Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Talk about Kalkan: Christina's story

When Christina first visited Kalkan five years ago it was love at first sight.

Originally from Dorset, Christina first became aware of the possibilities in Turkey – and Kalkan in particular – from a developer friend.

When she visited the area for herself the attraction was instant.

“I’ve been lucky enough to travel extensively around the Mediterranean, but when I arrived in Kalkan the natural beauty of the place combined with its unspoilt charm was like a breath of fresh air,” she says.

Since that first visit, Christina has bought a number of Kalkan properties, including one from Place Overseas, and now divides her time between Kalkan and Dorset.

Christina has made Kalkan her second home, and has many close Turkish friends there. She’s also learning Turkish, which is no easy task, but she enjoys the challenge and feels it will be an advantage for day-to-day living – although most of the local Turkish population speak English.

Kalkan’s village-like atmosphere means everyone knows everyone else, and it was easy for Christina to meet and mix with the locals. There is a strong sense of community, whether you’re an expat or local, she says.

Kalkan's cobbled streets and flower-covered houses offer relief from the hordes of tourists found elsewhere on the coast.

Recent years and new developments have seen a burgeoning expat community. However, Kalkan has retained its character and hasn’t suffered from crowding in the way that Marmaris and Bodrum have.

“Kalkan is not like larger Turkish seaside resorts, you don’t see many buckets and spades for sale – it is much smaller and has a far more sophisticated feel about the place.”

“I like the people, the way of life, and the culture,” she says, adding that the area is surrounded by unspoilt countryside with many archaeological sites and breathtaking scenery.

As everywhere in Turkey, the range of fresh ingredients available at local markets is remarkable, she says.

At Kalkan’s Thursday market you can buy a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables, and slightly further afield, Fethiye’s Tuesday market has just about everything you will need including cheese, olives, breads and fresh fruit and vegetables.

For someone who enjoys cooking and food it’s an absolute heaven, she says. The “very, very good” restaurants in the area are another plus.

As with anywhere new, adjusting to life in Turkey had its challenges.

Christina has coped with water shortages, and last year the water was turned off sometimes for two or three days at a time. the winter electricity can also be unpredictable, especially when Kalkan is in the midst of one of its spectacular storms, with the power supply often staying off all day and well into the following night. However, Christina has taken all these speed bumps in her stride.

“It’s rustic, but I love it,” she says.

On the plus side, Christina has been impressed with the high standard of healthcare in Turkey, saying medical centres and dentists are professional, efficient and clean.

The long, hot summers are a bonus, too. However, during the winter, despite the climate being milder than the UK, it becomes quieter. However by March Kalkan is a hive of activity with plenty of sunshine and the local businesses busily preparing for the start of the new season.

Despite new developments and changes to the area, Christina believes Kalkan has much potential and is planning to make the most of her time there.

“I count myself very lucky.”