We’re having a sofa day, which is nowhere near as relaxing as it sounds when your sofa is a collapsed, creaky relic that’s so retro it’s beyond ever being cool. But hey – the wind keeps knocking at the front door, I’ve just thrown together some homemade soup and we’re not going anywhere. It’s the perfect day to enter this Tots100 / Al Fresco Holidays competition, to win a wonderful escape to an Al Fresco park. The challenge? To write about our best ever adventure in the sun. Tom says it was Turkey, so here goes…
“Take me away,” the brand new passport seemed to say. I’d only ordered it because I needed ID, then it arrived, pristine, with the gold logo gleaming.
Four days later, Tom and I were on an empty flight to Turkey that clashed with kick off of some big England football match or other; the reason why our tickets had cost less than forty quid each.
I booked us into a basic hotel in Ovacik, a mountain village on the Turquoise Coast. There was a decent sized pool, but no children’s facilities. The sun was beating down and the cicadas were singing, but I’ve never been one for just sizzling on a sunbed. Thankfully, neither is Tom:
“When can we go on an adventure?” he asked, after one morning of aimless splashing and soggy sticker books.
We climbed aboard the white knuckle dolmus (bus) and it careered down the winding road down to Oludeniz’s dreamy Blue Lagoon.
“What’s that?” Tom asked of a minaret against the clear sky.
“Is that where the mosquitoes live?”
We swam in the calm, saltwater lagoon, spotting giant crabs and even bigger turtles. We shopped in markets, bedazzled by everything from fezes and kilims to spectacular tat. We learnt to say “merhaba”, ate delicious Turkish food (plus several chips and ice lollies) and watched paragliders float down on to the sand. On the third night, we took a bumpy boat trip and camped on a remote beach, where we made new friends, ate just-picked grapes round a fire and saw thousands of stars. After breakfast, we jumped in the cyan sea.
One of the best things about sunny days is when they come to an end. In the slow aftermath of a hot day, when you’re weary and freckled and completely relaxed, there’s no better viewing than the sun’s great goodbye. That week, Tom and I enjoyed seven stunning sunsets, all shades of orange, yellow and pink. We spent the final one at a table for two, chinking glasses and playing eye spy.
As I wrestled a sleeping Tom off a luggage trolley and frogmarched him, wailing, through security, I was surprisingly serene. You still get a stamp in your passport for Turkey: the first one in my new one – and the mark of a magical family holiday.