Day to day life in Southern Turkey

No road is long with good company.

Turkish Proverb

So here we are in Southern Turkey. We initially anticipated being here for approximately 2 months with the plan being to purchase the Yacht, get to know everything and settle in before sailing off into the sunset…life threw us and everyone else on the planet a curve-ball. Now four months down the track we are loving day to day life in Southern Turkey – it is fun, exotic and exciting; more so now that we have been here for a while. Initially it was a little stressful and challenging with the language difference, being extra mindful of cultural differences and the general way of life here is nothing like being at home. Speaking of home, we made headlines in our home town of Whanganui, New Zealand. Read the fabulous article Whanganui Couple Locked Down in Southern Turkey.

Sunrise over Finike Marina

Here in Finike the population is around 48,000. It is a coastal town surrounded by craggy hills and snow capped mountain ranges with rivers running through the town to the sea. It is predominantly an agricultural farming area with a good sized fishing industry too. There are a lot of foreign yachts in the marina, which makes for a wide variety of cultures. Finike is not your typical tourist destination which suits us fine.

Overlooking Finike

We have found the Turkish people to be so humble, helpful, kind and friendly. We often go out walking and have had so many lovely experiences with the people. From a young boy catching one of his young chicks to show me and hold, being given fresh fruit, vegetables and bread on our walks, to the local cart owner stopping to say hello and have photos taken together. We always come away from these interactions with a glow, such heartwarming experiences. We have made several Turkish friends who check in on us and make sure we are aware of any local regulations and changes to daily life, as well as some who share traditional recipes with us which is really special.

A true character

Day to day interactions have made learning some of the Turkish language both interesting and humerous. We have picked up basic greetings, foods and general terms. Google Translate is fantastic for single words or short sentences but a lot can be lost in translation if you get too carried away. Luckily the chap and I understand more than we can speak so we get by without too many hiccups.

We love the gardens here, the local people are very house and garden proud and the array of flowers is so vibrant. Bougainvillea Vines are prolific in this region and come in a variety of stunning colours. Here in Finike, on the Southern Coast of Turkey it is well renowned for its citrus production. So much so the town’s statue is a big orange. Finike also has magnificent orchards of pomegranates, cherry trees, figs, loquats, olives and tunnel houses for miles full of tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, cucumber and courgettes. Every spare inch of land is utilised to produce food crops. It is wonderful walking through the streets and seeing chickens fossicking in the undergrowth, hearing the goats in the hills and tractors pulling trailers laden with produce.

If you are a dog, cat or tortoise lover then Turkey is the place for you. Cats are everywhere here, whether they are ear tipped and part of colonies specifically to keep the rodent population under control, strays or family pets they are on every corner. The Turkish people have had cats as pets for generations, dog ownership however is relatively new. Anatolian Shepherds have been used for goat herd protection in the surrounding hills and are incredibly powerful, large and loyal dogs. We have come across several on our travels and love every one of them. Dogs can be found sleeping all around the towns, outside shops, under bridges and along the roads. All are well fed as it is very common to see plates of dog and cat food with bowls of fresh water on every beach front or alleyway in the villages. We quite often have a dog wander along with us at different stages of our walks, it’s great company. Tortoises are new to me and I have become enthralled with them. They are so gentle and inquisitive and surprisingly common around the areas we have been staying. It is common practice for a driver on the road to pull over and gently pick up a tortoise and place them on the grass areas so as not to be run over. If you walk into the countryside you will discover hundreds of tortoises and their turtle cousins in the waterway areas, plus lizards and snakes too – fascinating to watch.

Market Day is quite the occasion here, it is huge. We were overwhelmed the first time we went but now we have our favourite vendors and they know us well. One good thing about being foreign is you stand out and straight away the vendors will wave out and say hello. The variety and quality is staggering, we love to buy our weeks worth of produce here plus our dried fruit and nut snacks too. Cheeses are presented in goats skins, fish is straight off the boats morning catch, bread is made as you wait and the nuts are roasting throughout the day. Beautiful sights, sounds and smells indeed. Turkish people are big on preserving and drying foods, making good use of the Mediterranean sun to dry vegetables and make soup mixes to last throughout the winters.

Turkish Tea Gardens are prevalent in Finike. Before the lockdowns of late the gardens were well populated with mainly men folk enjoying a game of Rumikub, a cigarette and of course tea or coffee. The traditional Turkish Tea is brewed in two stacked kettles called çaydanlık as I discovered in my Tea Time in Turkey post. Quite often the tea gardens will have big versions of these on coals or gas constantly brewing and very hot. I am looking forward to the Tea Gardens reopening so I can try some more types of tea.

We are having a wonderful time here in Finike, making the most of every opportunity. We can’t wait to set sail on the water and discover new areas of Turkey and further…

Umbrellas over a Turkish Mall
Gorgeous Farm Building in Finike

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33 thoughts on “Day to day life in Southern Turkey

  1. Hi Justine. Love reading your blog. It looks amazing!I’ve been telling Michelle all about your travels.
    We are in level 2 in wanganui from today, so some sort of normality. We have stayed open for emergencies through lockdown. Bit different with full ppe but easy to get use to.
    Look forward to reading more about your trip.
    Take care
    Claire

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Claire, so lovely to hear from you. Please say hi to everyone and stay super safe. Thanks for following my blog ⛵🌍

      Like

  2. Oh this post brightened my day! We are still in our stay at home order here in the U.S. I want to travel so bad! We had a short stay in turkey a few years ago and I just loved the food, the people, the history and the sights. Now I want to go back. Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sorry you are a bit Stuck right now but it seems like you are having some incredible experiences! Now I’m looking forward to going back and reading more of your posts. Enjoy and Stay well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Really enjoy your blog and stories of your life so far in turkey. So interesting to learn about and see your fabulous photos which tell a story themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Fiona, so lovely to hear from you. Really pleased you are enjoying my posts. Hope all is well back home 🇳🇿

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  4. I love everything about this blog post ! Thanks for sharing in such detail the setting you find yourselves in. The photos are gorgeous. I’ve never been to Turkey but the market alone sounds like my idea of paradise. I’d love to visit one day. In my experience, the best way of traveling is to spend a few months in one place. It may not have been your original plan but it sounds like the time has been well spent. I can’t wait to read more about where this journey takes you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, I always wonder if I am hitting the mark with how I relay information and feelings. Turkey is indeed a wonderful place to be, I do hope you can get here one day.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What an experience to begin with and throw COVID-19 into it. Enjoyed reading how you are making the most of it and soaking up the experience of living there longer. Which truly gives us a better picture of how people live then in and out like a tourist. New Zealand is a great example of what to do during this pandemic. Everything is still closed here. Parks were opened last week. So enjoy and this is all part of the adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are very welcome, it is a lovely little town and we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves here. Hoping to be able to set sail again soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We have weekend lockdowns, over 65s and under 20s have been on a strict lockdown for several months. No cases in this town or Kas which is further around the coast and we have spent some time there too. Has been handled very well.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, this looks amazing! Thank you for sharing so we could admire a little bit of this beautiful place. Definitely adding Turkey to my travel bucket list!

    Liked by 1 person

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