Nothing ever goes to plan. No matter where I go, trouble is always two steps behind me, waiting to pull the rug from under my feet and laugh at my expense.
I am not a seasonal traveller, and I certainly don’t travel well on my own. But here I was, driving to the airport on my lonesome once again, anticipating the impending hustle and bustle of getting myself onto my plane in one piece.
I thought I’d leave in good time, due to the Sat Nav’s habit of playing jokes on me, often guiding me to the middle of nowhere when I need to get somewhere important and fast. I imagine Mr GPS laughing at me, as he watches me spiral into a meltdown of wrecked nerves, air pumping my fist despairingly at the plastic device that claims to be the best thing since…road maps! Mr GPS, how can I trust a word you say when you guide me into the middle of a field 45 minutes from my actual destination? The famous “You have reached your destination” teases me into despair, as I beat my steering wheel and scream profanities so loud the cows in the next field think…
Today, I was adamant that I would reach my destination in time, without a drop of fret dripping from hot and flustered head. All was going to plan. I felt confident. I was on top of my game. The cards were on my side…well, this was until I missed an all-important turn. Suddenly, they slipped from my confident grasp and flew straight out of the window. I watched them wither away along with the hope that I would reach my destination on time. You see, the Sat Nav loves nothing better than to see me get a little hot under the collar. A test, if you will. I was now driving the opposite way, in a direction of don’t know where the heck I am. Rather than panic, I decided to stay calm and not let the Sat Nav defeat me. Half an hour later I was back on track, but there was no denying the clock was ticking.
And that’s when I got stuck behind a…
Shaking my fist in frustration and muttering profanities, I made it clear to Mr Tractor Man I wasn’t in the mood to be stuck behind his stinking manure-entrenched wheels. Looking back in his rare view mirror, he smirked at me and slowed to practically immobile.
After what seemed like an eternity, the tractor finally took pity on me and pulled into a lay-by. I pushed the pedal to the metal and watched the tractor disappear into the oblivion, relishing in my newfound artery of freedom.
After the Sat Nav took me down every country road possible, I finally saw the airport. Yeah, it may have been the back entrance, clearly stating that no public cars could enter, but heck, at least, I could see the beautiful sight that was the airport, so close I could kiss it. I ignored the signs and drove straight to the airport. Due to my …
*coughs* Geneva! My husband didn’t want to take any more risks trust me to park the car, so he arranged for a carpark attendant to take the car and park it for me. “Bonus!” I thought. All I needed to do was to get out of my car and walk to the airport. Simple, right?
Airports: my idea of hell on Earth. All those too-many-check-ins-to-know-what-to-do-with, people in scary security jackets muttering shiftily into their walkie-talkies and boards upon boards of confusing digits. The mere thought makes me break into a hot sweat.
As I swiped my boarding pass barcode over and over the baffling looking device on the electronic gateway, I grew more and more agitated that nothing seemed to be happening. I mouthed over to the airport attendant “It’s not WORKING!” He rolled his eyes and snapped “That’s because the gate is already open, love!” And sure enough it was, waiting for me to walk right through. I scurried away, humiliated and evermore flustered. You see, as soon as I step foot into such an establishment, it’s as though my common sense seeps out of every pore on my disheveled body, and suddenly I resemble nothing more than a wobbly jelly… a wobbly jelly minus a key ingredient of brain cells!
It was fair to say, I had been a little over-zealous with the fake tan. So over-zealous my darker shade of tangerine complexion had passport controls scratching their heads in confusion. Now, we all love a golden glow before our holidays, but when one is naturally English Rose white, this isn’t always easy to achieve. Due to my Ross Geller tanning booth fail, I looked more mahogany sideboard than golden brown, and a stranger to the person lurking inside my passport. Luckily, I got through without questioning and began to place my suitcase and other belongings onto the conveyor belt for scanning.
