They have a saying here in Letoonia. ‘Once Letoonia, always Letoonia.’ That pretty much sums it up for me.
Our happy place.
When I was younger, we used to go to a place in Portugal called Bemposta. We went there several times and every year the familiarity of being somewhere I knew comforted me.
I have seen this same scenario play out here some 30 years later with my own girls. This second week there have been times where we’ve barely seen them. Three visits in, they know how to get from our room to the piazza. They’ve gone off swimming with friends. And they’ve come and gone from the wonderful mini club (where they’ve had face painting and also done crafts!) as they please.
It has been a holiday for them, without us micromanaging everything they do, as we have to at home. A holiday with three young kids should be hard work. But it hasn’t been. Not a jot. Because of the freedom we’ve been able to afford them. Because this place is so safe and supportive. And because our two year old has his pick of people who love him and want to play with him.
Yes. It has been a holiday for them. And it has most definitely been a holiday for us.
Two boats and a toddler.
This week we have been on two boat trips; one to chic Gocek on the luxurious Letoonia boat and the other to stunning Dalyan. Negotiating a toddler on both was interesting and he may enter the Guinness Book of World Records for most laps of a boat deck, but my, was it worth it.
You see, Letoonia is so special in itself that you need a reason (or a good shove) to actually leave it once you’re here. But seeing Dalyan, especially, has opened my eyes even wider to this beautiful country.
And next year when we return, I have a list of places and ruins that I will most definitely be visiting.
I’ve had an incredible 90 minute massage with Turkish bath at the resort’s Serenity Spa, to scrub off the past year’s dirt. And I feel cleansed. Inside and out. That feeling of overindulging that you normally have at the end of a holiday? Not here. I feel fitter and more relaxed than I have in a long time. A combination of Maxim’s challenging daily sea gym class and food that tastes so good you don’t need a crazy amount of it.
There has been gin, of course. And Tequila Sunrises. And rose. There have even been a couple of mornings after the night before.
But there have also been a few nights on Peppermint tea, because I’ve wanted a clear head the next day so I don’t miss any of what Letoonia has to offer.
Our Turkish family.
But mostly, this last week has been about friendship. About our Turkish family here in Letoonia.
The incredible staff who we’ve come to know so well. The gorgeous family who have been coming here for 15 years and remember us from last year (you find that not only do people return to Letoonia again and again but they tend to come the same time each year, as do we) and have invited us to their home in Istanbul.
Our lovely boat boys who have taken us out on their day off and joined us for dinner more than once. And Ceren, one of the resort photographers who, alongside her husband who runs the sunglass shop, has fallen in love with our kids and showered them with bubblegum and lollipops.
There has been marvellous entertainment every night from the hilarious Fifi and the tireless animation team. I’ll be blaming these guys when I’m yelling at my kids to get up for school on Wednesday morning. Body clocks have definitely been reset.
And it is with very heavy hearts that we leave Letoonia later today. It gets harder each year as our bond with this resort, country and its people grows. But we will be back, I have no doubt about that.
Once Letoonia, always Letoonia.