Tag: Turkey

Marmaris, Turkey – the Friendliest Place!


Our recent trip to Marmaris in Turkey was literally a tale of two parts.  The good however significantly outweighed the bad.

Although I love the idea of travelling the actual travel day is incredibly hard, especially if you are struggling with mobility.  As mentioned in a previous post, this trip started on the right note with a wonderful night at the Carlton Hotel in Blanchardstown.  At 4 am all excited we set off on our new adventure to a place that we had never visited before. (read about our wonderful night here)

Arriving in the friendliest place

Almost 5 hours on a budget airline is tiring.  It was wonderful to land at the brand-new airport at Dalaman and to feel the sun on our shoulders.  The transfer system here is very slick, and we were soon installed into a smart little mini bus, complete with a cooler of drinks.  All the transfer buses stop off half way, and I was delighted to stretch my legs and treat myself to my first Turkish ice cream – it was called blue sky – and looked exactly like the sky above us.  I was curious to try it and wondered what it would taste like – hard to describe but the closest I could get was caramel delicious.

A word of warning

Before we arrived at our hotel we knew it wouldn’t be great.  We had been doing some research on Trip Advisor and were a little worried to be honest.  The reviews were shocking.  We already knew that it was a five-story hotel that had no lift.  When I found this out I called ahead and explained my mobility issues and thankfully we were in a room on the first floor.  The hotel was very run down, but thankfully clean (this is important to me).  We had also booked full board – and one look at the dining room, the food that looked like it was recycled for each meal, and the kitchen led us to a quick decision that we wouldn’t be eating in.

On the plus side the location of the hotel was perfect, only 5 minutes from the beach, with easy access to the town and lovely eateries.  It also had a great rooftop pool, that had me taking a daily dip!

It is important to check things out.  We do travel on a budget, so were not expecting 5 stars.

The most delicious food always served with a smile

The food in Marmaris is amazing.  Let me just say that.  From a gorgeous Cappuccino to a full mixed grill, everything was fresh and delicious.  It was also extremely affordable, and served with a smile.

The first morning we went for a walk along the seafront.  After a while I was hot and tired, so we chose a restaurant for a refreshing drink.  Vamos appealed to me from the sidewalk, and it was a good choice.  Although we were only having a drink, I read the menu (I always do this – its ok to dream).  I noticed a starter of watermelon and feta and never mind that it was 11am I ordered it.  The portion that arrived was enough for three!  They quickly brought extra utensils and told me that this was not the normal portion size but that they decided to treat me.  It was fresh, juicy and so delicious.  And, it set the tone for a foodie holiday.

A firm favourite on the Turkish menu was lava bread.  This is literally a balloon of bread – crispy and light served with salsa, garlic yogurt and garlic butter.  I think we shared one every day, and I am missing them already.

Food was so affordable and the quality was outstanding.  We indulged in gorgeous kebab skewers, the most delicious pizza, and tasty gorgeous Turkish breakfasts.  If you fancy, there is always a great English breakfast – available in most restaurants.

Great value for money

I had underestimated how much spending money we needed – primarily because we ate out all the time.  After one attempt at drawing cash from a Turkish language ATM which was stressful, we realised that it was easy enough to choose a multiple language version.  By this stage I thought I was accustomed to the Turkish Lire.  I had bought three pairs of Birkenstocks, and we had tried out all sorts of treats from the supermarket.  I drew a couple of hundred lire, and then realised that it was barely 30 Euro.  Your money goes a long way in Turkey.

We booked our budget trip with Love Holidays.

A long walk to Icmeler

We love to walk.  Even though I walk slowly and with my trusty stick Stan, I am game to see how far I can go before I need a rest.  One day we decided to visit the next village – Icmeler.  I am not sure why we thought we could walk there, but we did.  We walked and walked.  I got hotter and more tired, and started complaining.  Himself kept on saying, it’ll be around the next corner.  After about six or seven corners I called time and we popped into a café with a Wi-Fi sign for a cold drink.  I checked google maps – it was 8km further!!!  Suffice to say we went back to the hotel for a swim and took a taxi the next day. I fell in love with Icmeler, bought the most delicious Turkish delight and indulged in yet another Lava bread.

Be prepared to lose your inhibitions

I had heard about a Hamman – a Turkish bath.  Feeling brave I booked in and descended the stairs to the Hamman spa.  Now, please remember that I am fabulous plus sized lady.  I was shown the changing room and offered a Turkish towel which is probably slightly bigger than a large dish towel.  I blanched!  A young lady came to assist and managed to truss me up in two towels – I had elected to keep my underwear on (for now).  After a sauna, I was shown into the Hamman room and invited to lay down on this large marble slab.  There was then a confusion of communication and eventually and English speaker came to clarify – did I want a man or woman to wash me.  A woman please!

