Having never visited Turkey before it was with some sense of excitement and an element of trepidation that we boarded our flight to Bodrum in the Southwest of Turkey. I had some concept of Turkey as being somewhat of a dated holiday destination, overloaded with tourist traps, and I was to be proven very much wrong with this trip. Although there was certainly some aspects of this that were true, the overall experience was overwhelmingly positive and I would happily recommend visiting Turkey to anyone.
From the moment we stepped off the plane the sunshine and heat were glorious and welcoming, a sign of things to come with the people of Turkey. They were gracious, polite and exceptionally hospitable from our taxi from the airport to all of the staff we encountered and beyond. Their pride for their country was blindingly evident and they would stop at nothing to ensure that your experience was a wonderful one. With this kind of hospitality it makes it impossible not to be engulfed in the love of the country which the residents hold so dear.
With this as a foundation the trip was fantastic. The hotel facilities were excellent and the plethora of activities and excursions were so vast that it was almost overwhelming. I particularly enjoyed the cruise along the Aegean Sea coast, taking in some spectacular coastlines and glisteningly inviting blue waters, even more so given the unyielding sunshine that was a feature throughout our week there. There were plenty of opportunities for more high octane adventure as well, with watersports and adventure options into the Turkish hills. Being more of a water baby I remained closer to the coast though a trip to one of Europe's largest waterparks allowed me to trade saltwater for the chlorinated variety briefly, most of which was as fast flowing as my adrenaline down some amazing and thrilling slides.
The food and nightlife was also a delight, with a huge array of options wherever we visited. Traditional Turkish food was a particular favourite, including one such restaurant where we were adorned with Turkish hats and waistcoats and taught a dance as our food was brought out. This culminated in the slightly embarrassingly drunk attempt on our parts to break the Turkish cooking pot as instructed in order to 'release' our food. It took more than a few hazy swipes before it was free, whilst the Turkish waiter showed us how it should be done with a nonchalant flick of his experienced wrist, breaking the pot in an instant. Again,, this camaraderie and welcoming nature only added to the whole experience. In years to come I may not recall what I ate that day but I will certainly remember the waiter, the dance and the outfits. To me, that is what makes a holiday special, truly heartwarming memories and people you shared them with. In this case, the country and the people of Turkey were truly inspirational and I for one cannot wait to return one day soon.