#traveldiaries: Turkey 2018

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, we’ve been back from the Turkish Turquoise Coast for quite some time now, yet I still haven’t gotten around to finishing (cough, starting) my blog post about it! Well, being that I’ve finally found some time to chill out on a Sunday, I’m ready to tell gather my thoughts and tell you all about our trip

When Turkey was thrown into the ring as a suggestion for our 2018 holiday, I was a bit skeptical. Much of what we hear and see on the news tells us that Turkey is simply not a safe place to be. So yes, I was obviously a little anxious at first, as were many of the people I told about the trip. Honestly, even the slightest doubts were for absolutely NOTHING. ZILCH. NADA. because our trip to the western coast of Turkey was the most peaceful and relaxing experience ever. Many people assumed we were headed to Istanbul, but instead we flew into the small city of Dalaman and headed on over to Göcek, which is a tiny boating town near Fethiye. Apparently, it’s a very common tourist destination, so while it may seem random, it’s actually on many travelers’ radar. Katherine actually knew the owners of the villa we rented, which was incredibly helpful and made picking Turkey more appealing. So, after it was decided, Jack, Katherine, Nancy, Adam, Carolyn, Scibly, Saran, Henry, Catherine, Ben and I booked our flights, packed our bags, and got ready for an amazing trip to Turkey!

If you happened to catch my Instagram, you’ll have noticed that our villa was absolutely STUNNING. Everything about it from the pristine white architecture draped with flowers; to the pool; to the two outdoor lounge areas (and outdoor bar!); to the dining table overlooking the bay in the distance was simply gorgeous. Our room also had a balcony that overlooked the property and had a view of the water from afar, so needless to say,  it was nothing short of fabulous. Despite a drastically different vibe than Italy or Spain, this incredibly modern villa had me absolutely captivated form the moment we arrived.

So, I’m sure you’re thinking: ‘what is there to do on the Western Coast of Turkey?” Well, there’s plenty. We spent each morning laying by the pool and soaking in the sun. Pretty much each afternoon we headed down into Göcek where we had a glass of wine, ate lunch, and visited the shops. Then we returned to the villa for more pool time, (extremely competitive) water volleyball, and afternoon drinks under the setting sun before chowing down on some dinner and getting various rounds of catch phrase in. Don’t lie: I know you wish this was you right now…. same, though. We did spend one night out on the town. Chaos ensued. Public drinking games happened. Whiskey shots were taken. A fancy-looking ash tray was stolen. The usual.

Göcek reminded me of a port town that you’d visit while on a cruise. There are tons of restaurants on the water, tons of gift shops carrying unique Turkish eyes, jewelry, and anything else you could think of, and an incredible port jam packed with boats of all shapes and sizes. Clearly, it’s a boating town, which we experienced for ourselves early on in the trip. We ended up finding some incredible food options, including Cafe West  with the best grilled halloumi cheese and calamari you will LITERALLY EVER EAT and Blue, which had awesome pickins for lunch. We also ate at the Kebab Hospital, which was not quite my favorite because my chicken dish tasted like lamb and well…. I don’t particularly like lamb. This place was suggested various times in the hand-written guest guidebook at the villa and is also featured in Lonely Planet, but I’m sure our entire party would agree that the meal was just fine. THAT. HALLOUMI. CHEESE. THOUGH! I still dream about it. Sigh. There was a lot of bread and olive oil, hummus, tzatziki, meats and other Mediterranean staples. And just a side note: with all the eating and drinking, you’d think we probably spent a fortune. Wrong. The dollar is incredibly strong in Turkey right now, so a meal costing 30 Turkish Lira ended up being super cheap USD. We’re talking around $6. STEAL. I even bought a bottle of wine at the supermarket for $3. Now, that’s a bargain if there ever was one! When we weren’t eating in the town, Jack and Katherine were whipping up the most FABULOUS meals for us. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing their cooking is. We had pasta and meatballs one night, steak, lamb. So awesome. Thank you, Jack and Katherine! Our villa’s owner also has a close relationship with a woman nearby who cooks traditional Turkish meals. She brought us over a FEAST after the day on the gullet, and it was absolutely phenomenal. Turkish food is delightful indeed.

I would say that aside from the special cocktails, wine by the pool, loud nights of zumi zumi (IT’S ZUMI GUYS, NOT ZIMI), catchphrase, and great banter, the highlight for me was definitely the boating day. Jack and Katherine graciously arranged a sick boat to take us out on the water around Göcek and it was awesome. The water is crystal clear and the most beautiful shade of blue I’ve ever seen. The views of the mountains are incredible. And the fact that we could jump off the boat into the water, snorkel, and water ski made the day even better! I actually water skied for the first time EVER and despite the ridiculous soreness in my thighs the next day, it was EPIC. It took me two times to get up before I finally got the hang of it. Jack totally nailed it and so did Ben’s aunt Nancy, who was a true pro. We also tried this awesome tubing thing where the speedboat whipped us around a bay in a four-seater tube. Check out ben’s video to see what that was all about. We were out on the water for about 8 hours and had an endless supply of beer, prepared food, and tons of fun. We thew down the anchor at three different areas along the coast, so we got to cover plenty of ground and get in various snorkeling attempts. If you plan on heading to Göcek, you’ll notice that this is one of the most highly recommended activities, and I would absolutely recommend going out on a the Turquoise Coast for the day.

If you’d rather stay on the shore, there are a few different beach options for you in the area. Unfortunately, we were a little limited in where we could go and how we could get there because it was Ramadan and things were booked up by other vacationers. We really wanted to go to the D-Resort beach, which apparently has imported pristine white sand and little beds that dangle over the water. HELLO, INSTAGRAM. There’s also another stunning beach about 40 minutes away called Ölüdeniz lagoon, which was ranked one of the most beautiful beaches in the world apparently. Again, the Ramadan situation made things a little difficult, but we were determined to get a beach day in. To mix things, we ended up taking the local ferry out to Göcek Island to try to get some “beach time” on the agenda. While this wasn’t the most luxurious beach and is full of rocks, the water was as beautiful as ever and the views of the yachts casting anchor in the water near by was pretty neat. You definitely don’t need to spend more than an hour or two at the Island, and I’d probably recommend planning a trip to one of the other spots if you want something more luxurious.

With day trips in mind, I’d also suggest checking out the market that’s open on Sundays and is set up right outside of the commercial area of the town. You’ll find rugs, food, scents, knock-off Raybans and more! It’s definitely worth a lap or two if you find yourself in the area on a Sunday. There area also a few different ruins nearby, many of which are in Fethiye. We didn’t make it to those being that we were extremely focused on pure relaxation, but they sound like they could be rather interesting if that’s what you’re into. Whatever you do, make sure you try a Turkish pancake. It’s delicious!

While I’m sure you love my rambling, I think the best way for you to get a glimpse into our Turkey trip is to see if for yourself! Ben shot and edited an EPIC video with the two go-pros he brought with us. Those little cameras were key when we went out on the water! You’ll find water sports, zumi zumi, flossing, yours truly back flipping of a boat, a nice smize from Saran, James Bond references and more. Take a look at the video below and let us know what you think! Sorry for the vulgar gesture in the beginning, Mom.

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