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Carole from Kalkan

 Untitled Document by Carole Dunn

Tell us about yourself.
In 1990, my future husband and I came from Boston to Turkey on a 2-week visit. After a few days in Istanbul, we rented a car and drove along the Mediterranean coast from Antalya to Izmir, stopping off in Kalkan and Marmaris for a few nights along the way. We fell madly in love with Kalkan! In fact, that is where my husband proposed marriage to me!

What made you come to Turkey?
I lived in Rome, Italy for 15 years. During that time, all of my friends visited Turkey and kept telling me how beautiful it is. But I never came to Turkey until after I had moved to Boston (US) and terribly missed the Mediterranean ambiance. I decided my first vacation would be in Turkey! When we first drove into Kalkan in the summer of 1990, we both sensed immediately that this is where we wanted to retire. We continued to visit Kalkan and in 1998 bought a large plot of land on the top of the hill overlooking the town and began building a house.

What do you do in your daily life?
My husband retired from corporate life at the end of 2002, coincidentally just at the moment that our newly built house in Kalkan was finished. So we sold our house in Boston, packed up and moved to Kalkan.

Family?
Our daughters live in Paris and Casablanca, we live in Kalkan.

Can you compare your first days here with today?
In 1990, there were not more than 400 inhabitants living in Kalkan. Kalkan was originally a Greek fishing village become Turkish. The largest local mosque is a converted Greek Orthodox church. In 1990, no one spoke English and there were only 2 small hotels, as I recall. At the time a luxury time-share resort, Club Patara, was just being constructed.
Kalkan was a charming, quaint undiscovered seaside village in 1990. A secret Turkish jewel nestled on the shores of a half-moon bay at the foot of encircling mountains clad with olive trees. Kalkan was "put on the international tourist map" a few years ago by articles in the New York Times, Forbes magazine and the Financial Times of London.

Tour agents soon began a brisk business bringing mainly English tourists to Kalkan (to the dismay of permanent residents) and construction exploded. In the past few years the prices of land and homes has quadrupled; about 120 new homes, apartments, hotels & restaurants have been built expanding the outskirts of Kalkan all the way to Kalamar Bay. Rumor has it that 150 more building permits have already been given for the next building season. I had the first web site for Kalkan in 1995, now there are many replete with lovely photos.

Today there are approximately 1000 year-round inhabitants, mostly Turkish, English, German, Dutch and a few American families. In July and August the local population swells to around 8000 (mostly English) with a few Italians, Germans, French and Russians.

Kalkan hosts a small, cozy marina that is home to luxury yachts, gulets and deep-sea diving boats. You can hire a gulet for the day, stretch yourself out on a sun mattress as the gulet meanders lazily from beach to island to protected cove. You will swim in transparent azure waters, eat lunch on the boat and enjoy a friendly afternoon tea with biscuits, all for a modest charge. If you join other tourists on a 'collective' cruise, it will cost about $10-$15 per person for the day. You can also hire an entire gulet suitable for 8-10 guests plus crew for US$130. This price includes a plentiful lunch and afternoon tea replete with goodies.

Has living in Turkey influenced your approach to life?
It is only fair to say that Italy primarily influenced our approach to life. Italy indirectly brought us to Turkey-back to the Med. Turkey is refining our approach to life! Good food, leisure time and wonderful Turkish friends.

Turkish language?
The most difficult language I've ever tried to learn but making progress! Yavaş, yavaş.

Let's talk about the region you are living in.
Kalkan is 25 km west of Kaş, and a 2 hour drive east from the Dalaman airport. Here you can swim, snorkel, go deep-sea diving, take a day cruise or a week-long coastal cruise, visit the magnificent 18-km fine sand beach at Patara (no hotels on the beach), visit the archeological ruins at Patara which include a Roman amphitheatre, have a romantic seaside dinner until midnight, or just sit in any of numerous cafés and watch the world go by. If you have a car or come with a tour group, you may visit Kaputaş beach (spectacular!), the town of Kaş, Kekova (the sunken city), Tlos, Salikent waterfalls to the west or Lycian ruins and rock tombs to the east (Myra, Demre). Or just relax by your hotel or villa pool and read, occasionally glancing up to watch a sailboat or gulet slipping in or out of the marina.

One hour from Fethiye, you can also visit the famous Öludeniz beach. Perhaps the most photographed beach in Turkey. Kalkan itself does not have a sandy beach, only rock swimming platforms and a pebble beach; however, there are frequent dolmuş from Kalkan center to Patara beach.

Have you traveled in Turkey? Tell us your discoveries
We confess that most of our discoveries were along the route from Antalya to Izmir. Lycian tombs, Roman amphitheatres, ports and ruins. Next year we plan to visit the mountains on the Black Sea side.

What is your preferred characteristic trait of Turks?
Hospitality and friendliness. Everyone eager to help and willing to try to understand my fractured Turkish!

What was the annoying one?
Discerning truth from opinion! Also don't like the fact that many people with no prior construction experience have suddenly become residential contractors and are trying to turn a quick profit at the expense of quality and safety. Many homes end up with no permits, no titles, leaking roofs, etc.

Turkish Cuisine?
Superb!!

Any suggestion to new comers to Turkey?
I think most people coming to Turkey enjoy every moment of their experience and return. Turkey has a lot of repeat tourism. I think, however, that the government could do a lot more to promote tourism including building better roads and ensuring water and electricity throughout the summer.

Any suggestion to people planning to visit your region?
Plan to spend at least 1 week to take it all in and visit nearby places of interest. And DO NOT become so enthralled that you decide to buy a house or apt on your 1st visit. Be careful! Know who built your house or apartment, ask others who have bought, go to a reputable agent and BE SURE to get the title for both the land AND the house!





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Carole from Kalkan
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Latest comments about this article

 By bebekkiz  5.9.2006

i have been to kalkan several times in two years and had a boyfriend there i also stayed in this home with his family so as you could imagine i undertstand the language well. Kalkan is a good place but i think when you are around too much the friendliness of the locals soon rubs off and they are less friendly some are jsu t after your money. Most of my turkish friends poke fun at the english and i disaggree with this but thats what turks are like behind closed doors well most of them.When i first went to kalkan i thought i must go back straight away and i did but its as though it has a mysticla lure that knowone can explain after all its only a small but pretty fishing village what is so ineresting about it.

 By Roob  12.7.2005

I first visited Kalkan about five years ago and loved it. I returned last summer and couldn´t believe how much it had changed - for the worst. Previously friendly locals were less than helpful, shops and restaurants had started charging ´Western´ prices, often for inferior quality produce. The whole place was packed out with boors from the south-east of England gloating over the rising property prices back home while snapping up hideous concrete villas which now blight the ever-expanding outskirts of this once-lovely little town. Sorry, but Kalkan is no longer and option for anyone by the package tourist seeking a mini-Marmaris. Those, like me, seeking the real Turkey will have to go elsewhere.

 By marianne from london  2.5.2005

I´ve just bought a villa in Club Patara. I plan to spend lots of time there,especially now my first grandson has arrived. Like Carole and other writers my husband and I just loved Kalkan from the first visit.

 By Debra Langley  24.11.2004

Good to read that someone else has fallen in love with Kalkan. Couldn´t agree more about finding reputible builders before buying a property. We visited Kalkan many times and took lots of advice before taking the plunge. It was the best decision we ever made!

 By rogwat48  2.3.2004

Nice story to read. We visited Turkey for first time last June, and after researching, we chose Kalkan. We fell in love with the place and the people, I can understand why you decided to live there. We are going back again in June this year, but we don´t intend to buy Best regards Roger

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