If you’re in Fethiye and after something cheap and cheerful to do with the kids, or simply want to watch the world go by with a cay in hand, head to ‘Hello Bufe’ on the harbour front near McDonald’s, and feed a few fish.
A local place that’s weathered the test of time.
Just like ‘The Crown’ or ‘The Bull’ (or any well established pub) back in the UK is used as a local landmark when giving directions, so is Hello Bufe in Fethiye. It’s been here for as long as we can remember, it’s always got cutsomers and everyone that is anyone here knows where it is.
We are not talking fancy here, it may be on the fairly fancy new seafront promenade from Fethiye to Calis, but the likes of Mancero or Matisse it certainly isn’t – it’s a budget, down to earth little place jutting into the bay and selling cay (tea), beer, toasties, bread and simits (Turkish bagels) – yep, that’s pretty much your lot!
So why is Hello Bufe special?
Hello Bufe is simply part of non-pretentious local life here. It’s where local business is done, where groups of Turks sit at little wooden tables, drinking their obligatory cay, putting the world to rights or discussing their latest business plan or daily catch. It’s where groups of women sit and gossip or meet friends before heading to the market. It’s a place where the young go to talk, and where families take their kids to watch the seagulls swoop, and feed the fish and birds chunks of stale bread.
Feeding the shoals of gray mullet.
With the kids at school and me at work all week, our winter weekends are pretty standard – a mix of house chores, shopping and attempting to spend a little quality family time together. Saturdays are normally our ‘doing day’; tidying the house then heading to the local pazar (market) to stock up on veggies before popping into Fethiye to do our main weekly shop. For the kids it’s fairly dull so we normally stop off at Hello Bufe to cheer them up.
The boys have our visits to Hello down to a tee (excuse the pun!) We pick our table Note: when they were younger we sat on tables on the platform as there’s sides so a little safer, as they have grown and understand the danger of drops, they now like the open booths where you can stand at the edge and throw bread straight into the sea. We take our seats, order our cay (the boys love apple tea), then head over to the kiosk to buy our loaf for a Lira (to feed the fish), and a couple of simits or Turkish pastries to go with our cay.
The boys love tearing chunks off the bread and throwing it in the bay. There must be thousands of gray mullet in the water there, all rising to the surface to squabble over the bread. Sometimes you see a larger fish and all the little ones literally jump out of the water to avoid it. Other times there’s a cormorant ducking and diving through the water or sunning itself on a rock or buoy. Seagulls often visit, swooping down to catch the bread before it hits the water, and there’s always a posse of pigeons and little sparrows that peck around your table awaiting a crumb.
I’m not saying that you should go out of your way to visit Hello Bufe, this isn’t a full day’s excursion. But, if you happen to be in Fethiye, do take an hour out and head along to the cafe. The most expensive thing they sell is beer, if you’re not drinking alcohol, you would be hard pushed to spend more than a few lira. A visit to Hello is simply a cheap, enjoyable time out and the opportunity to watch the world go by as the locals do, cay in hand, feeding the fish with the most stunning view across the bay.
For more ideas on what to do here as a family, please have a look around the blog and see my post What to do in Fethiye with kids. Do keep tuned and sign up for updates to receive posts as they are published.
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