Third Wheeling: Three Couples and Single Cameraman in Kalkan, Turkey

As one photographer stepped onto Kalkan’s sun-dappled shores, he realised he had the perfect travel partner – his camera.

There's something alluring about solo travel. You have the freedom to wander at your own whim, making friends en route is a doddle and it's a chance to take an inward journey, exploring your own self while venturing outwards.

Nevertheless, there are times when you just want to kick back on a beach with a beer and your friends. The problem is, as I approach my 30s, most of my friends are in relationships - and that's how I found my single self apprehensively booking a holiday with three couples to Turkey's harbourside town of Kalkan.

It turns out that my fears about being a third wheel were ill-founded. Stepping onto the sun-kissed Mediterranean Coast, I clutched my camera a little tighter, realising I had the perfect travel partner in my palm.

Like fishing nets flung across the sloping landscape, Kalkan's tangle of cobbled streets is furnished with views across turquoise water dotted with gulets, Turkey's traditional wooden sailing boats. Family-run restaurants and cafés hewn into hillside serve seafood so fresh it still tastes like the ocean.

It's unsurprising that this place is a magnet for holidaymakers. Yet for every cluster of activity, Kalkan blesses visitors with pockets of natural beauty. On a stretch of coast flanked by cliffs and forest, the small beach of Kaputas was where we spent our best days. Hours basking in the burning sun were only broken by dips in waters so cool, clear and deep that we could see the fish swimming around us.

Turkey may have a bounty of cultural and historical offerings, but where this ancient fishing village excels is in reeling you into a state of being that requires little more than sun, sea and sand - being with friends was a bonus. Pootling around on boats, lazing on shores, I didn't need to be coupled off for the Turquoise Coast to lull me into a mindset of rest and relaxation. In fact, the only thing singular about my trip to Kalkan was the town's ability to revive a city-weary soul - and that was exactly what I, and my camera, needed.


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