Our Turkish Holiday where the earth moved!

In June 2012 we had an unforgettable holiday in Hisaronu – West Turkey. It was a very exciting adventure as neither of our boys had been abroad before. Billy is 7 and Jamie is 4.

We headed from Exeter to Dalaman for our seven day holiday. The journey went well apart from a cantankerous couple (Mr and Mrs Twit) in the seats in front of us who complained incessantly as the boys fidgeted in their seats and were fairly vocal with excitement. Having said this, it was a 4.5 hour flight and the leg room on a plane was sufficient only for midgets.

We arrived at The Hisar Hotel after a long transfer at around 2.30 am. The hotel was beautiful with marble floors and lavish Turkish decor. We awoke at 5 am to the somewhat eerie sound of the Muslims singing their prayers at the local mosque. After a small battle to get breakfast as we were later than the breakfast slot we ventured out of the hotel. The mountains were stunning, breathtaking. The hot weather was wonderfully hot with a slight refreshing breeze.

We all enjoyed our first day by the pool, relaxing for the adults, swimming, playing, and lolly eating for the children. The following day we booked a jeep safari trip – which sounded great. It was great but very risky as the jeep rear door kept swinging open and there were no seatbelts. The mountain roads were very bumpy and the driver was casually texting on his phone and often talking to the passengers with a casual glance back at the road from time to time. We visited Saklikent Gorge and walked a mile or so through the rapids – incredibly dangerous and due to the language barrier we thought it was just a short walk. There were bloody rocks, people lost shoes floating past and the guide had to carry Jamie as it was too dangerous for him to walk. I fell over several times and it was a huge relief to get back on dry land. We were grateful that we were all still together and no injuries were sustained. Yes it was an adventure, amazing scenery but we would never have done this if we knew what it entailed. On holiday you do expect to have an adventure and this holiday was certainly an adventure. Billy and Jamie loved the excitement although did look a bit scared at times.

On the third day we headed to the local supermarket to get some supplies. We made our purchases and just as we left the shop we heard a strange sound. I can only describe it as the sound of thunder approaching. The cars screeched to a halt and everyone just stood still. The noise was an ascending rumble and as we looked at each other we realised this was in fact an earthquake! We grabbed the boys and just stood still and stared at the ground expecting it to split open! It was terrifying. The noise stopped after a few terrifying minutes. The people around us wore confused and frightened expressions there was a sudden panic and everyone reached for their mobile phones. We mouthed so to each other – ‘bloody hell’ – or something similar and agreed to maintain upbeat for the children’s safety and to head to the hotel. Billy is very intelligent and announced casually ‘Was that an earthquake? Wow I can’t wait to tell my friends cos even Stevie has never been in an earthquake’

We wandered back to the hotel – in a shocked and worried state where the staff looked pale and advised us to stay outside away from buildings. There was no phone reception and a lot of water had come out of the pool during the quake, stock had fallen from the hotel bar and shop shelves and small pieces of plaster had been shaken from the ceiling in our hotel room. The atmosphere and our uncertainty were unforgettable. The earth quake measured 5.5 on the Richter scale. We were informed that 15 years ago an earthquake had flattened the town nearby Fethyie. The epi- centre of the quake was just a few miles away in nearby Oludeniz. Shudders were common apparently, but quakes like this were thankfully rare.

The holiday rep failed to mention that we were going to an area which had fault lines running through it.

J Ahearne

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