A quick word of advice to fellow travellers: if you are prone to getting your ‘sweat on’ at airports, opt to travel in lightweight, air-generating fabrics. For some unbeknown reason, I thought it would be an excellent idea to wear a denim shirt, a leather jacket and jeans. By the time I had lugged my suitcase up ten flights of stairs and walked aimlessly up and down the terminals like a rat in an impossible maze, I was sweating from every place imaginable. My clothes were so drenched they stuck to my skin. Sweet linen and chiffon fabrics circled my mind, as the smell of my own body odour circled my nostrils. Not a great look to start my holiday.
With a brain of jelly, I couldn’t make sense of the departure boards. It was like being back at school all over again. My brain ached. I was certain I was boarding at gate 13…where I got this idea from, I do not know! However, I was on a mission.
Again, I walked for what felt like a mile to the departure gate, lugging my huge suitcase down the stairs and queuing for a further 30 minutes. Finally, I made it to the desk. The Airport Rep looked at my boarding pass with confusion. I could feel my heart sink.
Airport Rep: “Sorry, ma’am you’re at the wrong gate!”
Me: “Any ideas which gate I’m supposed to be?”
Airport Rep: “Where are you flying, ma’am?”
Me: “Bodrum, Turkey.”
The Airport Rep looked at his computer screen for a moment.
Airport Rep: “Ah yes! You’re too late. It has already closed.”
My heart plunged into my throat.
Me: “T t t too late” I whimpered wretchedly, almost unable to speak.
I was about to hit the floor, kicking and screaming like a baby, but then he glanced at his screen once again.
Airport Rep: “Oh, wait! You leave 3.05, right?”
Airport Rep: “In that case, you’re waaay too early! The gates won’t be up on the board for at least another half hour!”
The Angels began to sing their sweet melodic tune and I breathed a sigh of relief. Did this mean I had been flapping around like a headless chicken for absolutely no reason?
With 30 minutes to spare, I hit Starbucks for a much-needed cup of tea and a giant chocolate coin, whilst my heart slipped back into a healthier rhythm.
I always worry about getting my suitcase into the overhead lockers before the stampede of pushing and shoving come hurtling along and take up all the spaces with their oversized suitcases and coats! It’s Turkey…who needs a bloody jacket? Come on! Did you not read the airport terms and conditions? It clearly states no coats in the overhead lockers. Coats and jackets are to be placed under the seats.
Sure enough, the stampede had taken up all the nearby locker spaces and infuriatingly I had to place my suitcase 15 lockers from my seat.
Flustered, I wanted nothing more than to sit and read my trashy magazines in peace. No such luck! A Welsh guy sat in the next seat and from the moment he laid eyes on me, he took a slightly unnerving shine to me. Four hours into our flight, I knew everything about him…EVERYTHING! No secret was left unturned. In fact, he didn’t stop talking the entire time. I was exhausted.
The plane finally landed. I envisaged jumping into my husband’s arms, excitedly.
Airport Rep: “Where’s your Visa?”
Me: “My Visa?”
As it turns out, you need to purchase a Visa to enter Turkey. I soon discovered that I had no money and card payments were forbidden. Luckily, my new best friend bailed me out. Yes, that nice Welsh fella who talked the ears off me. Let’s scrap number 7, befriending your fellow passenger might actually work in your favour. After waiting 45 minutes for an English speaking airport attendant to come back from his lunch break, I handed over the funds and got my 90 day Visa!
I waved goodbye to my Welsh friend and greeted my husband for the first time in what felt like forever. Alas, we could begin our Turkish adventure!
In other news, Turkey was experiencing widespread power cuts.
Our taxi arrived. Desperate for the toilet, the taxi driver kindly made a pit stop at a nearby gas station. I jumped out of the taxi and ran to the bathroom. Mid-flow, everything went pitch black and being a sufferer of night blindness, I had to feel my way out of the toilet using my hands against the walls.
I jumped back into the taxi and smiled sweetly at the taxi driver, who didn’t seem to have a clue where the heck he was going. Eventually, after he had stopped and asked every possible person on his way through the village, because, of course, the Dominoes guy would know where our hotel was, we finally reached our destination. We stayed in the beautiful Zest Exclusive Hotel & Spa in Yashi, 45 minutes outside of Bodrum.
