Written for Fethiye Times and with photos by Mike Vickers
Feature photo above: Winter gulls and clouds rolling over snow-clad peaks, taken from Fethiye Kordon.
The impact of Covid has made this past winter in Fethiye something of an aberration. With an influx of visitors from the larger cities here to sit out the pandemic, the town is noticeably busier than normal. This is reflected in many aspects of life, one of which is the notable scarcity of on-street parking, an issue that has already caused some debate.
However, setting that aside, under normal circumstances Fethiye is less frenetic and much more relaxed in winter. The pace of life slows as many who are busy working the summer season sit back to pass the time of day with friends over a leisurely glass of çay in the warm sunshine. Yes, this time of year can be very pleasant indeed, although the rains tend towards the torrential and the wind fearsome – and occasionally destructive – but on the whole, our winters here are mostly balmy and sunny. If you want to take exception to that last observation, I suggest you pack your bags and head east to Kars, where winters are winters, thermometers measure down to -40c and real men wear furry long johns!
Jan and I, like many others, tend to be far more active in winter than at any other time of the year, summer being the debilitating furnace that it normally is, and Being British, we’re accustomed to and welcome the middling low temperatures that make this time of year so great for walking, cycling and getting about in a hire car. This offers some splendid photographic opportunities, so here’s a few that reflect the real treat that is Fethiye in winter.
The peaks surrounding Fethiye are high enough to capture some serious snowfall, although it’s been noticeably less substantial this winter. However, sunshine on snow is always breathtaking. This was taken at the far end of Kocaçalış.
Ever wondered what happens to all those summer rental cars in the off season? Well, this large piece of waste ground close to the centre of town lies abandoned and empty all summer long, but becomes chock full of hibernating hire cars in the winter. To paraphrase Henry Ford, you can have any colour you like so long as it’s white. Except for the solitary red car, of course.
Fethiye on a tranquil morning.
This double rainbow appeared after a short but intense shower, seen from the back of our house in Babataşi. The verdant grass in the field is a sure sign of winter – it’s just brown dirt in the summer.
The cooler temperatures haven’t even slowed this geranium down – it’s twice the height of a car and still in bloom.
Summer rental electric trikes all parked and tarped. By the way, has anyone else noticed what a brilliant year it’s been for lemons? Look at the tree in the background – they all look like that.
You can hear them everywhere at this time of year, but you rarely get to see one. This fine looking fella had just finished a deafening rendition of Nessum Dorma when I managed to snap him resting on a lily pad. His eyes were still bulging having just belted out that final high note. Hardly surprising, really…
Winter cormorants on Bird Island near Çaliş nature reserve. Poor Kevin is still recovering from losing a leg in a savage duel with a seagull over a piece of discarded simit. He’s still struggling to accept his hopscotch days are over…
Yeah, come to mummy. Super furry extra warm jim-jam bottoms for sale in Fethiye market. Love the bunnies. You’ll search in vain for these in summer, when the temperatures are high enough to fry eggs on the bonnet of your Fiat Doblo!
Oh, and you’ll also need a pair of these as well. Bright and colourful knitted socks to keep your tootsies toasty.
Distant Fethiye on a grey morning, but then the sun broke through a gap in the clouds and it was magical.
An empty paspatur by the duck pond, created by a combination of winter and Covid. This place heaves in the summer.
Desolate paspatur alleyway, but not so during the season when so many tables and chairs spill out from the bars that walking along here becomes something of an assault course. At this time of year, only shop shutter salesman are happy – and you try saying that after a couple of rakis!
Wouldn’t it be exciting if this was a tripod invader from Mars, but it isn’t. This is a concrete pump pouring at a site of some new villas just over the way from our house. Winter’s a busy time for the construction industry. Every new building in Turkey has to be made from reinforced concrete as these homes need to be strong to save lives when the next earthquake hits – which it will.
Armed with a couple of portable chairs and a thermos of hot chocolate, go park yourself down on Inlice beach and your reward is this stunning view back past the islands to Fethiye with Babadağ soaring tall behind. There were lovely diamonds on the water that morning. Yes, Fethiye in winter is truly lovely.