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Experiencing our first Hamam in Fethiye – A Turkish Bath

Our Turkish Bath, or Hamam in Fethiye, was an amazing & very relaxing experience. It was also a lot of fun although at times daunting.

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Fethiye Hamam

If you are lucky enough to travel to Turkey then I would definitely recommend a Hamam or Turkish Bath. It is an extremely traditional and relaxing experience that you will never forget. And like most tourists we were able to arrange our Hamam in Fethiye through our hostel. The added bonus of being outside of the super touristy Istanbul is that it only cost us 35 Turkish Lira each.

Fethiye Hamam

We really did not know what to expect from our first Hamam but luckily were warned to take along our bathers. Cole was keen to go traditional but considering we were with 5 other randoms from our hostel he decided against it. And yes, while unexpected for us, there were random butt naked Turkish men there getting their Hamam on at the same time as us. They will try to be a tad discreet with their sarong but it does not leave much to the imagination.

Being greeted by big, hairy Turkish men with nothing but a small sarong on definitely came as a surprise and we were glad that we were there with our new found Hostel buddies. Nothing secures a friendship like awkward situations! And even though our masseuses didn’t speak a word of English they were very professional from the beginning which made us feel very comfortable.

Word of advice; Generally the Hamams will be conducted by men but if this makes you slightly uncomfortable you can ask for a female.

To begin our experience we were ushered in to a sauna for 20 minutes and proceeded to sweat out all the delicious bread we had consumed over the past week. The heat to begin with is totally unbearable but after about 5 minutes you start to relax. Cole seemed to think that being stuck in a claustrophobic hot room with half naked foreign men is a great time to practice his language skills and continued to butcher the Turkish language.

All sweated out after the sauna we were taken to an intricately carved marble room that had a large platform in the middle. Ushered onto the marble surface, which to my surprise was lovely and warm, we were suddenly assaulted by cold buckets of water as they were tossed over us. Spluttering there was no time to regain our senses before the real Hamam started.

The same big hairy Turkish men began to scrub us vigorously with an exfoliating glove all over. It feels amazing as you are literally shed of layers of skin turning us a sparkling pink. Being flipped from front to back on the slippery marble tiles is actually quite fun although I was worried about being flung across the room. And my knobbly knees and hip bones were getting a beating!

I again tried to strike up a conversation to mask the awkwardness I felt when they were scrubbing my chest however their English was limited so don’t expect too much conversation or the chance to ask too many questions.

Hamam in Fethiye

Next up was the massage. You are literally covered head to toe in soap bubbles until you look like a giant snowman. The masseuses are extremely gentle and have a knack to hit all the right spots where you are tight and sore from travelling. Their gentle hands are a massive contrast to the hard marble beneath you and are very relaxing after the skin cleansing scrubbing and sauna.

Halfway through the massage I was awoken from my half sleep state by my back being cracked in seven different places. My first thought was “oh my god I hope he knows what he is doing” whilst picturing myself walking out of the hammam hunched over. But the more he cracked the more the tension drained out of my back, neck and shoulders. There didn’t seem to be a method though to how they were performing the Hamam’s as Cole swears he didn’t get the back cracking while some of the others in our group did as well.

Be careful when they motion for you to sit up as the overwhelming heat may leave you a little bit light headed. And close your mouth as the next cold bucket of water is thrown over you! The “hair wash” comes next although it was actually more like a “head wash” as my whole face got washed with shampoo! A pleasant enough experience as long as you remember to keep your mouth and eyes closed.

Feel free to sit back and relax in the warm Hamam room while your friends go through the same experience. And it is quite nice being able to provide them with a bit of support if they have been watching you the whole time as well. We just had to constantly keep dousing ourselves in cold water from the basins dotted around the room while we waited so that we didn’t overheat.

When you are all done you will be ushered back out into the bright sunlight are are quickly wrapped up in far too many towels and ordered to lie down in the cool breeze with a refreshing bottle of water. You will feel totally relaxed, invigorated and exhausted all at the same time. While all you will be thinking about is when you can do it all again!

Travel Tip: Don’t do the Hamam at the end of your time in Turkey or you will lose all of that hard-earned tan you have been working on!

Photo credits: Bex Walton and Mr Kubi

Adela is one half of the New Zealand Adventure Couple who have been travelling since 2009. She loves the outdoors and has a real passion for Snowboarding, Mountain Biking and Surfing (apart from being scared of sharks). She loves food and writes all our food posts. Consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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Asia

Devouring seafood at the Fethiye Fish Market

The Fethiye fish market is the place where you will find the best restaurants in Fethiye. As well as the tastiest, freshest and cheapest seafood too.

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Restaurants in Fethiye

Seafood and local markets. Two things that we love to devour and explore when we are traveling. Combine the two into one evening at the Fethiye Fish Market, and you have us salivating at the very thought.

