and it was well worth it.