While you all were reading about our adventures in Istanbul and Cappadocia, we were gallivanting around the southwestern coast. Oh, the joys of being able to schedule posts ahead of time....
We were anxious to christen Anya (our Volkwagen Golf) on the Turkish highways, especially since we don't get to use her that much here in the city. We also knew that we wanted to explore the southwestern coast of Turkey because there are beautiful beaches that lure in tourists from all over Europe. When we realized we had this week free, we loaded up our girl and hit the road!
Our first stop was Fethiye (pronounced Fet-ee-ya), where we spent three nights. We got kind of a late start that morning and ended up leaving around 11:00. This was our first time driving on Turkish highways and we had no idea what to expect. Boy, oh boy, were were pleasantly surprised. Not only were the highways actual paved, well-maintained highways, the scenery was GORGEOUS!
I'm not talking pretty because there are no buildings around. I'm talking actual mountains and water right next to each other stunning. If you've ever driven along the west coast of the United States (Mike and I have this debate over whether it's route 1 or route 101), you'll know what I'm talking about.
By the time we actually pulled into Fethiye, I was just so amazed with what I had seen in the past four hours that I couldn't even imagine it getting any better. Wrong. Fethiye is beautiful. It's a huge tourist town, which means there are tons of people, but there's a reason so many people flock there. It's right along the Mediterranean and there are tons of water activities to do.
We arrived around 3:30 and checked into the Ferah Pension, where we'd be staying for the next few days. It's an interesting little hotel/hostel since there are trees and cats everywhere on the first floor, but our room was nice and the view from the balcony was something special.
|Is this real life?|
By the time we got settled in our room, we didn't have a ton of time to do anything huge, so we just set out to explore the town. Our hostel was probably a mile out of the main part of the city, but it wasn't too far and it felt good to walk after being in the car. My Fitbit may be broken (a new one is on the way, thanks Fitbit!) but I gotta get in those steps!
|It seems like every town we stop in has it's own ancient ruins.|
|Turkey isn't big on big grassy parks, but there is almost always a city square where people are riding their bike and roller blading.|
|This boat was very stable and looked like it had been like this for a little while, but definitely caused some alarm to tourists like us!|
After exploring the harbor a bit, we were hungry. Mike is always big on looking up what the top restaurants are in our Lonely Planet book or on Trip Advisor, while I'm content just picking a restaurant that is close and doesn't look too sketchy. Usually, he wins out by promising me some great meal (he knows the way to my heart is with food) and this time, it was with seafood. In our Lonely Planet book, they had a restaurant that would cook fresh fish or seafood for you if you bought it at the fish market across the street from them. It sounded like a delicious and fresh meal, so we ventured that way. What we didn't realize was that there were multiple restaurants like the one recommended. Each restaurant has their own little stand, so when we walked up to the first stand we saw, it was actually for a different restaurant.
Mike chose Red Snapper, while I went with shrimp (I'm not a huge fish fan). The man behind the counter escorted us to our restaurant where we found a table. Bread and salad come with the meal and we ordered a bottle of wine to enjoy. I'm pretty sure they thought that the shrimp was an appetizer and the Red Snapper was for us to split because my shrimp came out way before the fish. I tried to wait, but it was getting cold. I felt bad eating, but it was delicious and Mike was fine eating bread and drinking wine. Let me tell you, garlic butter shrimp is good! Not healthy, but very very good. Mike even tried my shrimp (which he doesn't like) and admitted that he could probably add shrimp to the list of food he would eat. VICTORY!
Mike's fish finally came and he dug right in...kind of. When I say his fish came, I mean the whole fish came. Head, eyes, bones and all. Neither of us really know how to fillet a fillet a fish, so it makes for an interesting meal, but Mike figured it out and got some good fish out of the whole process.
After dinner, we walked around the harbor a bit more and settled on a place to grab a drink. I've never given a bad review on TripAdvisor, but after waiting 30 minutes for a drink, I had no other choice.
Before heading in, we made one more stop.
Insert back story: In Izmir, there are tons of guys with carts selling food. The main foods are sweet corn on the cob, ice cream and mussels. You could eat your whole meal from carts. Mike and I haven't tried the corn or the mussels (we've had ice cream a time or two) and were definitely a little hesitant to try the mussels because....food poisoning. Fethiye had the same stands
After hearing from multiple people that they were cooked and really good, we decided to muster up some courage and try some mussels. After finally getting our drinks, we walked over to one of the many stands and ordered 5 mussels. The man showed us what to do and we were quickly hooked on this little cultural quirk. Those little babies were delicious! All you do is squirt some lemons on them, scoop them into your mouth and there ya go! What a great discovery! We had to fight the urge to order about a dozen more before heading home to our hotel. Don't worry though, that would not be the last time we would eat the midye dolma (mussels).
Fethiye proved itself on our first day there and we were excited to explore a little more in the next few days.