Last Thursday was May 19, a national holiday in Turkey that meant a four day weekend and therefore called for some travel. I went to Fethiye, specifically Oludeniz, in Mugla with Sarah and Rebecca, Fulbrighters in other cities. Pictures are in the album if you’re interested. (At one point there was something on the lens I couldn’t get off so there’s unfortunately a little speck in some of the pictures, but eventually it went away.)
I took an overnight bus on Wednesday and by 8 Thursday morning the three of us were assembled at the Otogar and waiting for a dolmus to take us to Oludeniz. Rachel had booked our hotel. The Belle Vue is situated on top of a pretty legit hill, but its location allows for an incredible view of the sea and the resort town below. There were plenty of hotels closer to the beach, but they would have been pricier and you couldn’t see anything except the surrounding buildings.
After breakfast at the hotel, we paid the owner 10 lira and a driver arrived and shuttled us to the private Paradise Beach, where we sat right on the shore in lounge chairs with umbrellas at the ready for when it got too hot. Paragliders drifted in and out of view throughout the day. We were settled in by 10:30 and stayed for about 4 hours, at which point we started thinking about getting some food. We chose to walk back into town and headed down the main strip, poking into gift shops while we hunted for a restaurant that looked good. Eventually we landed on Sugar and Spice, which offered a break from Turkish food. I got veggie curry that came with rice, potatoes wedges, and three onion rings.
Left: The view at the private beach. Right: Waves crashing at the public beach.
While digesting, we did a little more window shopping. Our next move was to get some ice cream, which we took onto the public beach. The water up against the shore was a saturated light turquoise that faded into a deeper blue the further out it went.
It got a little breezy as it got later. On the walk back up to the hotel, which was much closer than I realized, we stopped at a convenience store to get some snacks for later. Back at the hotel, wifi didn’t reach the rooms, so I went up to the pool to check in on the world and do some coloring. Rachel and Sarah came to join me a bit later and we sat up there until after it got dark. None of us had slept particularly well the night before, so we were all asleep by 10.
We had breakfast at the hotel again, this time for free because we slept there. At 10:30, a shuttle from Pegas Tour arrived take us down to our boat for our all day tour. The shuttle was already occupied by a bunch of British people who were staying at a different hotel.
On the boat, we went up top and claimed our spots. It was a while before the boat got moving so we had plenty of time to get in some sunbathing without missing any new views. We finally pulled out at 11:30, at which time we went down below and grabbed a table at the side of the boat. The first stop was at a small cove called Camel Beach. We had 45 minutes to hang out on the sand and do some swimming. Stop number 2 was to another swimming spot, no land this time.
Our third stop gave us views of new cliffs, hills, and waters to look at while we ate lunch. Everyone got a plate with bulgar, salad, and bread with either grilled fish or chicken. We were lucky in picking our spot earlier that day because we were the second row of tables to be served.
Stop 4 after lunch had the option of climbing up to some ruins, which we got to enter free with our museum cards. Stop 5 was to the famous Butterfly Valley. In retrospect, it would have been better if we used the hour to hang out on the beach, swim, and admire the enormous cliffs. Instead, we chose to pay the 5 lira to enter the reserve and walk to the hyped up waterfall. We saw 2 tiny butterflies and the waterfall was really just a water trickle. It was still a nice little hike though and it felt good to get warm from the trek and then get the cooling breeze back on top of the boat.
There was one final stop on the way back to the main beach. There was a really pretty cave, but it was too cool to swim by then, so we admired it from the top of the boat. We got back in to shore at 6:15. With the exception of the 5 tl for Butterfly Valley, the entire trip, including lunch, was 30 lira, aka $10. Can’t top that.
We took the shuttle back to the hotel and spent a few minutes freshening up before getting dinner at the hotel–a four course meal for 25 lira. A little later, we grabbed our jackets and walked back down into town, stopped to see our ice cream friend again, and sat on the beach. The waves were a little stronger than the day before, and we could hear the stones rustling with each ebb. Sarah is getting married in July and both she and Rebecca are renewing next year, so we had plenty to talk about before the day in the sun tiredness out enough to head to bed.
We slept in the next morning, but were still up in plenty of time for breakfast. The sky was a little gray and the weather report was showing clouds for the rest of the day, so we decided to head back into Fethiye earlier than we originally planned and explore around there. We packed up, settled the room tab, and caught the dolmus.
Back at the otogar, we bought our tickets for the ride to Antalya later and then hopped on another shuttle to the old city. Rachel looked for a purse for her summer internship and to use next year while Sarah and I went into the gift shops. You can find pretty much the same things no matter where you go in the country but it’s always fun to look around.
We decided to eat around 2 and walked a couple streets over from the main square to get away from tourist prices. We found a very normal looking small restaurant, took a quick look at the menu and decided this was exactly what we wanted. Sarah and I got manti and Rebecca got lentil soup, rice, and salad. The ladies working were very nice and we know they liked us because we got free tea after clearing our plates.
With some more time left to kill, we walked down to and along the marina. We came across a little craft market. No one was pushy or trying to get one over on anyone–it was just people who like to make stuff selling the things they like to make. After making the rounds there we got on the shuttle back to the otogar, took a three and half hour ride into Antalya, and Rebecca and Sarah headed for their hotel and I got on my bus back to Ankara. The bus got in just a bit before public transit started, but I got on the first train, had good luck at the transfers, and walked into my apartment at 7:31.