Our first Workaway experience and we leave after not even two days… Not the best beginning.
We arrive in Uzumlu, and are bombarded with horror stories of the horses we will be working with, attacking, kicking, biting, and bucking off previous volunteers… It was the volunteers fault, they explain. We immediately feel uncomfortable with the defensiveness thrown at us as we sit awkwardly on their couch. I look out at the five horses, ranging from 14 hands to 18, and ask where the grazing is? There is none. Unlike the photos advertising the property on the Workaway site, there are no happy frolicking horses in green pastures. There are five depressed, anxious rescue horses in an arena and a drive way. We very quickly begin questioning whether the stress of potential injury, and the stress of dealing with unsettling people is worth it. This is accentuated by the long hours, by the dangerous horses who are completely uncontrollable, and by the uneasy antics of the couple.
We up and leave onto bigger and better things, halfway through the second day. But not before we head to the local market and try the local cuisine with our new friend Bilal, from Lebanon, who is also volunteering. Bilal is a character, he owns and runs a marketing firm in Lebanon. We ask why he volunteers with Workaway, he says it helps him to clear his mind, and he enjoys the physical aspect of it.
From the cafe where we sit and drink the Turkish Chai tea, there is a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. Uzumlu is nestled into a mountainous valley, walking around the town it is small, and full of old smiling Turkish men, smoking as they play back gammon. Weirdly, 3/4 of Uzumlu’s population are British!
We hop on the Dolmus, (minibus) and head to Fethiye.
Once in Fethiye our plans formulate quickly as we contact an Australian couple in Datca, near Marmaris, on Workaway. They agree to ‘take us on’ for the following day, so we find a hostel to stay for the night. Fethiye is built up around the coast, with the mountains framing the city, it’s very beautiful. Walking around the people are very friendly, asking if we need help, where we are heading and generally interested in helping us. As we walk towards the city, a smiling Turkish man runs up and shows us his pamphlet, offering a reasonable price of 50 TL, and breakfast!
For dinner we walk round the town and stumble upon a Fish Market. As we enter, we are bombarded by sales pitches from all the neighbouring restaurants, one after the other they offer us the same price and the same deal. You buy the fish, take it to the restaurant, pay 6 TL each and they cook it and serve it to you with bread and salad. A good deal, but a bit pricey for us. Instead we opt for a Turkish pide bread, a Mushroom and eggplant moussaka type dish and free bread and salad for 20 TL, the equivalent of €5!! What a bargain.
The following morning we are given a taste of our first Turkish breakfast: a boiled egg, Turkish bread, cucumber, tomato, jam, cheese and olives. Very satisfying! It is topped off by the amazing view of Fethiye. We stayed at the Tan Pansiyon Fethiye which provided everything we needed and was very central.
We head for the bus to begin our next journey, to Datca.