So today at our first breakfast (hard boiled eggs, olives, tomatoes, cheeses, olive oil, herbs, butter, jams, honey, fresh bread, and tea) at Fora (our apart/otel) in Datca (I have wasted a lot of time trying to put a cedilla under the “c” in Datca to no avail), we met the mayor of Datca, who also happens to own this hotel. He welcomed us warmly, found us a good map, and gave us an excursion for the day. “Tomorrow morning we’ll make a new plan,” he said as he left when we told him we’d be here a week. So we’re heading to the end of this peninsula to Knidos, an ancient city, a bit like Ephesus, Mayor Sener Tockan told us. At this tip of the land, the Aegean Sea meets the Mediterranean Sea. Cool.
I haven’t mentioned this weird truth before, but it’s definitely an interesting fact about Turkey: stray cats and dogs fill this country. All are well-fed and content to roam and sleep wherever they want, usually in the middle of a sunny, cement sidewalk. The cats look more mangy and sound more scary in a night cat fight than their canine counterparts who appear quite hearty and aloof. I know this looks a little creepy – like a crime scene, but these two are right below our balcony:
We’re finishing our second full day in Datca (the call to prayer is happening at the local mosque as I type at 4:54 pm; this happens six times a day, times dependent on the movement of the sun). Yesterday was filled with walking – all over this town and along the lovely coastline. We found a good market for supplies for our apart (think self-catering unit) at Fora, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, a primary school, a swath of white, red tile roofed buildings perched in the surrounding hills, and several outdoor cafes. Very perfect. We’ve begun to delve back into books, writing, 7 minute workout sessions, and have the time to savor the fun and challenge of our Aegean biking tour with David. We feel so lucky (how many times I think and write that…) to have landed at the Biking in Turkey website in our search for cool things to do in Turkey in our initial planning of this adventure. Our biking guide, Sinan, was extraordinary in his patience, humor, gentle direction, bike knowledge, and people knowledge. Our driver, Mustafa, transported us safely and kindly – a warm, sweet man. Our group of eight was diverse, interesting, and fun: Omar, a mid-thirties IT guy from Saudi Arabia was so willing to teach us about his world and share delicious dates and candy. Daisy and Pete, an early thirties couple from the UK were smart math peeps, who were always kind and quite hilarious. Heather and Meghan were a mother/daughter duo from South Africa, Meg, 26, now doing pharmaceutical research in London and Heather working in Namibia. And there were the three of us – David, Ben, and I. David thrives in a group of new people; he loves to hear and tell stories; the boy was born to laugh (and make me laugh). A lot. It was such fun to be with all of these people for seven days, chugging up mountainous terrain, flying down hills, and razzing (Daisy’s word) along beyond beautiful coastal roads. Around meals, beers, van rides, card games, and walking in villages in the evening (and some in Turkish baths) we got to know each other. We leave this experience with new friends and hope our lives intersect soon.
Today around Datca included the dramatic drive (steep inclines and declines & hairpin curves with nary a guard rail) out to Knidos. On the bike trip I didn’t have my camera for our stop at Ephesus; so I was happy to see another ancient city (over 2000 years old) with a camera in hand. On the way back, the mayor recommended a detour through three beach towns: Palamutbükü, Ova Bükü and Hayit Bükü. See some photographs of all of these places below:
First – recess bell at the primary school:
The drive to Knidos:
And the beaches:
Thank you so much for reading, looking, and following our journey! We miss our friends and family!