Turkey – Much More Than Expected (Pt.4) On the Coast – Bodrum
Traveling across Turkey from Ankara, I arrived late afternoon expecting a few comfortable days to myself in Bodrum. Thanks again to Enver Anczak, who arranged my stay at the Maja Hotel and organized a meet and greet with two very popular, clever Turkish culinary experts, who happen to be gorgeous women.
The room was nice and had a fridge. Unfortunately, the internet connection only really worked in the lobby, but the hotel was on a rather quiet, residential road, about a block away from all the action. The pool sparkled for my morning laps. It was comfortable. I met many people at breakfast, who returned yearly.
Confirming that English is spoken at this family inn. Feel free to call and send Emails www.bodrummaja.com
It was here, at the Maja, after a nice Turkish breakfast that I experienced the magical healing powers of pomegranate juice. Within less than an hour, I could feel the fruit’s detoxification working on my kidneys. Pomegranate trees are everywhere in Turkey, and the juice can be found in the simplest markets – sometimes paired with anti-inflammatory cherry juice, for about $1.00. In Cesme, Masut Saygi, my sainted tour guide at AKTIF Travel told me that his grandmother always claimed, “Pomegranates are the cure for “42” different diseases”.
The Harbor is filled with beautiful boats available for charter, and people enjoying the sunsets at bars and cafes. Magic hour, gave me just enough time to map-out the magnificent castle and its brand new, equally magnificent Maritime Museum, nestled within.
At dusk, I decided on a small restaurant on the main street, past the town square, next to a farmers market. Luckily I’ve become a new fan of “Marius” who posted this video. It’s a visual description of exactly what I saw my first night in Bodrum. I’ve requested permission to share. Enjoy! http://youtu.be/-yHoqYMsljQ
The next day, I made sure I walked the entire town, starting with the castle that sits out onto the water. It has a colorful history of the invasion of many nations. The forts from each country were built to offer a strategic vantage point facing in the direction of various probable marauders.
Before I began the climb up, I stopped in one of the most unique art galleries ever visited, right there on the property.
The Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology is located in the Bodrum Castle of The Knights of St.John. It is not just a rusty collection of lifeless relics, it’s a treat for anyone interested in what treasures lie beneath the deep blue sea. Well done! For more info: http://www.bodrum-museum.com/
Managed to connect with Enver’s contacts Selen and Pelin for tea in the Bodrum “Marina”. I didn’t know the Marina was on the other side of the Bodrum Harbor. There was no way of letting them know I was running because I had outlived the two week limit on my sim card. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day and they had faith that I would show. Thank goodness! It was meant to be. And, that’s not all!
These adorable Turkish goddesses established a cooking school in Bodrum. Their walking/sailing – culinary tours are trez unique! Trust me on this, take the time to check out their very cool, very inviting website for more: www.culinarybodrum.com
It was a long day, but also my last night, so I stopped in a popular spot on the strip. I never imagined I’d be listening to a group of musicians, directly from … Cuba!
Kusadasi – Ephesus was meant to be my next stop, but it was not to be. Euphesus is at the top of my list when I return to Turkey. If you’d like to know more about what we missed: http://youtu.be/w96kNceE3n4
The rain wasn’t the only reason I asked the owner of the Maya Hotel to order a taxi for me. It sounded like a great solution to have help purchasing the ticket and ensure that I would be standing on the right corner for the right bus. Bodrum has a very big, busy, bus station. On my way into Bodrum, the bus driver dropped a few of us on the side of the highway, instead of the bus station in town. Looking back, it may have been because the overpass was packed with goats… Sometimes goats happen in Turkey.
When my taxi driver/helper, asked my final destination, not knowing the difference, I told him Alacate, in Izmir, instead of Ephesus. Alacate is which is where my bus finally unloaded me – in the town square – more than seven hours later.
Four hours into the journey, I knew something was lost in the translation when the bus stopped in busy Euphuses, the bus driver shook his head, “no”. If I wasn’t unloading here, I could only hope we weren’t far from my destination. Wrong. It was uphill and down again, hours away.
I wouldn’t want to repeat it, but I’m not sorry. This 71/2 bus trip was a great opportunity to experience more of Turkey’s beautiful, rich countryside up close: mountains of marble, ancient ruins, great roads and transportation by land and by sea, Unesco sites and natural wonders. And, many, many newly built mosques, along with their familiar and by now, welcome call to prayer.
This could have been planned better with a proper internet connection in my room and a cell phone that worked. Communication in Turkey is complicated. Visitors are granted cell phone use for two weeks. Any longer, there’s a bunch of fees and registration with the gov… I know better now and try to remember it’s all part of the journey.
About six hours in, we took a road a fair distance off the beaten path to drop off a local, closer to home. Another hour and a half, we arrived in charming Alacate…