Our Hotel Room…
And the best part…
The Balcony, overlooking the beautiful crystal clear sea.
The staff seemed friendly, always going the extra mile. Overall, we were very impressed but sadly we weren’t so impressed with the area.
Being April, the holiday season had not yet begun. This meant that we were not only the only ones staying at the hotel, but we were also the only ones staying in the ENTIRE resort!
The place was a ghost town, unloved, unfinished and in need of a lick of paint.
By the time we got to the hotel, it was 11pm. We enjoyed a lovely, but belly-bursting meal at a local restaurant called Vera’s. We over indulged in chocolate fondant and then we sat by a blazing log fire drinking from our over-sized wine glasses. Relaxation at its finest. I could get used to this Turkish living!
Come morning, we headed to a local cafe for breakfast. Need I tell you that we ordered a full English breakfast, complete with a pot of English tea? Yes! That happened, and it was goooood! In fact, this happened every day of the week *Pats belly disapprovingly* Shockingly, I only tried Turkish cuisine once, and that was a plate of piled up beef, which claimed to be a ‘Kebab’. I wasn’t convinced. I mean, where was the skewer? Where was the pita bread? … Just piled up meat on a plate. Needless to say, I wasn’t too impressed.
A male waiter, in trousers so tight they left nothing to the imagination, took a shine to my husband. Throughout our time at the resort, he kept touching my husband’s arm adoringly and being way too over-familiar for my liking. Me, threatened? Nooooo! …Okay, maybe! Especially when he would undo his shirt buttons to reveal his smooth-as-butter chest. He was more preened than I was! For some reason, the men tend to like my husband…should I be worried?
After breakfast, we explored the ghost town and found that there were more dogs walking around than people… Okay, to be fair, there were more dogs than a dog’s home wandering around the seafront. As I walked past derelict shacks and ‘closed’ signs, I was reminded of that scene from the Disney Pixar film, Cars. This place was the ‘Radiator Springs’ of Turkey, unloved and desperate for affection.
As we strolled along the pier, people looked at us like “It’s too early! What the heck are you doing here?” Later in the day, we’d find them with their water and buckets, cleaning windows or painting their tired-looking shacks, in the hope that we buy their blueberry flavoured waffles and seagrass flip-flops.
What is it about foreign countries and being stalked by dogs? The two seem to come hand-in-hand. Usually, the dogs chase after me, but this time a dog took a liking to my husband. Everywhere he walked, Vespa (Yes, we gave him a name!) was two steps behind him.
Why Vespa? Well, it turns out our friendly old pal wasn’t so friendly after all, and every time he spotted a pair of wheels, be it those of a pushbike or scooter, he’d attack the person on those wheels. Which was pretty awkward considering people assumed he was our dog. Taking his hatred of bikes into consideration, we thought ‘Vespa’ was quite fitting!
After several failed attempts of trying to run away from our new friend, Vespa…
…like when he stopped to crap in the street – we finally gave in and found
a nice place the only place to have lunch.
While we tucked into our Turkish platter toasted cheese sandwiches, ‘Vexy boy’ laid in the sun, panting. Well, until a scooter drove by, and then he was barking and snarling his sharp teeth at some innocent person’s leg, as we hid behind our hands and pretended we didn’t know him.
Eventually, our tight-trouser wearing waiter came to the rescue and shooed him away by pouring water over him. He scurried away with his tail between his legs. I didn’t feel sad, because deep down I knew it wasn’t the last we’d see of him.
After lunch, we went back to our hotel, ruffled up the freshly laid sheets and then I relaxed out on the balcony in the sun. What absolute bliss it was to listen to the waves crash around me whilst reading a little bit of…
There’s only so much 50 shades one can take. After a whip and chain too many, I used my book as a head shade instead.
It’s a shame I didn’t have a book large enough to cover my entire body…
…As I turned 50 shades of LOBSTER!
By the end of the day, we both resembled lobsters. How could I forget the all-important sunscreen? And now we had to endure hours of being red, sore and uncomfortable….oh, and not forgetting, looking like tomatoes!
