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Why Üzümlü?  Well, why not?

Üzümlü is a village which spreads through the valley and up the mountainside about 15 km north of Fethiye.  The heart of the village has retained its traditional character, with tea shops, populated exclusively by men, playing backgammon day and night, small cafes, the village square, next to the mosque - not, it must be admitted, the most beautiful of mosques, and an age-old tree with a hollow trunk, serving as a mini-roundabout, in front of the mosque.

Üzümlü - which means "with grapes" or "grapey" - benefits from the fertility of the immediate area, and is predominantly a farming community, though the surrounding mountains are pine-covered, and are managed, to be a source of economic activity.

The centre of the village has retained its charm, with stone houses and narrow streets - the perpetual hope is that you won't meet someone coming the other way - though the main access road to the village is wide.  Around the fringes of the village, and further beyond, there are numerous, for the most part tasteful, modern villas, some in compounds, others stand-alone.  These range from 10 minutes walk to the village, to a half-hour or more.

What does Üzümlü offer?  The village and immediate area are popular both with Turks moving here for retirement, or buying holiday homes, and with foreigners, many British, though other nationalities are represented.  Compared with nearby Fethiye, it offers calm, peace and quiet.  And because Üzümlü is at 500 metres above sea-level, temperatures are noticeably lower than on the coast, while humidity is much lower throughout the year.  Summers are hot, though some manage without using air-conditioning, but it's more equipped to deal with extreme heat than, say, London.  But winters can be cold, with temperatures as low as -10C in recent years, so heating is needed in the winter months.

Our move to Turkey (from the Middle East) wasn't easy, but it was straightforward.  There were a lot of administrative procedures involved, and we had to provide the usual documentation to qualify for residence permits.  We had our house built, and the developers/builders were absolutely straight with us from day 1 to completion, with no disagreements or disputes of any kind, not even minor.  Of course, not everybody is so lucky, to caution is advised.

And finally, the language. Turkish does not belong to the Western European language family, and there is little vocabulary in common, apart from a number of French loan words, while the grammar is completely different.  So if you want to get your tongue around the language, be prepared to put in an effort - though there is a lot of vocabulary in common with Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.  If you can stumble your way through just a little basic Turkish, then the benefit is worth much more than the effort that you put in.

In sum, are we pleased that we moved to Turkey, and Üzümlü?  Yes, definitely, though the first year to eighteen months was testing.  Would we recommend it for others?  If you have flexibility and are adaptable, then have a look for yourself.  We like it here, and when we are away, look forward to returning.

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