We have our Turkish breakfast this morning
in the garden of the hotel. I say breakfast but it is more like lunch for us westerners. Black olives, a slice of feta, a hard boiled egg, cucumber, and tomato slices, all washed down with either Nescafé, Turkish coffee (if you are game) or çay (tea). Don’t forget to tell your waiter “no sugar”! Every meal in Turkey comes with lots of freshly baked bread and for breakfast you usually have cherry jam or if you are lucky enough, some locally made honey.
A Six Hour Cruise
We have to be at the harbour for 10:30 a.m. for our six-hour cruise. We will do some touring and stop at a beach for 2 hours. Lunch included: 20 million Turkish lire (about $19 Cdn). Sarah has opted out of the cruise and decides to spend the day exploring the city. The rest of us arrive, get on-board and about 11:00 head out into the ocean; ours is the first boat out of the harbour.
The city is bigger than our first glance and you can really get a sense of it from the water.
Hotels dot the coast as we head out into the Mediterranean. Jan, Erin, Matt and I head up to the front of the boat for some sun and a bit of sea splash. 20 minutes into our 6-hour trip, our skipper honks his horn to bring us in from the front of the boat and we head back to the shore, the seas in Turkey being too rough to sail!
Blame ‘The Gods!’
What ensues is some tough negotiation with the owner of the boat for our money back. He actually says he has no power over the weather and blames it on “the gods!” We settle for 50% and the lunch that we would have had on the water and we sit in the harbour, noshing on fresh fish and cucumber and tomato salad. We watch all the other boats returning from the rough sea. Later in the afternoon, Erin and Jan pass another tout selling boat tours; they were still taking people out and bringing them right back in. Only in Turkey!
Enjoying a Turkish Bath
We now have the rest of the day to fill so John and I decide to have a traditional Turkish bath. We arrive at the “hamam”, which is really old (its advertising says the building has been operating as a Turkish bath continuously for over 700 years) not knowing what to expect. We are quickly led into a change area where we are given wraps and sandals and proceed to the first aspect of the bath – the steam room. It is a beautiful domed, white marbled room with a square slab in the middle of the room that is heated from underneath. We steam and wash and then wait for the body scrub, the soap massage and for me, a hair wash. We finish the bath with an oil massage and sit exhausted with a bottle of water, a little sore from the rough treatment but feeling great and completely clean.
The Usual Pandemonium
It is now late afternoon and we decide to head over to one of the bars on the cliff and enjoy the sunset over a couple of beers. The group meets for dinner tonight and Haluk, our guide, takes us to a local haunt where we have doner and pide (Pizza in Turkey). We are being picked up at 8:30 to be transferred to the bus station for our overnight, 10-hour bus ride to Cappadocia. None of us have been looking forward to this part of the journey, and we have another overnighter on our way back to Istanbul, so we try to organize being as comfortable as we can. We arrive to the usual pandemonium and an oversold bus! Some European tourists have our seats and aren’t budging. Strangely enough, we pull out of the bus station right on time at 9:30 and drive about 500 meters before stopping for 45 minutes to try and sort out the seating issue.
They can’t say the buses don’t leave on time in Turkey!
World Traveler, Writer, and Blogger, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the followsummer.com travel blog. A former Actor, current shower-singer, and non-hipster foodie. Loves his week-end house in St Marys, Ontario. Dad to Sophia, Ariel, and Hastings three of the best cats in the world.