So far this year I have had 5 of the most wonderful weeks in Turkey, 3 in February and 2 in May. Based in Kalkan of course, but with some travelling too. It is still so frustrating to hear people questioning the safety and wisdom of visiting this incredible country. I was there on my own for approximately half of those 5 weeks and I have never felt safer or more like people were looking out for me.
I drive myself around, I have made so many friends, and visiting in winter is a very different experience to a summer holiday. Kalkan is in relaxation mode, it is down time, a calm before the storm time, when people have time to just sit, drink cay, and talk. It is wonderful. Meanwhile May is a special time with the town come alive after the winter break, freshly painted buildings sparkle in the warm sunshine, and the summer flowers adding dollops of cerise pinks, stark yellows and subtle mauves everywhere. What never changes is that our Turkish family invite us in to eat with them, the staff, or rather our friends in local bars/restaurants are helpful, warm and welcoming, you are made to feel like you are part of the community, part of the family whenever you go and where ever you go. That is the Kalkan way, the Turkish way and I couldn’t give this up now if I tried.
Look through these photos, see for yourself how striking Kalkan and the local area really is and please note that there really isn’t a terrorist on every corner, or whatever else the media would have you believe. It is hard to say this, but of course there is a risk, a very, very tiny risk and nowhere near the risk factor you are taking on British roads day in, day out. Those risks are sadly inherent in pretty much every corner of the world at the moment, that is the sad fact. Recent atrocities in London and Manchester really bring home how there is a risk where ever you are in the world, including right here at home. It was quite surreal sitting in my favourite bar in Kalkan, with just a few close friends, in the wee small hours, our Turkish friends as shocked and upset as we were by events unfolding in Manchester on the TV screen over our heads.
If I am taking this risk every time I step outside my London front door then why would I let such a minuscule chance stop me visiting this amazing coastline, its warm friendly people and relaxed way of life? Kalkan, sipping a cocktail, enjoying incredible food in the balmy evening air looking out at the islands ‘floating’ on the horizon… or a London Tube Train – I know where I would rather be. One day, I might just forget to leave.