Counting Down

We got back to Turkey on the 9th September and the time has flown past.

We don’t fly back until 9th November but it is way too soon and so much more to do!

We have been doing one or more activities pretty much every day but we still feel we have missed so much. I have only been out cycling twice and only purposely missed one to have a rest (actually it was a late night then an 06:45 alarm in pitch black to load the bike onto the car…. the mind said no!)

I don’t know where the time has gone!

Tuesday

We just got back last night from Antalya after saying cheerio to Carol and Neil.

We had our maiden voyage in the new kayaks on Monday when we got back to the Villa….but it was still an unknown quantity.

Team shot

18 kayaks assembled at Oludeniz. That’s a lot of kayaks! One double piloted and powered by Gordon with Lorraine looking Regal in front having recently broken her wrist on a Ramblers walk!

The excitement started getting the kayaks down to the beach. 22kg each plus gear. We parked near The Kumsal which is a dead-end road and you would think would be quiet at 09:30, as this part of Turkey isn’t a morning place. Things get busier in the afternoon.

The flaw in the plan was 3 or more paragliding companies use this road to load up their minibuses, plus an LPG tanker decided this was the best time to reverse down the narrow gap between parked cars and offload his highly inflammable cargo!

Hard work carrying

We could hardly get the kayaks past the crush of vehicles and ended up carrying them further than we wanted to.

Seats were attached, dry-bags stowed, pictures taken, then we were off to paddle to Butterfly Valley some 6 Km away.

It may not sound far, but it was a 1:30 paddle with a couple of stops (just floating, and not landing anywhere)

There was bit of excitement when Rasmus overturned his kayak by accident. Nothing but pride was damaged ?

It was a useful lesson however. that we should all practice getting back into the kayak in deep water. Even more important if there isn’t anyone else about to assist!

The day-boats might be a pain (or more importantly a danger) in future. One went outside of us. The other was hugging the coast then virtually cut through the middle of us. There was probably plenty of space, but it still didn’t look necessary or desirable!

BBQ time

We were surprised to find two other kayak groups there. One group of Romanian (I think) RIB inflatable canoes with camping gear. We had seen them in Gemiler last week so it must be a weekly tour they do.

The other group was Russian Sea Kayaks they had rented in Russia and had driven down with a trailer.

We got the BBQs going and had a great wee picnic.. all 19 of us!

If only it were so simple….a guy wandered across and told us we weren’t allowed to BBQ. It may have been fire prevention…. or may have been to drive guests into the cafe!

He also wanted 6Tl per person for stepping on the beach even though we weren’t using any facilities. Fortunately, Rasmus speaks decent Turkish, and so he mollified him.. and we all claimed we didn’t have any money with us! “Para yok”!

We packed up and headed back (leave no trace but your footprints). I could see immediately Aileen’s speed was way lower than when she started. The fast group were well away and the others disappearing into the distance also.

I

Back to base

Anyhoo we got back fine and ALL enjoyed a beer on the beach!

Carrying the kayaks back was the same faff with the battling minibuses and parking cars.

We had a lively meal at Paşa Kebab with Nigel and Jayne on their last night. One for the road at Deep Blue was nice too. I even had a chat about motorbikes with the owner (?)

Click a pick to open a gallery with captions. There are multiple albums so scroll further down for more.

Wednesday

Ramblers day. We were all geared up for the walk the night before. Aileen had made the sandwiches for our picnic. The alarm went off about 08:00 and Aileen made the executive decision to give it a miss! I can’t say I blame her as we have been packing in activities recently!

Great views

I went on the walk anyway. It was a repeat of the Zorlar walk we did in Spring when snow was still on the mountains. Still stunning in Autumn.

Scramble up a slope after a wrong turn

The walk looked a bit different as we went through the olive grove so we went wrong. The experts figured out where we should have gone. A scramble up a bank and a bit of single-file re-routing and all was good.

Carol repairing Dusty.

Carol had to carry out a bit for first-aid on Dusty who had something sharp in his paw and was limping. Dusty four-wheel-drive was soon restored 🙂

We popped into Pegasus car rental as they made a booboo when I paid for the car for the 2 month hire. They charged me in pounds rather than Lira so I got a shock when I checked my credit card bill. All sorted out without too much drama though.

We had a fab meal (and a late-night) with Alison and Gregor at Karisma

Click a pick to open a gallery with captions. There are multiple albums so scroll further down for more.

Friday

Oh dear….

We had to see the accountant and I had been putting it off. The paperwork and bureaucracy and expense of paying tax on rental income is now considerable.

Bank lunchtime filler at the Kefal

That’s just VAT, tax, setting up a company and paying an accountant to submit monthly returns before even paying tax.

The fixed costs have stopped a lot of people renting as you would be out of pocket if you didn’t earn enough rental income. That and having to pay someone to register guest passports with the Jandarma is another cost

The new thing they have invented is Aileen has to be seen to be paying me rental income so she can let out my half of the Villa. Of course, its a fictitious issue as our net cost is zero (other than I get taxed on that too, and Aileen claims it as expenses!). They love bureaucracy and making life difficult here…. If we don’t do it we get fined 980 Tl per year

The bigger problem is we needed a receipt from the Bank and we haven’t used our bank accounts since 2011! Quelle surprise the accounts were closed.

A bank holiday was coming up, so we either left it to the end of next week or opened an account there and then.

“No problem”, “It won’t take long” they said….

