Have you ever been somewhere where you have felt like the only people on the planet? Somewhere where you've almost felt like an intruder, disturbing all that is natural life? Somewhere that feels like paradise? I'm not exaggerating when I say we were in that somewhere yesterday.
We picked some friends up from Dalaman airport in a hire car and so took the opportunity to return to Secret Valley and Akkaya Garden Restaurant on the way back to Fethiye. Hilal, the marketing manager for the area, had told us there was so much more to Akkaya than a few villas and the restaurant and arranged for us all to take a boat to visit the private beach. Join us on a boat trip along the Dalaman River.
We're chugging upstream towards the gorge in the distance.
The river is very calm and the only noise is the chugging of the boat's engine and echoing birdsong. We've not seen our friends for a while but even we're quiet (for some of the time) as we take in the scenery; the gorge, the sheer cliff faces, the pine forests.
After around 30 minutes, a jetty comes into sight. Nothing else; just a jetty. The boat approaches, the captain jumps off and helps us all climb onto the jetty, from where we all just assume we need to take a right. It's a narrow bank and all that is straight ahead is the cliff face. Left is where we've just come from and there was nothing there so right is the logical option. We set off through the trees and then all of a sudden...
...we see the roof of a beach bar, a few scattered umbrellas and sunbeds - and a barman, waiting for us with a cooling Efes Pilsen. Apart from the barman, the boatman and a couple of other members of staff, we're the only other people on this beached area. Head down to the waterside and it's here where you feel really privileged - but also like an intruder at the same time.
Oleander (zakkum, in Turkish) is in full bloom at the moment and the pink blossom adds an extra touch of beauty, just when you think nothing could be better than what you're already experiencing.
Now, join us as we stray away from the beach area and the bar, leaving the umbrellas and the sunbeds behind. Only 50 metres or so, just along the sandy bank.
This is the ultimate in tranquillity. Our friends have just landed at Dalaman after flying from Manchester. They can't believe we've suggested this as a minor detour on the way back to Fethiye. We stand for a moment and listen to the birdsong...
Unfortunately, we can't stay here all day. After a drink and a paddle (this is refreshingly cold water) it's time to head back to civilisation to sample some of the other menu choices at Akkaya Garden Restaurant. First of all though, you must sample the loos at this beach bar. I did take photos but see for yourself. We'll not spoil it for you. They're wonderful!
Our transport awaits to take us back to the real world. All good things must come to an end.
Thank you very much to Hilal for arranging the boat trip to the private beach for us all. It was fantastic and we can highly recommend it.
There is definitely more to Akkaya than just the restaurant and a few villas. The boat along the river is so peaceful and the scenery amazing. In the coming days, we'll be doing a couple more posts on the rest of our day there because there's too much to fit into one. It's a must-see area!