Monthly Archives: May 2013
Well 3 actually……Turkish Airlines, Royal Jordanian and Thai and we will then be in Brisbane.
Yesterday we had a wander around and saw a bit of Turkish life beside the Mamara sea, BBQs, sunbaking on the rocks (no Russian chicks Harry), fishing, bread venders and the Spice Bazaar. Leanne also got interviewed and videod twice by school children wanting to speak to English-speaking tourists.
Not a lot more to add as I must close down and get ready to go.
But I must say something about food. Buffets, buffets , buffets. I think have had my fill of buffets. After 4 weeks going around on buses in Israel and Turkey the gulet trip was a relief from buffets. The food on the boat was simple but very tasty. Two grilled sea bass meals were excellent.
BUT there has been no bacon for 6 weeks, not a pig to be seen. So I have declared war on the pig and will set about it on our return. Bacon and eggs for breaky, ham and tomato sandwich for lunch and a roast pork dinner with baked vegies.
So I know sign off until next time.
Well, I am still catching up on the blog sitting here in Istanbul. We leave tomorrow for home so there is still a little bit more time to go before we hit the long drag to Australia, via Amman and Bangkok, about 36 hours all up with stop overs. Too long, better planning required next time.
We headed off for Oludeniz at 5am so as to cross the Fethiye Gulf before the wind got up and roughed the sea up. Heard the gulet get going but rolled over until 7am. Breakfast is about 8am each morning so there is no need to rush.
Oludeniz is one of those magic sort of places where the ocean laps at the shoreline and then spills into a lagoon across a pebble beach/spit with colourful umbrellas and beach chairs. Lots of people lounging about on the sand. We paused here for a swim, the Captain always announces swim times with a loud ‘everyone swimming’.
After awhile here we backtracked into Fethiye Bay and stopped over the next few days a various islands and coves for swims and exploration. Gemiler Island where it is believed the original tomb of St Nicholas is located, along with the remains of several churches from the 4th to 6th centuries.
Tersane Island which showcases the ruins of a number of cottages from the early 1920s when the island’s population was shifted to Greece following the Turkish war of independence. There is now a farm covering the area with sheep, goats, cattle and donkeys wandering around getting fat. A major operation for the farm though is operating a bar and restaurant for travellers like us to have rest at.
We also called in at the submerged ruins of a Roman Bath house reportedly where Mark Antony seduced Cleopatra. We went ashore here and also snorkelled around the complex.
We returned to port at Mamaris , farewelled our fellow travellers and after a night in port returned to Istanbul aboard Turkish Airlines.
As I mentioned in the last entry we have been on board our gulet sailing (actually under motor all the way) down the Turkish coast from Mamaris to Fethiye and back. We have been out of internet range for this time, although at Mamaris we could have got onto free wi- fi. But we didn’t.
So here we are back in Istanbul trying to remember what we have done for the last week! The cruise was excellent, although in the latter half the weather was not as good as earlier. We still enjoyed it though along with the rest of the gang on board. For the run own to Fethiye, we had on board 4 Australians, 4 from the Netherlands, 2 from Turkey, 2 from the US and 1 from Canada. The North Americans, Canadian and 2 of the Australians (not us) left us at Fethiye. For the return trip we were joined by 4 Australians and another 2 Turks. What a gathering. A fun time was had.
We are onboard the gulet Ugur Kaan. This is a wooden hulled vessel of 132 ton and a length of 26 metres. Also 26 meters at top of the mast. 2 decks (one step!). 7 metre width.
There were no Russian chicks on board. In fact on the whole trip we saw few Russian chicks, although they were supposed to be around.
Leaving Mamaris, after sleeping on board in port for the night, we stopped in at Dalyan to see the famous Iztuzu Beach and Lycian tomb caves high up in the cliffs looking down on the river. Iztuzu Beach is a nesting beach for logger head turtles. It is also a long beach covered in umbrellas and beach chairs. How on earth the turtles survive is a mystery. We lay at anchor here for our first night.
At Dalyan, Allthego and good number of our fellow travellers enjoyed a mud session in the thermal pool. This mud is claimed to have numerous medicinal and rejuvenation benefits. Some, including Leanne, appeared to see no benefit in trying this out and preferred to observe the process involved.
