Last minute Turkey 🇹🇷
Wow 2 weeks flies! Currently lounging by the pool in our apartment in Fethiye, Turkey, reflecting on the whirlwind of the last 2 weeks. I never would have guessed we would end up in a Turkey but I'm so glad we did. We've had three completely different experiences all in one country… The beautiful region of Cappedocia, the hustle and bustle of Istanbul and the calming beaches of Fethiye. It has been the best start to our journey.
Feelings and emotions of complete exhaustion to fear and panic to utter calm and bliss, travel during covid has been something else. We always knew travelling would be hard and a real test, but with the added complexity of Covid, this is beyond anything we could have prepared for.
Travelling through covid - what to expect
We started as, we came to realise, we would continue by booking our flight the day before flying out. We left on Tuesday 1st September from Stansted Airport and it was the most eerie experience. There were no shops, restaurants or bars open except boots and whsmith. There were only 3 flights that night and we were all sat in masks patiently waiting. It was not how I had ever expected we would start our trip. Signs were everywhere encouraging social distancing along with hand sanitisation stations. The flight itself was strange as we were all sat in masks, afraid to adjust them even for a sip of water or a bite of food.
On getting to Turkey we had an hours bus ride from the airport to our hotel. Again we were confined to our masks, noticing along the way that everyone was wearing them even on the streets, something we hadn't been forced to do yet in the UK. How are you meant to get fresh air, especially in the heat?!
Any shop, hotel or restaurant you enter or any activity such as the hot air balloon ride, will check your temperature. Hand sanitiser was available everywhere. We were pretty gutted on the balloon ride we had to keep our gloves and masks on the entire time making it difficult to take many pictures. But we got some amazing scenic shots!
Oh and another thing to note, social distancing doesn't seem to be as much of a big deal here! Istanbul being a prime example. It was so busy! Neither of us had been to London since the start of lockdown in March in the UK so to be back in the hustle and bustle was weird but so nice.
For us one of the biggest challenges has been living day to day and being unable to make plans. Back home pre covid I would normally have such a routine and know exactly what I would be doing and when. This journey has thrown us to a completely different norm. We are often booking flights and accommodation a day or two before travelling, not always certain on where to go next. And with the covid restrictions its making planning even harder as we are so restricted on where we can go. To top it off our budget was with South East Asia in mind, not Europe so that's another thing to throw in the mix as prices in Europe are a lot higher. Its been challenging but has already developed our characters and skills so much. Its already been a true life experience even after only 2 weeks in.
So what have been our Turkey highlights
Cappadocia- the amazing hikes and stunning sunrises and sunsets. When you go make sure you do both. The hikes are exhilarating especially when you get lost! Our top recommendation for sunrise would have to be from the hot air balloons, I have never seen anything like it. So peaceful and magical. And for the best sunset we absolutely loved the views from Uchisar Castle.
Istanbul - the vibrancy we had missed so much from London along with the beautiful historical architecture. You can't visit without taking a walk through the area of Galata (be prepared for some serious uphill climbs!). Take in the beauty of the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque in the Old City. Oh and you have to try the baklava. It was beyond good! If you have time take a boat tour along the Bosphorous where you can see both the Europe and Asia side of the city.... fun fact there I bet you never knew!
Fethiye - our perfect apartment escape, the fresh fruit and veg in the local markets, the beautiful beaches and the opportunity to be in the sea! If you can I would recommend staying at Caretta Apart. The host there is just so helpful and friendly. We didn't find the food as exciting around Fethiye so in the aparment it was great to cook all the yummy veggies from the local fruit and veg Market. Visting that market is an experience itself! And if you can make sure you go on a boat ride of the 12 islands. We were able to jump into the sea with the fish and snorkel. Such an incredible experience.
When I started writing this we were planning to head to Italy next, but unfortunately if you enter from Turkey you have to quarantine there for two weeks which we decided against. So instead we moved along the coast to Dalyan, a short ride from Dalaman where we plan to take in the beautiful beaches and views from some amazing hiking spots. Stay tuned on insta where I'll share more pics.
Everyday brings something new and especially new challenges but we're riding through the emotions and loving every minute.