Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

199710 Turkey 2

THURSDAY 16 OCTOBER – Quite heavy rain in the night so the boat departure is delayed until tomorrow.  Roy & Sarah join us for breakfast in the van, hamburgers, baked beans and scrambled eggs.  It brightens up late morning so we drive around the coast and over the hills to Selimye to see Tuncay and En Gin at Summerhouse Bar.  Then on further to Bozburun.  The weather is not brilliant so when I see a launderette where I can get my clothes washed and dried I jump at the chance.  With 2 hours to kill Steve opts for a hair cut at the local barbers followed by a drink at the bar.  We are directly opposite the marina so not surprised how expensive he drinks are.  We chat to the owner who is eating his dinner outside.  He asks if we have paid our bill and when we yes and thought it a bit expensive he calls the waiter back, tells him we are not regular tourists and should not have been charged their price but must have another drink free of charge.  Just shows what a bit of the local lingo does.  We go to Cems restaurant in the evening for a meal.  They have a vegetable plot and grow their own and also keep bees for fresh honey.   We ask Cem to bring us an assortment of items from his Meze menu.  We end up with absolutely heaps of food, all delicious.  At the next table are 8 English people who have chartered a gullet (boat).  They say it is the best and the cheapest food they have had in Turkey so far.  We notice that we have had about twice as much food as them but our bill per head was half of theirs.  I’m having a few problems with my computer and one of the English people offers to help.  We used the generator yesterday morning and it was fine but now it won’t start.  Maybe we have some dirty fuel, so will try topping up with fresh and see what happens. 



FRIDAY 17 OCTOBER – Leave the motorhome at the motel and set off on the boat at 10am.  Stop and anchor at Hleina Bay for lunch and a swim.  The coastline is very jagged and the half hour car journey to Bozburun takes 3 hours by boat and his is where we anchor up for the night.  In the evening Sarah takes me ashore and round the village introducing me to the locals who are all so friendly and insists we stop for Cay (Turkish weak tea served in small tulip shaped glasses).  Sarah visits the hairdressers and it’s the same one Steve went to yesterday.  I’m recognised immediately and made especially welcome.  Our trip ashore takes 3 hours and finishes with us eating a BBQ of meatballs washed down with raki whilst chatting to the Harbour Master. 



SATURDAY 18 OCTOBER – Set off for Simi and stop at Smokey Bay for swimming and lunch. Sarah’s Mum used to have a hotel and this is where Sarah learnt her excellent catering skills.  Unfortunately Roy picks up severe gale warnings on the radio so we have to return to Bozburun.



SUNDAY 19 OCTOBER – Following a night of storms and a bad long range forecast we decide it is better for us to jump ship, as there is no saying when they will be able to set off.  We wait at the bus stop but find that hey don’t run at all on a Sunday.  Walk back to Cockatoo.  In the afternoon Steve spots a dead Moray eel in the water.  Sarah scoops it out and takes it to Osmans restaurant where the chef says it is OK and he will cook it for us tonight.  As evening approaches another storm begins and all the electricity in the port goes off.  Despite this the restaurant stays open using gas lanterns so we sit down to eat the eel.  YUK, it would seem that the eel was not as fresh as thought and tastes vile.  We settle for the salad and chips that accompany it. 



MONDAY 20 OCTOBER – The 9.30am bus is running so we say our Good-byes to the locals (we feel like locals ourselves and have trouble avoiding the many offers of tea as we make our way to the bus stop).  Collect the van from Cems Dad’s Motel where they will not accept any money for storage.  Back through Marmaris then out to Turunc to check out the area.  Return via Marmaris then via Dalyan to Izutu Beach.  This is the beach where the loggerhead turtles lay their eggs. David Bellamy was part of a conservation group who prevented a hotel being built here and had it declared a conservation area.  The turtles are not here at the moment but still the warden asks us to move out of the area at night and park by the gates.  More rain.



