The weekend after we got back from our Europe trip just so happened to be July 4th weekend, which meant Will had two extra days off. And since we really haven’t done that much traveling in Turkey, we hopped at the chance to take a long weekend at one of the local beaches.
Kizkalesi is about and hour and a half from where we live, and is most noted for this beautiful castle that resides off the shore. Some people even dare to make the (somewhat dangerous) swim all the way out there! (smarter people take a paddle boat lol)
But we before I get to the beach, I must backfill the story a little, with how we came to be staying at Kizkalesi, because the fact of the matter is, we were originally headed to Mersin to stay in a duplex we rented through Airbnb.
You guys know I love Airbnb, and I still love them (and their amazing customer service), after this ordeal, however, I think we can positively say, you should not use Airbnb in Turkey.
I’ll also preface by saying that we live in a part of Turkey that is not representative of the beautiful pictures you see on the travel channels and websites. So while it does have its bright spots, we have fully come to understand there is a different level of expectations and standards here.
When we went to look for a place to rent, we kept those lower expectations and standards in mind. Sometimes here, if you can find a place that is clean and in a relatively good location, you have to consider it to be a good option, even if it is missing some of the normal conveniences you wouldn’t hardly even think about in America.
We found a duplex, with two bedrooms, a full kitchen, and nice 300m walk to the beach. It was in a beachside housing development, and it was dog friendly.
Unfortunately our visions of a nice little beach bungalow, perhaps that we could return to often for little weekend getaways, were dashed when we pulled up and after wrangling Jim away from the millions of cats and children running wild through the development, finally walked into the house to find that the owners mom lived there, and her stuff was strewn about in every nook and cranny. Oh and she was there too, and didn’t seem to be going anywhere.
I won’t go into the disgusting details, just suffice it to say that it was bad. At first we stood in the living room looking around trying to tell ourselves we could make do. This is Turkey after all, and we had brought our own linens, and even our own cooking pan if needed, maybe we could make it work. But after about 15 minutes of looking around and taking pictures, before noticing a gigantic spider on the wall and some pills laying out in the open, we both made a beeline for the car. There was just no way we could stay there.
Luckily, after calling Airbnb and explaining the situation, then emailing over the pictures, they kindly contacted the owner and got our reservation canceled and refunded, AND gave us a booking credit for the next place.
We were in a bit of a panic. We were 1.5 hours from home, had coolers of food we had brought to cook slowly warming in the car, two dogs, a baby that desperately needed a nap, and no where to go.
I searched frantically for another place, but finding dog friendly rentals in a country that really doesn’t care for dogs is quite difficult. We finally found someone who was willing to make an exception for the dogs, and had availability for the weekend. So we drove 30 minutes back in the direction we came from to another beachside apartment.
The owner was super nice, but as he led us up the stairs he began telling us he has 4 cats – but not to worry because they have their own room (as visions of Jim eating said 4 cats went through our minds), before showing us the apartment consisting of “our” room, the kitchen, and his room.
As in, he also lived there.
We kindly told him that wasn’t exactly what we had in mind, to which he offered to go to his family’s house for the weekend so we could have the apartment. We politely refused and headed back to the car, officially giving up on the idea of renting, and possibly even having a weekend at the beach at all.
In one last effort to save the weekend, we searched for pet friendly hotels in the area. There was one with availability, so we called. God smiled down on us in that moment because the owner was a retired US military guy, his wife was Turkish but grew up and spent many years in Germany, and they even had a dog of their own.
When we arrived to the Hotel Angel Saadat they treated us like family, and even cleared a shelf in their refrigerator for all the food we had brought, and offered the use of their kitchen so we could cook it. We were so relieved!
We unpacked, then hit the beach before the sun set.
Aubrey was almost immediately taken away. For anyone wondering if it is true that the Turks will just take your baby away…it’s true. Aubrey has zero stranger danger issues, which is good and bad all at the same time.
We did some crawling in the sand…
and then decided to do a little taste testing.
Aubrey gave it two thumbs down.
The rest of the weekend we soaked up the sun, ate the delicious food cooked up by the hotel owner himself, and finally got some real relaxation in.
It ended up being a perfect little getaway. Thanks again to Patrick and Saadat for turning what could have been a completely failed weekend, into a wonderful experience!