Trip Advisor Fethiye

Eating at the Fethiye Fish Market

While we were in Turkey last year for ANZAC Day and our epic Busabout Sail Turkey cruise, we found one of the best restaurants we have ever been to.

We are always on the lookout for excellent food when we travel. And when a recommendation is handed to you from a local at your accommodation, you should listen. Our Fethiye Guesthouse hostel told us that the freshest, tastiest, and cheapest seafood in Fethiye was to be found at the local Fethiye fish market.

We didn’t need much convincing.

Fethiye Fish Markets

We were ready for a giant meal after a crazy and unique Hamam Turkish bath with semi-naked Turkish men.

But finding the local fish markets in Fethiye is just the beginning.

Walking the streets of Fethiye, you wouldn’t realize that tucked away in one of the squares is a fish market. From the outside, the square looks like a regular block of shops. Jewelers, tour companies, and local supermarkets sit side-by-side, hiding the gem inside.

It isn’t until you walk through one of the four arched entrances into the open-aired courtyard that the Fethiye fish market is revealed in all its glory.

Restaurants in Fethiye

Fethiye Fish Market

As you step from under the awnings, your mind begins to piece together the scene in front of your eyes.

Surrounding the square are tables covered with white linen and sparkling dinner sets—each lit from above with paper lanterns.

In the middle of the square sits a brightly lit stand with local fishers jostling together, selling their fresh bounty from that day’s expedition on the Aegean Sea. Each fisher takes up a small shelf of shaved ice piled high with squid, fish, mussels, and prawns.

Fethiye Restaurants

The seafood stand in the middle is where all the action is.

Seeing the confusion spreading across our faces, we were approached by one of the English-speaking waiters. He quickly explained that we were to select and pay for our dinner from any fishermen. They would prepare our seafood to our liking, whether prawns with shells off, chopped calamari, or whole snapper.

We would then bring our bounty in plastic bags back to the restaurant of our choice, where for a measly 6 – 8 Turkish Lira (US$4 – 5), they would cook our seafood. Included in the price was all-you-can-eat salad and bread—a bargain.

Restaurants in Fethiye, Fethiye Fish Market, Fethiye Restaurants, Trip Advisor Fethiye

Strolling around the stand several times, we were waved in with friendly smiles and broken English.

While the fishers were all competing, they were all friends. The mixed banter between them as they enticed us to their stalls was good-natured, and there was a lot of it.

With so many options, it was hard to decide on what we wanted to eat. We were eyeing the sailor-style mussels But as a sucker for calamari, that was immediately diced and thrown into our bag. As well as king prawns, a side of quickly filleted fish, and a couple of pieces of tender salmon.

Restaurants in Fethiye

Handing our bags of fresh seafood over to our waiter, we began downing the local Turkish beer, Efes, and watching as other locals and tourists joined the crowds in the square.

It wasn’t long before we were tucking into our meals. Each plate was perfectly cooked to our specific liking. Each morsel is as succulent as the next. And with 8 of us in our group, there was a lot of sharing and mixing of meals as we all wanted to try what others had.

The Fethiye fish market was the perfect way to finish another incredible day in Fethiye.

What do you think of the Fethiye fish market? Sound amazing?!

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Europe

Cooking tips while traveling in Italy

Find out the best ways to live like a local with these Cooking tips while traveling in Italy. Perfect for saving money and eating extremely well!

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Pasta cooking at Casa Artusi, Emilia Romagna, Blogville

To get the most out of your culinary travels in Italy, do as the Italians do; shop like an Italian, eat like an Italian and drink like an Italian. Speak to waiters, ask locals for advice, chat with shop owners and watch what people buy, when they eat their meals and which accompaniments they choose.

Leaning tower of Pisa, HDR, Italy

Travelling in Italy

Cooking tips while traveling in Italy

Use these travel tips to find out the best ways to live like a local with these cooking tips while traveling in Italy. They are perfect for saving money while travelling, and eating extremely well!

Don’t go big on breakfast

Italians tend to start the day with a strong espresso or a milky café latte, accompanied by a pastry which is often a croissant or crostata (Italian breakfast tart).

If you’re cooking your own breakfast pastries then bear in mind that the Italian croissant, known as acornetto, differs from the French version. It is less buttery, a little lighter tends to be smaller, and is usually finished with a delicious orange glaze.

Abandon stereotypes

Many of the Italian dishes you might be used to at home are variations of traditional dishes, adapted to suit the western palate.

For example; did you know that Bolognese sauce is traditionally served with tagliatelle rather than spaghetti? Or that an authentic carbonara sauce isn’t made with cream? Trust the chefs you meet and learn to cook authentic dishes the traditional way.

Pasta cooking at Casa Artusi, Emilia Romagna, Blogville

Cooking tips while traveling in Italy – Cook like a local

Cook two courses for lunch

The saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” doesn’t apply in Italy. Lunch is the main deal in Italy and you’ll notice that many shops and tourist attractions shut for several hours during lunchtime.