This was a great choice as from this point on I realised that I had to simply give up on inhibitions and enjoy the experience.  I was given an invigorating aloe vera scrub, followed by a massage with what can only be described as pillow cases full of foam.  It was sublime.  The experience concluded with a full body (and I mean full body) oil massage.

I have shared my turkish bath story with a few people.  I have told that I didn’t sell it well.  Yes, it is an extremely intimate experience – but I would do it again.  Just remember to leave your inhibitions at the door.

Sailing away with pirate ships

The bay of Marmaris is extremely picturesque. From the first moment, we glimpsed it on arrival, I wanted to paint the misty hills that enclosed it.  The first morning we noticed Pirate ships on the bay, and I was intrigued.  There are several ships all offering day trips around the bay.  In the end, we chose the Black Pearl, primarily because of the friendly man who engaged with us.  I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t a pirate ship, but then again we got to watch the Pirate ships instead.

This day out was brilliant value and included all drinks on board as well as a delicious lunch.  The views were stunning and so inspiring.  We dropped anchor at various spots for swimming, sightseeing and to view truly magical caves.

My lasting memories of Turkey

When I think back on my trip, the overriding memories are of the friendly people, and the kindness of strangers.  For the most part, people are honest and kind.  We had great chats with locals and other tourists, and felt truly welcomed.

We will be back – and next time we will stay in the lovely Icmeler but of course we will visit the beautiful bay of Marmaris.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry xx

 

12 Tips for Travelling on a Budget

I love to travel.  There is something about visiting a place that is not home that captures my imagination and quite simply excites me.  I had to find a way of travelling on a budget.

We are on a very limited budget.  I am in fact on a medical pension which makes it even harder to travel, but not impossible.

My excuse was that I couldn’t’ afford a holiday

For many years I was the person that said I can’t afford a holiday.  I looked on with envy as many people jetted off to sunnier climates and felt frustrated and a tiny bit left out.  What I didn’t realise is that there are a few tricks and techniques which make it perfectly possible to travel – on an extremely limited budget.

  1. Book out of season – it’s one of the advantages of being a little older.
  2. Be prepared to trawl the internet – the deals are there to be had, you simply have to spend time looking. Our favourite site is www.loveholidays.com
  3. Be flexible with dates, and places, you might have to compromise a little but I promise it is worth it.
  4. Let go of the 5-Star dreams. We travel on a budget and understand that if you aren’t paying 5-star rates you won’t get a 5 star hotel.  However, you might get a really clean self-catering apartment in a perfect location.
  5. Choose self-catering. Although we have tried various options, but if I am honest I do prefer self-catering.  It is fun going to the supermarket and figuring out what might be delicious.  It is also a lot cheaper.  A bottle of wine, or even a bottle of water from a supermarket is more affordable than one in a restaurant.
  6. Eating out is cheaper than at home – just remember to do your research. Trip Advisor is great for knowing just exactly what you are getting.  I love the European café culture – so am always happy to pay for a great coffee and a pastry and sit and write in my journal or simply watch the world go by.
  7. Save! Yes, no matter how cheap it is savings are going be needed.  I am personally very happy to have baked beans on a baked potato for dinner for a few nights and know that I can make the holiday payment.
  8. Choose to pay monthly. I find it quite difficult to save up a lump sum, but many holiday operators offer the option of paying monthly.  We allocate 10 Euros each of our weekly budget to paying off holidays.  It is easy enough to find 10 Euro and we are heading to our third European holiday this weekend.
  9. Research transport options. You might be able to pick up a bus pass for the week for as little as 10 Euro.  I love to walk on holiday but sometimes you need to catch a ride.
  10. Think of the extras. I used to get caught by extras like check-in fees, and parking.  Parking can be quite a chunk of spending money if you don’t get it right.  One option would be to stay at an affordable Dublin hotel which offers a shuttle to the airport and parking while you are away.  We are delighted to be staying at the Carlton Hotel Blanchardstown before leaving for Turkey.  An added advantage is that we need to be at the airport at 4am.  This way will be rested and ready for our holiday.
  11. Look into the local currency. If you need to convert your spending money before you go.  (And yes you guessed it I save that too for a few weeks before the trip)
  12. Check out mobile phone and internet access with your service provider. The last thing you want is a rude bill on your return.

It is exciting to go on holiday and the best part is when everything is sorted and paid for before hand.  I am off to pack my bag, tick off my checklist and get ready for Turkey.

I hope you are inspired to go travelling on a budget.

Follow me on Instagram @fabulouskerry to see how we get on.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

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