Ruins, Paradise Found and Mud Baths

We continued further along the Datça Peninsula towards the ruins of Knidos. The road passed through several small villages, but the road was more utilitarian than scenic, so it was inland and we didn’t see much, other than olive trees and rocks. Once again, the road was very narrow, winding, steep and narrow and would have been a dream in an open top sports car, but was slightly less fun in our gutless manual diesel Fiat sedan.

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It was another perfect day, with sunshine, clear skies and truly amazing water and coastline. That is, once we came towards the end of the drive and had a view. It was also my first time seeing Greece. We were also picking up Greek radio stations – we were forced to listen to the radio while travelling, instead of our own music.

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Sadly, there wasn’t much left to see at Knidos, even with a regular priced entry fee. Of course, there were a few ruins, but mostly it was rubble. There were some interesting walls by the sea that allowed the imagination to paint a picture of the way the town looked.

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It’s not to say that the rubble itself wasn’t interesting, as there was some amazing detail on some of the toppled columns.

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It was hot and the sun was scorching. But, being by the sea we had a constant and refreshing breeze that made it tolerable. Just. However, applying sunscreen before we leave the house, and every few hours is starting to become annoying.

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The manager at the hotel we stayed at last night suggested we detour to Palamutbükü and to drive along the coast and I’m so glad we did. It was amazing! The beach was smooth pebbles, but water was more like a pool than the ocean – I know, I say that every time, but I still don’t take it for granted. One more time to really drive it home, it was unbelievably clear. The heat made it easy spending a while just floating around to cooling off. If only I floated as effortlessly as Risa does… The phone said the local temperature was only 32˚C (which isn’t so bad, really).

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The town looked like an amazing place to relax. There were a few bars and restaurants by the beach, but it still really felt like a small town aimed at simpler local tourists (nothing like Bodrum). But, as it was yet another big day, we didn’t stick around to explore too much.

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We literally stopped again at the next cove, too. It was just as nice, but this time without the town in our view. It felt like paradise – even with the old lady living in a tent with who knows how many dogs and cats living with her. We’ve been to some amazing beaches in Australia, and while one or two had water close to this, this was still much clearer. Probably because it’s pebbles, rather than sand – less sediment/silt being agitated.

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The trend continued and every peninsular and cove we crossed was stunning. I couldn’t help but stopping the car to get out and have a look (and of course, photograph).

But, like all good things, eventually the road ended, and we had to join the road back to Marmaris. It was the same long drive high up on the peninsular that we took yesterday. Not many glimpses of the ocean, just beautiful rocks and mountains. And rocky mountains.

The reason we had to keep moving today was to be able to make a big detour to see the Lycian tombs at Kaunos. It may have only been 35km one way, but it was along narrow and very winding roads, which also happened to be in very poor condition. It turned out that the tombs that are carved high on the cliffs that we drove all the way to see are actually visible from the town that we’re staying at tonight (Dalyan). Sure, there was a river between us, but it was small enough that you could swim across… We read that we would have to join a tour (20TL – $10 each) to get there from Dalyan, but there is actually a shuttle boat service connecting the tiny settlement at Kaunos with the much larger Dalyan.

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To make it worse, we couldn’t get very close to the tombs. I did find it slightly amusing that beneath the ancient tombs was a recent cemetery – which we had to walk though to get a closer glimpse. Had hoped to get even closer, but didn’t seem to be possible without jumping fences and scrambling up rocks.

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There were actual ruins a little further from the river. We didn’t enter, but settled for a cheeky look over the fence. They were more modern than most we have seen, and the scale was quite vast, but it was nearly 6PM and we’d had our fill of ruins for today.

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On the way back to the highway we passed by Sultaniye hot springs. I was going to say that they have an amazing mud bath, but thinking back on it, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. The bath (which thankfully was empty except for us) was like walking on the bottom of a muddy river or swamp. There were small rocks and bits of sticks in with the lumpy mud. It was however very warm and relaxing. We dug up large chunks of mud from the bottom of the springs and carried them to the edge of the pool, where we rubbed it all over our bodies. Once we were suitably coated, we exited the pool and allowed it to dry, which was slightly less pleasant as the sun (and temperature) continued to drop (just look at the grimace on Risa’s face).

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Once we’d showered (with cold water, no less), there was a pool sized hot spring to bathe in and warm up again. I have to admit, that after cleaning the mud off, my skin did feel remarkably smooth.

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They proudly display the long list of minerals (and other things) and their concentrations that are in the water. There was also a long list of conditions that it helped. There was a strong smell of sulphur, like many Japanese hot springs, but I couldn’t tell you the truth of the rest of their claims. There was even a large indoor bath, however it alternates between being a male/female bath. Risa went inside as it was currently for women, but since the place was empty, I went inside to have a look (and to have a quick dip).

The best part about the hot springs! It was only 4TL each, which is probably the cheapest Turkish attraction we’ve been to yet.

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Keeping the bargain roll going, we found a bargain hotel (Konak Melsa 62TL – $30) in Dalyan for the night, but the challenge was finding it – the address didn’t match where Google thought it was. The room was pretty nice for the price and even had a nice pool with poolside bar!

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It was 9PM by the time we’d checked in. We’d missed lunch due to indecision, so we were starving. Found a local lokanta (cafeteria) and feasted for only 17TL ($9). Sure, some of the quality was questionable, but it tasted OK. So far, Dalyan seems too cheap!

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After dinner we walked further into town, into what felt very much like a colony for middle aged Brits. Heck, there were even signs boasting that their products were cheaper than Aldi. We managed to catch an illuminated glimpse of the Lycian tombs that we’d driven so far to see. I’m glad that we made effort to see it from closer, as the scale wasn’t as impressive from this far away. The mosquitos (which in ancient time this area was infamous for) kept us from staying any longer than it took to take this photo.

20140613_RCH_2935 20140613_RCH_2936Walking back towards the hotel, through all the markets selling all the same stuff, we heard as many British accents as Turkish voices. There were big groups sitting in pubs all waiting for the World Cup to start.

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