TUESDAY 21 OCTOBER – Driving back through Dalyan we stop to speak to two Dutch couples with motorhomes.  We were just about to leave but change our plans and gather information from them as they are travelling to Syria and Jordan.  We seem to be changing our plans as often as our underpants at the moment (it’s a pity we are not Turkish as they only change their underpants every 3 days).  The weather improves and we team up with New Zealanders, Barbara and Malcolm, to charter a riverboat to the mud baths and the hot springs.  The mud baths at Ilica 100,000TL (40p) are quite an experience.  First you cover yourself in dark grey mud from the bottom of a warm pool, leave to dry for about 10 minutes, jump under a cold shower to rinse and then step into the thermal pool.  This is the recipe for increased male potency and a cure for rheumatism and gynaecological problems.  Next stop further up the rivers towards Koycegiz lake looks like a mosque but is actually an old building with a thermal pool inside that has stone ruins in the bottom 200,000TL (80p).  We head ourselves up in the 40C water then run out and plunge into the lake (actually hobble over the stones and clamber down the steps but the doesn’t sound as exciting).  Our boat driver Hassan joins us in the thermal pool and Barbara and I end up getting a Turkish massage from him.  After returning to Dalyan we take a local boat across the river to walk to the rock tombs.  Barbara and Malcolm join us in the van for tea and we offer them a lift to Fethiye tomorrow.  They are doing a similar trip to us but return to the UK every few months to earn enough to finance the next part of their trip.  The two Dutch couples join us and the beer and wine flow.  They tell us they did the same trip last year and enjoyed it so much that they are going to winter in Jordan again this year.  They look to be retired people with plenty of spirit and adventure and we decide that if they are brave enough to make the trip then why not us.  We agree that if we make it to Jordan we will meet up with them to travel in convoy through Israel to catch the ferry back to Greece.  The ferry offers unlimited stops so we plan to take 1 or 2 weeks at each, Cyprus, Rhodes and Crete before reaching Athens.



WEDNESDAY 22 OCTOBER – Pick up Malcolm & Barbara at 9am then drop them in Fethiye before driving that bit further along to Olu Deniz campsite, 1,000,000 (£4) with electric.  At Olu Deniz there is a spit of sand with beaches on both sides and a lagoon with the campsite on the shore site.  From the campsite we wade across the lagoon to the sand spit (and avoid paying the admission charge) but the beaches at the far side are not so good and very busy.  A stroll along the main town beach takes us to the boats and we are just agreeing a price for a trip tomorrow when Barbara and Malcolm walk up.  They are none too thrilled with Fethiye and are also going to stay at Olu Deniz.  We book onto the same boat trip for tomorrow then they check into cabins on our campsite.  A pleasant afternoon sunbathing is followed by an evening BBQ.  We sit out watching the hang glides descend from the nearby hill, expensive at £55 each.  Having just changed our plans to take in Syria and Jordan we hear on the news that Turkey has done something nice for Israel so the Syrians have retaliated and closed the border with Turkey.  Another change of underpants required.



THURSDAY 23 OCTOBER – There’s very heavy rain first thing but we go along to the boat kiosk for 10.30am as the man said he would refund the money if the trip were cancelled because of bad weather.  A number of other people are gathered but no boatman.  Someone tells us the tickets are good for another day and many people leave but as we are going tomorrow this is no good to us.  Having been stupid enough to pay in full we now notice that on the tickets the price has been written with one “0” missing.  Another man appears and offers to take us on his boat trip but we must pay again – this starts to sound like a scam I have read about where they sell you tickets, don’t sow up but then send an accomplice to get you to pay again and go with them.  A third man says he will find t man who sold us the tickets and we trail around with him whilst he makes a show of attempting to find him before saying he will go in the car to the mans house.  He is most put out when we say one of us wants to go with him.  He goes off alone, never to be seen again.  Next port of call is the local Jandarma who try to appear sympathetic and take us to another person in the same boat co-operative who will not refund our money but assures us our man will show up later.  We wait until 12.15 before giving up.  The Jandarma tell us to call back at 4pm when an interpreter will be there.  We leave in the hope hat our man will be there tomorrow as no one can do anything more about it.  The money is slightly annoying but just how many tourists are being conned like this each year.  We hope for a nice day tomorrow so that we can catch our many selling trips to other people.  Big tip for everyone’s, don’t just read it in the guide books as we did but take notice – only pay a small deposit at the most in advance but better still turn up for any boat trips about ½ hour before departure time and haggle for a price cut.  At least that way you know the boat is going and you will probably get a good discount.  Phone Claire, David has got engaged and bought a car for £50.  The rain continues throughout the day and accompanying thunder.  We are quite happy in our cosy motorhome editing the home video, doing the diary on the computer and watching movies but feel very sorry for the campers of which there are too many to invite in. 



FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER – Barbara is not feeling well so they go off to find better lodgings with a bathroom so she can rest for the day.  It’s not a bad day so with Malcolm we find the boatman and go on the trip.  We should realise all is not well when he asks us to walk around the lagoon the get on the boat as the swell is too great in the bay.  It takes 3 attempts for us to leave.  We visit Coldwater Bay with lots of ruins plus 3 other bays.  Every time the boat pools up small boats surround us with people coming on board trying to sell us pies, gozleme and other things.  One man even comes by on a jet ski offering people rides.  The whole trip is very touristy and geared up to take as much as possible from the passengers.  This seems very alien to us having already seen the “real” Turkey.  We’ve got used to paying 100,000TL (40p) for beers.  Yesterday he told us that on the boat the beers were 200.000.TL (80p) but in fact they charge 250,000TL (£1). The snorkelling equipment that he said was available free of charge consists of just one mask and goggles between all 50 passengers.  The lunch is really frugal and the visits to Butterfly Valley and the Blue Grotto are missed out. Many people complain but the man just doesn’t want to know.  Anyway we come out on top when he can’t change our large note for the bar bill then forgets to come back.  Back on the site we meet another English couple that are in a tent and invite them in for a meal.  David’s parents live at Church Eaton near Stafford near to our friend’s Jan & Dave Gough.  David (an artist) and his girlfriend Sarah (a journalist) have a VW camper called “Valentine” and very much wish they had brought it to Turkey instead of camping. 



SATURDAY 25 OCTOBER – A dull morning.  Malcolm & Barbara come rushing out from their accommodation as we had offered them a lift if they were waiting.  Kaya Koyu ghost town is really spooky.  2000 empty derelict cottages and 3 churches remain and an area by the church has bones left over from where the Greeks exhumed the bodies to take he skulls away with them when they fled.  Head back through Fethiye and call in for petrol.  We spend half and hour at the garage drinking tea whilst 3 men clean the motorhome.  First stop of the day is Saklikent Gorge.  You walk along platforms at the side of the gorge until it widens out to an area with springs bubbling up.  Straddling the streams are platforms used by the restaurants for their tables and chairs.  It’s very picturesque but we have been warned not to venture upstream as there is a danger of flash floods after the recent rains.  Letoon is an ancient city in ruins and partly under water.  The amphitheatre is used each year as the location for electing the local Tomato Queen – the person with the rosiest cheeks wins and the losers get pelted with tomatoes whilst the winner gets a years supply of them.  Last stop Patara with the longest sandy beach in he Med and very nice too.  Here the ancient town is partially buried in the sand.  Nearby Gelemis offers accommodation and Malcolm & Barbara check into Flower Pansyion on the understanding that we can park up in the garden.  You have to hand over your passports and this is when Malcolm realises left them in Olu Deniz when they rushed to catch us this morning.  It’s already 4pm and after many expletives Malcolm realises he must go back.  We offer to drive him but the pension owner assures him there are plenty of buses.  Barbara, Steve and myself eat our evening meal at the pension, a delicious local casserole.  Malcolm arrives back to 10.30pm having shared buses with sheep, and goats and witnessed a fire in a bar whilst buying a cheeseburger! 



SUNDAY 26 OCTOBER – After an awful night of rain we wake to a lovely morning with clear blue skies so it’s off to Patara beach.  It’s quite windy but still OK for swimming in the sea.  Late afternoon a bee takes a fancy to my bottom and gives it an unwelcome kiss – not sure what other people on the beach would have made of Steve sucking the sting out, only joking he picked it out.  Walk into the village of Gelemis in the evening where Steve sees off local pool champion Kemel, a lad of about 13.  Have a very nice meal at Kemel’s friend Hassan’s parent’s restaurant and once again end up feeling part of the family. 



MONDAY 27 OCTOBER – Another hot day with clear blue skies so our plans to move on are shelved, not difficult given the good weather, nice beach and friendly pension owner.  Yesterday he offered us use of a hot shower, let us put two loads of washing in the machine and served us breakfast for a total of 400,000 (£1.50).  This helps us to overlook the crazy chickens that climb the tress and start cock-a-doodle- dooing at 2am.  Stay down the beach until late afternoon when it’s even too windy where we are sheltering in the dunes.  Our evening in the village finds me at the barbers having a hair cut (very short to remove the blonde bits, shame he can’t remove the grey so easily) 600,000TL (£2.40).  At Bistrot with Mahmut we try Adana kebabs cooked over an open fire in the middle of the restaurant.  We chat to a couple opposite from Iceland and get an invitation to visit in the future.  Think I will have to start a new address book for all our new friends.



