Well here we go at last ….
This time tomorrow the Floyd Family will be basking in the 39 degree heat of Altinkum,Turkey. As I have said for the past few weeks, I would love you to come along, if for no other reason that as the eldest is bringing her friend with her, and in the absence of my good friend ‘Wayne Turkey’, I will be outnumbered in the Male/Female ratio 4:1 !
Of course you will all be more concerned with the fate of the boy Floyd for the duration for the next fortnight. Well fear not ! Floyd has embarked on his own little adventure today. He is happily ensconced with one of my colleagues from work. He has settled in very quickly, leaving a number of sizeable ‘calling cards’ in his first five minutes in residence !
So, when I next check-in, I will be in the shade of ‘Cafe la Plaza’, with a well-chilled Efes beer in hand. I would really like you to get involved, so get ‘Googling’ and if there is anything you want to see, I will try. I will run a couple of polls where maybe you can decide what we as family do on certain days. I will keep you in the loop regarding all the wonderful food, and you might even get to choose between local delicacies for me to try !
If you haven’t done it yet, please ‘like’ the Floydsdad page on Facebook, and I will try to learn how to use it whilst I am there.
So spread the word, and get involved. Grab your virtual passport and hold onto your hats, it’s likely to be an eventful 14 days ! ….virtually of course !
If you have any ideas, suggestions or wishes, feel free to leave a comment below.
See you soon
Friday 22nd July 2011.
Good God !
I thought I had seen the last of 4 hours of sleep when I finished that week of nights. It’s nice to see I have mastered the art of logging on to the web over here and so a little later I will update you on a traditionally eventful journey !
Saturday 23rd July 2011.
A very good morning one and all. I am currently on the balcony of the Europlaza apartment which is our home for the next 13 days. Just thought I would bring you up to speed with events so far.
Now some of you will be about to embark on your own holiday trip, and will no doubt be worried that you may be wedged into your metal tube for however many hours your flight lasts, seated next to, in front, or behind the family from hell. Well if you are travelling any time in the next two weeks, fear not. they are somewhere on the Bodrum Peninsular, (thankfully not here), although I am sure that will change at some point. Seated in front of us, from left to right we had, Mum, 2 year old, 16 year old, across the aisle, Dad, 12 year old and 8 year old. The parents enjoyed a relatively stress free trip on account of the fact that they paid no attention to the carnage being caused by their offspring. The 2 year old spent three and a half of the four hours leaning over the seat and throwing things at the eldest and her friend. Meanwhile, in front of Mrs.FD, Dad rocked his seat to the Bangra Beat, whilst the 12 year old passed her time by intermittently ripping chunks out of the 8 year old’s face.
If she wasn’t drawing blood from his face, then she was drawing in felt tip pen on his picture of what I think was supposed to be an aeroplane,(though it may have struggled to get airborne). This generally prompted a screaming fit, which just about dragged Dad to life for long enough to literally,(no word of a lie here)punch the lad in the chops, threaten the girl with the same, and then return to sleep ! In the odd moments of tranquility the lad took to taking photos on his Nintendo using the reverse camera, which meant he was taking pictures of me !
I thought it was amusing, and it certainly shut him up, when I gave him a serious ‘FD Stare’ with added double-handed ’bird’ gestures. It has since been pointed out to me that there is more than an even chance of them being sat in the same seats on the return flight. That being the case I will deal with any conflict in the same robust way I intervened to stop the behaviour that was causing so much stress to my 4 travelling companions, namely stick the Foo Fighters on loud on the iPhone, and pretend to be asleep ! Works every time !
The day had gone pretty much to script, with talk of saving money, not drinking, not splashing out on duty-free etc, and getting the kids maybe some fruit and bottles of water etc. for the journey. We touched down in Bodrum at 1.45 am, laden with scent, cigarettes for Mrs.FD, a tad blurry on account of the Stella /JD combo, and with the kids wide-eyed on account of the industrial amounts of sugar they had consumed over the past 6 hours. The travel diet came back to haunt us around 15 kms before the end of our bleary eyed transfer, with a minibus full of strangers, as the youngest tipped the contents of the duty-free carrier bag onto the floor, and then tipped the contents of her stomach into the bag. I leapt into action with a fluent Turkish instruction to the driver, ‘We need to stop !’ ( it was more slow motion English, than fluent Turkish, but you get the drift). And so after a 5 minute stumble in the darkness of a Turkish wood, we resumed our journey with me holding a knotted carrier bag at arm’s length in the front seat, and the driver, still smiling politely, holding his head out of the window on account of the strange smell !