Although, I was kind of glad because my fake tan upon fake tan was beginning to fade, and I was starting to resemble a …
Why OH why, does fake tan always end this way?! A Tiger loaf was not my desired look…and neither was a lobster!
That evening we ate at the only restaurant in the village, well, the only OPEN one, that is!
Sneakily, the owners handed us over a ‘new’ menu. Truth be told, there wasn’t nothing ‘new and improved’ on this menu, they had just boosted the prices up a notch (or three!) and disguised the fact by sprucing up the menu cover.
Despite the rise in menu prices, we enjoyed our romantic meal, well, until…
Husbands say the most romantic things…
“Umm, I have green eyes!” I said, an agitation growing in my voice. “We’ve been together how long? Nine years? And you don’t even know the colour of my eyes!” I continued, with a look of disapproval across my face. The waiter scurried away as he felt an eruption waiting to explode.
Luckily, my husband managed to redeem himself, claiming that I didn’t know the colour of his eyes either. “They’re Hazel, not Green!” He moaned. Oh, come on! Same difference!
After consuming a glass of wine as big as my head, our eye colour dispute fizzled into trivial-but-seemly-relevant-conversation-at-the-time. I only had
the one two three four glasses of wine (OOPS!) because we had to be up at the crack of dawn. We had planned to travel to a Greece via a ferry boat departing from Bodrum Harbour.
Sure enough, we did wake up at the crack of dawn… courtesy of two screaming alarms. We knew we had to be up, but the enticingly smooth cashmere sheets felt too damned good. So ‘damned good’ it was hard to pull ourselves away. Fatty English breakfasts circled my mind and my stomach grew hungry, this was was enough to get me out of bed and pull on my…short shorts!
That’s right, I felt a little optimistic and wore some short-shorts. But as soon as I walked outside, I knew I had made a huge mistake. It was COLD, wet and blowing a gale. As I entered the cafe, I realised everyone else was dressed in their thermals, and, therefore, I felt …just a little bit under-dressed! As I ate my way through my huge breakfast I uncomfortably tugged at my shorts, like tugging them down a centimetre would make all the difference to my ice cold shivering legs.
Us ‘British’ folk tend to struggle when it comes to dressing weather-appropriate. As soon as the sun shows its shiny little face, the winter clothes get thrown into the attic and you’ll see us gracing the streets in our ‘iddy biddy’ shorts and tiny Tee’s! Any excuse to get our pasty legs out!
After breakfast, I changed into some more weather-appropriate jeans and waited for a taxi.
Do you remember the popular 90’s arcade game called Crazy Taxi? The aim of the game was to drive as fast and erratically as possible to get people from A to B before the timer runs out. By my description alone, you can see it was an awesome game! However, not if you feel like you’re inside that game. Our crazy cab driver not only suffered from a spot of poor lane discipline *coughs* driving on the wrong side of the road, but he also drove the dial right off of the speed-o-meter.
As we felt our cheeks pin back against the seat and watched our lives flash before our eyes, we hastily buckled our seat belts and prayed we would get to the harbour in one piece.
Sure enough, we reached our destination without so much as a scratch. It was obviously our lucky day! We went through customs and then jumped onto the ferry.
The motion of the ferry, thrown in with some soothing Greek music, was all too much for a certain someone…
While my husband drifted off into a sleepy slumber, I got bored and took selfies…
Alas! We set foot in Greece, land of plate smashing and naked Greek Gods! We sailed to a place called Kos, just 4 km from the coast of Bodrum, Turkey.
It was beautiful, clean and friendly. A recommended location for a spot of alfresco dining and shopping! We found a nice cafe and drank orange juice. Quite possibly the tastiest orange juice I had ever tasted!
We visited some Greek ruins…
Shopping? No such luck! We then visited the Neratzia Castle, situated at the entrance of the Kos Harbor. The Castle was built by the Knights of St-John of Jerusalem who ruled on the island from 1314 to 1512. <- Yes, I copied this from Wikipedia!
The view from the top of the castle was beautiful.
And then we got a bit bored…
And pretended we lived back in medieval times…
All was good, until I decided to climb down the STAIRS OF DOOM! (Okay, they weren’t really called that, but they were off-bounds!)
