Trip Start Oct 24, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Turkey  , Turkish Aegean Coast,
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

After living in Turkey for nearly seven months, we still had yet to leave Istanbul -- not our usual traveling style.  Part of it was down to the fact that Istanbul is so big and so full of places to see and things to do -- I am convinced that I will never be bored in this city.  The other reason we hadn't explored any of the country was probably because we hadn't had any time off work.  Fortunately, in April, that changed -- if only a little bit.  We were able to secure a few days off (three, to be exact), and booked ourselves on a flight down to the Aegean coastal city of Bodrum (which translates to basement -- hence the name of this post).  The timing couldn't have been better -- the dates coincided with our seven year anniversary, so we were able to go somewhere special to celebrate making the "itch" mark.

Our flight was at 8:40am, so we assumed we had enough time to make our way there by public transport, which began running at 6:00am.  What we didn't count on was how impossibly slow the tram would be on the way out there -- which resulted in us getting to the airport about 45 minutes before our flight.  As we ran through the underground corridors from the train to the domestic terminal, we wondered how it was possible that this was happening to us... again!  When we emerged on the departures floor, we were relieved to see that check-in was more or less dead, so we scooted through fairly quickly, dashed through security, and down to the gate just as our plane was boarding.

At just over an hour, the flight to Bodrum was barely long enough to take off our seatbelts, and before we knew it we were descending over the Aegean and landing at the Mugla Airport.  We had just one bag to collect, which was one of the first on the baggage carousel, then hopped on the Bodrum-bound Havas.  The Havas is an airport bus that operates in most major Turkish cities.  It's an easy way to get to and from the airport, and is usually scads cheaper than hiring a taxi.  Turned out only five people, including ourselves, decided to take the Havas that day, meaning we had our choice of seats during the 35 minute journey to Bodrum.

We disembarked and turned our faces to the glorious sunshine -- some excellent warm and sunny weather -- fantastic!  Konrad had reviewed the map and thought he had an idea of where our hotel was, so we set out on foot and headed east.  The path we took was a bit roundabout, but got us to our destination: Sariyaz Hotel.  We'd looked online at tons and tons of reviews and had decided to splurge on this one because everyone had raved about it so much.  After looking at our room, we really wondered why.  It was nice enough, but small, and a bit dark -- overall, just not what we'd been expecting for the price.  That said, the outdoor bits were lovely -- lots of spots to sit around the pool (which, unfortunately, was not heated -- a bit too chilly in April to go in) and on cushions around the flower beds.  We relaxed on some of those cushions for a bit and then put our walking flip flops on and set off to explore the city.  

To say that Bodrum is a fairly historic city is putting it mildly.  Not only does its history date back to (at least) the 8th century BC, but it was also the birthplace of Herodotus -- the man considered the father of history, as well as the world's first historian.  Throughout its life, Bodrum has been ruled by everyone from the Greeks to the Persians to Alexander the Great.  Its position on the Aegean and on the southwestern coast of Turkey makes it a very desirable and strategic port city.  Today, Bodrum is more well-known for its stunning turquoise waters and numerous beaches and discos.  That said, despite being a top tourist destination, Bodrum has managed to retain some of its traditional charm; for example, nearly all the buildings are still painted in the classic Aegean whitewash.

We spent our first day discovering what Bodrum proper had to offer, from the ancient Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (a separate entry here) to the Castle of St Peter and its accompanying Museum of Underwater Archaeology (also a separate entry here).  Friday of that week was Children's Day, a day customarily celebrated by having children dress in their finest clothes and put on a parade -- usually with children taking charge of the drums, cymbals, and trumpets.  To gear up for the big day, the children practice marching around the city and playing their instruments.  We were treated to practice marches in Bodrum and later in the middle of nowhere along the Bodrum Peninsula -- we found ourselves in the midst of one such march on our first hour in the city.  

 People had told us the city of Bodrum was garishly touristy, but we found it incredibly easy to escape the those bits (and none of it seemed "garish" to us) -- all it took was getting off the main boardwalk, and we found ourselves walking down deserted, tree-lined roads.  Making it even easier was the fact that we were visiting in April, a bit too early for the summer crowds.  This was particularly evident in the evening when we had our pick of absolutely empty restaurants on the beach.  We chose one that offered us views of the lovely Castle of St Peter, sat down, and had some delicious vegetarian food whilst sipping a bottle of Efes -- Turkey's finest.  We enjoyed a starlit meander home and discussed our impressions of the city thus far.  We both agreed that Bodrum was fantastic so far and that it had easily exceeded our expectations. And with that we retreated to the Sariyaz Hotel, plotting the next day's misdeeds.
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Roving Jay on

Hello - I first came across your photo's and now your blog post. I love the pic of the beach, taken from a low angle to include the pebbles etc.

Would you consider letting me use a segment of your Bodrum post in my Bodrum Travel Blog? I would include a link back to you post here on travel pod. I want to include a cross section of content on my blog, and I like the way you write.

thanks, Jay

to visit my site...

koppers on

Hi Jay-

Thanks for reading! Sure, that would be great! Feel free....

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