It’s a restaurant which is open 24hrs a day, and specialises in soup, which the guys seem to love. So I can chose between ’Iskember’ (tripe) or ’Beyin’(sheeps brain) … the things I agree to when I have a beer in hand ! In the spirit of interaction, I will let you decide, I will pop a poll on the facebook page, or you can leave a comment here, and whichever gets the most votes will be my soup of choice ! My collection of flyers and menus is growing which will form the backbone of the first blog post I do when I get home.
Rather than bore you with mundane chat about ‘bog standard general fayre’, I will bore you with last nights trip instead. My good friend Nizam, who we have known for 3 years now has been asking me for ages to join him at the ‘Alintdag 24 hr Corbalar Salonu’ for a traditional Turkish meal, and as you probably know, last night was the night. I behaved impecably right up to the departure time of 2am, (which rapidly moved towards 3am due to stragglers at the bar, and the fact that I was presented with what seemed like a Magnum of Raki !)
It had already been decided by you good people, that I was to feast on a bowl of Sheep’s Brain Soup, and you can imagine the tangiable sense of dissapointment when I was told the last of it had just been served. I needn’t have feared, as Nizam soon leapt in with the alternative ‘Boiled Sheeps Head and Trotters’, or as the menu had it ‘Speeps Head and Troiters’(it mattered not!). Within a short time our food arrived and I have to say it was top drawer. A spicy Lamachun, which is a really thin crispy pizza with ground lamb, chillies and parsley; a plate of ridiculously hot ‘mixed chilli salad’, some local bread, and of course our soup.
They go mad for the soups out here, the menu had a good half a dozen varieties, and everyone who came in was ordering it. It was a bizzare experience, the place was packed when we left at 4.20am, and Nizam explained that the family that run the place work 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week, so it never closes. The whole thing came to 27 Lira, which at the minute is a touch under £9 so even I didn’t have an issue paying for that ! One more gargantuan glass of Raki later, courtesy of the owners son, and we, (well, I) swayed happily in the cool early morning breeze back to the flat. I climed into bed just as the first light peeped over the mountains, and the Mosque in town cranked into life. I have if you ever come to Turkey you have to try this sort of thing. If you ever come to Altinkum, you simply have to go to the ‘Alitindag’, (mainly because there isn’t anywhere else open !) and if you do, and you can explain what ‘Advent Bingo’ is in Turkish, you are better than me !
See you soon !
Sunday 31st July.
I have to say I was a little sceptical when I was told of our plans for today. Last week, all the girls went with our chum Bernice and her family to visit the evening market at Maveshir, which is about 30 minutes away by Dolmus. They came back with tales of having seen the most spectacular sunset. I can assure you, that Mrs FD is not one for waxing lyrical about anyhting other than Peter Andre and any other celebrity chaff, so for her to be so taken by what she had seen, I figured it must be worth a look.
Now, if you have never been on a Dolmus before, you have been missing a treat. There is a fleet of them trawling round on set routes, and the sole aim of the driver, aided by his young conductor, is to get as many people as possible on board, to maximise their takings. They have, (I know because I have counted), 18 seats on board. As we travelled to Maveshir on a hot sticky late afternoon, ours had at one point, (and again, I counted) 31 people on board, with the young conductor spreading himself across the open doorway, to hold people in.
The driver will beep the horn on average every 15 seconds. They beep at every pedestrian they pass, to see if they want a lift. They beep at people walking in the opposite direction to see if they can change their mind about where they are going. They beep at cars to let them know they have seen them and will give way. They beep to say they have seen them and won’t give way. They beep randomly in case there is a car which they haven’t seen. They beep to join a roundabout in an orderly fashion, and in the case of our driver, they beep to justify the fact that we have just carved up 3 lanes of traffic, popped a red light and driven the wrong side of a set of roadworks to beat another car to that roundabout!
Having recovered from the journey, we began by taking a stroll around Maveshir Market. As much as I love any food market, this was a little bit of a let down, as pretty much every stall was selling the same selection of fruit, veg, nuts and spices. Having said that, the produce was all grown within a mile or so of the market, and the quality was superb. I know it has been said by many others, but there are none of the EU approved ‘standard size’ tomatoes and ‘uniformly shaped’ peppers. Instead you have a selection of twisted, gnarled and mis-shaped produce, all of which tastes sublime.
After sampling the vendors nuts,(sorry, couldn’t resist it!) we made our way to the seafront cafe, where the locals were all tucking into ‘Gozelme,’ which are like savoury pancakes stuffed with cheese, spinach or meat, and then folded over and cooked until they balloon up like pillows. Mrs FD said we had to be seated by half past 6, which we duly were, and just as well as within 15 minutes the whole place was packed, I would guess over 100 people, mainly Turks, taking their seats for the sunset. I have to say the location was perfect, we had a table within 5 metres of the sea, overlooking the horseshoe bay, with just a few small fishing boats, bobbing on the evening waves. The only thing that was pretty ordinary, was the sunset itself. It looked, well like a sunset.
