Travels to Turkey

My incredible travels to Turkey in 2007

Archive for the ‘The Blue Voyage’ Category

Boating on the Mediterranean Sea – Day 10 in Fethiye

Posted by Mardee on May 14, 2007

Island off FethiyeBecause of my late night, I slept in a bit on Sunday morning, then headed down after breakfast to wait for the driver. When I’d booked my 12 island cruise the night before, the hotel manager told me a car would pick me up at 10 am. Price for boat cruise, round-trip transport and lunch – 30 lira (around $23). The actual boat was pretty large with two decks. The bottom deck had tables for lunch – the top deck had padded vinyl seats running along the sides and also had about 30 mats for laying out. It wasn’t crowded at all – there were probably 25 people at the most on board.

As we got underway, I began chatting with some of my companions. A mother and daughter who were sitting next to me were from Bristol, England – the daughter had recently built a house here and was talking about how cheap everything was here compared to the UK. Another woman from Liverpool and I were discussing place names and she was raving over the names of U.S. cities like “Cincinnati” and “Minneapolis.” Hmmmm….. I guess I don’t appreciate our names. On the other hand, I like the English names like Blubbermouth and Tissington.

One woman from Europe evidently assumed the boat allowed topless sunbathing and immediately pulled off her bikini top before laying on the mat. The rest of the Europeans took it in stride although no one followed her example. Our first stop was Gocek, a market town about 30 minutes from Fethiye across the water. About half the passengers got off to shop and we would pick them up later in the afternoon. I chose to stay on board.

The rest of the day was heaven – serenity in a tropical paradise! The boat stopped at a number of small islands in the sea. A few had beaches and we got off and strolled on the sand, then waded out to sea. Several islands had no beach and contained only rocky ledges – there we just swam off the boat. The water was glorious – deep blue, cold and clear, but warming up almost instantly once you were immersed. Just about everyone swam and had a wonderful time. One Turkish man who spoke very good English (he proudly informed me that he learned “American” English) told me to watch out for the sea urchins on the rocks underneath the water. Sure enough, I could see the little devils clustered under the water. Those needles would be painful so I made sure to wear my sandals when I was around the rocks.

Lunch was fresh fish (with the head on), green salad and bread. I sat with my Turkish acquaintance and a German couple (well, she’s Dutch but lives in Germany). They were heading to Cappadocia soon so I told them some of the highlights of my stay. After lunch, we lazed around on board for a bit before swimming again – this time on a beach that contained some old Roman ruins. Soon we were headed back to Gocek to pick up the rest of the passengers who informed us that the market there was not worth going to! There was one more swimming stop after that, but most of us were content by this time to just relax on the deck and sleep in the afternoon sun.

After getting back to Fethiye around 6 pm, I walked to a little travel agency near the tourist information center to buy my bus ticket. The prices still continue to amaze me – 17 lira ($13) for a 4.5 hour luxury bus trip (including refreshments) plus a pickup from my hotel. Next I stopped off for a quick cheese and sausage pide then went for my nightly foray to Özsüt (which is a Turkish pastry chain) for a pastry and cappucino. Did I mention coffee in Turkey? Sadly, this country has one drawback – lack of good coffee. Of course, the Turks invented Turkish coffee, which is something special in itself. But sometimes I just want a cup of good strong black coffee – and it’s just about impossible to find here. The closest most places come is Nescafe – and that’s just not close enough. So I’m constantly hunting down coffee shops and Özsüt makes a great cappucino (and wonderful pastries – better than the Bon Bonerie!).

After heading back to the hotel to pack, I ran into Burkhard and Ulle and invited them for a drink on the terrace where we had one last chat. Finally I headed for bed. However, as I got ready I realized that I had a pretty serious sunburn from my 2 days on the beach and the boat. I DID use sunscreen – LOTS of it! This sun is just so bright and hot, though, and my skin so light that it must have been an open invitation. Hopefully it won’t be too bad tomorrow.

And speaking of tomorrow – I leave Fethiye and head to Ephesus…

Mother and daughter from England

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Posted in Blue Cruise, Fethiye, Gocek, The Blue Voyage, Turkey | 4 Comments »

The New and Improved Turkey Travel Itinerary

Posted by Mardee on April 23, 2007

An itinerary is a work in progress and will continue to be one until the travel becomes history. This is what makes them fun to write – they’re as changeable as the weather and as fickle as my cat, Scarlett. You’re not married to one. You can wish it on someone else. You can even steal someone’s itinerary and adopt it for yourself (which is why my itinerary probably sounds somewhat familiar to Lonely Planet readers).

Therefore, I hereby announce my new and improved itinerary; sans rental car.

Day 1 (Th): Leave Cincinnati for Istanbul
Day 2 (Fr): Arr. Istanbul in the early afternoon. Head to the Hanedan Hotel. Do some sightseeing–possibly the Hippodrome, Hagia Sofia and the Yerebatan Cistern.
Day 3 (Sat): Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque.
Day 4 (Sun): Boat ride up the Bosporus. Wander around. Check out Taksim Square.
Day 5 (Mon): Leave for Izmir (high-speed ferry to Bandirma, then express train to Izmir). Arrive in Izmir around 2:30 pm, then catch a dolmus (minibus) to Selcuk. Find hotel.
Day 6 (Tue): Grab a bus from Selcuk and head for Ephesus. Spend day in Ephesus, then head for Pamukkale.

Okay, stop here. Change of plans. My last version had me renting a car in Selcuk. This was before I found out that some of the roads in Turkey are just the tad steep…and have sheer drop-off cliffs running along them. Did I mention that I am afraid of heights? So, I will NOT be renting a car in Selcuk, but will instead be using public transportation. This is fine – I’ve heard that the buses have attendants who spritz your hands with cologne. Cool.

Day 7-11 (Wed-Sun): I’m not sure if I’ll be in Pamukkale or Fethiye, but the goal is to wind up in Fethiye by Thursday since I want to take a gulet (Blue Voyage) cruise from Fethiye to Olympus. The company I want to go with only leaves on Thursdays and Sundays. The cruise travels across the Mediterranean over the next 4 days, stopping in the Butterfly Valley, St. Nicholas Island, Kalkan (Hidayet Bay), Kas, Aperlai , the sunken city of Kekova, Pirates Cave, Camlik Bay, and a final stop in Harbor Andriake (arriving on Sunday).
Day 11 (Sun): The gulet company arranges a bus to Demre to see St. Nicholas Church and the Rock Tombs. From there, a bus transfers us to the town of Olympos, where I will spend the night.
Day 12 (Mon): Hang out in Olympos in the morning, then head for Cappadocia, land of the fairy chimneys and Goreme.
Day 13-15 (Tues-Th): Travel around the Cappadocia region. On Thursday morning, head for Ankara and visit museums. Take night train to Istanbul. Arrive Friday morning.
Day 16 (Fri): Spend the day shopping in the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market.
Day 17 (Sat): Leave for Cincinnati at 12:35 p.m.

Posted in Blue Cruise, Butterfly Valley, Cappadocia, Fairy Chimneys, Gulek on the Turquoise Riviera, Itineraries, Kas, The Blue Voyage | Leave a Comment »