Tag Archives: Review

2012 – A Review Part 2 – April to June

 April

Late March and into April we had our first visitor of the year, Seamus. It was fun having a guest, we did loads of tourist stuff.  Ephesus, Didim, Priene, Miletos.  We ate out a lot, Seamus liked pide.  He really confused a local barber by wanting his head shaved, this brought about lots of amusement.

DSCN1088The bike needed some basic maintenance, new brakes for a start.  The battery was old and needed to be replaced.  We also wanted to be able to carry some stuff for when we go away.  We took it to Has Oto / Izmir Harley Davidson for the brakes, battery and a rack, and to have it fully checked over and serviced.

With the bike now fully roadworthy and legal we did a weekend trip to Bodrum.  Not very far, 3 hours down the road – it will be quicker in the future when the road works are completed.  Bodrum was fun, we went to the museumBodrum-castle-at-night in the castle which is excellent.  We met some fellow bloggers, Annie and Jack, shared beer and chat.  We had dinner at a harbour front restaurant.  We got caught up in a cycle race on the way home, this added to the fun.

Just before we left for the UK we found some really nice garden furniture in Kuşadası.  We had been looking for some for a while, had rejected the options from Koç Taş, and did not want plastic.  It was not great timing, delivery could not be arranged until after we got back, but the furniture was really good and excellent value.

May

The month started with a trip to see family and friends in the UK, and to do some shopping.  We brought back saddlebags and mounting kit, and a few other bits for the bike since they are really expensive here, plus a variety of other things we got on ebay which were stored by family.

With the weather getting very pleasant we thought it was a good idea to do some further improvements on the roof terrace.  We now had the outdoor furniture we purchased just before we went away.  We decided to get a BBQ, buying one in Selçuk along with tools, charcoal and lighting fluid.  This brought about the expected result, it decided to rain – the next couple of days were really stormy.  We take full responsibility for bringing the rains.  Once the rains cleared we made a lot of use of the BBQ, grilling marinated entrecote became very popular with us.

Time for our first proper road trip.  We loaded up the bike, clipping on the saddlebags, windshield and the rest.  The destination was the village of Gelemiş, KaunosDbut because it was the first time we were going to be on the heavily loaded bike we decided to break the outward trip in two and stop in Köyceğiz, allowing time for a day trip to Kaunos.  Köyceğiz is a lovely place to stop, quiet and very pretty, and about three hours from home.  Gelemis was lovely, we found a great pension in the village, little has changed since we were last there.  There was the same wonderful gözleme, the same shops, bars, restaurants and quiet charm.  We spent loads of time wandering around Patara, some of which has been greatly restored since we were last there and there are plans to restore more of the city.  We will be going back to see how this restoration develops.  We explored some of the dunes, strolled along the magnificent and deserted beach, rode to Xanthos and Letoon and took an organised kayak trip on the river.

June

June was a quiet month.  The weather had mostly calmed down, day after day of warm sunshine, apart from the one day in early June when we decided to go to CundaAyvalık.  We got very wet before we had got as far as Izmir.  By the time we got to Ayvalık we had dried out and most of our gear had stayed dry.  We spent a couple of nights there, went to the wonderful market, ate fish on the seafront, took a trip to Cunda to eat more fish.  Rode out to Şaytan Sofrası.  Drank some Rakı.

We started the process of getting Ashley a Turkish driving licence.  A friend helped us to get the file of forms, and with some advice on the steps we needed to take.  We filled out all the forms, Ashley had an eye test, got the UK licence translated and notarised, and generally spent a couple of days running back and forth before leaving everything with the police.

Having bought a decent flat screen TV a couple of months ago we decided it was about time to have a better choice of channels.  We took out a deal with Digiturk, they sent people to complete the paperwork, hook up the system and run us through the box and handset, pretty much exactly the same as would be got from Sky back in the UK.  Having digiturk meant we could watch the football over the summer, and the Olympics.  We also had a far better selection of local channels, good for helping us with language skills.  We may add to the basic package at some point in the future.

