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Fethiye News – November & December Double Whammy

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Yes, we’re having a double whammy for this roundup of news from beautiful Fethiye.

We’ve got November and a bit of December to get through.

Sunset over the sea and islands at Çalış. A swirl of pink rises above the orange glow.
The Çalış Beach sunset is often a stunner in autumn and winter

The thinking behind this is, the end of December is always that time when you look back on the whole year which has passed rather than just the past month.

And should anything huge and exciting take place between now and that time, then of course, we can add it to that year end post.

But anyway, let’s get on with the news from life in Fethiye over the past few weeks…

The last few weeks have definitely seen a lot of ‘weather.’

Not just in Fethiye but around the country, too.

Locally, storms caused power outages and floods in the centre of town.

In Dalaman, the residents there even had a tornado to deal with.

Social media was filled with photos and videos as Çalış Beach and Ölüdeniz saw some meaty waves rolling in and crashing to the shore, causing the beach to wash up over the promenade.

The young trees along the beach in Çalış quickly took on a horizontal stance from their vertical position.

A row of cafe tables and chairs along a tree-lined beach promenade. It looks quite breezy.
The following day – as if nothing had happened

But, in the calm that followed the day after, the local council were out early.

By late afternoon, the promenade had been cleaned up and trees returned to their rightful vertical standings.

Nationally, the Aegean coast took a bit of a hammering and places like Bodrum, Foça and Çeşme also had flooding and clean up operations to tackle.

In the 18th November storm, Istanbul-based Turkish Airlines and Pegasus had to cancel 187 flights between them.

As I type, the wet and windy weather continues, making the sunshine breaks more appreciated.

The country’s reservoirs really need the rain, though, so we’re not complaining.

November was the month when we got to witness our inaugural oil wrestling festival in Fethiye.

As part of the centenary celebrations for the Republic, the local council organised an oil wrestling tournament which saw some of the country’s top oil wrestlers (baş pehlivanlar) come together.

As per the top of our article, by mid afternoon, the oil wrestlers were fighting through their bouts in torrential rain.

Two referees watch oil wrestlers in combat.
We missed the rain

By then, however, we were tucked up at home, having timed our oil wrestling experience to perfection.

Should you ever find yourself in the country when there’s an oil wrestling tournament taking place, you can read more about what to expect and some of the basic rules of oil wrestling.

Well, you might as well have some clue as to what’s going on, if you do go.

And you should go. It’s an experience.

Allow us to refer you once more to the first part of our article.

The Fethiye weather has waited for just about every local event to make its presence felt in a way that would be preferred on a day where people are warm and cosy at home rather than attempting to enjoy the outdoors.

No rain for Wooden Fest 4 at Karataş Beach. Bright sunshine in fact.

Blue bean bags on a sandy beach with a beach bar to the left. Gentle waves lap the shore to the right.
Bright and sunny – but a fierce, cold wind for Wooden Fest 4

However, us brave souls who made the journey down there – and the local live bands who were entertaining us and making the festival what it is – had to wrap up against a fierce and chilly wind.

A great afternoon, regardless.

And those who stayed around for the later live bands could warm themselves up by the fires lit in barrels around the beach area.

November is very much the month of remembrance – in particular the 10th and the 11th.

10th November is the day that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, passed away.

At 9.05 am, we all stop what we are doing – wherever we are – and stand for a minute’s silence.

Rows of soldiers graves at Haydarpaşa Cemetery in Istanbul.
Linear layout of the graves of servicemen at Haydarpasha Cemetery

In the UK, 11th November is Armistice Day with Remembrance Sunday to follow. Those who have fallen in battle are commemorated.

In Istanbul, officials gather at the cenotaph in the Haydarpasha War Cemetery to pay respects.

In the Fethiye area, British nationals who served in the Armed Forces and others who want to pay respects gather in both Çalış and Hisarönü.

The commemorations in Hisarönü are held in front of the Atatürk statue where Turkish forces are also commemorated.

We’re into December for this section where there have been – and there’s more to come – various events to get everyone feeling festive.

Because of the November storms (there’s that weather again) the Dalyan Christmas Fayre was postponed to the following weekend.

That meant the first weekend of December saw the Dalyan event on the Saturday and the Çalış Christmas Fayre on the Sunday.

A good few keen shoppers attended both events.

Sausage and köfte being grilled on a barbecue. Smoke engulfs the cook.
It’s tradition to have a bratwurst while we wander around

We went along to the Çalış event where, as is tradition, we tucked into a bratwurst whilst browsing the stalls.

As well as lots of other street food treats on offer, there were also a handful of stands serving up mulled wine (sıcak şarap).

We love a mulled wine. But it was such a warm day, it just didn’t feel right to be drinking one just yet.

We’ll wait for some colder temperatures and do some homemade mulled wine at home one night…

Some of the local charities also hold their own Christmas market fundraisers. And, later in the month, Beşkaza Meydanı (the town square) will host a New Year market.