To cook lunch the Italian way, prepare a generous pasta course, followed up with a protein course of meat or cheese, perhaps with some fried veggies on the side. If serving wine, include a jug of water to dilute it with and have fruit or gelato ready for dessert.

Shop in local markets

Join the locals and shop for your goods in Italy’s wonderful open-air markets, rather than going to the supermarket. Not only do local markets expose you to the best seasonal foods of each region but they’ll also give you the opportunity to speak with stall owners, ask them questions about their foodstuffs and maybe even taste some of their wares before you buy them.

To get the most out of your trip, go armed with an Italian dictionary and learn the names of the ingredients you plan to buy.

Florence Italy Local Fruit Markets

Cooking tips while traveling in Italy – Shop at local markets

Be regional

Italian cuisine varies greatly between regions and each Italian region has its own specialty dishes, cooking preferences, and local ingredients which have been shaped by the local geography, history, and climate. You should appreciate this distinction by noticing what’s on sale in local markets, looking around at what’s growing in the fields, what people are cooking, and what local restaurants are serving up from cacio e pepe to white garlic pizza.

For example, Venetian cuisine features risottos, heavy sauces, and tiramisu. If you are travelling in Tuscany, expect to be cooking more simply using plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit, cheeses, and bread, with delicious Tuscan soups a firm feature of the cuisine. While coastal regions like Cinque Terre will naturally favor seafood and fish dishes.

Riomaggiore photos Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is home to delicious seafood – Cooking tips while traveling in Italy

If you are passionate about Italian food, try a Flavours cooking holiday and enjoy learning how to create traditional recipes like an Italian.

What are your special tips for living like a local while travelling? Do you have any other cooking tips while traveling in Italy?

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Europe

Paris on a Budget: Best Cheap Eats in Paris

While Paris used to be regarded as an expensive city, you can now enjoy Paris on a Budget. Use our guide to find the Best Cheap Eats in Paris.

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Eiffel Tower at Night, Paris

Although Paris has a reputation for being one of the most expensive cities globally, the rumors are now unfounded. In 2012, Paris dropped ten places in the Mercer cost of living survey. And with the Euro looking weak, now is probably a good time to find cheap flights and discover the city of love on a budget.

Best Cheap eats in Paris, Eiffel Tower at Night, Paris

Eating in Paris can catch a lot of tourists out. Avoid the expensive restaurants serving fancy dishes like salmon wellington and snooty maître d’s on the Champs Elysees and follow our guide for the best cheap eats in Paris.  Spend less on food and possibly splurge on friendly hotels in Paris instead!

Best Cheap Eats in Paris

Head to the Marais

Famous for its selection of ethnic eateries, the trendy Marais area of Paris is perfect for picking up a quick snack.

Check out L’As du Falafel, where you can grab a flatbread bursting with golden fried balls of falafel, smothered in hummus and accompanied with red cabbage. For €4 to take away, you can’t argue with that. Simply head to Chez Hanna down the street for equally tasty food at similarly low prices if it’s too busy.

Best eats in Paris, The Louvre, Paris

Enjoy an Oriental baguette.

Vietnamese food is popular in France, and nowhere can you see the fusion of two cultures more clearly than at Saigon Sandwich in the Belleville district of Paris.  Their specialty, banh mi, is light and crusty French baguette filled with flavors of South East Asia.

There are only a few options (poulet, boeuf, Maison, and unique), but for €3 ago, you could happily sample them all.

Find French food on the cheap.

Believe it or not, there are some restaurants specializing in French cuisine that won’t see you stumbling into your overdraft. Les Temps des Cerises is one of them.

Described by Yelp as a “Dive Bar,” nothing could be further from the truth.  Run by a cooperative, it attracts a distinctly bohemian crowd. The menu is small, but the food is prepared from ingredients that sing with freshness and high quality.

View from the top of Arc de Triomphe

Eat like a local celebrity …

Rumour has it that Pierre Herme, one of Paris’s most celebrated pastry chefs, visits the Belleville restaurant Le Baratin. The prices are surprisingly low for the delicious Argentinian fare.

Time Out Magazine recommends the tuna carpaccio with cherries or the spicy basque lamb. Pop in at lunchtime for the prixe fix menu. At €18 for three courses it’s hard to complain.

… or eat like a local office worker

Bistro Victoires is a favorite amongst Paris’s locals. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, and the wine list leaves a lot to be desired, but when you sit down to enjoy some of the best steak frites in Paris, all else will be forgiven.

Portion sizes are enormous, and the waiters often remind patrons that if they order a starter, they won’t be able to tackle the main course. Despite being a famous location steps away from the Palais Royal, it still manages to be a hidden gem.

Champs-Elysees Sunset

What are your tips for finding the best cheap eats in Paris?

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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