Last Friday we made a long overdue trip to a tiny village on the Black Sea not far at all from where we're living for the summer. If you take a direct road route, it's about nine miles, but while we're learning, we aren't all that familiar with how buses and everything work here, and took a rather roundabout way, which meant it took us about 45 minutes to get there. Our coworkers have been visiting the seaside town of Kilyos all summer long, almost since the day we all arrived, but since the temperatures haven't really gotten above the low 80's (not complaining though!), I didn't really want to go to the trouble - to me that's not warm enough to get in the water, especially since you have to pay to use the beach here.
Last Friday felt quite warm and sticky (the humidity can really make things uncomfortable, especially since I didn't grow up with it), and so we decided it was finally time to make a run for the water. It was easier to get to Kilyos than I had anticipated, and since we visited on a weekday rather than a weekend, it was cheaper as well (20 Turkish lira vs. 35 Turkish lira). We almost turned around and didn't pay to enter the beach as soon as we saw that it looked a little small and rocky, but thankfully we decided to pay just a little extra for the part of the beach with chairs and umbrellas so we could lounge and read for a bit. I was feeling warm so I waded in a bit until Danny joined and started swimming around and by the time I got brave enough to really get wet, the lifeguards cleared everyone out (I guess the beach is only really open from 9am - 6pm, and they said about ten minutes after 6pm you can get back in, but it's at your own risk). By the time we'd gotten out and dried off for a few photos, we decided to just move on and get dinner in town.
The market in the middle of town right by the bus stop was probably one of the most legit markets I've seen. No touristy things, no tourists (okay, us, but besides us), just lots of locals buying beautiful, (presumably) fresh produce.
Once we got onto the beach, we realized it was actually pretty nice, and the water was super warm. I haven't been to loads of beaches, but it's definitely the warmest water I've encountered so far, and our first time to swim in the Black Sea!
The lifeguards were really a unique breed at Kilyos. One, they were really whistle-happy, and while I could never really figure out what the infractions were they were so uptight about, I was always aware that something was (constantly) up. Two, they seemed to be simultaneously running a corn stand on wheels. One or two of them would keep an eye/whistle on the beach, and the others would wheel the cart up and down their little stretch of beach, selling roasted corn on the cob. Finally, Danny noted multiple times to me that they must spend their mornings working out together and their afternoons on the beach. They weren't wearing matching swimsuits or anything, so it was kind of hard to tell who was a lifeguard and who wasn't, but I think we decided that the buff guys with whistles taking turns with the corn cart - those were them.
We had such a nice time relaxing at Kilyos, and the surrounding town, though small, seems to have some decent little restaurants and a nice street or two to walk down too. If we had more than ten days left in Turkey, I think we'd try to make it to the beach every other Friday or so, as it's really so convenient to where we're living and a fairly nice beach. If you're visiting Istanbul, it's honestly quite far removed from the city center, but if you're desperate for a beach, this one seems pretty good (full disclosure: I haven't tried any others in the area).