Friday, August 14, 2009

The British Invasion, Turkish style: Hisaronu and Oludiniz, Turkey


Destination: Butterfly Valley - Hisaronu, Turkey

Number of Days Spent: 3 days

Where we stayed: Olympos Hotel (25 Euro/Night - Roughly $38 with breakfast, wifi that sometimes works, a gorgeous pool but a shower that was either scalding hot or freezing cold, a non-working credit card machine and a very cranky manager. Oh, and although the rooms are clean they don't come in to clean them while you stay, change the towels or provide new toilet paper, even if it's 4 nights. When there are so many other nicer places in the area I wouldn't recommend this one.

Best restaurant: The Best Pancake House was small but the prices were unbeatable! For 3 lira, $2, you could get a huge pancake with either meat, cheese & spinach, chocolate sauce or banana with honey. For 5 lira, $2.50 you could get a plate of chicken sis, potatoes & salad. An excellent buy! Just beware that the freshly squeezed OJ, while delicious, will set you back 5 lira.

Best of: Relaxing on the boat and diving into the Mediterranean sea!

Worst of: Another first of the trip, the manager of the hotel couldn't (or didn't want to) use the credit card machine. While Tracy was calling the credit card company to find out that he never actually ran the card in the first place, and Jason was sitting patiently reading an old Maxim left behind by another guest, he was calling the police! "No money, problem" he exclaimed throwing his hands in the air. We yelled back "We have money, we just want to use our credit card! No problem, no problem!" He called off the hounds and we finally caved in and threw down the cash and stormed off. Believe it...we couldn't; up until that part he had been friendly, partly making up for the hotel's shortcomings. What a jerk.

Memorable: We really enjoyed our day cruising through the butterfly valley and surrounding islands.

Useful Tip: The boat trips are a great buy but don't book them in advance or pay full price; there are plenty of them and showing up at the beach will save you a couple of pounds by cutting out the middle man. With a bit of negotiation they are only 15 lira ($10 including a decent BBQ lunch)!

Welcome to Great Britain! As we walked down the street towards our hotel we both looked at one another and wondered what was up with the pork shop on the side of the road (for those of you not familiar with Islam, muslims do not eat pork under any circumstances)? Then we noticed a sign advertising fish and chips, then another for yorkshire pudding...and the prices were all in pounds...we finally tuned into the conversations on the street and yep, you guessed it, all English! We just happened to stumble upon Britain's "it" destination for the year. Sure enough, when we arrived at the hotel we were the only non-British people staying there.

Despite this area's lack of Turkish authenticity we still enjoyed our stay, so much so that we probably took a bit too much time lounging around the pool (hey, every so often we need a break too)! It's definitely more of a resort town for relaxing and I certainly wouldn't recommend this area for someone looking to experience Turkish culture. While here we managed to spent two lazy days at the pool, playing catchup on the blog, reading books & swimming in the lovely pool! On our one day out we took a boat trip with Funda 2 (see photo of boat below) to the butterfly valley & surrounding islands. We both highly recommend this trip and we felt that the boat we were on was terrific with a friendly staff, plenty of room in both the sun & shade and a clean bathroom on board. It was a steal at 15 lira ($10) for the full day trip, which included 5 swimming stops & a very nice lunch of grilled fish or chicken. The one drawback is that drinks are extra and since the prices are very low to begin with the staff does a fair amount of pestering you to order drinks (though it is done in a very casual and friendly way). We only bought a couple for lunch and while they were expensive they weren't outrageous (considering you're on a boat with no other choice). The scenery in the butterfly valley is truly exceptional, but you can see for yourself in the photos!

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Ok, so most of the scenery was beautiful...we couldn't resist taking a photo of the "culturally sensitive" old couple in the boat. Perhaps you can't tell, but yes that is a 300lb+ man in a Speedo with rashes all over his folds and his trusty, bare chested, sagging boobed accomplice.

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After three days of relaxing, we left the Pork Shop, crazy hotel owner and the "culturally insensitive" duo behind for perhaps quieter (and certainly more Turkish) environs: Patara, Turkey.

To see more photos of the Butterfly Valley click here!

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