Well hello… it’s been a while so I hope you’re still there. We’re back from the longest of our summer trips this year which was a fortnight in Kalkan on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. As you know it’s the place where we find we can completely switch off. We first went there in 2000 when the eldest was just a toddler so we’ve seen it change over the years. This time I have to say it was very, very busy. Kalkan is becoming very well known (thanks partly to people like me I suppose) and I can’t help thinking that perhaps it’s reaching its tipping point. A new airport is due to open nearby in 2023 so it will be very much on the map then. It leaves us feeling that it might be time to move on but even so we enjoyed our time there so let me take you on a quick family holidays with teens – Turkey 2019.
Before I start though I want to acknowledge the fact that I’ve had a few emails from readers this summer asking how we all manage to get on so well on holiday. The thing is that apart from the odd flare-up we usually do; I think it helps being a family of five though and I notice that it’s never quite as chilled when we travel as a four. It must have something to do with the ratio of attention spread over a number of people, maybe there’s an algebraic equation behind it. Anyway, I never want anything about this blog to give an unrealistic picture of life and this time we had some teething problems at the beginning so I’m going to include them because I think they probably reflect the experiences of any normal family with teens.
Family holidays with teens – Turkey 2019
The moment when we arrive at the villa is always a good one because it feels like our second home. We know where to find the keys and our devices log on to the wi-fi all by themselves – all we have to do is kick off our shoes and relax. When evening comes, we wander into Kalkan for something to eat and all of the people we know pop out of the shops and restaurants to greet us. They’ve watched the boys grow up over the years and so we have a real feeling of belonging.
They’re used to me taking photos everywhere now and so they do their best to distract me… which ruins Mr MC’s carefully crafted shots.
A new cocktail bar had opened so we popped in before dinner and they clearly had their priorities right when it came to knowing who they needed to please…
And so we had the first of many lovely dinners – there are over 200 restaurants in Kalkan, almost all of them are exceptional so I won’t show you pictures from every meal but I like this one with the beautiful mosque in the background.
So the first day and night were filled with euphoria because it was good to be there. As always though, you take yourself with you when you go on holiday and it turned out that we were all in slightly different states of mind. After the difficult time that we’d had before we left, I was feeling a bit brittle. I laughed when my friend who works with cancer patients suggested that I probably had a touch of PTSD but maybe I did because I felt as though I was swinging from feelings of euphoria at the outcome to notions of horror at how differently things could have turned out.
Mr MC was weary. As a creative he always finds he does his best work in the moonlight hours and so with deadlines to hit in the weeks before we left, he’d barely slept. The middle one was mostly his usual laidback self but every so often a cloud came over him as he thought about looming A Level results and the gap year that’s yawning ahead of him; he was a boy in need of a plan.
And then there was the youngest. You’ll remember our trip to France only a month ago when he exclaimed spontaneously that he was ‘just so happy’. Well that was then. He spent the following three weeks doing NCS (National Citizen Service – terrible name) so he’d had a whale of a time doing all kinds of adventurous things in the Lake District. He’d gone with a large group of people that he knew vaguely from both his and the girls’ school but not well. Being sixteen and freshly liberated from parents and timetables and exams they’d formed firm friendships – it was clear that he didn’t want to break off to come away. So if the middle one was carrying the odd cloud, the youngest came with a complete penumbra.
To his credit, he wasn’t rude or outwardly grumpy, he was just silent… which isn’t something we’re used to. When I booked this holiday over a year ago, both boys were convinced that they wanted to come and that it had to be Kalkan. The youngest insisted that he wouldn’t be following his brother’s path by doing NCS so when he came home from school one day in January bubbling over with the presentation they’d had in assembly, my heart skipped a beat. You see I suspected it would turn out this way. Do you remember this picture of his brother who was feeling the same way after NCS two years ago? (Don’t look at my hair – or ten chins!)
And the thing is I sympathise – I remember the summer when I was sixteen and my teenage world exploded into technicolour. Suddenly the family holiday that I’d been looking forward to all year became an unwanted interruption and as the ferry headed out of Dover I stood alone at the back, watching the cliffs disappear through fat tears that dripped into the English Channel. My poor parents.
Anyway, back to Turkey. I’d been so preoccupied before we came away that I hadn’t planned our usual schedule of days at sea and beach clubs. This of course didn’t help because the youngest had gone from days filled with adventure to a fortnight of nothing in a place that he suddenly declared to be ‘too hot’, ‘too dry’, ‘too familiar’ and ‘too boring’ so, I decided to play my trump card straightaway. We headed for the beach club where his favourite watersports are… only to find they’d moved round the bay.