Allthego enjoyed the experience but does not appear to have benefited.
We set off early the next morning for Oludeniz and the famous pebble beach and blue lagoon.
We have now returned to Istanbul after a night in Ankara. Main game in Ankara was to visit the mausoleum of Mustaffa Attaturk Turkey’s first president in 1923 after the independence battles. This chap also lead the Turkish forces at Gallipoli. History treats him as an amazing leader who is still revered today in Turkey. He led the country into the western sphere by a wide array of cultural, economic and political reforms that our politicians look amateurs. Changed from the arabic to english alphabet (with a few minor variations), decimilization of currency and measures, separation of Islam and state, wide array of women’s rights in a Moslem country, shift of the Moslem holy day from Friday to Sunday and so on. There is a substantial museum recording his life and times as well as panoramas of the WW1 and independence battles against the Greeks.
Also some time at the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations. This focussed mostly on the Hittites and Romans.
We now head off on the 7 day Gulet cruise down the Turkish coast from Mamaris to Fethiye and return to Mamaris. First have to fly to Dalaman and then transfer by car to Mamaris. We will be onboard about 6pm.
Not sure about the internet on board so may be off the air for a week.
It was a long all day drive from Pamukkale to the Cappadocia region in central Turkey and the town of Goreme. This is where the main attraction is the strange rock formations shaped like fairy castles and into which the locals hollowed out caves to live in (and were still doing so well into 1980s). All a bit hard to describe but quite amazing landscape. Early Christians also hollowed out small churches many of which remain. The walls and ceilings are decorated with frescos showing various bible stories and events, some of these date to the 11 century and retain much of their colour.
We had also been starved of factory tours for a few days and made up for this by visiting a ceramics business and also a jeweler, who said he had the finest turquoise items available. Some pretty impressive ceramic pieces. Enough said about this adventure.
In the early hours of the morning, 4am to be precise, we were awoken for a hot air balloon flight over the formations. We were aloft a little before 6am and caught the sunrise. There were 50 or 60 balloons in the air at the time. We were one of the first off the ground and saw many of the others follow us up. Leanne stayed firmly on the ground and followed in the pick up truck. We were aloft for a bit over an hour. Great experience.
We now head for Ankara and Istanbul.
Leaving Kusadasi we next headed for some more Roman ruins at Afrodisias en route to Pamukkale. As with all Roman ruins there is a story to tell which makes these Roman ruins different to the last lot you saw. In this case the ‘big new thing ‘ is an almost intact Stadium complex with a seating capacity of 30,000 and the temple to Aphrodite. The stadium complex was not a Hippodrome, much narrower, longer and at one end there was a circular area where the Gladiators held combat. Much of the seating is still intact and unrestored, the top of it is long gone.
After an hour or so wandering around we headed off to Pamukkale which is famous for its Travertine formation, formed from carbonate depositing out of the region’s aquifer. Interestingly the supply of water to the travertines from the aquifer has reduced in recent years (in part due to increased draw down by the locals). So instead of it freely flowing across the whole formation it is now rationed to various sectors on a rotation basis. The pure white colour is also changing in places because of this. So the picture perfect postcards maybe a dying breed in years to come.
Allthego had an encounter with some fish at Pamukkale that eat the dead bits of tissue on your feet. A foot cleanup if you like. Scores of the little fellows nibble away between your toes, around the toe nails, up the calf and on the soles cleaning up all those rough edges and giving the foot a real nice work over. Very medicinal, relaxing treatment that has ones feet and legs, half way up the calf, immersed in fish tanks. Then a whole lot of these little fishes go at it for 20 minutes, even the ones in the tank alongside try to get at you through the adjoining glass panel. I can fully recommend this treatment to sort feet out.
Back at the hotel it was into the thermal pools for a mud session and wash down, little black caps were required for hygiene purposes. All shapes and sizes wallowed around in this very brown muddy water enjoying the ambience and company of their fellow travellers. It was almost Roman.
A long all day drive to Cappadocia awaits the dawn. Our tour group is now down to only 4 of us. We have a driver, and assistant driver and guide to keep us on our toes for the last 4 days of the trip.