In the early "naughties" one of my favourite occupations was coming home from school on a cold winter's day and curling up in front of the fire and watching the latest offering from "A Place in the Sun" It was a favourite daydream of mine to imagine being lucky enough to own a home abroad. Then at the end of August 2004 I saw an ad in the local paper for apartments in Alanya for 25,000 euro.
This set me thinking......owning a place in the sun might indeed be possible and choosing the right moment I broached the matter with Sean. I think it was the fact it was Turkey and we had had two wonderful holidays there but I got the green light to begin investigations.
The poor man hadn't a chance. Before he knew it he was booked on a last minute package holiday to Bodrum with the warning that if we started looking, knowing me, there was no way we would come home without a house.
We had been to a property exhibition and chose Bodrum as the place to start our search because the property there is low rise.
We stayed in the Mert Hotel and apartments. I will remember it forever and with fondness. The first thing was that the lock on the door was broken, two men came to repair it and after much discussion, about two hours later the job was done. The furnishings were memorable, purple walls with lime green sofas but the bed was comfortable, and a spray of flowers left on the duvet every evening. If it wasn't for the barking dogs and the crowing roosters it would have made for a very comfortable stay.
I had appointments made with several local emlaks to view. Criteria, low rise building, swimming pool, three bedrooms and a reasonable budget. We had put a holding deposit on one particular house. It was in the Yalikavak area, on a hill looking out west to the sea. The setting was magnificent but there were a couple of problems. One was there was a pole in the wrong place in the living area, making the division of the living and eating space difficult but the main difficulty was there wasn't any sign of a small market in the vicinity. This meant car hire was going to be a necessity. It would be a major trip to do the weekly shopping but this could be overcome if there was somewhere close by to get bread and milk.
We saw so many houses in the first three days, I took copious notes and photos. Eventually we narrowed it down to three, the one we had come to see, a new build which was just at the planning stage and a resale.
The resale was bigger than we had planned but it deserved a second look. We have four daughters, so a lot of space could be a good thing. Most importantly, there was room for that all important item on my shopping list, a table tennis table!
We went back to see it on our own and walk around the area, it was on a small complex, 4 bedrooms, three terraces with great sea views from two of them and situated in a small village that was mainly Turkish. Our own little bit of heaven. We got somebody to look at the building and check it out for us. We also checked the tapu. everything was present and correct. Six years ago I hadn't heard of an iskan and didn't realise this was something that was necessary. So the deed was done. We made our offer, and it was accepted. All I had to hope now was that they didn't contact my parish priest for a reference when they were doing the military checks!! I"d have no hope as he regularly thanked God that there were no women priests. He used to tell me that if I was his curate his life wouldn't be worth living.