I didn’t want to dampen the enthusiasm of the girls who were insisting that this was going to be spectacular, but it was difficult as I had chosen completely the wrong dish for the location. Like every coastal area in the region there is a constant, at times brisk breeze. This is great if you want to keep cool, but if you order ‘Iskember’ which is shredded lamb topped with a tomato sauce and fresh yoghurt, it will blow your meal into a cold slop quite quickly. But then something strange began to happen in the sky. The sun began to grow, quite quickly, the colour changed into an ever deepening red, and the speed at which it made towards the horizon increased. Almost to a man, everyone stopped eating and talking, and just stood or sat watching this bizzare fast foward of a sunset.
Then it began to stretch and change shape, before rapidly shrinking back to a normal size and dropping behind the horizon. It was as promised, spectacular! There must have been 50 or so people who had made their way to the edge of the water to stand and stare at the event, it reminded me of that scene in ‘Close Encounters’ where all the crowd just stand in silence looking up to the sky. So there you go, another ‘must do’ moment to go with the 24hr Soup joint.
Wednesday 3rd August.
Time for the last full day. It’s always a puzzle to me why the first 12 days of any holiday tick along nicely, and the last 2 go like a rocket, but hey ho ! Time for the 5-bay boat trip. We do this every year, and the boats go to 5 of the same 7 or so bays, and the food is always the same simple fare, and the music is always the same thumping Turkish dance music, but there is just something about it that means the holiday wouldn’t be the same without it. This year, the 5 of us joined one of our friends Urdal from Ikbal’s Restaurant on the sea front at Altinkum. We climbed aboard the ‘Siesta’ and set to sea.
For the first time this year, I was persuaded to join the graceful and fearless young bucks, and leap off the top deck. Admittedly I was more fearful and graceless, as I crept over the safety rail and peered down to the sea some 20 feet or so below. I prepared to leap, I had planned to give a ‘Tarzan-like’ wail as I cruised towards the water like a missile, entering without so much as a splash. The plan didn’t work.
Instead, I let out a shameful squeal as I span towards the water in a starfish formation which on impact instantly transformed my ‘Superdry Boarders’ into a ’Sup..’ thong. Thirty-one years of adulthood were sent skywards through my body and joined the contents of my skull. The crowd loved it ! I stayed where I was, treading water to milk the applause, and because I didn’t want to swim and leave bits of me behind.
And so to the final night ! As promised we booked into the Meandros Bedouin village, which is a 5 minute taxi ride from Europlaza. It is a wonderful place, nothing like anywhere else in the area. It is peaceful, and laid back. It is actually a small holding, which if you visit during the day will have the butcher jointing whole sheep carcasses, and the old ladies preparing the dough for that evenings bread. We arrived around 8pm and watched the chap working at the wood fired oven, churning out piping hot pillows of sesame seed encrusted flatbreads, which are served with the spicy tomato and chilli ‘Acili Ezme’ and a cooling yoghurt and mint dip.
The whole village is spread out over an area about the size of a football pitch, so there is plenty of room. The food is prepered in an open kitchen, and is without doubt some of the best we have found in 4 years of visiting the area. I feasted on Meandros style lamb chops, 5 of the beauties, in a rich tomato, pepper and aubergine sauce, with a sprinkling of home produced cheese, finished under the grill. The best bit about the whole experience however comes after the meal. The perimeter of the grounds are surrounded by ’Bedouin Style’ tents, built on wooden stilts, and you finish your night in your own private low level tent, shoes outside, smiles inside.
Thursday 4th July.
Well folks, that is it ! Our trip to Turkey is done. Myself and Mrs FD spent most of the day pottering round the flat, sweeping and mopping and getting it ready for Karen, the owner who came out the day after we left. The girls spent their last day much as they did the previous 13, around the pool, laughing, constantly. it was good to see the 14 yr old lads strutting their stuff in a vain attempt to impress the eldest and her mate, ( and I promise, there were no ‘Meet the Focker’ dad antics from me…. ish). After the usual tearful farewell from Berin, Nizam, Enver and all the gang at La Plaza we endured the torture of Bodrum Airport, and eventually at a bleary-eyed 2.45am, lifted off for Manchester. It was raining when we landed …….. what did you expect ?
I hope you have enjoyed this trip away, hey let’s face it , first of all I hope you have at least read about it ! Otherwise my kids are right when they say…
” Why do you waste your time doing that geeky thing that nobody even looks at ?”
At least they don’t sit on the fence !
Leave a comment, its always nice to know that these 4135 words haven’t been in vain!
See you next time,