Saturday, 28 February 2015

A Postcard From Antalya

Greetings from Antalya. As usual, when you go away somewhere, your feet don't touch the ground and you don't get to do what you fully intended to do. Today's plan, for example, was to tell you all about quite possibly the oddest race we've ever watched - the ladies high heel race that took place this morning as part of the Runatolia 2015 events. Anyway, loads of photos and a video from that...but we can show you those when we have more time to reflect on what we have actually witnessed. Stilettos and running... 

So, since we arrived, we've been on a grand tour of Antalya...that's me in the driver's seat trying to negotiate one-way systems that always seem to be in the opposite direction to where we want to get to. All good fun. We've managed to book a budget hotel that is perfectly situated on the edge of Kaleiçi, it's very budget, and it's perfectly good for our needs. We're happy and comfortable and will definitely use here again next time we're in Antalya. So that's another up and coming blog post...

Cloudy Antalya Old Town
A cloudy looking Antalya
We've revisited bars we've acquainted ourselves with on previous visits, such as Filika, and we've also stumbled across a new one (for us) that we've fallen for quite a lot. 'Stumbled across,' is an apt phrase for Kaleiçi because it took us a while to find the bar again last night after we'd seen it in the daytime. So many streets and alleyways and, before you know it, whatever sense of direction you thought you possessed is blown out of the window. And of course, we've done what you absolutely must do when in Antalya - we've had köfte and Antalya Usulü Piyaz. Just yummy...and that'll be a blog post, too.

Tomorrow is the main Runatolia 2015 day when the marathon, half marathon and 10km runs take place. We had to go to Terra City shopping centre today so that Barry could pick up his bib number and t-shirt etc - and so we could watch the ladies high heel race, of course. As we came back, we got off the bus a couple of stops early just so we could walk back along the sea for a while and up through Kaleiçi. This photo is from that walk this aftenoon. As you can see, we have got sunshine but the clouds just look ready for bursting.

Tonight, we'll go to eat out for my birthday and then we'll be sensible and come back to the hotel at a good time so that we can get up for the run tomorrow...and so that Barry is in a fit state to do the run, too! So far, the weather forecast hasn't been to accurate. Sunshine predicted for tomorrow and we're really hoping it's accurate this time for all the runners taking part. In last year's Runtalya, life was so much easier for everyone because the rain held off. 

We're updating regularly on Twitter, adding photos to Instagram and updating on our Facebook page, too, using the hashtag #TFLinAntalya, so if you use social media, you can keep more up to date with all things Antalya there. Of course, there'll be other blog posts to follow, too and just from a day and a half here, we're full of stories to tell you. And our little break isn't only half way through...

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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

More Live Music At Deep Blue Bar - This Time In Aid Of Street Animals

There are a lot of people in this world doing good things...and, on Monday night at Deep Blue Bar, a few people got together to do something good. Some of the musicians who have been playing at Deep Blue throughout winter decided to get together and put on a 'bit of a do' to raise some money for street animals.

Fortunately, we caught notice of this event on the Deep Blue Bar Facebook page so we decided we just had to go along. Any excuse for a night out with live music... 

Fethiye Live Music - Karadüzen At Deep Blue Bar
Karadüzen play at Deep Blue Bar
It wasn't too long ago that we were writing about The Bluestone playing live at Deep Blue and they were one of the bands playing again on Monday night - but a bit more of The Bluestone later...

For now, we're concentrating on Karadüzen. Karadüzen are the three ladies you can see in the photo above. Monday night was the first time we've watched them play together...and we'll be watching them again soon, most definitely.

The girl on the left of this photo is Yeşim. She's a true veteran of the Fethiye live music scene and it's rare you don't hear her name mentioned or see her bob up somewhere if anyone is hosting a live music event. Yeşim plays flute, saxophone, guitar and also happens to be a great singer, too...oh yeah, and she teaches flute, too. Some people are just a bit musical like that, aren't they?

We've seen her sing solo and as part of bands at Deep Blue over the years more times than we care to remember - but, as part of this particular outfit - Karadüzen - well it was great!

(If you're reading in email and can't see the video, click here to view the Fethiye live music video on our blog).

