A Year In Review – 2017 Highlights Of Our Life In Turkey

We’re at that time of year again where, before we go careering headlong into a whole new year that’s full of good intentions, resolutions and new goals, we take a look back at the year that’s passed. Well, what’s December, eh, without a few minutes to sit back and take stock?

Have We Turned A Corner In 2017?

We all know that Turkey’s tourism hasn’t exactly been rockin’ n rollin’ over the last few years. But, whilst it’s certainly not been plain sailing for the sector in 2017, there has a been a slight feeling in the air that a corner is being turned and a period of recovery is upon us.

Galata Bridge, Istanbul

A happier relaxed vibe in Istanbul at the end of 2017

Particularly for visitors from the UK, flight operators that had previously reduced their capacity have now reinstated it to previous levels. Some carriers have even increased capacity and introduced new routes. Russian visitors are once more hitting the resorts of Antalya Province and Istanbul is charging back up to number 1 spot in many people’s travel bucket list.

It’s all going to take time but, as the year comes to an end, we’re daring to feel optimistic. When it comes to resilience, Turkey and Turks are true masters.

(And, as we’ve been putting this post together, this article in The Times bills Turkey as one of the biggest travel trends of 2018 with ABTA reporting early UK bookings up by a whopping 70%.)

Life In Turkey – 2017 Highlights

So, where does that leave us and our blog? Let us tell you that we’re still as determined as ever to showcase everyday Turkey!

What we get up to in Fethiye, new Turkish dishes we discover, dishes we make at home, travels we take ourselves on. And 2017 has been packed with highlights, both personally and for the blog. Fasten your seat belts and let’s jump in our time capsule and take a ride through 2017.

Fethiye 2017 Highlights

Throughout 2017, we almost managed to do all of our monthly news updates. Just a couple of lapses here and there; friends to visit and all that.

Anyway, the running story throughout 2017 has definitely been the new harbour recreation area near the state hospital in Çalış. And, back in August, it actually started with real gusto. We got fences and estimated completion dates and we’ve now got structures amongst the piles of soil and rubble.

Eats & Refreshments

As usual, we’ve continued to add to our suggestions of where to eat and drink around Fethiye. This year, we’ve added a good mix – both Turkish and international. And, by accident rather than management, all are in the Çalış area.

Food At Begonya Ev Yemekleri Çalış

A rather filling mixed plate selection at Begonya Ev Yemekleri

  • First up was the cosy pub-style atmosphere of Sarge’s Place.
  • If you’re in this part of town and are fancying trying some real Turkish home cooking, then go along to see our friend Rana at Begonya Ev Yemekleri. Not a lot of English spoken here but no worries as she’ll take you into the kitchen and show you what’s on offer!
  • And then, should you feel like some fantastic traditional English fish and chips with mushy peas but your friends want something Turkish, Charcoal Palace is your place. That article proved to be our most viewed restaurant review of 2017.
  • Snack time – well we just love a köfte ekmek or a chicken tantuni at Babadağ Kafeterya.

Hitting The Beach

Whenever we mention a beach around Fethiye, the inevitable question always follows: “Where’s that?”

That prompted us to make a decision. We decided to try and answer that question all in one go with a new page on the blog. And it proved really popular!

So, if you’re coming to this part of Turkey in 2018 and you’re wondering where your nearest beach is, check out our map and photos of Fethiye beaches.

Help Beach Views

Help Beach – our most viewed article of 2017

And that leads us nicely on to our most viewed Fethiye blog post – and most viewed overall – of 2017 (that was written in 2017). Apt that this was perhaps our personal Fethiye highlight, too. 2017 was the year that Help Beach and Yacht Club became a part of the Fethiye beach scene.

The article went a bit crazy and the popularity of the beach most probably matched.

2017 Recipe Highlights

We continued to work to boost our Turkish cookery skills throughout 2017 and added new dishes to our constantly growing list of Turkish recipes. We also continued to improve existing recipes to make them easier to follow.

Something Fishy

Although it wasn’t our most viewed recipe, a personal 2017 highlight for me was finally attempting to make the famous Turkish anchovy dish, hamsili pilav. Well worth the effort!

Turkish Spicy Red Lentil Soup

Our 2017 red lentil soup recipe wins the day

Soup Wins The Day

Our most viewed Turkish recipe for 2017, however, was the yummy spicy Turkish red lentil soup. A great winter dish – which, of course, we enjoy throughout summer, too.