Even though we had a car, temperatures were too high for us to attempt another club so we had a lunch of fresh fish and a swim…
… and went back to the villa for an afternoon in the pool. It was time to whip out another Ace, pool volleyball followed by one of their favourite topics – “what to do in the event of an apocalypse”. As you’ll probably know if you have a teenage son, it’s a discussion that lasts for at least a couple of hours and it never fails to keep them happy. And so we began to unwind a bit and fall into a routine. Most mornings Mr MC and I headed out early for a breakfast date of menemen, our favourite dish (eggs scrambled with tomato, pepper, onion and chilli).
Here we were heading for the first of many meetings with our bag supplier. Kalkan had a very bad winter last year and the signs still show on the rainbow steps.
Afternoons were spent at the beach or our pool with occasional appearances from the house tortoise who was surprisingly speedy and often whizzed past when we weren’t expecting him…
… in search of his friend the cat who earned the moniker of ‘Runt’ from the boys.
She was a stray cat with plenty of strut – the kind you’d find in a Disney movie.
By the middle of the week, the boys were ready for a night in with Netflix and pizza so Mr MC and I drove round the headland for a change of scene and dinner in Kas…
… and we had a good chat about how times are changing, imagining our holidays in the future… and it felt good.
And so time rolled on at that lovely holiday pace when you’re not quite sure what day it is. We alternated between pool days and beach days but the much desired watersports continued to elude us…
Mr MC and I continued to wind down, the middle son was practically horizontal – the youngest though was still nursing his FOMO. This beach café picture looks so relaxed doesn’t it but actually a storm was brewing.
Monsoon beach dress (sold out); Sunglasses (gifted SS19)
You see we’d spent the afternoon at a luxurious beach club and as I dipped in and out of the sparkling azure sea, I listened to the boy complaining about the heat while sitting fully clothed under an umbrella, messaging his friends at home.
The thing is that I know that this boy is still in there… somewhere…
Anyway it’s very rare that I put my foot down but I’d had enough – we’d worked hard for this holiday and I needed him to at least try to join in a bit. And I told him so… by the time we headed back to the boat taxi I could see that he’d listened and was doing his best (they’re looking at me and thinking ‘has she calmed down yet?’)
And so by the end of the first week we were getting there. A lovely thing about the villa is that there’s lots of outside space with shady corners and so when it gets too hot there’s always a spot where you can hide away and read.
M&S dress sold out (gifted SS19)
We made it our mission to step away from our usual haunts and discover new restaurants when we went out…
Boden halter top circa 2003; H&M skirt sold out; Sandals; Clutch (contact me)
… but we still have out favourite spots for a cocktail on the harbour front (the boys instructed Mr MC to stand like this, apparently it signifies dominance?!)
Finally we hit our stride. We’d all relaxed and recovered, the youngest had dug deep to find his smile and all was good.
We had one last barbecue night on our beautiful rooftop…
… which always ends with games…
… and as usual the boys tried to teach us the latest dance moves (purely for their own entertainment)… Milly Rock and The Shiggy anyone? It’s all recorded on video but it’s far too embarrassing so I’ve consigned it to the family archives but here’s a very grainy glimpse for your delectation…
… and before too long Mr MC and I felt the need to take over and show them some moves of our own.
So that was the end of week one and then it was all change. You see six weeks before our holiday we discovered that there had been a mix-up with our booking, I won’t bore you with the details but it all came down to confusion over a hyphen (-) between dates and a slash (/) which if nothing else, gave me an opportunity to lecture everyone in the family on the importance of punctuation. I spent a weekend online in an absolute panic because for the first time in years Kalkan was fully booked, leaving us with nowhere to go until I found something a little different… and I’ll tell you about that next week.
New Midlifechic website
In the meantime you may have noticed that it’s all change on here too. My old site was falling apart and I was having to do so many workarounds before I could publish a post that it’s forced me to invest in a completely new one. It should now be slicker, faster, cleaner and smoother – just like all of us after a holiday! I have a whizzy new set of tools but I’m not going to use them until I know that the basics are functioning properly. If you spot any glitches, please could you let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org. I need to make sure that everything’s running smoothly before we hit a very exciting new season at the beginning of September when I have all kinds of things lined up. Because I’ll be busy working on this, I’m only going to publish once a week until the end of August but then I’ll be back with a bang. In the meantime do stay in touch, it’s lovely to be back blogging – and all feedback on the new site is welcome.
Disclosure: ‘Family holidays with teens – Turkey 2019’ is not a sponsored post
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