You know us, by now, with our videos. We are getting there and I did a few on the night. This video is about my best attempt in not sending my camera into a blur (the video setting doesn't like the dark lighting in Deep Blue - but we do). They did a beautiful Turkish folk song we know so we could
fldjm-didjm along to that one. Another track we knew was the one in this video. Lots of you will know it, too. We just love how much fun they're obviously having together. 

And, if we're being honest, their Turkish stuff was better than this - well, guess that makes sense - but this video gives you an idea of their lovely energy together, anyway. 
Live Music In Fethiye - Deep Blue Bar, Paspatur
Bluestone, ft. Yeşim at Deep Blue Bar
And this is the problem (or not) with Deep Blue Bar. We've seen The Bluestone play so many times in the past and, although we love them, we decided we wouldn't stay around for the full set. Well, it was getting late, we'd had enough to drink...and then, before you know it, The Bluestone are in the second half of their set, Yeşim's invited herself to join in their set for a song or two, it's all very chilled and good fun, we've ordered more than one 'one more' and The Bluestone's set finishes...and we're all still there. 

It's always a late night when you go to Deep Blue...
  • The 'Sokak Hayvanları İçin Çalıyoruz' (We're Playing For Street Animals) was 10TL entrance fee and this raised almost 800 TL for street animals on the night.
  • Deep Blue Bar have live music on Wednesday to Saturday through winter. No entrance fee.
  • The Bluestone play every Thursday night and Karadüzen play every Friday.
  • Live music tends to start at around 10 pm...ish.
Monday, 23 February 2015

Have We Seen Winter Off In Fethiye? Nature Is Giving Us Clues...

We're always saying how much we love our winters in Fethiye, and we don't want to to give you the picture that we've been sat in the house every day, miserable and lethargic, going stir crazy...but yeah, it's not an exaggeration to say that this region of Turkey has seen a tough few months. Many parts of Turkey have seen extremes but we weren't there to experience them. We've only experienced our own little area. 

Over the last few months, our little segment of Mediterranean Turkey has seen floods, landslides, road closures due to damage caused by high winds and rough seas, heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures. We could probably add much more to that list but this is not a post about weather extremes. It's a post about that annual event where, in Fethiye, the beauty of nature shows you that the worst is over and a new season is set to begin. 

Fethiye In Blosssom
Brand new almond blossom  
And here it is. This week, the almond trees around Fethiye began to reveal their annual February blossom. It's late - well, it has been a long cold winter - but it's here, towards the end of the month rather than the beginning. It's the ultimate in those simple pleasures that nature just springs upon us when we least expect it. What happier sight! Almond blossom just seems to appear from nowhere and, in fact, I'm pretty sure this is the first year we've caught it in bud, too. Our heads are usually still so full of winter that this new life usually only makes itself noticed when much of the blossom is fully open. 

Guess, subconsciously, we've been waiting, waiting, waiting...and now it's finally here. This is our very first Fethiye sign of new beginnings in the nature stakes.

The Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean regions of Turkey are the main almond growing areas in the country, and Turkey is among the top 10 countries when it comes the the world's almond production. On Instagram, we've seen numerous photos of almond trees in blossom over the last couple of weeks from all around the Datça peninsula. Where we stayed in Yazıköy is a major growth area and, while we were there in the November, you could here the clack, clack, clack of shells as orchard owners and their workers piled the nuts into sacks for the mass market while cracking a few shells to store a few fruits for themselves. 
Fethiye In Spring
Fethiye's very first sign of spring
But here in Fethiye, the blossom in this photo is from yesterday afternoon, from a garden in Çalış. The almond blossom in our own front garden is also in bud. And that means the first of our 2015 travels in Turkey is almost upon us. Of course, we can travel around to different places in other times throughout winter - we often do - but this particular upcoming journey is a kind of double bill event.

Next weekend, we'll be in Antalya for a few days. Barry will again run the half marathon in Runatolia (previously known as Runtalya). It's also my birthday weekend. A February birthday in England always felt like a depths of winter birthday; but here, in Mediterranean Turkey, we know it's time to bid farewell to those wintry depths. And, on doing that, it also means we can power walk and run (obviously, Barry's been in training), and enjoy the beautiful scenes that winter is leaving behind, whilst feeling just a tad more heat in the sun on our backs.

