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Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean
July 8th 2019
Published: November 14th 2021
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THE FERRY TO KOSTHE FERRY TO KOSTHE FERRY TO KOS

Families stretch out on the seats and the floor for the trip to Kos.
TOWARD TURKEY

My Trip Continues



The train trip to Athens was uneventful. I met a young man going home to vote; it sounded like the Christmas story. I left my hat and my roller cart on the train and spent almost an hour and a half trying to get them back. The roller cart turned up; My underwater camera fits perfectly on the roller cart, so I was relieved. I never found the hat.

I was right on schedule to meet my friend Aylin in Turkey. Back in Washington, when we discussed how and when I would visit her at her summer home in Turkey, we commiserated about how travel is more difficult and expensive for singles. She said she would like to take a trip with me. I thought that would be great…three days in Poland, or a couple of days on the Danube? Instead, she planned a nine-day cruise from Copenhagen to St Petersburg. Her son has worked in the tour business and was a great help with the arrangements. Let me say here, I am not a cruise kind of person. I love boats, but I like to be active. The idea of
GREEK RUINS GREEK RUINS GREEK RUINS

This is near the piers. Ruins can be seen in unusual places.
being in a confined space like a ship is disturbing. Also, I am frugal (some say cheap) as well. A cruise was a bit outside my comfort zone. But I had never taken a cruise, so I agreed to this. I planned to arrive in Bodrum with plenty of time to see some of the city, visit more with Aylin and prepare for the cruise.

I found my Airbnb in Athens and waited half an hour before my host came to let me in. My room had an accordion folding door with no lock, and the latch didn’t work either, so I shared my bed with my hosts’ cat, who let herself in and out on a whim. There was a shared bathroom so small I didn’t shower. Since this was just an overnight, I made the best of it.

I had arranged for a short walking tour of Athens in the morning before taking the ferry to Kos, the closest Greek island to Bodrum, Turkey. I met Frank, our guide, and three tourists from Lebanon in a park. The brochure on the computer had promised entertaining, little-known tales about the great philosophers. Our guide handed out a
SHOPPING IN BODRUM, TURKEYSHOPPING IN BODRUM, TURKEYSHOPPING IN BODRUM, TURKEY

I am a tea lover. Aren't they pretty?
multiple-choice quiz that we filled in as we went. Some of the proposed answers were hilarious. Frank told some juicy, rather naughty stories. I wish I had saved the quiz. Our group melded nicely, and we had a lot of fun together.

When we parted, I found a café for Greek salad and black tea. I did a little shopping and bought a pricey chess set and earrings. I had several hours to fill before catching the ferry at nine pm. I stopped at a crepe place; then went exploring. It was only two pm. The sun was warm; the day seemed to stretch out in front of me. I found a pleasant city park and sat down to read and rest. I must have dozed off. Suddenly I checked my watch. It was fifteen minutes after eight! Where had the day gone?

I ran back to the apartment. My host ordered a taxi ASAP.

The driver, Adonis, made it to the port in record time. He waited for me as I paid for my ferry ticket to Kos. We had to drive to another area where I picked up my ticket. Then we raced to yet
DELIGHTFULDELIGHTFULDELIGHTFUL

Turkish Delight. I was so excited to actually find it in the street market.
another pier, where I boarded the ferry. What a relief to climb the stairs to the passenger deck, find the sitting area, grab a seat and finally relax from the adrenaline rush of the taxi ride.

I found myself in a spacious carpeted room with many other men, women, and families, snacking, chatting, and sleeping in upholstered seats or on the floor. I slept a little.

It was too late to get food when I woke up. The restaurant was closed (much of the sailing takes place during the night). The boat docked early in the morning.

At nine am, it was already hot. My ticket for the catamaran crossing from Kos to Bodrum was not until 5 pm. The dock was in the middle of nowhere. I had too much luggage to walk very far. There was no place to sit and wait or even get out of the sun. I decided to discard my ticket for 5 pm. I bought another ticket for the next boat, thus arriving in Bodrum eight hours before Aylin expected me.

