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Travel & Holidays in later life


Exploring the Oludeniz lagoon by pedalo powerIn the early 1980s Reg Butler visited one of the most beautiful sites in coastal Turkey - the lagoon of Oludeniz.. 

The view today appears in almost every travel-agency brochure that sells Turkish holidays. And it has featured on Turkish Tourism posters and TV advertising to promote the coast as a holiday paradise. 

Twenty years ago a new road had just been built from the town of Fethiye, nine mountainous miles away from this beautiful secluded bay. Tourism was starting to arrive, with tatty shack bars and eating places to cater for sunbathers who flocked in from Fethiye every day.

Today, the resort sparkles with high-quality hotel and club-style accommodation. Development has spread up the steep pine-forested hills to the extended holiday villages of Ovacik and Hisaronu, which are mostly occupied by Brits. 

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Numerous charter flights are available to Dalaman airport, and many tour operators include LykiaWorld in their Turkish holiday packages. Ask your travel agent for brochures. 


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Indeed English is the main holiday language in this whole area, compared with German further east in the Antalya region. 

Post haste to the world of the ancient Lycians I stayed in LykiaWorld - a self-contained 4-star 'resort within a resort' - three miles from the centre of Oludeniz. LykiaWorld takes its name from the ancient Greek region of Lycia - the Teke Peninsula ranging between Dalaman and Antalya. It's a world of magnificent mountain and coastal scenery, dotted with superb classical remains.

There are many reminders of that ancient world in the architecture of LykiaWorld, And there is dedication to the ideals of wellbeing and fitness. Everything's on tap - 17 tennis courts of which 5 are floodlit, and great choice of activities from archery and golf to all the water sports.

There's also a Fitness Centre catering for all ages, the aim is to motivate for aerobics, yoga and gymnastics.

Or guests can indulge in spa treatments dedicated to health and beauty, including classic massages, multi-jet baths and seaweed wraps. 

For relaxation there's choice of 19 pools on the 90-acre site, of which two are reserved for adults only.

One of the eight pools in the 'Children's Paradise' Eight of the pools are located in a unique 'Children's Paradise' with 20 water slides, and batteries of water cannon. Children get enormous fun in deluging their parents with well-aimed cannon fire.

Otherwise, parents can escape by leaving their offspring in care of mini clubs for Snoopies of 3 to 6 years, Jokers up to 9, and Kids of 9 to 13. There's a Treasure Island reached by rope bridge, and mystery caves to explore. 

LykiaWorld accommodation is split between a hotel-style Residence with 265 rooms designed mainly for singles and couples. And a Village of 600 Mediterranean-style rooms and apartments intended for families with children and for groups of friends.

The resort operates only full-board, with three mainstream restaurants serving all meals on a help-yourself basis with huge choice, and mealtime drinks included.

Otherwise, speciality restaurants - Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Seafood cuisines - operate with waiter service. I greatly enjoyed an open-air restaurant with traditional Turkish cuisine including authentic starters, kebabs and desserts, and belly-dancing to complete the meal.

For these speciality restaurants a small supplement is charged. But no cash is used. Instead you pay with the same plastic card that opens your bedroom door, and it doubles as an internal credit card. 

The account is settled at the end of the holiday in any currency. Payments for excursions, bar drinks, phone bills and suchlike are all made the same way. Prices are quoted in euros.

Outside the borders of LykiaWorld, the Turkish lira prevails. 

LykiaWorld offers a full range of excursions. For the thrill of a lifetime, you can paraglide off the summit of 6550-ft Mount Baba which overlooks the resort. 

The trip is done by tandem paragliding. You are kitted out with helmet, boots and flying suit, with an experienced pilot who does the trip four times a day.
The deserted Greek town of Karakoy can be explored on foot or horseback
It's a remarkably tranquil experience, rising on warm currents of air, and finally gliding in for a soft sandy-beach landing. Several competing companies are in the business. Often, half a dozen paragliders are in the air at the same time. 

At ground level a Truck Safari features a photo-stop at the classic viewpoint overlooking the Oludeniz lagoon, and a visit to the ghost village of Kayaköy, abandoned by Greek residents during an exchange of populations in 1922. 

This local trip then explores the classic sites of Fethiye, including an amphitheatre and rock tombs. On market days there's delight in taking pictures of peasant farmers selling their produce. 

You can also explore Kayaköy on a horseback safari.An ancient 'house tomb' overlooks the amphitheatre at Xanthos

For me, the greatest highlight was an all-day Jeep Safari through the Turkish village countryside. Visits were made to the superb ancient sites of Xanthos, Tlos and Pinari. There was time before a lunch of trout or chicken for an hour of swimming or sunbathing at the fine-sand beach of Patara. 

No commercial development is permitted at Patara, because here's one of the few remaining locations where loggerhead turtles can lay their eggs. It's good to know that conservation rates so high in Turkey. 


  For a contrast in Turkey, consider an alternative

ISTANBUL- Learn belly-dancing

"Books to read - click on cover pictures" or click on the links below

Turkey (Lonely Planet Country & Regional Guides) - All the background about Turkey, telling you far more than just the main tourist sites. Helps towards a deeper understanding of the Turkey you'll meet outside the main tourist centres.

Lycia - the Land of Light by Ilhan Aksit - Seems to be very difficult to obtain outside Turkey, but this is easily the best available book on the Lycian region, its history and monuments. Published in Turkey, it is beautifully translated, with superb photographs. Buy it in Turkey, and treasure it. ISBN reference is 985 7037 00 4.

The Rough Guide to Turkey, 5th edition  - The usual excellent guidance of this series for the traveller who wants to explore on an individual basis. 

Essential Turkey: South Coast (AA Essential S.) by Melissa Shales, who knows Turkey better than most guidebook authors. A handy pocket guide, with 'top ten' recommendations.




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