Lots of Turkish people celebrate New Year in a very Christmassy way – trees and decorations and the like – so this market will be also be full of festive goodies for all of us to browse and buy.

Interior Of St Nicholas Church, Demre. A group of people are inside, taking photos.
St. Nicholas’ church and tomb are in Demre

And, of course, we celebrated the 6th December Feast of St. Nicholas with the sharing of our article about the saint himself, the legend that is Santa Claus or Father Christmas and all the customs around that.

Many of you will know that that saint is St. Nicholas of Myra (modern day Demre) who was born in nearby Patara.

Much more time to spend in the kitchen since the beginning of November.

Lovely!

Sticking with the festive theme, around mid November, we shared our recipe for mincemeat for your Christmas mince pies and also our winter chutney recipe.

This is because they taste even more amazing when they’ve been given a bit of time to mature.

One large glass jar of chutney and a smaller jar of mince meat.
Here’s some we prepared earlier

Not to worry, however, if you’re like us and you’ve still not got round to shopping for your ingredients. There’s still time.

We will be making our mincemeat and chutney, probably over the weekend.

As for other dishes, it’s been about comfort food of late.

A lovely big pan of spicy Turkish red lentil soup has been polished off.

And we’ve even had a naughty-but-nice meat and potato pie.

An overhead shot of spicy Red Lentil Soup. Topped with mint & chilli.
Spicy red lentil soup is one of our favourite Turkish soups

Twice-baked cheesy jacket potatoes have also been on the menu. As has eggy bread (yumurtalı ekmek).

And, after a bit of new-recipe-hiatus, we’ve also added not one but two new recipes to the blog over the last few weeks.

Small chunks of potato visible in wedges of sesame seed topped potato cake.
We serve our Turkish potato cake at room temperature

This savoury Turkish potato cake is very moreish.

And it keeps a good few days in the fridge – if the family haven’t polished it off.

It’s traditionally served as part of a Turkish breakfast. But we use it as a side or as a dish on its own, too.

And, in celebration of some of the fabulous seasonal produce on the local markets at the moment, we paired cauliflower with pomegranate to make this roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce and pomegranate.

Roasted cauliflower florets on a bed of tahini sauce with pomegranate arils. The photo is a half shot.
Two favourite seasonal ingredients together

A great dish to add to your Christmas party recipes.

If you do like a pomegranate and roasted veg combo, you could also try this seasonal roasted Brussels sprouts recipe.

We love that one!

And the best thing about winter in Turkey?

Well, one of the best, at least: This is the time we get to cook fresh anchovies from the Black Sea; Karadeniz hamsi.

Fresh anchovies fried in corn flour and served with sliced onion, rocket and a lemon wedge.
Black Sea anchovies – hamsi tava – served with a simple salad garnish

Still a season of ups and downs for the local football team, Fethiyespor.

Most recently, a 3-0 loss away to Isparta.

The next home game is at the weekend. And, as we head towards the New Year break, in three games’ time, some wins would be very welcome.

Obviously, the top half of the table would be preferred over the bottom half!

Here’s the current league standings and previous results and upcoming fixtures.

In Other News

Our little section of news that isn’t necessarily Fethiye-related but that stood out over the last few weeks.

Sticking with the sports theme, on 18th November, Turkey shocked Germany by beating them 2-0 in the Euro 2024 Qualifiers.

This was Turkey’s first victory against Germany in 72 years and they eventually finished top of their qualifying group.

Great to see the national team on form again.

It’s a fantastic atmosphere when they play so we’re looking forward to the competition starting.

Iztuzu Beach (Turtle Beach) near Dalyan is a famous nesting area for Caretta Caretta sea turtles.

This year, DEKAMER (the research and rehabilitation centre) reported that there were 745 nests along the beach and 35,000 hatchlings made it to the sea.

Three poster boards give details about Caretta Caretta turtles in Turkey.
Visit DEKAMER to see the rehabilitation work they do with sea turtles

Great news!

Are you the sort of person who buys a fresh Christmas wreath for your door or festive flower arrangements?

If so, this article tells us it could have been made in Antalya on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.

4 million Christmas wreaths and 75 million cut flowers are exported to almost 30 countries around Europe every December.

Some of these wreaths are made by a group of 100 women who use the remnants of forest clearings such as pine cones and twigs.

A really interesting article here by HDN about the Sarıkeçili Yörük people – apparently Turkey’s last remaining nomadic people – migrating from their summer highland pastures to the winter lowlands of Mersin with their livestock.

Their long journey began in early November, using camels and their modern day counterparts – tractors – to transport food and belongings.

We’ll be doing our final news round of 2023 at the end of this month where we’ll look back on the year passed.

In the meantime, if you’re prepping for Christmas and New Year, hope it’s a happy time for you with family and/or friends.

We’ll still be doing new articles in the meantime. There’ll also be the twice-weekly online jigsaws

And we really must buy those chutney and mince pie ingredients…

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