March 2nd 2020. We were stood in our hotel room in Kaleiçi, Antalya, saying goodbye to some friends who were heading back to Istanbul. “We need to find you another half marathon asap,” our friend said.
Even then, it flitted through my mind, “I can’t see that there’s gonna be a half marathon or other organised run anytime soon…”
Turkey had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the time but it was clearly on the cards.
We’d all run in Runatolia 2020 the day before and it was my first half marathon. 18 weeks of training, all through winter, only to pick up a hip injury a couple of weeks before race day. I stood at the Runatolia start line. I pulled up at 5k. If you run, you’ll be guessing, quite rightly, that there were tears involved. The frustration!
Barry and our friend had fantastic marathon and 10k PBs respectively so we’d all had a good celebration, nonetheless. We don’t let these events go to waste! And then it was back home to Fethiye.
That was the start of it all for us. I think we all knew we were returning to Fethiye and Istanbul to, well, just wait for what we knew was inevitable…
Life In Fethiye March-April: A News Update
And the inevitable did, of course, happen. Not so much a happening as a tailspin! It was the same in other countries, not just here. News updating by the hour. So here it is – a bit different to our usual news from Fethiye.
A Rallied Community
Thankfully, in Fethiye, the community rallied and the tailspin is now more of controlled journey. Facebook groups appeared almost immediately to offer practical help and support. The belediye (council) are updating their Facebook page constantly with announcements and information.
Anyone 20 years old and younger, or 65 years old and older, is not allowed to leave their house. That, of course raises various practical issues. Shopping needs to be done, transactions need to be done.
Via the Corona Caring Fethiye Facebook group, people can make shopping (and other) requests and a bank of trusted volunteers is carrying out those necessities for people. Other groups offer updates and information for Fethiye and Turkey in general.
Naturally, friends have rallied around for each other, too. For us, personally, friends have called to make sure we’re okay and to make sure Barry’s mum is okay, too. She’s in that over-65 category so we’re her personal shoppers for now. But it’s good to know that everyone is looking out for each other.
So, by now, we’re pretty much into our ‘new normal’ and taking each day as it comes. At the moment, our weekends are complete lockdown weekends. No trips to the shops or anything like that. We’re at home and that’s it.
Sunday Becomes Monday
Weekdays, we go to to the shops, to Fethiye market or to Çalış Sunday market. And we get some fresh air, too. At the moment, because of the weekend lockdown, the Çalış Sunday market is actually a Çalış Monday market.
Both markets have only a fraction of the stalls they usually have. And those stalls are spread out to make social distancing easier.
We felt sad last Tuesday to see the market so small and so empty. But this week was actually a lovely shopping experience. It’s a haphazard, non-uniform layout and stalls are selling such a variety of produce. At the moment, it more resembles the Friday village market – and certainly no complaints from us on that front!
As for the rest of the time – well, if you follow this blog a lot, you’ll probably be able to guess that we have been making the most of indulging our passion for kitchen experimentation.
The two have gone hand in hand really. More time on our hands means more time for two of our big loves in life – blogging and cooking. All those famous Turkish recipes we’ve been meaning to add to the blog for so long, all those Turkish dishes we’ve been meaning to cook for so long. It’s all happening now.
I feel like I’m developing the waistline to prove it, too! But that’s okay. I’ve joined the ranks and I’m there most mornings at 11am, waiting for the P.E. With Joe livestream to kick into action.
There’s something nice about knowing you’re doing a lockdown fitness session with hundreds of thousands of others all over the world. A good (midmorning) kickstart to the day. That’s a man helping to keep a lot of families, kids, teachers and carers plodding through this. Oh, and me!
So, what have we been cooking? If you follow us on Instagram, you’ll know from our Stories that we cook the usual random dishes. But we’ve also tried to make the most of the situation we’re in by continuing to improve and update old recipes and also add some long-overdue new ones.
This has been on our to-do list for so long. The problem being, it’s always been a comfort food for those dark, winter’s nights.
