3 December ’04. Friday. One of the problems that I am having now is the short days… It seems that we no sooner get out of bed and then, it is evening, dinner is done and it is almost time to surrender to the comfort of our bed again. I know this will get better as the days start to get longer, but right now…. Another problem that I am having, is getting behind this computer and keeping this web page up to date. Since we moved into the apartment our daily “adventures” have most often been no more than a nice long walk, a day fixing or re-upholstering the van, laundry, or just sitting by the sea and feeding the fish. Now there is nothing wrong with any of this, but it is much different than what we were and will be doing once we get back on the road of our journey. Yalikavak is not only a small resort village that is filled with people from all over the world during the “peak” season, it has a small fishing fleet as well. Each morning anywhere between 3 to 6 am you can hear the small diesel engines start up and head out around the rock jetty in front of our apartment. Wednesday, Louise and I were out for a walk around the boardwalk and feeding the fish from the piers, and we came across one of the fishermen sitting around a basket loading the fishing hooks that surrounded the basket with strips of squid. He was telling us that each line with hook was 3 meters long and 3 meters separation from the next hook. Overall, there were 500 hooks and bait in each basket and he has 4 baskets. He was baiting each hook the afternoon prior to the morning launch. Yesterday we just happened to be there when he came back in….he did really well. All up and down the boardwalk and the jetty, we see people of all ages with a fishing line wrapped around a spool, twirling the line in a large arch, and catapulting the hook and bait out into the water. The bait is just bread. The fish that they are after, are what we would call, “fingerlings”. They range from 2-3” long and are small. They are prepared whole (without cleaning ), dropped into flour, and pan fried. Each serving is about 12-18 fish, and they are really good. You must eat them head first !!! The fish “mongers”, sell most of the fish whole and again, they again are not “cleaned”. It is the responsibility of the buyer, to clean their own fish. We now have just 9 days left here. Soon, we will once again be on the road and not only seeing new and amazing sites, but we will be searching for that allusive winter campground. I’m looking forward to it…
28 November '04, Sunday. Well we survived Thanksgiving. Our hunt for food went well and we had a delicious dinner. The weather did not cooperate however. The high for the day was 46 and that is cold when there is no central heating. We have a small portable electric heater, but the rooms are separate and have very high ceilings, so we can only heat one room. So we moved everything into the bedroom. It’s a bit crowded but cozy. The kitchen is freezing so I put the oven on before I go in there. These apartments are for the summer tourists and usually are not rented in the winter. On Well! The weather yesterday was sunny and in the 50s but with a strong wind so it didn’t warm up much. Today is suppose to hit the 60s and rain. We are doing some laundry this morning and will hang it out and hope it gets dry before the rain comes. All in All we are enjoying our selves here.
Yesterday we went into Bodrum to see the mausoleum of King Mausolus (c. 376-353 BC). It is in ruins and a lot of it was pilfered to build St. Peters castle. It was considered to be one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It is amazing to see the size of this thing and there were tombs here before the mausoleum was built. Then we went down to the harbor to see the remains of a shipyard. In 1770 the Ottoman fleet was destroyed by Russians and, had to be rebuilt at shipyards like this one. The shipyard was fortified with walls and towers to ward off pirates. It was a good day…
I have been doing a lot of reading, as there is a good supply of free books here and I am going to take advantage of them while I can.
We miss all the Christmas decorations and all the doings getting ready, but some how we will have to adjust.
Well, I am just getting back here and the day has turned out to be “wonderful” !!!
It must be over 70 right now and it is only 2pm. What a day for a nice walk. The laundry is now dried, folded and down. We found a “sidewalk market” (something like a garage sale) going on at the other end of the marina. There are times when it would be nice to have a shop back home so that we could buy some of the great finds. Then walking back we had a real good Turkish lunch. It is kind of a light chicken stew with rice on the side. We also met a couple from England who has just moved into their new home in Bodrum. They are very excited about their new adventure. They said that this is the “new Spain” as far a values and the purchasing power for them. Many “Brits” are buying here for sure.
The sun has heated the “solar shower” enough for it to be comfortable, so off I go.
Happy Thanksgiving to All,
Gosh we miss everyone. I am certainly more homesick since we are in one place. The weather is storming today, wind and rain and cool. Much like a Seattle Thanksgiving. We will go to the market and have a Thanksgiving Day hunt. I think we will look for some pumpkin (a big gray white one with bright orange inside). They also have some long flat green beans that are delicious. We will get some olives, they have the best we’ve eaten. The local honey is to die for. All the local farmers bring their produce to the market every Thursday. It is a sight to behold and very well attended by the locals and tourists. You can get almost every thing from food to clothes and household goods. We love to go each week. Then we will go to the butchers and get a big chicken to roast. Yesterday I baked a chocolate pudding cake and that will be dessert. We will rent a movie to watch while our dinner digests. So that’s how our day will go, now tell us about yours.