It turned out to be a poor choice.

I sat in a small cafe with all my
STREET MARKETSTREET MARKETSTREET MARKET

Everything is sold here.
luggage and ordered tea and a decadent ice cream confection. I moved to another restaurant with Wi-Fi, drank tea all afternoon. I charged my computer and cell phone. In the late afternoon, I finally ordered a delicious Mediterranean meal. I sent Aylin several emails.

I finally got a message from Aylin. She had gone to a different port and had to take another taxi to find me. What a relief when she arrived!

We chatted over more tea. Then we took a bus to her summer home on a hill overlooking the sea. I was exhausted from the ferry ride, lack of sleep, and long wait before connecting with Aylin. I could hardly keep my eyes open and was grateful for the comfortable bed.

After breakfast the following morning, the neighbor woman came for a visit. She spoke only Turkish. Then Aylin and I went to town for some shopping. I bought an extra suitcase for our cruise. We walked the boardwalk and made reservations for a boat tour the next day. I took Aylin to dinner before catching the bus back to her house.

The following day was sunny and warm, and our boat stopped
DIVERSDIVERSDIVERS

On the boardwalk in Bodrum before we bought our tickets for the excursion boat.
at several secluded Mediterranean coves so we could swim. The water was cold but clear. Aylin didn’t swim after the first moorage because the water was at least fifteen feet deep, and there was nothing to hang onto to rest. The ladder was the safety spot of choice. It was crowded with swimmers, making it difficult to even get back on the boat.

Between our swim spots, the women on the boat got up and danced to Turkish music. It was so much fun to see Aylin smiling and dancing with the other women. She was flushed and looked beautiful. I could tell she was home at last, with the music and the dancing. One young woman was celebrating her honeymoon. It was all very festive.

On Friday we took a bus to Turkbitu, to swim. It is a popular area with many little shops, cafes and private beaches. We swam in a designated swimming area with a small beach. The water was crystal clear and sparkled in the sun, and we had the swimming area to ourselves. At about six, swimming stopped, and a restaurant placed tables on the beach and opened for dinner.

On Saturday,
ON THE BOATON THE BOATON THE BOAT

Boats in the marina.
Aylin took me to the Turkish baths in Bodrum. I was a little nervous. It was a first for me. Aylin brought bath towels for us, but I was still worried about our valuables. And disrobing. I am comforted with a bathing suit.

There was no need to worry. We were the only guests. The attendants, all women, scrubbed our bodies with a short bristle brush while we lay on raised, heated marble tables. Warm water washed away the soap. Then we were massaged with soapy water and sloshed again with more warm water. Finally, we showered and shampooed our hair. It was a pleasant experience, but I didn’t feel quite as pampered as my friends as they described the baths in Istanbul.

From the baths, we went to a beauty parlor. Aylin and her friend felt my eyebrows were too bushy and wanted me to have them thinned. It was the first time I ever had my eyebrows shaped with a spinning string. The process was so simple and painless.

Sunday at 3:30 am, we caught a taxi to Bodrum; we transferred to a very comfortable bus to the airport in Istanbul. We were on our
GUESTS ON THE BOATGUESTS ON THE BOATGUESTS ON THE BOAT

Ladies talking and listening to music. Soon they were dancing.
way to the cruise ship.

We had some trouble at the airport. We hadn't traveled together before; we got separated. After we reconnected, we talked about how we travel and made plans to work together.

The flight was uneventful.


Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


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FRIENDSFRIENDS
FRIENDS

Tourists from several countries were on the boat to swim in small coves.
RUINSRUINS
RUINS

This was a good view of some Turkish ruins.
MODERN CITYMODERN CITY
MODERN CITY

Modern buildings in Bodrum.
SWIMMING AREA IN TURKBITUSWIMMING AREA IN TURKBITU
SWIMMING AREA IN TURKBITU

You can barely see the floats that keep swimmers and boats safe. In the evening diners will have this view.


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