I've mentioned a couple of times in the past that last winter was really cold and that meant extra snow in the mountains. It was fabulous. The snow's arrived this year - finally - but I'm guessing not as much as last year.
The road in the photograph is only a 30-minute drive from Fethiye centre, can you believe? (Actually, it's the Denizli road that the cyclists taking part in the 46th Presidential Tour of Turkey will come along before descending to Fethiye.) It was beautiful, blue skies in Fethiye that day and we jumped in our friend's car all wrapped up to go and play in the snow. We'd been up there a few years before so thought we knew what to expect. We certainly didn't expect the carnival, holiday atmosphere that was waiting for us when we got up there.
Slowly making our way towards Üzümlü in treacherous conditionsSunday is playing out day for a lot of Turkish families and I think all of Fethiye must have had the same idea as us that day. People just drive up there, park at the side of the road wherever they can and get the barbecues and teapots out. It was freezing and snowing and there were just barbecues on the go everywhere...and then, if you ever get the chance to go up there at this time of year, cast your eyes to the hillsides. I was expecting to see sledging kids. Well, it's sledging EVERYBODY and when I say sledge, I mean anything slippery that will help you career down a steep hillside towards a snow-covered main road at breakneck speed. The trick seemed to be throw yourself off to the side before hitting any oncoming traffic! Not my idea of fun (everyone had a go except me - I'm a wuss).
Notice as well that I said 'everyone.' EVERYONE was expected to join in the fun. So, I was stood there in the snow with camera trying to get a few pics of my mates sliding down hills on carrier bags that other families (obviously more seasoned professionals at makeshift sledging) had offered to lend to us. And then you notice their sledges. There is grandma, all wrapped up in her winter woollies and headscarf, whooping with joy and shouting, 'Geliyorum,' (I'm coming) and hurtling down the hill in a plastic washing up bowl!! You couldn't make it up.
Anyway, this photo shows the scene on the way back to Fethiye. We'd all had so much fun that nobody (except me actually cos I'm the professional worrier) had noticed how much it had actually snowed. The roads were covered and the jandarma (a bit like the police) had to come out to guide all the Fethiye traffic slowly back down the mountain. There was a huge patch of black ice that only one car at a time could slide over...and then, as you wind down the mountain, you can see all of Fethiye Bay bathed in sunshine. Weird. A couple of red wines (actually, I think me and Barry had Efes beer - uncultured) at the wine house in Üzümlü in front of the roaring log fire and then we were back in Fethiye within ten minutes. Two different worlds.