Thursday 21st June
It is 8.30pm, we are in Bodrum, Turkey and it is stinking hot! Mark, Tom and I have just returned from dinner whereas Annabelle stayed in the apartment as she wasn’t feeling well.
We left Rodos early this morning, another hot and sunny one. The ferry left at 8am and took 1 hr to reach Marmaris, a port further to the south than our desired destination of Bodrum. From there it was a 3 hr bus ride, with a difference, to reach Bodrum. I had been worried about the itinerary I had planned post Santorini. That was until this morning. Waiting in the queue to pay ferry taxes for the trip from Rhodes to Bodrum was another family that had been on our flight from Santorini to Rhodes. At least there is one other nutty tourist like me in this big world of ours!
Arriving into Turkey is an odd experience. Every one rushed past this tiny desk with a minuscule ‘Visa’ sign on it to reach Passport Control only to be then told to go back to get a visa. Some signs would come in handy.
Our bus driver was cautious, diligent concerning our seat numbers and most efficient. The bus held 30 seats and was air conditioned but we proceeded to make these seemingly unscheduled stops in the middle of nowhere to pick up people who then sat in the aisles or on the front steps along most of the route. Bizarre! The drive from Marmaris to Bodrum was similar to that you would encounter along the south coast of Australia, in particular that along Mt Roger heading towards Broulee. The geography and vegetation was very similar with sub-tropical rain forest, pine forests, many gums and more oleanders than I have ever seen in my life time. The key difference was though that the road cuttings revealed magnificent limestone as opposed to Hawkesbury sandstone layers. Am I boring you guys yet? I have already said to Mark that I would love to re-do Europe with some Geologists as part of a study tour …he said I could do this on my own.
We are staying in a charming little hotel in Bodrum, the Su Hotel, just a short walk to the bustling harbour and Old Town. The apartments are located in small bungalow style buildings that line two sides of a large rectangular pool, each with balconies over-looking the pool. An open lounge bar area and garden area make up the other two sides. Mark, Tom and I spent the afternoon by the pool after arriving here at about 3pm whilst Annabelle chose to have a rest in our room. It was pleasant spilling into the pool whenever the heat got too much and we stayed down there until about 5.30 before venturing out. We thought it might cool down a bit. How wrong we were! The heat here is amazing but restricting; you really can’t do anything outdoors, other than swim, between 12 and 5pm. Anyway we braved the heat and went down to the Old Town which was mostly just more shops, but at least without the Ouzo. We headed for the medieval Castle of St Peter, built in 1402 initially but rebuilt by the Christian Crusaders. We saw the grizzly dungeons where the Crusaders exercised their might, complete with all the usual torture equipment. From there we raced to down a beer; touring is thirsty work before dining along side the harbour and heading home to check up on Annabelle.
I don’t know what I had expected of Bodrum other than perhaps a sleepy, tired fishing village. How wrong I was. Bodrum is an up-market, highly maintained and spotlessly clean tropical paradise. The harbour closet to us is lined with hundreds of luxury, wooden gullet style boats along a beautiful coastal walkway. This foreshore walk is lined with manicured, colourful flower beds filled with tropical shrubs and trees. You can even pick up a Maserati, should you need one, down at the shopping arcade near the Marina! The boutiques in the maze of lanes in the Old Town are glitzy mirrored and silver affairs complete with air-conditioning; the most up-market of all so far. The harbour in the next bay along to us is pebble beach affair but it is lined with beautiful cafes and restaurants that spill out on to the beach and, with the maze of shops of the Old Town running behind these, it has a similar feel to that of a glamorous Bali. I only wish we had more time here. Annabelle, Ali and Elliot would love his place! The locals here seem to appreciate the diversity and beauty of their environment and have maximised its potential to their advantage and pleasure. They are also very friendly and seem to know how to enjoy life. This is a place to come back to!
PS: We are a bit sick of the Balkans; they throw their considerable weight around with gay abandon. They almost filled our ferry this morning and they push and shove their way across the whole of Europe. They then proceeded to get stuck into their bottles of spirits and mixers and were a rowdy crowd. They also need to learn the definition of the terms ‘queue’ and ‘take your turn’. I was in the ferry tax queue, having waited some 15 minutes and these dudes rocked up and just shoved in front of me, they have no respect for anyone!
Tomorrow is another travel day with a 3 hr bus trip from Bodrum to Seljuk where we will have two nights so at to explore the ancient ruins of Ephesus, purported to be the best preserved ruins of the whole of the ancient Roman Empire.