Friday, 14 October 2016

Turning Tables

For the past 30 years we have been taking children on holiday - mostly our own, but occasionally other people's too, in order to provide the necessary distraction during the turbulent teens.  We've taken them to places we hope they'll like or love as much as we do and, on the basis that most of my bucket list comprises places we've already visited, we've obviously had some very good holidays. We have even ventured to places which were not on any bucket list I might construct in a million years. The case in point being my 50th birthday adventure which started with my beloved, two teenish daughters and a brace of 10 year olds in a boutique hotel in Paris with a fabulous dinner ("What's the problem here?" you're thinking...) and morphed into 3 days at a very wet and cold EuroDisney with just the younger pair where "It's a small, small world" played relentlessly from morning till night and even the bathroom tiles in the hotel had hippos dressed in pink tutus on them. Some people love theme parks, my beloved and I are not amongst their number.

Moving on 10 years from the theme park experience and the tables have been well and truly turned. My 60th birthday present from number 2 child and her lovely husband JS is a week's holiday with them at THEIR apartment in Kalkan in Turkey. And no amount of skypeing and pictures had prepared us for how lovely Apartment Antonia is. (I must point out that any further purchases of this type are unlikely to be called Apartment Jonathan but he seems cool with that.) When they made this momentous purchase earlier in the year there was a lot of skypeing to us at home showing us not just 'hot dog legs' but views and the pool and the dining room and three bedrooms etc etc accompanied by excited squeals. And now that we've been, the excited squeals were no exaggeration - it is stunning, and spacious and very beautiful indeed. 

Also we had never been to Turkey before. We went unresearched with no preconceptions and though this isn't always a good plan, having an open mind about the people, the beaches, towns, bars and restaurants meant that we were up for trying things and going with the flow. When you have swapped positions with your children in terms of who is in the driving seat, literally as well as metaphorically, this is definitely a good thing. 

Kalkan itself proved to be lively without being overbusy. The maitre d's and bar and shop owners stand outside their establishments on the pavement calling to passers by, inviting them to come and try. But this is not in the way of the only other Muslim destination we have been to of late. They were happy to let you go with a smile and a wave and a 'come back tomorrow'. In Marrakech, street traders were much more persistent and occasionally overly so. And everywhere we ate was excellent with, for me, the highlight being dinner overlooking the sea at the Mahal Beach Club where the waves lapped against the cliff walls just inches from our feet. Here the innate hospitality of the locals stretched to the barman driving us home in his car which turned out to be a proper banger with a massive crack in the windscreen! Other great picks included The Fish Terrace, Baharat and Gironda and everywhere we were welcomed and the service was faultless.

Part of the children's plan was to familiarise us with where to go in Kalkan so we can return without their stewardship on other occasions so naturally there was an outing to the tennis court where I was treated to a 6-2 drubbing by my son-in-law and a morning run along what was described as a 'relatively flat' route. Hmmm...

We also ventured to the beach to swim in the incredibly clear turquoise waters of the Aegean and share the beach with other tourists and locals. This latter included bikini- and burkini-clad and some fully covered from head to foot (including socks) ladies; interestingly,  the last two types accompanied men who had totally adopted the Western way of dressing with board shorts and sunglasses. Who are we to judge? They all looked happy inasmuch as you could tell from their faces (where visible) and perhaps the Western world is

too quick to try to implement its ways across parts of the world with other traditions and mores. 

But best of all was seeing our daughter and son-in-law in the place that they find special and knowing that they wanted to share it with us. 

So now we are heading back across the airways of Northern Europe to Yorkshire where apparently the weather is windy and doubtless a lot colder than the 30 or so degrees we have been enjoying for the last week. But importantly we are about to take up the reins of parenthood again as number 3 managed to dislocate his shoulder doing the Yorkshire Warrior at the weekend and instead of being at university in Newcastle he is flollopping around at home being catered for and generally indulged by our friends in the village. Seemingly we are rubbish parents for being on holiday in his hour of need and he has been attempting to put himself up for adoption. I'll let you know how that goes!