Thursday, 12 April 2012

IATTOUR April 1-14, Bodrum and EFES

Bodrum/St. Peter's Castle (Elaine's rendering)

After the rush in Ankara to get to our flight, the rest of the trip was uneventful, with the Apartment Host and Hostess waiting to pick us up at Bodrum Airport and take us into town. We arrived at our hillside apartment in the dark after a pit stop for groceries and drinks, we have no context of what the area is much fun finding our way back downtown in the morning.  We were underwhelmed by our digs (no photos to post), but happy to be in one place together.
I wish could insert a smellogram here!  Spring has sprung in Bodrum, blossoms everywhere and the scent of the various orange, lemon and other flowering trees is intoxicating...


There was a needy dog and cat on every corner who found a pat or some food from our two animal softies.  Luckily, we aren't the only softies in town.

We were sitting having Cay (tea) on the strand, when we were watching this fellow selling these unidentified fruits to many locals; who then were noshing away on them right away.  He gave us a handful and we tried them, quite interesting, but have never seen them in this form before.  Can you guess what this mystery edible is?  Answer at the end of the post.

Walking along the beachfront, we find that Bodrum is just shaking out of its winter slumber with spring cleaning and painting going on everywhere and a lot of the shops just opening this week.  In Gumbet (the party town next harbour over), they are actually sieving the beach; the workman said: "Not good, lots of #%$@ here!" The weather is very pleasant, with not too many tourists, we congratulated ourselves on our timing...we can only imagine the high season crowds and 40 degree temperatures.  The harbour is full of hundreds of elegant charter boats; not sure who is buying these rides--perhaps Turkish film stars as rumoured.  I know its not us!
But off season means that anyone open is keen for our Lira, so there are a few bargains to be had including this "Sex on the Beach" shaker shared by these wild and crazy Canucks! A week later, the owner is still hoping we'll be back. But on a more civilized note...

We rented a car and headed off to Efes (Ephesus); about a 3+ hour drive towards Izmir, with no GPS and pretty minimal road map, but Frank managed with his trusty copilot, Tony. Roads were not busy, but there were lots of pot-holes and people passing when not expected, so you were on your toes.  Here's a few shots along the way up and back.

Tiny wash-station for kiddies
the hawker gauntlet found at all historical sites.

Our buddy Attaturk can be found everywhere. PS--read up on this guy--he is really amazing!

What else can you say, EFES is magnificent! Here is the 25,000 seat theatre.

The Efes "Love Shack" Logo

The library.

Jan succumbs to peer pressure!

Near by Efes on Mt. Koressos is a home where it is believed the Virgin Mary lived out her life after the death of Jesus.  It is now an unofficial shrine, with many devout making the pilgrimage.  Even though it is not formally recognized by the Catholic Church as being the home of Mary, a number of Popes have held mass at this site. 
A long day to be sure, but WOW what sites did we see today!

Round and round the peninsula we go...Bodrum that is!  We soon found out that the main town of Bodrum is way ahead of the smaller towns dotting the peninsula, with some still completely shut up for winter, and others with only a handful of places open.  We are struck by the amount of development in all these coastal villages, with resort-summer-retirement homes stretching up into the hills....way more than any place we have seen in Mexico. 

Mmmm...  Yalikavak with its Herbs and  Turkish Delight shop.  The delighted owner fed us a sample of everything (from cinnamon sugar to dried cherry tomatoes)...everyone bought something...the candied Kumquats were delectable.

The end of another hard day of touring.
Finishing up after mezes with dinner at a local marina/dingy club, we talked sailing with the owner and got the full tour (Optomists and Laser 2 and all).
Making sad faces at 0600, time to go home!
After three weeks of touring and some very intense Crazy Rummy, Jan and Frank winged their way to Paris for a day's layover before heading back to Calgary.  Elaine and I packed up at the apartment and moved to the Moonshine Otel in town for the duration of our stay in Bodrum.  Once in we thought, Janet and Frank would love it!  What a great place, friendly staff, location,pool, bar, breakfasts,extra treats etc.etc....they will get a thumbs up on Trip Adviser.

We spent the next week touring the peninsula visiting sites missed with Jan and Frank and hiking the hills and dales.

First stop, Bodrum/St. Peter's Castle, the original "pension" for knights on the way to the crusades.   Built by at Spanish, Italian, German, English and French, using "borrowed" marble from the local amphitheater and mausoleum, housed the "League of Nations" of the 1400s.  Make sure ou visit if you are interested in Crusaders Castles and Underwater Archaeology!
Ready, Aim, Fire!
Barbarosa--quite the name in these waters!
no line-ups for this tuvalet!

Snake Tower symbol

Every mornings' Turkish breakfast outdoor by the pool.  A lovely place to stay.

More rambling in the hills and towns.

And now for something completely different.....another amphitheater and mausoleum (circa 400 BC) but in Bodrum!

Mausolus' tomb=the origin of "Mausoleum" aka one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.
Aww...come out, Tony,...I promise only one more market

Elaine celebrated her birthday in style by the pool
outdoor chandelier about 2m OD

Downplaying the logo hype in Bodrum

Looking for the ruins of Pedasa, but not finding them.
Mausolus' Myndos Gate--hailing a chariot

We went out to the coastal fishing village of Gumusluk by Dolmus(collective bus); hopefully the rain holds off.  We were told by many different people that this is one of the best places on the peninsula to get our feed of seafood and were not disappointed. The fresh calimari, sole and a few mezes, accompanied a bottle of Rose capped off a very nice birthday luncheon for Elaine.  The town was idyllic, we will keep this in mind for a place to stay next time.
looks like the Coast Guard has boats with a bit of HP!

On the way back to town the heaven`s opened and we were wading through 10 cm of water running down the streets.  In the narrow alley`s, the drivers were not very respectful of any pedestrians which result in even more of a soaking from the wash of water thrown from the passing tires. 

XXX beware
What a shame we forgot the camera today at this huge market in Milas.  We thought- great idea lets have lunch with the locals. We order the special horizontal grilled doner meat, that Frank had wanted to try, and sat down with a young man who offered us pieces of his lunch to sample.  We  declined to share his drink, but, not wishing to offend ordered the same.  It looked like pomegranate bad could it be...I mean, we had been drinking Aryan which tastes like salty liquid plain yogurt.  Well, it made the Aryan look very good.  What was it?  Maybe  brine from the olive processing...salty, spicy and undrinkable by us Westerners.  Straight to google when we got home, we found it was...TURNIP JUICE.  What evil genius thought of bottled turnip juice!  Oh and...the doner...we are pretty sure that was grilled sheep intestine.  Not too bad!

A bit more rambling along the shore to the southeast through some of the local shipyards and beautiful shorelines and hills.

Our time in Turkey is coming to an end; we have thoroughly enjoyed our time here with Jan and Frank to share the experience.   We have had a bit of a rest this last week to get ready for the sprint to the end with a number of groups of friends in Italy (Wendy, Ron, Glenda and Lise) and Portugal (Mina and Dianne, Mark and Maureen)...see everybody real soon.