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Tuesday, 5 February 2013


We occasionally see British people behaving strangely in Kalkan, and thought you may like to know a few essential facts about Turkish people so that you don’t hurt their feelings, and give them a bad impression of their guests.

The first thing you will notice is how incredibly friendly everyone is.  Really helpful, attentive,  keen to show you the way or explain things.  Their English is mostly good, and everyone seems to know a few English words.  Try and learn a few Turkish words, even just Merhaba – hello, means you are trying to fit into their world, and you will get a big smile and a replying Merhaba. 

As you walk along in the evening – maybe trying to find a restaurant you think you will like, there will be someone outside each restaurant, hoping you are going to visit them.  They may speak to you, asking you to look at their menu.  Don’t just stare straight ahead, they won’t hound you.  Just say that you have already booked elsewhere, or have eaten in your hotel already, or that you will look at the menu and maybe come back another time.  But if you don’t intend to, then don’t promise.  Porky pies are no better in Turkey than they are at home!

Shopping is a marvellous experience.  Hard haggling is frowned upon, but you can ask with a smile if they will take something off.  Most will - if it isn’t enough, say so.  They probably won’t want to lose your custom, but obviously still want to make a profit. 
Turkish waiters really enjoy their job, which we are not always used to at home, to say the least.  They will look after you, and make a fuss of you, and take pride in what they serve you with.  If you have a gripe, you don’t have to make a big fuss, they will meet you halfway all the time.  You will be amazed at the quality of the food and presentation in general.  Try different things, again the waiters will help you with your choices, and  remember that you are often given quite generous portions of complimentary appetisers which can fill you up.

The loos in all restaurants in Kalkan are squeaky clean, and European, so no worries about that.  You hardly ever hear of anyone getting a tummy bug, hygiene is excellent. The sea is amazingly clean and pure.  I have NEVER seen anything on the beach or floating in the water I would not want to see.  Swimming in the sea is one of the best things about Kalkan for me, warm, clean, calm, turquoise and clear.  

The markets are fun, they are a bit more pushy than shops, but they all have such a great sense of humour -  talk back but keep walking, with a smile.  They’re only trying to make a living, and the prices are really good anyway.  I still find their mimicry of us saying 'Just 'avin a look' very funny. They expect you to bargain, but do remember they have to make a living.  Spices, leather belts, bowls, Turkish delight, all excellent gifts to take home.  And if you’re self catering, fruit and vegetables are beyond anything you have ever experienced.  Also at the market treat yourself to crepes, or flat bread cooked in front of you, then filled with cheese and spinach. 

In our part of Turkey, and particularly in Kalkan, you won’t see stag parties (although occasionally  groups of girls on hen holidays), or people getting raucously  drunk.  Although there are a fewcafes which serve English breakfast, there aren’t the long strips of restaurants offering little else.  Try Turkish style breakfasts, much more suited to their climate, and amazing.  Most offer Turkish food with English menus, which is cheap, delicious and healthy.  Pizzas are available – slightly different, but moreish.  The food is one of our delights on holiday, and I buy ingredients and cookery books every time I go out. 
Don't cram things into your case you can buy on holiday.  I don't think there is anything now you can't get there.
Just enjoy one of the best places you'll ever go to.

1 comment:

  1. Great write up. My family and I have recently returned from a holiday in Kalkan and everything you say is spot on.