TUESDAY 28 OCTOBER – We leave early to drive via Kalkan to Kas.  Planning to take a boat trip we intend to arrive just before one leaves and negotiate a good price.  It’s easy to park in he harbour and as the trip doesn’t return until after dark we check with a number of people that we are OK to stay overnight and that there is no charge.  Our negotiations pay off and we get the trip for 1,500,000TL (£5) including buffet lunch.  The boat takes us to Aquarium Bay where we swim (coincidentally the boat is called Aquarium and we suspect the Bay takes it’s name after whichever boat is there at the time).  Ucagiz is our stop for an all you can eat buffet lunch and from here we walk to Teimiussa to see the rock tombs.  At Simena we climb up to the hilltop castle.  Finally we stop to see the ruined buildings under the water at Kekova Island and for a swim.  A good all round trip. Return to the van where a man comes up to us and demands 100,000 (40p) per hour and a total of 2.000.000TL (£7.50) for parking.  We refuse to pay explaining that we asked lots of people and they said it was free.  We end up at the Police station with him and they agree that there is no sign saying you have to pay and because the man didn’t come to us when we arrived we don’t have to.  Unfortunately the man doesn’t see things that way and follow us back to the motorhome.  He tells us in no uncertain terms to leave and suddenly comes out with some strong English swear words.  This leaves us with a problem as the campsites at Kas are closed and we’ve been warned not to drive at night.  However the Dutch people told us of a place to wild camp near Demre and after studying the map we decide it would be safer to drive there than stay here and risk the wrath of the car park man.  Fortunately the road is very good and we are very pleased to pull into the harbour at Andriake, near Demre and see our Dutch friend’s vans parked there.



WEDNESDAY 29 OCTOBER – Having arrived in the dark we now realise what a super spot we are at.  It’s a quiet harbour with water and a toilet nearby, a few bars and shops for the boat trippers and a lovely sandy beach.  Yes you’ve guess – another day on the beach but with a bit of exercise late afternoon when we ride the bikes to Demre.  Father Christmas was buried here in St Nicholas church (I know –sounds like another Jackanory) so we feel we ought to pay a visit but not surprisingly are disappointed.  Back at the van Steve cooks for all us of on the BBQ and Suzan provides a salad.  All go into Conny & Henk’s van for coffee.  In the summer Suzan and Gerban live on a naturist site in Holland then spend their winters travelling with Conny and Henk in their respective motorhomes.  Suzan is a musician and has a piano in the van, which she plays for us.



THURSDAY 30 OCTOBER – It seems that during the course of last night I agreed to go jogging with Conny at 7am, so I join her for a 3km run.  I return puffing a bit (all due to my blocked up nose which was in turn due to excess alcohol last night), whilst Cony is as fresh as a daisy.  A bit embarrassing as she is more than 10 years older than me.  Yet another day on the beach but with a walk to the ruins of Andriake in the afternoon.  The remains of Hadrian’s Granary are her e and this was used to store local grain before it was sent to Rome.



FRIDAY 31 OCTOBER – After joining our Dutch friends for morning coffee we set off to Myra.  This is another place with ruins and the best example of Lycian rock tombs plus a very good theatre.  The last ruins on our list so we approach them with a bit more gusto as we are getting a bit blasé, as there are so many in Turkey.  On through Finike and into Mount Olympus national park to climb the mountain.  This is the home of the Chimaera, a mythical fire-breathing monster.  Park at the end of the road and walk for a good half hour up the mountain before finding the spot with the fires.  Unexplained fire appears from under rocks and when extinguished there is a smell of methane before the fumes spontaneously combust.  Return to the motorhome and make plans to park up for the night so that we can climb back up at dusk and see the flames in the dark.  It’s quite a spectacle, like nothing we have ever seen before. Some people have taken bread to toast on the flames.  We meet up with 3 Dutch people who have no torch so using ours we escort them back down the mountain.  By the car park is a make shift open-air bar and the owner invites us to warm ourselves by the fire and to plug in the van to his electricity.  He then offers us a jacket potato from the fire.  I reciprocate and make us all some soup by which time we are joined by Adrian from Blackburn who has just come down the mountain.  The man puts some of our tapes into his cassette player and we dance around the fire.  A coach arrives with some Australians and the driver and his son join our little party and I make them some coffee.  The Australians return and join us dancing by the fire before the coach driver says it is time to leave and offers Adrian a life.  We finally get back into the van and have chance to make use of the electricity to edit the video and work on the computer.  What a bizarre but fun evening.



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