It is, after all, vacation: time for everyone to relax.
Fethiye is built on the ancient ruins of Greek Telmessos, a city where Apollo is said to have disguised himself as a puppy to woo the shy daughter of the Phoenician King. Alexander the Great later captured the city by infiltrating his warriors into a feast night, weapons hidden in their flute boxes.
There is little of that passionate drama in evidence today: the city has given itself over to tourism. There is a broad ceremonial promenade and ornamental gardens spread along the waterfront, and crowded beaches in Ölüdeniz.
The best part, for me, was the old market, just in from the harbour. Beneath broad white tents, anchored with ropes over the canals, there were sellers behind tables of figs, aubergines, tomatoes and peppers of every colour and pattern. there were casks of bright spices, vats of soft white cheeses, and piles of confected Turkish delight.
‘just like Pike Place Market, just older, exotic, traditional, (fewer salmon).
An alley of restaurants paralleled the canal, everyone selling Turkish pancakes. These are more like double-layer crepes with sweet and savory fillings: lemon and sugar, spinach and cheese, washed down with strong tea.
I take the pause partly to sample the foods, partly to observe the people.
From Fethiye, we went to Ölüdeniz resort, famous for the Blue Lagoon and the adjacent mountain-locked coves. It’s a beautiful location, reminiscent of the Italian Lakes. Beach filled with umbrellas and lounge chairs. skies dappled with drifting parafoils, its surprisingly languid and peaceful.
We coaxed the driver to divert to Kayaköy on the way back, a village abandoned by its Greek inhabitants when territory changed hands in 1922 and never inhabited by the Turks. The village has gradually decayed for almost a century, churches homes and workshops.
I’m glad that we got through before a restoration project begins, scheduled to restore a third of the buildings to their original condition with an accompanying hotel and museum.