The view from the terrace where we had our breakfast this morning was awesome. There was something amazing about seeing so many near uniform houses all lined up, like little boxes (cue the Weeds theme song). Apart from the luxury view, breakfast felt a little like a luxury breakfast, with fresh cheese, tomato and basil (from a plant growing on the side of the terrace) on fresh bread. I know this wouldn’t be cheap in Australia, so we absolutely made the most of it here. Delicious!
There wasn’t a lot planned for today, so we took the time to have a stroll through the narrow alleys and passageways in town. We know that they are just streets, but it’s quite novel for us to see these old twisty lanes. I have no idea how old the buildings are, but it felt older than most places in Australia.
We also had a look at the beach in town. I could just imagine how busy it would get here in the afternoons in July and August when it is peak tourist season. It wasn’t much after 10AM, and it was already heating up making that water rather inviting. There is not much of a beach left though, after all of the shops/restaurants set their tables/chairs on it. It’s not really possible to walk along the beach, which is a little sad.
Walking through the markets feels like an insect avoiding spider webs. Each shop calls out to you, and instinct is to be polite and talk with them, but it takes up too much time. It sounds like a game, but it’s not an enjoyable one. It seems that wherever there are tourists, there are markets selling crap to tourists. Loads of fake clothing, as well as usual souvenirs and art (and of course carpets). I was surprised that the prices were higher than Istanbul.
The marina had hundreds of boats, with many available for charter. There are quite a few tours that operate from here down towards Olympos that sound (and looked) amazing, but since we’d already booked a rental car there wasn’t much point daydreaming about it.
After a short walk around town, out to the castle (which we didn’t go inside), we were roasting and in need of a swim/shower, but settled for our air-conditioned car.
I read a few nice things about a town called Akyaka, so we made a minor detour to see what the fuss was about. The town is by the ocean at the base of some beautiful mountains/cliffs and is very scenic, but other than that, there wasn’t much to hold our interest. But, the thing that really makes the town a destination is constant gentle winds that blow across the long shallow bay, which are said to make this a wind (and kite) surfers’ paradise – I wouldn’t know, I’ve never tried. It was true though, in the distance there were hundreds (that isn’t exaggeration, either). It would have been a good occasion to learn how to kite surf, too.
In an effort to spend a little less money, we are trying to eat cheaply. We’ve also been caught out a few times by not checking how much something costs before ordering it, so making an effort to confirm the prices first, too. Sadly, by eating cheaply sometimes makes for a less than exciting lunch, like today’s chicken kebab sandwich, which was mostly sandwich, and not so much chicken or flavour.
The original plan was to stay in the next party town, Marmaris, but after seeing how hectic Bodrum was, we kept going and went far away to the quiet town of Datça. It was a long (70km) and very scenic drive through the mountains along the peninsula and felt a world away from the crowds and hawkers of Bodrum. The road was fun in places, but trying to stay on a budget, the driving wasn’t very spirited. A lot of the drive was concealed in the forests, but we would be gifted the occasional glimpses of the ocean and the other peninsulars/islands in the distance, which was truly wonderful.
Arrived at Datça and checked in to Tunç Pension. 75TL a night including breakfast ($37), which we found through Booking.com. It was a nice clean room in what felt like a large empty hotel. It was pure luxury to have an afternoon nap in the A/C.
Walking along the dark/coarse sandy beach we got to see all of the fancy restaurants by the water. Those restaurants were in a beautiful location, but were all too expensive for us – though I must say it was tempting to splash out.
I also saw all the sail boats from all around the world, and at that moment I wondered just how expensive it would be to own one, and to travel like that, because right then in the setting sun of this beautiful town, I couldn’t imagine any nicer way to see the world (I then thought back on our boating disasters, and remembered that it’s not so much fun in bad weather).
Risa actually found that the sea was full of sea urchin (ウニ), and if there weren’t people around, she probably would have jumped in to catch some I think!
Instead of a fancy meal by the ocean, we ordered some take out pide, urfa kebap and köfte from a local restaurant. It took a while to explain what we meant – it turns out the Turkish word for it is paket. We returned and ate on the rooftop of the hotel, though sadly we had just missed the sunset… again.
The Internet only worked in the common areas of the hotel, so we had to leave the comforts of our room and join the other people in the lounge. The manager and another man were deeply involved with what was on TV. During advertisements, we were able to learn that it was a Turkish drama about the Sultan Sulleyman called Muhteşem Yüzyıl. It reminded us of a Turkish version of Game of Thrones, though without the fantasy (so, probably something more like Tudors). We had no idea what was going on, but it was addictive and would really love to watch more of it. It turned out that tonight’s episode was rather important as it was the final ever episode after four long years. Dramatic would be an understatement.