Yesterday on our Facebook page, we shared a photo I took while power walking along the harbour a couple of mornings ago. We're still surrounded by thick snow on the mountains and it looks all the more beautiful under a sun that is beginning to protect us from more unforgiving icy temperatures. It looks like lots of people agree because this is by far a record when it comes to the number of likes we've had on a photo. But then, that's Fethiye for you. If you hit the like button on this photo, thanks so much!  

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Calisto Pizza & Beer By The Sea - Don't Mind If We Do

Çalış Beach in winter always interests us because you get the odd business or two that seem to do much better in winter than they do in the busy summer season. One place that that has happened to this winter is Calisto. We've been longtime customers of Pizza Calisto (as it used to be known) because they used to be just a takeaway business and, over the last few years, we've had many a pizza delivered to our house from them. 
Calisto Cafe Bar & Pizza, Çalış Beach
Pizza Calisto menu
We love their pizza because it's a super thin base - just how we like our pizzas - and they do a more-than-tasty Mexican pizza that's just perfect for our spice-craving tastebuds. 

At the beginning of last summer, Calisto moved from their small, main road takeaway location to a restaurant/bar location along Çalış Beach and, over this winter, they've kind of become a bar that serves snacks; pizza being the speciality one of these. Other dishes include pasta, wraps and the like. Simple foods that wash down well with a beer or two. If you walk past there these days, there's usually at least one group of people sat enjoying a drink and a chat, and, at nights, they've had live music on sometimes, too. 
Large Mexican Pizza At Calisto, Çalış Beach
Mexican Pizza at Pizza Calisto along Çalış Beach
A few days ago, Fethiye was swathed in its first bout of sunshine in what seemed like an age, so, as soon as we opened the curtains, it was good moods and happiness all round. We decided a leg stretch along Çalış Beach was called for - and, then, you know how it is with sunny good moods... 

"Oh, let's get some lunch somewhere, as well, instead of eating before we set off." 

That throwing-caution-to-the-wind, let's-treat-ourselves-while-it's sunny feeling. Yes, we really were a bit giddy to be able to go out and enjoy the sunshine without fear of a deluge of icy cold rain catching us en route. 

But where to go? We have a favourite little kebab place on the main road in Çalış but we weren't in the mood for a kebab. We toyed with the idea of Mehtap Lokantası but it was sunny and the beach and seaside views were calling. That ruled out Günışık, too...and we would have only ended up eating kebab there, anyway. 

"Calisto. We've not been there for ages." 
Pizza At Calisto Bar & Cafe, Çalış Beach
A slice of Mexican Pizza asking to be eaten 
So, that was that settled. Off we went for sunny afternoon pizza and beer. We looked at the menu, which was a pointless activity - but we did it anyway. A pointless activity because our eyes scan over the list of words without sending any messages to our brains until they see 'Mexican Pizza.' And then the message is locked. Of course that's what we're having. It's what we always the odd time when we feel a bit of a seafoody session calling. On this occasion, though, as we walked all the way to Çalış and along the beach, we both knew there was never any question about what we would be ordering.

"2 Efes and one Mexican pizza with a topping of extra jalapenos, please."

Winter sun, vibrant blue skies, a gentle ripple on the sea, two cold beers, a spicy pizza in the centre of the table and individual boards for each of us from which to eat each individual jalepeno-filled slice. Most days in Fethiye are happy days but this was one of those unplanned, last minute decision, happy days. We somehow suspect we won't be leaving it too long before we're back at Calisto again...

Calisto Cafe Bar & Pizza - Useful Information
  • Calisto is along Çalış Beach, just before you get to Bahane, close to Ceren Hotel.
  • There is a full bar serving beers, cocktails, smoothies and other drinks.
  • As well as a whole range of small, medium and large pizzas, Calisto also serve pastas, wraps and salads along with a few other snacks. A medium pizza is big enough for two people. A takeaway service is also available.
  • If you want to spend the day on Çalış Beach, Calisto also prepare a range of 'beach packs' so that you don't need to move from your sunbathing relaxation spot once you're rooted in.
  • If you don't already do so, you can like Calisto on Facebook.
  • For other ideas of where to feed and refresh yourself around the Fethiye area, don't forget you can view our Fethiye Eating & Drinking page.
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