Best Trip Ever
Just got back from a marvellous three weeks. Three perfect weeks of temperature in the high 20s, cloudless skies, and warm wonderful sea, where the most energetic thing I do is turn over from time spent on my back gazing up at the mountains, and villas and boats, and do a bit of snorkelling. Oh, and chasing the elusive kingfisher up the coast and when I find it tread water for long minutes watching it.
We decided this time to take some paint out to lighten the pine cupboards and bedheads in both bedrooms. I found Annie Sloan paint which I have used before, bought it in white, and the wax which protects the rather chalky finish, and gives it a patina of age and silkiness. At the gate, just about to board our Thomas Cook flight when George got a tap on the shoulder “Mr. Bird? Could you come down to the hold please, we have a query with one of the items in your suitcase” In the event, our paint was allowed to stay, but the wax was confiscated, and we then had to run the gauntlet of a hundred accusing eyes, as we were the last to board. Luckily we left on time. Finished the painting, but have to find an alternative to the wax to protect it. Here’s a photo of the chandelier in the single beds room, which we also brought out with us – lovely, bright, colourful, and to my joy a touch blingy, and there’s nothing I love more than a touch of bling!
Some things have changed inevitably. The Old Town is enjoying a bit of a makeover, and we discovered the Courtyard and White House Boutique hotel, run by Halil and Marion who have artistically managed to create the most magical place whilst still retain the integrity of such an old building. We suggested it to two of our friends who stayed there, and loved it so much they have booked again for next year. It is a wonderful stopping off point on your way to the restaurants and shops, for a sunset drink with the most amazing views over the old rooftops of ancient Kalkan. Just up the road from them, and past a couple of small new restaurants selling traditional food, with tables spilling out onto the pavement, and pots of flowers all round, there is a new bar called Botanic Garden which has been created from what was almost a waste piece of ground. It is magical - wonderful foliage, flowers, evening perfumed shrubs, hammocks, buzzy, and great before or after dinner until late at night.
We also went out in a new find – Captain Ramasan’s boat for day trips. He and his lovely wife do the most wonderful lunches out at sea, if you can bear to drag yourself out of the sea to towel dry and enjoy what they have cooked for you that morning, with a glass of wine (or two). Cake and fruit for tea, then back to Kalkan Harbour to watch all the other smart yachts and charter gulets trying to find room to tie up in an already packed harbour. It’s nail biting stuff, you can’t believe they can moor without major incidences like taking the side of the boat out! But they do....
Of course we went up to Bezirgen . Whilst we were bird watching ( and there was plenty to see) I spotted an iguana, which was very exciting, and the first one we had seen. Driving back to the road, we stopped the car to watch a family of mother, grandmother and daughter making bread outside. They called us in to the garden, and brought out seats so we could watch them (they were just sitting on the ground). We were then given some to eat, and also to have a go ourselves. Their rolling pins are so thin compared with ours, so not easy. They make them fast, and mounds of them, which apparently they just keep for the week, sprinkle them with water and reheat them when they want them. Their 10 year old daughter was learning English at school, and was really pleased that we could understand some of her sentences.
Although we are one of six apartments in our block, we were on our own for most of the time, which is a treat. Our son, wife and baby followed us and they were alone too. The apartments are English owned, so it is seldom more than two owners are out together.
We went to our friend Halit’s for breakfast with about 8 other people. The table is usually full of all nationalities, Australian, Brits, Swedes, Turks, Russians, and the conversation is lively and informed. Halit, true Turk, is enormously hospitable, and the table is groaning with eggs, salad, cheeses, tomatoes, breads of every kind, jams, tahini, endless coffee, apple tea, orange juice, and lunch is out of the question after such a feast. We usually amble into his shop most evenings, either before or after dinner, and sit and have a tea or coffee with him, maybe pick up a Christmas present or two, or spoil myself, and leave him to a busy shop of customers. He and his sister feel like family now, and we are always sad to say goodbye. He and his girlfriend Kim are opening a furniture emporium on the road in to Kalkan ready for next summer, selling outdoor furniture. They should do very well, and are sourcing it from the Far East mostly, so they will be off on their buying trip soon.
When I got home I decided I must make some babba ganoush which I invariably order if it’s on the menu. I found a recipe, which involved toasting aubergines over the unprotected gas flames. Half an hour later, lemon juice added, aubergines charred (I thought to perfection), garlic, tahini everything stirred in – George ready to taste before a supper party later that day. Verdict – tastes like a bonfire!!