All change for Hastings Battleaxe

Well, obviously there was the biggest change – the General Election – on the very day we came back from Turkey. Great sense of relief here at Battleaxe Towers. This post is mainly about Turkey though, and what is likely to be our last ever trip to the Yavuz Bungalows in Cirali. A big change for us personally, and very sad, but we feel the time has come. After many years, the Turkey era has ended. For two days after getting back late from a full days travelling I was up and down to London – now feel absolutely exhausted.

Have posted about our Turkish holidays so many times that I scarcely need to repeat it all – here is last year’s for reference.  We first went to Cirali in 2013! This time it was very, very hot. Too hot for us. The temperature did not drop below the mid-30s, and unusually, for much of the time it was very humid. The combination of the two meant that it was hard to do anything. Traditionally, we have been for walks in the slightly cooler evenings, and greatly enjoyed them – around the village, and to the ancient city of Olympos. We did manage to do a bit, and got to Olympos on the one cooler day, but much of the time we just wilted about. Too hot for boat trips, too hot for anything. We love Cirali, but there are other places we want to see before we get too old.

This is now the second year we have really noticed the heat, but looking back over all the posts, I can see it gradually building up – and we are getting older. For the first time this year, I was conscious of doing things to take care of myself – drinking lots of water, staying in the shade, taking regular rests in the cool etc.

Thank goodness for the air conditoning in our little house. For the first time ever, we had it on at night, and as a result, slept quite well. The Yavuz Bungalows Hotel was much the same as ever, except they had built a new bar in the restaurant area- oh what excitement. However, change may well be happening there quite shortly. Derya, the owner, is planning to hand over the business to his son, who has just graduated from university and has now started work with his father. The place is now just how we like it – quiet, unspoilt, rustic, no loud music, no bright lights, simple living and simple food. Who knows what the future will hold – I don’t think we could bear to go back and find it changed.

As I mentioned last year, although Cirali is preserved from massive development, it is becoming increasingly popular with wealthy Turks, who are likely to favour a different approach to catering and accommodation. It is hard to believe the number of absolutely enormous cars that now crowd and crawl along the narrow lanes…  We left our previous village, Gumusluk on the Bodrum peninsula because it was becoming increasingly busy and commercialised. It is now described as a ‘high-end’ resort. I think Cirali has got a way to go before it gets like that. There are still plenty of scabby corners round the village, but the process has started…

But all this sounds a bit down-beat, doesn’t it.  Look, as ever, we had a lovely time. Just the two of us this time – no Shaun. No other Brits staying at our place – all Turkish people. Again, though, that’s always been how we like it – am not too keen on my fellow Brits on holiday… As ever, we struggle with our limited Turkish, much to people’s amusement.

One excitement – the day an incredibly large and posh super-yacht came along and anchored nearby. It even had its own helicopter parked on the top deck. Derya told us that a few days before, a mysterious guest had arrived at the Olympos Lodge, the boutique hotel next to the Yavuz, by sea-plane. We never saw anyone very much, apart from the uniformed crew, but the yacht, Cloudbreak, belongs to a Russian billionaire oligarch called Alexander Svetakov. It is described as one of the most expensive and luxurious yachts in the world, and cost $120 million  when it was built in 2016. Apparently it costs $12 million a year to run it… Here is information about the boat.  Anyway, I did wonder if it would be worth swimming out to make the acquaintance of the owner, but he is already married… and probably very dodgy – read this, then burn it.

Talking of the Olympos Lodge, we stayed there ourselves back in 2014., before moving next door to the Yavuz. Here is the post about it. The hotel still seems much the same now – horribly expensive – and not that much to show for it. Their peacocks come into our orchard, beg for food and make the most dreadful racket. The thing I most remember was the shower – all terrifically designer chic but the floor was all pebbles – it was like walking on the beach in bare feet… and the walls were covered in shells, some of which had broken and left jagged sharp edges. You couldn’t risk brushing your body against those walls. The whole hotel was all style and very little substance.

We got our morning beach session off to a very fine art – an extra large super-king sheet (brought in my suitcase – along with my pillow would you believe!) draped over the beach umbrella, and tucked in behind our sunbeds, making a very effective gazebo effect. Two mattresses on each sunbed…

We’d still spend the afternoons in the orchard,  lying in the shade of the orange trees. I’d get bread from breakfast and feed the birds, probably foolish as ever because they were then hanging hopefully round our house.  Think two competing cockerels every morning right outside the window at 4.30am… We saw a wild tortoise too – unusual these days, we used to see many more. Hedghogs at night, too…

I was quite glad to get away from the Election campaign, but if there wasn’t enough going on, it is still the European Cup Football thing. In Turkey, they are very into thair national team. Early in our stay, Turkey were playing Portugal. I knew Clara and her family would be watching in their local Bar Centrale in Sao Marcos de Serra, so I said we’d watch the match in Turkey! So we joined a crowd of Turks watching a very small telly… which kept cutting out!

The next Turkey match didn’t start until 10pm Turkish time – they are two hours ahead of us. We didn’t watch… but the Turks won, so much noisy racketing around until the small hours.

Here are a few pictures from Olympos – the first time we had ever been in the day. We were surprised, the archaeologists had done loads of work since last year, and whatever Turkish Government department that deals with ancient monuments had been very busy. More of the city had been revealed, there were many informative notices, decked walkways and even benches to sit on.

Here is a random selection of photos to finish up with – Cirali memories. Will deal with UK politics and local happenings in another post. Goodbye Turkey, or Türkiye as we should call it now.

Derya, with two of the staff. The Yavuz is one of the very few places to have women working ‘front of house’.

Puppy, the resident cat.
Sutlac, Turkish rice pudding – a Battleaxe favourite





1 Comment

  1. Heather
    July 8, 2024 / 5:44 pm

    Sad that the era has come to an end. You always seem to be away though, so maybe you’ll find a lovely cooler spot – Alaska maybe!! K

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