We made a brief exit before we got a scolding and then explored a little more of the town before we headed back to the ferry.
There were no smashed plates and certainly no naked Greek Gods, but it was lovely. Apart from the urinating man we awkwardly walked past, who looked at us in this how-dare-you-walk-past-me-during-this-intimate-moment, our day had been a success. In fact, we were just thinking about how great our trip was going, no arguments, no tears and nothing going wrong…
Well, all was well until the ferry boat was LATE and we were stranded in the departure lounge for hours upon hours upon…you guessed it… HOURS!
People started to speculate what the heck had happened? Was there a fault with the ferry? Perhaps a terrorist attack? No one informed us, we were just left to wait and wait while fathomed theories became more and more elaborate.
Husband: “You know, I waited 13 hours at an airport once!”
Me: “Yes. Not helpful at all, dear husband!”
As it turned out, the captain had left some vital paperwork in Turkey and the crew had to go back to get it before taking us back on the boat.
After hours of waiting, we climbed onto the ferry and headed back to Bodrum harbour.
My husband captured this beautiful image of the sunset.
Eventually, we got into Bodrum and enjoyed a lovely meal before heading back to our remote village in the middle of nowhere (aka Yashi.)
The thing about the humid weather and good hair is that it doesn’t mix – like some kind of chemical reaction gone wrong. By day 4 my hair went…
I turned my suitcase upside down, but there was no hairband in sight. I swear I packed one, I thought I even packed two…but no!
It’s like forgetting to pack the all-important sunscreen and then spending the rest of our holiday moaning about our burnt shoulders, knees and toes every body part to come into contact with the sun.
But every cloud has a silver lining, the sun was shining brightly in a sky of pure blue, blazing its beautiful heat upon our balcony. Memories of cold rainy Britain, a thing of the past.
While the locals strolled around in their multi-layers and thermal jackets without a bead of sweat dripping from their cool as cucumber faces, I wore my bikini and pretty much sweated from every pore of my lobsterfied body.
See, I wasn’t joking… 19 degrees and the bikini was on!
We were planning to go back to our local to eat, there was a live band playing and we assumed it would be more…well…lively, but unfortunately the singer had died that day and, therefore, the band was…no more! There was a morbid feel in the restaurant that evening. Moreover, I was missing my children like crazy. The music was…gloomy, to say the least. But somehow the wine seemed to make things better.
Whilst my husband talked about current affairs to two barmen making all the appropriate noises…
I sat thinking…
“Damn, my arse is burnt!”
Two bottles of wine later, we stumbled merrily home.
The next day we had a day of scuba diving planned. I had never been scuba diving before, and certainly not with a hangover! We were excited. So excited we got up at the crack of dawn in preparation for the action-packed day ahead.
I don’t DO public transport! Why? Why would anyone? The clamminess, for one. The germs floating around in the air, along with the smell of nostril-offending body odour. The awkward silences. The trying to avoid eye-contact with others at all costs, you know, in fear of starting a conversation that might never end. It’s enough to send me into a hot sweat… Oh, that’s right, I was already sweating because the sun on the glass windows had made a greenhouse effect, leaving us all gasping for fresh air!
If this wasn’t bad enough, this bus went at a snail’s pace, and it didn’t even take us to the marina, it took us to the bus station. Therefore, we had to walk to the marina, adding another 45 minutes to our journey…and all uphill. When we reached our destination, we wondered where the diving school was…
A Man by harbour: “Sorry, he’s gone. He left hours ago!”
Well, there goes our action-packed day of adventure!
We sat down at a sea-view cafe and sulked a little, but how could one be sad, when you have this for a view….?
After Chi beside the sea, we decided to look around Bodrum castle. Bodrum Castle, located in southwest Turkey in the port city of Bodrum, was built from 1402 onwards, by the Knights of St John as the Castle of St. Peter or Petronium <- Look who listened in History class! *Coughs* Yeah, okay…I just copied that from Wikipedia!
We looked at some jugs!
We saw a peakcock…
And an anchor..
