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2023 And Into 2024 – Highlights And Looking Forward…

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2023 came to an end and we’ve just woken up to a whole new year.

If you followed us throughout that last year, thanks for making it this far!

Happy new year written in Turkish in yellow letters in front of an Atatürk statue.
Happy New Year from Fethiye

We’re sure you’re just like us and hoping 2024 brings with it the opportunity for some peace and calm in the world.

Until that time, we all crack on as best we can in our own day-to-day lives.

I spent a couple of hours sifting through photos from January of 2023 year through to December for this article on our look back on the year that’s passed.

And that, along with a quick scoot back through our monthly Fethiye news articles, has been a really lovely exercise full of important happy reminders.

Amongst all the turmoil in the world, we’ve had lots of special times.

  • Time with friends visiting on holiday – some of whom we hadn’t seen since before the pandemic.
  • With those friends, visiting lots of of the absolute must sees of Fethiye. Some of these places, we hadn’t been to for years. A crazy busy summer and great to reacquaint ourselves with some of the amazing sights around us.
  • A few short breaks; both discovering new-to-us parts of the country and rediscovering regular haunts.
  • Lots of foodie highlights – we’ve had some great meals in the restaurants around Fethiye and elsewhere. And we’ve cooked up some great dishes to add to our list of Turkish recipes.
  • And, of course, last but most certainly not least, we celebrated (and are still commemorating) 100 years of the Turkish Republic!

So, without further ado, before we hurtle off into what 2024 has in store for us, let’s just pause and take stock with a few quick highlights…

On this blog, we’re always trying to show off all that this area has to offer, especially with our list of top things to do and see in Fethiye.

Some of those things, we get to see and do as a part of daily life.

But for others, we hadn’t actually visited them and spent quality time there for an age!

In 2023, doing little tours with visiting friends changed all that!

Gizlikent waterfall tumbles from high rocks.
A first visit to Gizlikent in 2023
  • A troop around Aşıklar Tepesi, taking in the Fethiye rock tombs en route. We know the views are amazing from the rock tombs but it was lovely to sit on the steps below the Amyntas tomb and enjoy those views again.
  • A couple of days around Kayaköy ruins and a barbecue at Cin Bal.
  • Two visits to Saklıkent Gorge – we only went into the gorge once. Enjoying the rafters going by on the river was more preferable, the second time. One of those trips also took in Gizlikent Waterfall – our first visit, there.
  • Tlos ancient ruins – when we originally wrote the article about Tlos, we said it was one of our favourite archaeological sites. Since then, we’ve visited many more archaeological sites. How did Tlos stack up when we revisited in 2023? It’s still up there, we can tell you! Two visits there this year and it’s stunning!
Three arched windows of the Tlos great bath. Views along the Xanthos Valley through the arches.
We once more wandered the ruins of Tlos

Not necessarily what you might be thinking. The Fethiye bar and restaurant scene is constantly evolving.

This is just a handful of highlights that jump to mind from looking back on 2023.

A rooftop circular table shaded by a parasol, overlooking Fethiye bay.
The views from Casa Margot Hotel are fabulous
  • 2023 best special occasion experience – Incir Restaurant at Casa Margot Hotel, overlooking the bay has the views and the seasonal Anatolian menu (update April 2024 – Incir is, sadly, no longer there but the hotel is still open). Çarıklı Et also needs a mention – I love going there for my birthday.
  • 2023 pleasant surprise – Shout out to the Olive Garden in Kabak. We hadn’t been for years because we like to try a few different places in that area. But an afternoon there with friends in September – great meal!
  • 2023 grab-a-bite-to-eat whilst in town – Oh, Nefis Pide Kordon has become a bit of regular for getting a kuşbaşılı pide whilst we’re shopping in town. And a hot beef wrap (et dürüm) at Paşa Fırın is also good competition for that.
  • 2023 regional food highlights – Gaziantep cuisine is famous in Turkey and, increasingly, around the world, thanks to UNESCO recognition. Fethiye has Can Çekti which is a small, unassuming kitchen serving up Antep classics including a great beyran çorbası (lamb soup). A winter lunch of beyran soup is a real treat!
Beyran Soup in a silver metal bowl. Chunks of tender meat are lifted from the broth with a spoon.
The beyran soup at Can Çekti is memorable

To be able to travel for pleasure is a privilege anyway. And wherever we go is a highlight. In 2023, we managed to get in a few short breaks throughout the year.

  • Discovery of 2023: Great to be able to explore new places. And 2023 was the year we decided to start exploring more of the stunning Aegean coast. A fabulous few days in August where we finally got to explore Çeşme and the very pretty Alaçatı.
A busy side street in Çeşme at night. Diners sit at white tables either side of the street.
We loved the Çeşme vibe

Taking part in running events aroınd Turkey also gives us the chance to be in both familiar and new places.

  • Return To Istanbul: Ahhh, a real highlight. After 5 years way from this amazing city, we returned in April for the Istanbul Half Marathon. We stayed around for a few nights, catching the wonderful tulips in Gülhane Park and sailing along the Haliç (Golden Horn) after a visit to Pierre Loti Hill.
  • Annual Antalya: The first weekend in March is the Runtalya Marathon event and, bar one or two years here and there, we’re there annually to take part. The 2023 event, of course, took place under the shadow of the devastating 6th February earthquakes. We did our run as a fundraiser for that and also chilled out in Kaleiçi and around Karaalioğlu Park. After a winter in Fethiye, our Antalya change of scenery is always much appreciated.
  • The Year Of Kaş: Not one but THREE trips to Kaş in 2023. We’ve always loved this town but we feel like we know and love it even more after those trips. A great place just to kick back and chill. Having said that, one of those trips was again for a running event – the Kaş Yarımdaton which takes place each October. Barry’s birthday and an overnighter with visiting friends means lots of special memories from Kaş in 2023!
Kaş town square backed by cliffs.
A trip to Kaş with friends is always a good idea

Of course, any trip to Kaş also gives you an easy opportunity to visit another country…

It was years since we’d been over to Meis – the Greek island of Kastellorizo. So 2023 was the year we put that right.

Great to be back!

In 2023, we added 13 new recipes to our collection of Turkish recipes.

These included Turkish desserts and vegetarian and vegan dishes as well as meat and seafood.

And this brings us to our most popular post of 2023. The rules for this is that the most popular article of the year has to be written in that year.

Overhead shot of three terracotta pots on a wooden platter with Turkish balloon bread. The pots are filled with mung bean salad, yoghurt dip and muhammara.
Balloon bread won the year

And you loved our recipe for Turkish balloon bread! The grand winner of 2023 on the blog!

We both hit the big 50 in 2024 and we have a few ideas pencilled in – but nothing definite. Whatever happens, we’ll be happy to be sharing it in our highlights at the end of the year.

In the meantime, thank you so much for reading throughout 2023.

And if you’ve taken precious time out of your day to leave us a nice comment on the blog, very big thanks for that. Those comments are always very much appreciated!

The blog went from strength to strength in 2023 with record visitor numbers.

So, big thanks and a big happy new year! Sonsuz teşekkür ederiz. Mutlu yıllar!

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Stephen Clarkson

Monday 1st of January 2024

Thanks for your work in 2023, always look forward to reading your blog, keep up the good work, happy new year for 2024, from a dreary cold wet Yorkshire, can't wait to get back to that wonderful country

Turkey's For Life

Wednesday 10th of January 2024

Hi Stephen, glad you like reading the blog and thanks a lot for your comment. :) Hope you can get back to Turkey soon - it's very wet here at the moment if that makes you feel any better. :)

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