We had a great gulet holiday in Turkey. Our tour operator, Eco Turkey Travel in London, has arranged a bottle of champaign to celebrate our golden wedding, which we found in our cabin on arrival.
We were a family of nine adults and six children and were sole occupiers of the gulet, this made the holiday more enjoyable.
We all thought the chef did an outstanding job and is worth his weight in gold. His food was excellant and all local dishes.
The children in our party are all good swimmers and put this into good use when moored up in the different bays and coves. Diving from the deck and the top cabin roof was enjoyed by all and they couldn't wait for the boat to stop.
There was plenty of space on deck, fore and aft, for relaxing and sunbathing in the sun or in the shade.
The three man crew were very acommodating and would get us drinks and make us coffee when we asked
My favourite archaeological destination in SW Turkey has always been Stratonikeia. Between Milas and Yatağan, equally accessible from Bodrum, Altinkum and Marmaris, the site is an archaeologist's dream as Greek, Roman and Ottoman remains tumble around the ruined houses of the Turkish Republic. Visit in spring and you'll be serenaded by frogs in the ancient theatre. Unlike Ephesus, you can wander at leisure through the bathhouse, gymnasium and bouleuterian unhindered by crowds, as coach tours are still a rarity. The villagers of Eskihisar were forced to leave their homes as an ever expanding coal mine encroached on their land. Abandoned villages always have a forsaken air and Eskihisar had the added menace of massive slag heaps looming over the ancient city walls. Only one old lady refused to leave and as the years went on she got progressively more dotty and would yell at us as we apologetically picked our way around the ruins. I returned to Stratonikeia this April for the first time in 10 years and found a happier atmosphere in the village. Two families have moved back and a team from Pamukkale University are busy excavating and restoring mosaics. The mosque has been repaired despite having no worshippers and the tea house is open. The towering slag heaps have been seeded and are turning into rolling green hills. Excavations are turning up exciting finds by the day. But the most thrilling development is an initiative between Muğla and Italian Education ministries to educate children using Statonikeia and Herclenium as examples, with a tag line of "Who doesn't know the past can't have a future, so teach through history."
Signposted just off the main road from Milas to Yatağan. Just before you hit the chimneys of the power station.
Google map: bit.ly/Z9HUYg
There are plenty of restaurants in the old town of Bodrum, most of which close in the dead of winter. Not so the family run Sünger Pizza café. Literally translated as "sponge diver" this busy, informal restaurant makes perfect thin-crust pizzas, but is more famous with the locals for its seafood.
Up on the roof in the summer is for tourists, where the fast and efficient waiters are quick to deliver your meal. The fish soup is to die for and the köfte (Turkish meat balls) is the best in Bodrum. Downstairs you'll rub shoulders with the local cognoscenti at any time of the year. Squashed together among the tables of the two dining rooms, or outside on the pavement on the shared benches, have a few glasses of rakı and you could end up talking about the state of the mausoleum (one of the ancient seven wonders) with local archaeologists, or swapping Mark Twain quotes with the resident sail maker. Ex pats from all over the world live in the marina opposite and use the restaurant as their dining room, so there's always a fishy tale to be told. It's open every day of the year and is rammed to the rafters with atmosphere.
Unspoilt Gümüşlük, stubbornly refusing to allow any concrete tourist developments within its tiny bay, is the prettiest fishing village on the Bodrum peninsular. And just a short walk away, hidden along the road towards Yalıkavak, is Limon Café, the region's most picturesque restaurant. From the road you walk through an unprepossessing series of shacks, past the art shop and kitchen through to the outside bar and terraced garden. Under the sky an assortment of wooden tables, chairs and sofas sit higgledy-piggledy, lit with candles or low lights, and decorated with home-made ceramics. Oversized cushions artfully tumble down the hill, inviting you to lounge and admire the view across the ruins of ancient Myndos. The food, often flavoured with lemons, is predictably fresh, scrumptious and authentic. Try the home-made lemonade or lemon cocktails before you eat. It is all made just that bit more magical by the nightly spectacular sunsets over the Aegean.
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