Yep, you see one castle, you’ve seen them all!
There are no public toilets in Bodrum, well if there were we couldn’t find them. After much searching, we finally found a public toilet. That’s right, we had to pay for the privilege to use ….
How clever they are! The only toilets seemed to be inside cafes, so we spent the entire time stopping for drinks, then half an hour later needing the toilet, and then stopping for yet another drink…you can see where I’m going here!
With time to spare, we decided to do a spot of shopping…and then wished we hadn’t!
Once a Turkish salesperson hooks you in, it’s hard to wriggle out of their net. You might not need a fake Rolex watch, but you can bet your bottom Lira on it, you will by the time you come out wearing said watch.
My husband is a sucker for these guys. He just can’t say NO! As we walked past a trashy fake designer shop, he fell hook, line and sinker for their
cunning aggressive sales technique.
I stayed at the front of the shop and watched him and his wallet get absolutely annihilated.
5 minutes later, he walked out of the shop with a bag full of fake kid’s Converse… Okay, that’s not so bad
…and UNDERPANTS! Fake designer underpants!
And the classic, Kalvan Clains!
And my favourite…
The funniest thing… He didn’t even NEED any underpants!
With shopping bags bursting with fake designer tat, we found a nice beach side cafe and indulged in some cake!
…and then we sat on the beach and caught the last rays from the sun.
When we got back to Yashi, my husband realised his face had gone an even brighter shade of cherry tomato. Embarrassed, he locked himself in the bathroom and groaned, “I’m not going to dinner like this!” As I walked closer to the door, I could hear him riffling through my makeup bag!
Me: “You better not be putting my makeup on to cover up your face!”
Husband: “What I need is a permanent Instagram filter!”
Me: “Just wear a red jumper, you’ll be fine!”
The last night was spent bonding with the hotel owners, and their children, by a blazing fire.
Unfortunately, sitting by a fire when you have sun-burnt feet wasn’t such a great idea. My foot had swelled up twice the size and my husband had to give me a piggy back ride home.
In the morning, we ate breakfast and said farewell to the staff. The tight-trouser wearing waiter was especially sad to see
us my husband go.
He turned to my husband, and said with tear-soaked eyes, “I’ll see you soon, mate, I’ll see you soon!”
“Um, but will you?” I thought, worryingly.
“Where are you going now?” He asked, no care for my answer.
“Back to England!” I said.
“Ah yes! ….shit weather!” He muttered under his breath.
Yeah, okay. You didn’t have to remind me.
Sadness hovered over me as I packed the last things into my suitcase. We said our goodbyes and headed for the airport.
I was sad to wave goodbye to my husband, knowing it would be another month before I see him again. As he walked away, I felt a sadness growing inside.
I wasn’t alone for long. As I walked into the duty-free I saw a familiar face staring over at me. It was my Welsh admirer. Before I could jump behind a clothes rack, he caught me, like a fish in a net.
We grabbed an orange juice and talked about our time in Turkey…FOR TWO FREAKEN HOURS!
In the rush of it all, I remembered I had left my 50 Shades of Grey on the sun-lounger and, therefore, I was going to bored stiff on the 4-hour plane journey back to England.
There is ‘boredness’ and then there is wanting to gauge your eyeballs out with sticks. The Welsh guy took a pew right next to me, and you guessed it, talked the ears off me, for a further FOUR FREAKEN HOURS!
This, along with the annoying boy in front of me giving a running commentary on our plane in action.
Boy: “There’s a cloud. There’s another cloud. Cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud! Oh look…there’s a cloud!”
…and as one could imagine, I wanted to be anywhere but that plane journey home…ANYWHERE! Heck, I’d even take the fart-infested bus!
4 pain-staking hours later, I set foot in dreary old England, resembling a lobster with an elephant-sized foot. My frown soon turned into a smile, as I switched on my phone to be greeted with a sea of WP notifications. I thought you guys may have forgotten about me already, but how wrong I was!
And I believe I might have just put a smile on the cleaning lady’s face too…
I would say it’s good to be back, but I’d be lying!
… Take me back to TURKEY!!!