Hardly optimum lighting for decent quality photos. Comfort food is good at any time at the moment, though, and now, our recipe for Izmir’s famous köfte dish is a welcome addition to the blog.
Again, another long-overdue, new addition to our recipe section. Our friend’s mum gave us her recipe almost two years ago. Only now, despite cooking karnıyarık occasionally, has it become a fully fledged recipe on the blog.
Ali Nazik Kebab
Another dish for those of us who love the combination of meat and aubergine. This time with the addition of creamy yoghurt, too. We love a serving of Ali Nazik Kebab.
Or to give it its Turkish name: mercimek köftesi. This was one of the very early recipes we did on the blog. It was time for an update to make it easier to follow and some improvement of photographs.
Whether you’re a foodie who loves a bit of anything and everything – or you’re vegetarian or vegan – this lentil köfte recipe is for you.
Türk kahvesi is much loved in Turkey and is even recognised by UNESCO. Read all about Turkish coffee in our article which also includes a recipe for how to make it.
Another recipe from our early blogging days that has been begging us for quite some to bring it a bit more into the here and now…
If you love refreshing dips – of the foodie variety – here’s our recipe for the famous Turkish yoghurt and cucumber dip.
You’re getting the picture now. Shepherd’s salad (or choban salad as it is sometimes called, from its Turkish name, çoban salatası) was another early recipe on the blog. We’ve since refined our recipe for this simple but oh-so-tasty dish, so now seemed like a great time for an update.
Spinach Stem Salad
An odd one, maybe, but one that’s close to my heart. A Turkish friend told us how to make spinach stem salad years ago and we put the recipe on the blog immediately because we thought it was a great idea for reducing food waste.
We use spinach stems in all sorts of dishes now so we added another salad recipe to the existing one for a bit more choice.
Wow, we have been busy, haven’t we? And there’s lots more to come. Stay tuned!
The blog keeps us occupied and happy. Yes. But we also want it to play its little part in occupying, entertaining, informing you, as well.
With that in mind, we asked people on our Facebook page if they’d like us to double up and offer twice-weekly online jigsaws featuring Fethiye and other areas of Turkey. Just a few minutes’ escape from the current lockdown norm.
The answer was a resounding yes. At the moment, we’re doing a quick and easy jigsaw on Wednesday and a make-yourself-a-brew-before-you-start jigsaw on Saturdays. Click the last link above to do any of the jigsaws we’ve added recently.
In Other News
Because other life does continue, doesn’t it?
The Natural World
Especially in the natural world. A lack of human activity has allowed us to witness special sights like videos of dolphins swimming right up to the shoreline in Istanbul. They’re a common sight in the Bosphorus but are never seen so close to the shore.
Yesterday, DEKAMER announced they’d spotted the first turtle nest of the season at the famous beach of Dalyan, Iztuzu. Hopefully, much more undisturbed laying of eggs to come for those beautiful creatures.
The holy month of Ramazan is upon us once more. No worries for the people of Turkey not being able to get Ramazan pide bread during the total curfew days.
The bread vans are driving up and down the streets, loaded with fresh Ramazan bread, with the call of ‘Ekmekçi’ (bread seller/maker) so that nobody misses out. Because why would you want to miss out on such a treat?
Impeccable timing on our part (feel the sarcasm jumping from the screen): We created a huge list of organised running events all over Turkey. No sooner was our lovely new page launched than, one by one, running events were, of course, rightly cancelled.
No worries, however, re the page. This is a page that we will update year-on-year so if you love to run on roads or trails, you can still plan for future events.
We’re already eyeing some autumn/winter events. Not in any sort of blind naive hope; just for a bit of something to look forward to. And to give a bit of support to organisers. And then, what will be will be…
And that’s about it. We’ve got lockdown throughout the month of May, including complete lockdown at the weekends. Fingers crossed for the continuation of the downward curve and let’s see where we’re at by the end of the month…