Ooof! From New Year feelings of optimism and gearing up for the summer season ahead, to an almighty plunge into shock and despair.
February 6th was the day we woke up from our comfortable slumber and began the morning routine – reaching to the bedside cabinet for phone and a scroll through the morning Twitter news.
Immediate sinking feeling as the word ‘earthquake’ filled my feed. But still that little bit of, let’s-not-panic-just-yet mindset. It might not be too big. It might have been in a remote area.
Within minutes, of course, all of that was flipped on its head. Two big earthquakes affecting 10 provinces – a huge area.
Now widely accepted as the biggest disaster in the history of the Turkish Republic. A republic that was supposed to be full of celebration for its 2023 centenary.
Between Turkey and Syria, at the time of writing, the official death toll has surpassed 50,000.
For all the devastation shown on news channels broadcasting from the big cities, there are hundreds of towns and villages affected, too.
But, as we said in our update shortly after the earthquakes struck, people are mobilised and doing their best to deal with where we’re at.
Next Sunday on March 5th, Barry will run the marathon (42kms) and I’ll run the 10k at the Runtalya event in Antalya.
We’ve decided to use the run to raise money for Turkey Mozaik Foundation who are allocating grants to many different NGOs doing vital work in the earthquake-affected areas.
If you’d like to make a donation – however small – click into our Just Giving page. Thanks so much.
In Other News
Everything does feel like ‘other news’ at the moment. Whatever we and other people are doing, the backdrop of the earthquake – the aftermath and the relief efforts – is ever present.
But, daily life in Fethiye is of course, going on. It must.
Apart from training for our run in Antalya, there’s been lots of beach strolls and some cooking of the soothing comfort food variety. And a couple of lunches out, too.
In winter, sea levels in the bay are often low. And in February, they have been particularly low.
Apparently, the causes of the annual low levels are to do with winter storms out at sea, tidal movements and changes in wind pressure.
Whatever the cause, Ördek Adası (Duck Island) at the edge of Şehit Fethi Bey Park, is such a lovely peaceful place to spend a while in the mornings, watching the egrets, seagulls, ducks and geese enjoying their easy pickings from the mud.
If you’re lucky, you can also spot herons. They usually conceal themselves amongst the reeds, deeper into the protected area, but they are around.
On February 27th, Fethi Bey Park was also the scene for commemorations of the pilot who lost his life on this date 109 years ago. Both the park and Fethiye are named after him.
At the moment, the weather in Fethiye is feeling like that of early spring, but we did get a really cold snap at the beginning of the month. Bright sunny days accompanied by icy winds.
Proper soup weather.
A big pan of Turkish green lentil soup with lots of fresh crusty bread. That did the trick for a couple of days!
And on a weekend where we both had a long run on the same morning, Barry made us a treat of yumurtalı ekmek – eggy bread done the Turkish way – when we got home.
Much deserved and much appreciated.
Eating & Drinking
There hasn’t been much winter weather around but we did get to do a couple of recommendations for enjoying Fethiye in winter.
Namely, seafront strolls and the bars and restaurants of Fethiye.
That article is now up on the blog. A really pleasant place for a breakfast or lunch if you’re in the area.
Along the harbour, Çarıklı Et Restaurant has now reopened following its revamp.
As I have a birthday coming up, we’ll be there for a steak soon so will finally be able to update our original article about the place.
Further along the harbour, we’re getting a new place. One restaurant closes and a new one takes its place.
We have heard a rumour of what it’s going to be. But we’ll wait until the big reveal to see what’s what.
And, further along, still, Denizatı remains a our little comfort spot for friendly faces. Lamenting about the earthquake and random chit chat to relieve that a little.
And a sunny stroll along Çalış Beach just isn’t the same without a stop off for a drink and/or a pizza at Calisto.
Lucky to get a seat in there, some days!
As you would expect, Valentine’s Day was a very low key affair in Fethiye – and elsewhere – this year.
No advertising of special menus in the restaurants or bars. This really hasn’t been a time for celebratory moods.
People are trying to do ‘daily life.’ And local businesses need to be supported.
It’s just that everyone is going about things in a more muted way for the moment.
We’ve also tried a relatively new eatery this month which we’ll be writing about soon. Nothing fancy but we’ve been there twice in quick succession because we liked the food so much!
A 0-0 draw away on February 4th for Fethiyespor against Diyarbakırspor.
We all know what happened on the 6th! (Diyarbakır being one of the cities sadly hit.)
A seven day period of official mourning and a country completely – and rightly – preoccupied with earthquake relief efforts during those and the proceeding days, all league matches were put on hold.
Fethiyespor’s next match in on March 5th against Etimesgut Belediyespor in the capital, Ankara.
A New Fethiye Run
Each year, we have a sport festival in Fethiye: Fethiye Sporfest.
There’s usually an open water swim in Ölüdeniz, sit down volleyball, a gran fondo cycle road race and some sort of run.
This year, the run is being given an extra plug and also has its own website.
Two running events will happen. An 18.3km event that goes around the Fethiye peninsula (Yarımada) and a 10k.
No info on the 10k route yet but, as you can see from the poster ad, the run will take place on April 16th 2023.
We’ve added this event to our list of running events around Turkey.
And Some News To Warm The Heart
Precious little to make us smile, this month, but in all the despair and anguish, there have been little snippets of news to warm the heart and instill a bit of hope.
You may have seen this image during the coverage of the earthquake rescue efforts on your news channels.
A cat that wouldn’t leave the side – and shoulder – of one of the rescuers after being pulled from the rubble in Nurdağı, Gaziantep.
No one claimed the cat – the cat adopted his rescuer and decided to live with him! Now named Enkaz (Rubble), you can follow Enkaz on Instagram!
And we’re sure you’ve all seen the videos and photos of children’s toys being thrown onto the pitch by Beşiktaş football supporters during their match against Antalyaspor.
Well, we’ll see…
But just to say, we saw a question on a Bodrum Facebook group, recently. A lady said she had a summer holiday booked in the resort.
Would it be disrespectful if she had her summer holiday in Bodrum this year?
She was immediately answered by someone Turkish who reassured her that she should very much come and enjoy her holiday.
From our own point of view, the resorts are waiting to welcome you.
Here in Fethiye, people are gearing up for the season. Lots of people who work in tourism in the coastal areas are from the areas affected by the earthquake.
Whilst tourism money is much needed, we’re sure lots around here are also very much looking forward to seeing friendly faces, old and new!