2012 – A Review. Part 1 – January to March

January

Our stuff finally arrived from the UK.  Late December we got a message from our shipping agency that our stuff was on its way.  They said that for import regulations we needed to have a stamp in our passports less than one month old, which resulted in a hastily organised and stormy trip to Chios and back.  So we went to Izmir, met the shipping agency and headed to customs.  It took all day, and in the end there was still more work to be done, a consignment before ours was being argued about.  We left it with our agents and a week or so later everything arrived.Our-stuff-arrived

We were like children at Christmas, unpacking boxes and finding great things.  Books, kilims, personal effects.  We rediscovered Madhur Jaffrey.

The arrival of books and stuff brought about a trip to IKEA in Izmir, we needed somewhere to put all the stuff which had arrived.  We had also used some cushions from IKEA furniture as packing for our boxes so we needed to go and get the chair frames.  We survived IKEA and had the shopping delivered, assembly then needed to happen.

We learnt a great deal about using a soba safely.  For a start the importance of keeping the chimney reasonably clear, tools for this are easily obtainable.  It is a messy job but pretty essential.  Equally important is having a carbon monoxide alarm just in case things to go badly wrong.  We have learnt more since like do not use an extractor fan in the same room as a lit soba.

We obtained some local private health insurance.  Our entitlement to NHS was over, or about to end.  We probably could have gone back to the UK and got treatment, both of us worked in the NHS, we knew what to say and what to not say, but we felt it was a far better plan to get something locally especially since we were starting to plan to buy a motorcycle.

February

It snowed twice.  Once early in the month and once at the end.  We knew it got cold in winter, and that it is possible to go skiing in mountains an hour or so away, but had not expected snow this close to sea level.  There were children and adults on the street playing snowballs – some of the children had never experienced snow before.  The snow did not hang around, but parts of the month were bitterly cold.  Due to the cold we had to buy more firewood, a friend recommended a place in the sanayı, the wood was more expensive but better quality.  Unsurprisingly the better quality wood caused fewer problems with the soba.

On a warmer day when the sun was shining we took a trip down to Pamucak beach.  We were rewarded by flamingos-clearseeing flamingos on migration.  They were spectacular to watch but sadly not keen to allow us close enough for decent photographs.

Continuing with the theme of getting a motorcycle we had the steps to the side of the house turned into a ramp and paved, and a new gate fitted.  We had longer term plans to turn the basement into a garage but were not in a hurry to do this.

March

After the possibility of buying a bike in Usak fell though we had a couple to go and look at in Istanbul.  We adore Istanbul so a trip there was never going to be onerous, but it did involve a lot of hanging about in the cold and rain, and one evening as we were walking across the hippodrome the rain turned to sleet and then to snow.  After we saw the bike we liked we spent a lot of time hanging out in coffee houses whilst paperwork was being attended to.  Finally everything was in place so we took a trip with the owner to a Noter to do the sale.  It was lots of messing about, the first Noter did not want to do it, the second one was far more helpful.  A translator was needed, so more hanging about waiting for one to arrive.

Eventually it was all sorted, we became the owners and Şadi had a load of money.  By way of celebration we had lunch with Şadi at his place of worA-tight-squeezek and he pointed out to us various staff from NTV.  Given how cold it was we then arranged for Bosphorus Harley Davidson to ship the bike to us and headed for the airport to get a flight home.

We then had to sort out loads of paperwork for the bike.  A dossier of documents to take to the police in Izmir, to have foreigner plates made up linked to my name and the vehicle.  We had the dossier made up in Selçuk, there are people who specialise in this work – very much recommended.  Once we had the plate from Izmir there was basic insurance, and some more comprehensive cover to arrange.  It was a lot of running around.

We did a couple of really spectacular walks with Zirve Dağcılık.  One trocks-scaleo Nazarköy and one to the mountains between Lake Bafa and Milas.  We had done some  walking earlier in the year, on our own and nearer to Selçuk.  The weather was warming up and the rains less frequent, so conditions for walking were getting better and better.

We arranged to have a couple of our kilims repaired.  This took longer than expected but eventually they came back.  The work was good.  We then took a load to be cleaned, they had been used in London where there was no decent and realistically priced service to get them cleaned, then they got packed in our boxes, stored and transported.  With the sun shining it was time to get them properly cleaned.  It made a massive difference, and revealed colours we had never seen before.