Pastry Puffs

2017 was also the year where we discovered the joys of milföy böreği – puff pastry. We use frozen puff pastry; well, even TV chefs do it so we’ve no need to feel bad about that.

These Turkish potato and spinach rolls are a regular in our kitchen and they were popular with lots of you, too. So quick and easy with lots of reward for little effort.

Iskender Kebab Serving

Oops, someone forgot the peppers!


Oh, and we mustn’t forget that we also made our first ever Iskender Kebab at home, too. That worked a treat and will definitely be on our menu again for 2018!

Also on the menu in 2018 will be our et sote recipe. We found out that during Ramazan when most people in Turkey join the queues for fresh Ramazan pide bread, the leftovers are broken up and fried and often served with et sote. We just had to try this ourselves and we loved it!

2017 Foodie Highlights

When I say ‘foodie’ as opposed to ‘recipe,’ I mean food we haven’t cooked. Our foodie highlights often interlink with our travel highlights because we love to indulge in local specialities wherever we may roam in Turkey.

Always With The Köfte

So, on that front, our annual köfte Antalya Piyazı munchies are always a highlight.

Korkuteli Köfte Piyaz

Köfte and Antalya piyazı served in Korkuteli – such a treat

Köfte in Istanbul in November was a highlight, too. Well, it wasn’t just any old Köfte, you see. Meşhur Filibe Köftecisi have been voted Turkey’s Number 1 köfte in the past. Whether it’s Turkey’s best köfte or not; well, the jury’s out for us. But at least we went and tried it!

Lakes And Eels

We also ate eel at Lake Bafa in October, too. A complete first for us and much more pleasant than I was expecting. Really tasty, in fact.

Your Foodie Favourites

Turkish Village Breakfast

Köy Kahvaltısı was number 1 for you

But our most viewed foodie article of 2017 was our ginormous post, listing your Turkish foodie favourites. If you follow our Facebook page, you might remember the huge response we received when we asked you about the dishes you most look forward to eating when you arrive in Turkey.

2017 Travel Highlights

I know not why – my reasoning at the time escapes me – but I remember kicking off 2017 with messages to friends saying we probably wouldn’t be straying too far this year.

As it’s turned out we’ve ended up going on a good few little jaunts. Lucky us!

Most of these trips are a result of attending runs around Turkey and it makes for a great combination – taking part in local events, benefitting charities on occasion, keeping fit and just enjoying being away and discovering new places.

Where We Got To

Beydağları Mountains From Karaalioğlu Park

Stunning views from Karaalioğlu Park

Kastellorizo Cliff Steps Walk

We climbed Kastellorizo

  • Road Trip: Sept/Oct took us off on our road trip around Southwest Turkey for a few days. This was our most viewed travel post of 2017. After a sail over to Kastellorizo for a wedding and a climb up the cliff steps, we visited Kaş, Pamukkale and Hierapolis, Selçuk and the sites of Ephesus and St. John’s Basilica, Şirince, Kuşadası and Bafa Gölü. A healthy dose of UNESCO World Heritage in that bunch!
  • Dalyan: Late October took us off once more for another run. This time, it was a trip just along the road to Dalyan for the Dalyan Caretta Run. As usual, we made the most of it and also took in a lunch at Lake Köyceğiz and a trip over to the ruins of Kaunos.
Köyceğiz Kordon

The more we visit Köyceğiz, the more we fall for it

  • Istanbul: And last but not least, the Istanbul Marathon (10k run) took us to the big city for a few days. A bit of exploring around Beşiktaş for 2017 as well as the happy familiarity of eating fish soup at Karaköy fish market.

And yes, the most observant of you will have realised the lack of links to posts about our travels. We’re getting there slowly. Once friends had returned to the UK and travels were over, we relaxed into December with the intention of really getting stuck into some writing. And then we both got flu! Good old December.

Somehow, despite Turkey’s troubles over the last few years and subsequent drop in tourism, interest has continued to grow in our blog and reader numbers have been – and are – very much on the ascendancy. For all your support and comments both on the blog and on social media throughout 2017, thank you very much. Çok Teşekkür Ederiz! See you in 2018!

Happy New Year – Yeni Yılınız Kutlu Olsun!

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  1. Thankyou for all your posts and taking the time and trouble to post them .. ..I love reading them and I love turkey

  2. I’m so glad there is no sign of you two slowing down. Wishing you a very happy and action packed 2018.

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