From Pamukkale, we said goodbye to our host Mehmet and the amazing food at Melrose House hotel and took a coach down to the Bodrum Peninsular on the south-west coast for the third stop on our mini Turkish tour. This was a shorter daytime journey of just 4.5 hours so we were able to see some of Turkey’s beautiful scenery en-route and with cold towels and refreshments it was a much easier journey than the night bus to Pamukkale. We’d booked five nights in Bodrum; time to see the town and surrounding area and to kick back and relax after the previous full-on five days.
We arrived late in the afternoon into the port at Bodrum; white-washed buildings bright with the sunshine, glorious blue skies and all presided over by the impressive 15th century Ottoman Castle of St Peter. Such different scenery from the dry volcanic rock in Goreme and the travertines of Pamukkale. At the far end of the bay is a modern marina crammed with sleek, white yachts, smart shops and eateries. As the bay curves round towards the castle the yachts thin out and all types of vessel jostle for space along the quayside. Fishing boats display the day’s catch in wooden crates packed with ice – the gleaming fish and seafood is as fresh as you’ll ever hope to eat.
Gulets, traditional Turkish boats, with varnished wood, polished brass and crisp, soaring sails moor alongside smaller vessels which hug the harbour walls. Fishermen tout day trips to passing tourists and it’s worth checking out the prices for some great deals on day trips here.
Sightseeing in Bodrum was to have included the Castle of St Peter built by the Knights of St John and the town’s main landmark, the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, The Mausoleum – one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, a boat trip and some general meandering through the town. First stop, however, turned out to be the clinic. Mister’s foot and leg up to his knee were now seriously swollen from the wasp sting and so he spent the next day attached to a drip and was finally discharged at midnight. As always we had travel insurance and were covered for everything from taxis to and from the clinic, treatment and food whilst there and, of course, the medication for the next week. I’d like to know what type of wasp was the culprit because from what seemed to be just a minor sting caused a lot of problems and the scar remains months later. Not just your average wasp it would seem.
Due to the Big-foot situation we kept the rest of our stay in Bodrum fairly relaxed and didn’t get about as much as we’d planned. We had a wander around the town, with frequent Efes stops to help the swelling… All types of ‘genuine fake’ designer goods, souvenirs, rugs, cushions and local handicrafts overflowed into the shaded alleyways and we spent a fun half-hour perfecting our bartering techniques – or so I thought as I’m sure the shopkeeper ultimately got one over us but he was happy, we were happy and my Mum now has a delightful pair of Turkish slippers – not sure she’s so happy…
Beyond the shopping area is ‘bar street’ filled with bars (obviously!) and restaurants which look out onto a narrow shingle beach. Many of the bars and hotels have tables and chairs placed right at the water’s edge. Great for a drink whilst dipping our toes in the water and taking in the views across to the castle. Halikarnas, the largest outdoor nightclub in the world is in this area of the town – there’s something for all ages in Bodrum.
A day out on a boat is a must-do when on the Aegean and the deck of our smart wooden Gulet was kitted out with comfy cushions; a cool breeze fanned the heat and a good supply of Turkish Efes beer, and a delicious seafood lunch kept all seafarers happy. The sea was the purest blue and so clear we could have counted the pebbles on the bottom. Shoals of sparkling fish darted through the blue and we moored in a secluded bay, backed with pine-clad hills and swam in the wonderfully warm waters.
We didn’t see as much as we’d originally planned in Bodrum but our few days there turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered!