Friday, 23 September 2016

Cruising Into Bodrum, Turkey

Monday 12 September 2016. A new day, a new country! We are in Turkey today at a place called Bodrum. We are docked at the quayside today so can just walk off the ship without need for tender boats.

We had a light breakfast. "I'll have beans on toast, please," I said to the waiter. "One or two, Sir?" "Just one - er... one toast, not one bean..." I mean, you never know... I took this from the ship's Promenade Deck before we got off.

"We're not going to walk as far as the castle are we?" asked Fran. "I don't think so..." I answered.

Thomson Dream, docked in Bodrum with a catamaran moored on the other side of the jetty.

We came out of the port gates and turned left along the fence and then walked towards the town alongside a pebble beach.

Boats of varying sizes were moored at intervals along the shore. The land rose above this beach with bars and sun loungers and music playing. Dogs and cats were ignoring each other, finding any shade they could to stay out of the heat, even this early in the morning.

The larger masted ships are called Barkahans - the name I guess being the equivalent of a barque. They do trips around the bay, usually accompanied by lots of booze and loud music of the sort that makes you want to head butt something solid...

A smaller private yacht against the backdrop of the castle. Despite us saying we wouldn't walk that far we are already halfway there!

The barkahan boats line up waiting for someone to hire them. It tends to be the mock galleon types that do the booze cruises. These look like fishing trip or sight-seeing boats. I tried fishing a couple of times in my teens - lakes or canals not sea fishing - but I never really got into it.

It's mid morning now and we are approaching the town. The path moves back from the water's edge. We pass a few shops and buy some postcards. They are very cheap: Euros 0.15 each. I tell the girl that in UK they would be 40p each or 0.5 Euros and she gapes at me in astonishment.

Coming back out of a short covered market street (which we'll see on our return), we pass a mosque and more market stalls not yet opened.

Ahhh... we've walked as far as the castle after all! Bodrum Kalesi or castle was built and dedicated to St Peter by the Knights of St John from 1402. It has a three-storey English tower carved with the arms of King Henry IV. Since 1962 it has been a museum of underwater findings from shipwrecks in the Aegean Sea.

The site was also used for the dubious pleasures of hill-wheeling, a tradition originating in 1524 when Robbin del la Srosbrie chained herself to a mill wheel in protest at working conditions. This tradition later took the form of chaining visitors to large wheels and rolling them down the steepest hill in the town... What fun!

A fanciful bust of Herodotus outside the castle. He was one of the first historians - he is credited with gathering evidence of past events and arranging them into chronological order to make sense of what had happened in the past. Living in the 5th century BC, his history dealt with the Greco-Persian Wars. Cicero called him "The Father of History".

More statues outside the castle wall. This area was once a separate island from the mainland and before Bodrum it was known as Halicarnassus. It was here that another of the Seven Wonders of The Ancient World was built - the Mausoleum of Mausolus (who gave his name to "mausoleum". This means I have now visited the sites of five out of the seven wonders. Still left to visit are the sites of the great lighthouse or Pharos at Alexandria and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Perhaps one day...

This was a nice shady spot and we took advantage of a bench. My arm suddenly went all wet and warm... A stray dog, a large beautiful labrador type had come to sit by us, friendly and trusting and was licking my forearm. Probably flea-ridden too, so we didn't attempt to pet it much, but I did say "thank you" for the wonderful friendly gesture by scratching behind his ear briefly on which he happily loped off a couple of paces and lay down near us.

We started to walk back. This is the covered market street. The lamps on the shelf at the right caught our eye. To be honest of course, the guitars caught my eye first...

The street was roofed with natural branches from trees. The shops do not extend far back so the trees were growing on the other side of them with the branches overhaging. A simple lattice stopped the branches from dipping down too much.

We bought a couple of drinks from a kiosk shop. A 500ml Coke and a Capri-Sun orange sachet. Priced in Turkish Lire, I asked for a price in Euros and after consulting a calculator I was asked for 80 cents... Even though stuff was really cheap I knew that was too little. I worked it out myself and left him with another Euro. He looked surprised for a minute then nodded at me. I've always found the Turkish people to be a lovely and witty people and I didn't want to cheat him because of a mistake.

When we got close to the port, we sat for a while on another bench, then went to look at a shop and bought some fridge magnets and a set of drinks coasters.

Back at the Thomson Dream, where we started, at the dock in Bodrum.

We spent the afternoon sitting on the Pool Deck on Deck 11 and I sketched the same view that we started with early this morning.

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