The reason we haven’t used our Turkish bank accounts is despite them paying good interest rates (about 10% now. I think it was over 20% at one stage), visits to Turkish banks are timed in hours not minutes. You often feels locals are served first or jump in as you are being dealt with.

There are mystery charges, you have to move money about, and of course, you are exposed to exchange rate fluctuations if you put a lot of dosh in and the Pound does well against the Lira. It used to be around 2.7 to the point and is now about 7.5. Anybody putting a large sum at 2.7 would have lost 2/3rd of its value if they converted it back to pounds.. but they would have earned a lot of interest!

People spend hours in the bank to do simple transactions, and some have to visit over multiple days to sort stuff out. You couldn’t make it up.

That’s why we decided to eschew the attractive interest rate and preserve our time and patience instead!

So setting up one joint account started about 11:30. I signed a forest of papers and my part was just about done…. except the bank closed 12:30 to 13:30 so we went to the Kefal for lunch (excellent as usual)

We arrived at 13:30 on the dot as the doors opened. Aileen settled down to sign her sheaf of documents. They had a problem with the computer system. They asked us to wait in the main bit of the bank which coincided with the bank getting busy and everyone wanting to see the one guy who was dealing with us. The cashiers seemed unnecessary!

I’m pretty sure the “waiting for confirmation from head office” took as long as it took to serve all the Turkish customers. When he checked again he could finish us off. It as 16:10 by the time we got out. 4 5 hours to open a bank account.

Anyhoo we paid money in, got the necessary receipt and withdraw the money again.

Literally, what a waste of a day!

Champagne de-stress after 4.5 hours in the bank to open an account!

We consoled ourselves watching the sun go down with a lovely bottle of champagne Kenny and Moira gave us for an anniversary.

Click a pick to open a gallery with captions. There are multiple albums so scroll further down for more.

Saturday

Bootcamp day. A beautiful day and a good laugh with a great crowd. Nice to see Barbra and John after their travels.

Bootcamp

We had breakfast with a few of the crowd at Simit Sarayi. Our first time there but it won’t be our last. A great location on the Kordon and a wide range of foods you select from the counter.

On Barbara’s advice, we checked out GOGO on Çalış. A newish trendy place created by a brother and sister from Istanbul. We had a good chat with them and a Çay. We will be back to try it for real soon. Bizarrely it is right next to a Crown Green Bowling lawn!

Last night at Safron for the season

It was the last night of the season at Safron, our local Indian Restaurant. Deniz the owner arrived about 19:30 (we arrived early for a change). He looked tired as his brother broke his leg so Deniz drives his Dolmus during the day before doing his Restaurant duties at night. The meal was great as usual.

Sunday

Race for Life day in Fethiye. We have done it the last 2 years. It was a bit later this year as the date was changed late-on die to a clash with another race.

Dawn raring to go

The weather was brilliant. Sunny but not blistering. We took the motorbike down early to avoid parking hassles and early enough to say Hi to the cyclists who were departing at 09:20. Terry and Co. got the OK to add bikes to the event. They went for a cycle round the peninsula which is pretty hilly. It wasn’t a race for the cycles, but it was great to see something new added.

Berkay and Lucy who do the Bootcamp we go to (now re-branded as “Fitcamp” to avoid scaring newcomers off), did the warm-up. It was high-energy, great fun….and knackering!

The wheelchair racers were next away, then the faster runners, then the rest of us.

We hadn’t actually thought about it and we haven’t jogged since maybe May, but we jogged walked. It was OK 🙂

Fresh as a daisy

John was 2nd fastest man, Berkay was 3rd fastest. Debbie who we met at Bootcamp yesterday was 3rd fastest lady. Medals were handed out to the fastest youths and to the cycle groups.

The proceeds from the race and the various fund-raisers which have been going on, will be used to support local children suffering from cancer. Their families get limited support from the state so this will be a huge help.

Young Ella was introduced on stage. She was at the Race for Life 2 years ago, coming from her hospital bed to attend, She looked great and long may it continue.

I had a communication issue with Dave Badger who had ridden the cycle event. I thought he said Jayne had come off (her bike) twice. I asked Jayne if she was OK. She was confused!. I spoke to Badger again……apparently his “chain” had come off twice !. Pardon ? 🙂

Ironside 😉

Poor Jim is still in his wheelchair after rupturing his Achilles tendon on the Sunset Cruise in September while dancing!. Chris pushed him round, then John jogged back along the course after coming 2nd in the race to push Jim back the rest of the way!

Ailee, Denise, Jim and I had iced coffee at Keci Roast Coffee House (Keci means goat). They were good and it was a cool trendy place. It’s nice to see all the independent coffee places in Fethiye.

Really nice video from Mick Scarsbrook

Egle finished her Yoga Retreat at Kabak today. It was full-on until she dispatched her last yogi at 18:30 (after also helping them change a jumper in Hisaronu as it was the wrong size!)

It was the first Retreat Egle had run and it both sounded and looked great and she was getting great feedback. It seemed like an every-waking-minute job for the whole week though, including hikes, excursions and visits she led as well as the yoga and meditation she led ….and sorting out any requests to change the food they were being served….or cut the onions smaller etc…..!

She was pretty wiped out so we thought it would be nice to go out for dinner with her so she didn’t have to cook ….or think!. We went to Bar Bum in the Kordon which is new and smart. The vegetarian choice was poor. We had looked at the menu but it wasn’t a good call on our part to pick it as a venue. The food was nice but the service was a bit amateurish and Aileen’s meal was missing prawns so it had to go back. They sorted it out quickly at least. We won’t rush back as the competition in that area is so hot.

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