Southwestern Turkey is known by the doubly meaningful “Turquoise Coast.” The water is both blindingly blue, and the country is Turquoise (or Turkish, in it’s more Anglophone spelling).
We just got back from a weeklong break from Dhaka to Turkey. Yes, I know, we’re doing a lot of travelling recently, but we’ve got to make sure we take all the trips possible from here before we leave, no? And other than Sri Lanka, a few of the Emirati airports and some of China’s lesser known cities, we’ll have made a nearly complete tour of all the “direct flights from Dhaka” before we go. Turkey is the longest haul from here, (though Biman flies to London as well, that’s just too far for a short visit).
So, to Turkey.
The first bit was incredibly HOT. The weather was promised to be in the 80s (35 C), but it was instead in the hundreds. Since the boat was in the sun, without a/c, this was a bit of a challenge. Most people sleep on the boat deck, but in a fit of modesty, and for fear that Neko would keep everyone awake, she and I tried to tough it out in the cabin the first night. And, yes, it was torture. I would have been less (sweaty) wet if I’d slept floating in the Mediterranean. The rest of the nights we kipped it on the deck, midnight wake-ups and feedings be damned. And, no one even noticed she woke up (3-4 times a night). I was refreshed and happy. Sleeping outside under the stars with a 6 month old? Priceless.
Of course, when we got home a week later, she had a bit of sleep regression. She must have liked snuggling cozy between us on a gently rocking boat. Yes, that does sound nice.
We visited the lovely village of Kas, which has the air of the Riviera, and is the kind of place that people dream of for a retirement home. Quaint cobbled streets, bright white stucco, wooden shutters, geranium window boxes, tiled roofs, shady central squares, open fresh markets…. Such a happy day. We bought a handpainted bowl, comparison shopped on ice cream (one guy charge us 2.50 lira for a cone, another guy charged twice as much! We ate both), and watched as a steady stream of competetive swimmers made their way from the waterfront end of the race to the main town.
We also stopped in at a few ruinous sights (the ancient Roman town of Olympos, the sunken city of Kekova, the Island of St. Nicholas). We visited a hippy backpacker campground and farm only accessible by boat known as the Butterfly Valley, but butterflies were out of season, and we only saw 2. A great waterfall and some crickets and grasshoppers, though. We missed the Lycian tombs and the mysterious Chimera flames, but that’s just more reason to head back down there some time, right?
We did a lot of swimming (even Neko), and (forgetting that I’d applied sunscreen while wearing a shirt) got really sunburnt in a 15 minute snorkeling session. I missed out on further swimming because the burn was pretty bad, and didn’t really snorkel in the best spots, so that was a bit disappointing.
The water felt really salty at first, but was alternately bathwater warm and chillingly refreshing. You could see about 30 feet down in most places and some of our fellow travellers used the opportunity to dive under the keel of a boat. Most everyone else on the boat was from down under, deeply tan and on extended journeys (of a year or more) before they returned home. I felt like a bit of a fly-by-night tourist.
Overall, I highly recommend the Turquoise Coast, though you don’t need to see it by yacht. Most of the harbors offer day long tours to the same sights we saw slowly over three days. Of course, you miss out on sleeping under the stars if you do, but you’ll be blessed with air conditioning instead. It’s a toss up.
Tomorrow, a recap of Istanbul.