A brief run down on our trip to explore the bazaars of Istanbul and enjoy a bareboat sailing trip along the Turquoise Coast – more or less in order of activity. We’re bound to have forgotten lots, but hopefully it gives you a taste of what we experienced.
Arrived early morning, bought our visa (US$20 pp), collected bags and went through customs – only to find out we couldn’t check our luggage in for our afternoon flight to Dalaman, so put it in storage and headed towards a taxi into the city. Gee, are we glad we didn’t try and drive anywhere in Turkey – 3-4 cars abreast on a 2-lane road is normal (somehow they just work around each other).
Singapore has nothing on Istanbul – if I ever get harassed by another carpet salesman, I’ll scream. Lots of carpets, gold, leather, Turkish delight. Don’t dare stop and look otherwise that’s it.
Visited the sites of the Blue Mosque, Top Kapi and the Grand Bazaar, took a look at the Bosphorus (river) and escaped back to the airport (in a suspect cab, with a suspect driver, smoking something suspect).
Gocek (a small village)
Arrived Dalaman airport, met by driver and taken to Sunsail base in Gocek. More experience of Turkish driving – this time steep windy roads on the side of BIG cliffs. Arriving into Gocek – absolutely stunning as we drove around the bay – dark blue water, amazing rugged cliffs and lots of boats. Met by Sunsail guy (same person who was base manager in New Zealand when there a few years ago), told about showers (only thing that was important). Had dinner with group of 6 Aussies that had just finished their charter. Next morning Glenda woke up with only one eye – other one was so swollen there wasn’t even a slit – still don’t know if mossie or spider bite.
A quick visit into the town for provisioning whet our appetite – we’d spend some time there at the end.
A beautiful group of bays grouped together just outside Gocek – bays have names like Boynuz Buku, Kapi Creek (we learned that Kapi means gate), Sarsala and Manastir Koyu (separated into Ruin Bay and Wall Bay). Each bay has a little restaurant, usually family-run. Serve mezze (salad of tomato – scrumptious they were -, cucumber, lettuce; aubergines; dips; bread; potato) and a main usually of ½ chicken, lamb shish, fish, calamari followed by fruit, all usually for about 20million Turkish Lira per person (1 million TL is about AUS$1). The people in the bays were lovely – very helpful (even the little children helped us tie up the boat) and always willing to work (a bit different to our Caribbean experiences.)
Anchoring was a bit different to what we’re used to with med-mooring being the order of the day. This usually means dropping anchor and reversing, stern to on to a jetty, fenders out, alongside the next boat. Glenda’s boat manoeuvring skills were put to the test!! But fortunately she passed and there were no accidents.
Mornings (around 8am) were time for the locals to take the bread (round Turkish Ekmek bread) out of the wood-fire ovens and sell it to the yachties – carried on a newspaper. Cheap and very yummy!
Fethiye (about 10 nautical miles from Gocek) is a very pretty town of different coloured buildings built up the hill, overlooked by a whole lot of Lycian rock tombs. Bazaar owners still keen for business, but definitely 100 times better then Istanbul. Wondered through cobbled streets, passed little houses, saw lots & lots of dogs and cats (standard in Turkey it would seem), and along the waterfront. Our biggest excitement here was after an afternoon in town, we returned to a boat where the anchor had dragged. After charging out in the dinghy (ha!ha! not likely with a 2HP engine) we managed to retrieve it, reset anchor and have a relaxing night on board, enjoying the twinkling lights of Fethiye.
Karakoaran was a bay just around from Fethiye, housing a basic restaurant, dinner enjoyed accompanied by a cat & dog and against a spectacular mountain backdrop.
A bigger bay about 30 nautical miles from Skopea Limani, where we anchored (stern to) at My Marina. A pretty upmarket place for the area, white linen, good service and extensive wine list. Cold and hot starters to choose from (rather then the standard fare) and lots of chargrilled fish, chicken and beef to choose from. Happened to be the night of Glenda’s birthday – a bonus.
Group of bays around the town of Marmaris – we decided not to go to Marmaris itself – enough of the shopping experiences. Visited bays like Kumlu Buku (where we took a walk to some ancient ruins) and Ciflik (home to a tacky white resort building) where we met Mehmet – nice guy and good restaurant. As this bay had a number of restaurant owners, there was friendly competition between them to attract people to moor at their place. After we made a comment that he should wear a red shirt to stand out from the rest (his greenish one blended with the background when you entered the bay), Mehmet disappeared and returned in a bright red shirt.
Skopea Limani (again)
Decided to venture back to the Gocek area, visiting amongst others, the Amigo Restaurant at Ruin Bay. Moored alongside the crumbling wooden jetty, we were parked almost on top of the ruins that gave the bay it’s name – the baths where Cleopatra is believed to have bathed in asses milk – why? I ask. Amigos is owned by Recep (pronounced like ketchup with an R) and isn’t licensed (all the restaurants are supposed to be licensed), so he and his family (his dad, wife and 2 teenage children) live, eat and sleep on a little wooden boat, cooking in an oven in an upturned wooden dinghy. Their house and restaurant was destroyed by the army a few years ago. Had a great evening, talking to a Dutch couple who go back regularly, always supporting Recep, and watching Recep drink his Raki (the standard aniseed-based Turkish drink). The following morning, after turning down Recep’s offer to come in for tea, we headed off along the goat / donkey paths to visit the ruins of the ancient town of Lydia. A tough trek, but certainly worthwhile.
Next stop, Tomb Bay. Much to Glenda’s relief it housed a barber, so Walter managed to get rid of his 2-week growth – Turkish style (with a single blade).
Back again for a couple of nights. Lots of Turkish delight, souvenir shopping Dinner at a fish restaurant where they cooked our fish (Groper) and then deboned it in front of us on a serving platter, using a spoon and fork – has to be seen to be believed. Not sure where there was anything significant in the fact that Walter received the head (literally) and Glenda the tail. By the end of the 2 days, people in the restaurants and shops were starting to recognise us and stop us for a chat. A lady selling spices and Turkish delight became so excited when we bought a few things at her shop – our last day we just had to return there to spend the last of our money (and donate the last few cents to her). Her hugs and kisses made it all worthwhile!
Oh to be told that there’s a 1 hour delay on our flight from Dalaman to Istanbul (and we had only 1 hr 20 mins to transfer) when we got to the airport – once it’s time to go home, it’s time. Other than that, and the shock of going from temperatures of 47 degrees to 7 degrees, all went very well, from getting good seats to having a lovely shower in the Qantas club during our wait in Singapore. All good things must come to an end – otherwise they’d be the norm, rather than a holiday!!
Breathtaking scenery, lots of beautiful walks, hot weather, good food and simply wonderful peo