Friday, October 30, 2009

The Turkey Diaries: Day 8 - Monday 21st September 2009

For the last time we woke to blue skies, bright sun and the usual over-30 degree temperatures. This time tomorrow it will be cold, dull and probably raining :( so we'll have to make the most of it as it's a long long time till we'll see anything like it again.

After breakfast we have our usual stroll down the prom, where it is 33 degrees this morning, and stop off for a Turkish tea (not an apple tea, as there's none available).
Afterwards we go back to the canal, which continues to be one of our favourite spots in Icmeler - as well as being a very picturesque centrepiece to the town. You only have to buy from a stall once and then on your return you are greeted like old friends.

We go up in the direction of the old village for yet another first-class lunch. The choice of food on this holiday has been amazing, there is so much variety on every menu, with something for everyone.

After another stroll around town we head back early to the hotel to do our final packing then have to check out. After sitting for a while in reception, we go out for a final stroll down the seafront, sit on a wall near where the taxi boats leave from, watching the sun set and the lights come on in Icmeler and Marmaris in the distance. It’s a magical setting and I’m feeling quite sad to be saying goodbye to this part of the world but hope we can maybe return some day, all things being well.

We then go back to the hotel and it's not long until the coach arrives to take us to Dalaman Airport for our flight home. The journey from Icmeler to Dalaman seems to go in quite quickly, punctuated by another stop-off at the 'comfort stop' (where Alexander Rybak's "Fairytale" and Hadise's "Dum Tek Tek" are playing over the stereo!) and we finally arrive later in the evening at Dalaman which functions in a rather unusual way, as your luggage is scanned even before you check-in. There are many distraught and tearful passengers in our check-in queue as they realise they are over the luggage limit and have to pay for excess baggage - thankfully we're not among them, and I realise I made the right decision not to buy all those tempting handbags on offer in Icmeler.
Then we go through passport control and then get our tourist visas cancelled (sob) Of course our flight is delayed tonight, so we have to hang around for a lot longer than we anticipated. Which could bankrupt you if you hang around too long....

If you are familiar with the concept of buying a 500 ml bottle of Coca-Cola in an airport shop like WH Smith or Boots, you'll be aware that this usually costs about £1.50.

In these credit-crunching days with the exchange rate of £1 = 1 euro, Turkey has been fantastic value for money at almost 2.5 lira to the £. So you would expect to be charged maybe 4 lira for your bottle of Coca-Cola.

For you will pay no less than 10 lira - yes, 4 of your British pounds - for that 500 ml bottle. Sorry to go on about this at length, but this is a robbery that even Dick Turpin would shake his head at. Dalaman has a reputation as "the world’s most expensive airport" and now I know why.

Eventually in the wee small hours we board our flight home, which is a lot quieter than the flight going out. We try to sleep but fail miserably as it’s too cold and uncomfortable, but we must have got some sleep along the way as the next thing we remember is the pre-landing announcements.

We arrive just after 8.00 am in time for breakfast at the airport. The temperature here is only a third of what we left behind in Turkey. There are now two very itchy mosquito bites on my legs (which subsequently take a couple of weeks to heal).

This has been a holiday filled with lots of laughs, new experiences, surprises and happy memories. Icmeler is a clean, safe resort and despite being targeted mainly at British tourists with the "full English" breakfasts, Sky Sports and "three for a tenner", we managed to get enough of an authentic Turkish experience and you never forget where you are. The people have been polite and courteous and always made you feel welcome.

As people who don't do package holidays, we found Icmeler to be a surprising revelation. I haven't stopped talking about this holiday since I got back home - and I'm sure it won't be our last time on Turkish soil. Verdict: highly recommended. If you want "the buzz" then head for Marmaris, but if you want something a bit quieter with a mix of tourist-appeal and a unique Turkish touch, then Icmeler is the place to be.

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