It’s strange how we get attached to things in our lives. Wardrobes full of clothes we don’t wear anymore, boxes crowded with old photos, bookcases and bookcases with books we read once, every little nail and screw from dismantled household appliances, old magazines, photos of beaches and historic sites, and the list could go on and on. You can easily add to it only by looking inside your drawers. Even your purse could be an endless source of things you don’t need anymore and sometimes you don’t even know you are carrying.
There’s another type of attachment I recently realized we have: we become attached to places we’ve visited. We are strangers when we arrive. Ten days later, we feel like we own a little bit of that place. Each time we hear about it in the news or from friends interested in places to visit, we are somehow proud we’ve been there. I haven’t realized it was this strong until this week, when a sad event made me remember my Olu Deniz Turkey vacation.
A few days ago, I heard some news about the earthquake which affected Oludeniz, a Turkish resort on the Aegean Sea, nearby Fethiye. I’ve been to Olu Deniz. When I heard about the earthquake, I felt like it happened to an old friend of mine. Yes, Oludeniz and I became good friends the very moment I left it and my vacation started to turn into memories. The earthquake news made me live all those memories again. I remembered how surprised I was when we arrived there, seeing that Oludeniz was anything but a typical Turkish resort. Everything seemed to be built for British tourists. The overall atmosphere was pleasant (although I would have happily switched for more of the local taste), in restaurants you could hear Dire Straits and The Beatles, all coffee shops had advertisements for English Breakfasts (which I didn’t quite understand at that time) and the percentage of British versus Turkish people on the streets was perhaps 9:1.
There was nothing to remind of Turkish values and traditions. There were no fish restaurants on the beach, no Turkish women diving into the sea wearing their long and colorful skirts, nothing of all those little things that make Turkey such an awesome destination. The village was full of hotels and villas for rent. Although not very spectacular, they were surrounded by beautiful gardens. This is where I stayed:
I usually like booking the hotels without any meals (maybe breakfast is OK) because I like to taste local foods, so I’d rather not eat in a tourist facility. In Oludeniz, though, we had accommodation with two meals per day included. It proved to be wise, because restaurants were not only overpriced, but they had mainly British specific. Nothing wrong with it, but it was not what I expected from a Turkish vacation experience, so I might as well have eaten at the hotel’s restaurant.
However, Oludeniz was an unbelievable experience in other ways: the resort is in a very picturesque part of Turkey, so if you have a car, there are heaps of places to explore in the region.
Adventure lovers have their share of fun, too, as the place is well-known for paragliding. The Babadag mountain is almost 2000 m high and it is only 5km from the beach. Paragliders are all over the sky, most part of the day. Sometimes they descend in groups of three-four, just like those birds flying together in close formation without bumping into each other. Watching them is addictive. I almost booked a paragliding tour myself, but gave up the last moment in favor of a boat ride.
I read that the Oludeniz beach is frequently rated among the top 5 beaches in the world by touristic guides and travelers. I can understand why: the Blue Lagoon, where the beach is, is truly spectacular. The water is very calm and it has awesome shades of blue and green. You can’t have enough of watching it.
However, the “organized beach” concept which has become so popular these days, spoils the charm, at least for me. I don’t like it when a beach is full of rows of sunbeds and umbrellas, at barely one meter distance to each other. It looks like a concert hall rather than a beach, however, if you are the kind of tourist who appreciates this setup, you’ll love it. Nonetheless, you may want to consider visiting Oludeniz outside the full season months (July and August). June and October are probably the best. I’ve been there in the beginning of June and, as you can see from the photo below, there weren’t too many sunbeds taken.
The beach is pebbly, so you might want to use your rubber shoes. The people who maintain the beach do a great job: everything is squeaky clean, despite the big number of tourists they have each day. Some entertaining is also provided: there’s a guy who feeds some ducks right there, on the beach. It’s hilarious to see 15-20 ducks walking in a row, making loud noises, following a muscly guy wearing only shorts and a bucket full of orange slices. When he stops, the ducks surround him waiting for the feast. Then they hurry to grab as much food as they can. There’s plenty, so I guess they all end up satisfied.
There is an entrance fee for the Blue Lagoon beach. As far as I remember, it was about 7-8 Turkish Lira per person, which is about 4 USD. There are other beaches in the area, all of them free, so there isn’t much point in going to the Blue Lagoon more than once. Once is good, because the landscape is very beautiful. If the beach gets too busy, you can hire a kayak or a pedaloo and have some good exercise. Make sure you wear plenty of sunscreen, as it can get very harsh on your skin.