Yesterday Joel and I took the “Bumble Bee” into Bodrum to the Volkswagen dealer to see if we could get a new gasket for the muffler. He also wanted them to check our brakes. Well they couldn’t find the master cylinder, so the hunt was on. They looked from one end of the car to the other, no master cylinder. So they went online to see where it was. Well it wasn’t where it should be, but these guys never give up. In the meantime they fixed the radio and set the stations to the hippest ones in Bodrum. Finally they found the master cylinder under the dashboard and behind all the gauges. The brakes are fine. The horn was very wimpy, and in Turkey you need a loud horn, so we decided on a new one. Up on the hoist we went, but alas the new one wouldn’t work. So they set about fixing the old one. It “belts” it out now!! You have to keep in mind, the guys knew very little English. They all had great senses of humor and it was fun. Two hours and $13 US later, we were on our way. We had put some clothes in the washer before we left as the sun was shining but by the time we got back it looked like rain, so we did a Chinese laundry. Hung the clothes on out rack and put the heater on them. I don’t know if we told you, the weather here has turned cold and is in the 50’s. They are having snow throughout Turkey which is very unusual for this time of year. We hope it will be warmer in Greece.
24 November '04, Wednesday. This has been quite a day over all. We went out this morning for a long walk following the coastline. The weather was really very nice today, even though it was still a little windy. Nature is kind of like Seattle is during Spring, that is, the grasses are all green and starting to grow, and the flowers are coming into bloom again. We even came across a crew mowing and trimming a lawn. I know that the first time we were here, it was nice and green and there were flowers blooming, but this is more like the first part of Spring. There is a ton of new construction going on here building condo’s and new hotels. The construction is much different from that at home and even much different than we saw in Mexico. Unlike Mexico, it is almost all concrete “framing” and then the walls are filled in with a brick like product. These bricks are fired clay, about 4x4x8”, and are “honey coned” in structure (otherwise they have about 8 to10 hollow spaces in each brick). Then each side of the brick and framing is covered with a coat of cement or tiles to finish it off. The final results is very becoming. There is no heating system and not too many air conditioners. The hot water system is most always solar. We have solar hot water here and in this weather it is cold in the morning and if the sun is bright enough in the afternoon, it will warm up enough to give you a warm shower till about 6 pm. I don’t always get a shave in, so about every 3rd day I go in for a “Turkish shave” and massage for 4,mil lire ($2.20). Yesterday I was in the living room of our apartment and the light fixture fell out of the ceiling and hit me on the shoulder and then ricocheted onto the floor to break into a thousand pieces. My shoulder still smarts… Louise has just started sneezing and her head is all stuffed, so our guess is this is the start of the “cold season” for us as well. I marked my drinking bottle to try in avert the inevitable. Oh well, it’s just a cold….Louise has dipped into the files we have in “Bumble Bee” and came up with the journal from Bruce and Peg. Every time we re-read this journal we continue to find it very entertaining. I also want to introduce you to another journal (you might want to put this in your favorites) that we have found to be very good…it is the one that Ralph and Susan write. If you remember, they are the couple from just outside Calgary and we met them in Kas. You can find their site at www.cantravel.ca/keith/intro.htm.
21 November ’04, Sunday. After a harsh wind and rain storm last night, we awoke to beautiful blue sky and lots of sunshine. The wind was still blowing enough that the flags on the boats were standing straight out, but the sun was out…. There was another small problem this morning, we didn’t have any electricity. The landlord said it would be 2pm before it would be restored, so we decided that the day would be best used by going for a road trip. We gathered all the travel books and maps of Turkey and sought out a location that would fit the day. The decision was made and we headed off for Milas. The Baltali Kapi (Gate with an Axe) and a Roman tomb dating from the 2nd century AD called Gumuskesen. Reading the directions we headed out the 50km (30 miles) to Milas. Now, we are normally good at reading these directions, but in this case we couldn’t find anything but a very nice looking town. Making a second run at it we came across a sign pointing to Labranda. Labranda was a holy place where the worship of God was going on by the 6th century BC. The road up was really interesting in it’s self. We knew we were out in the country and traveling the roads less traveled as we were the only one around. The road was just wide enough for one car (Bumble Bee), as it wound it’s way up the mountain side. It switched from having a shear drop on one side to the other all the way up. The scenery was absolutely some of the best we have seen. Beautiful rock formations, Pine trees of all varieties, bee hives scattered everywhere (this is the season that the “Bee Keepers” are living in their pitched tents near their hives and today we saw them in action tending the bee’s), and one mountain looking onto another as far as you could see. I know that my ears plugged a number of times as we were going up. When we reached Labranda, there was only 2 others at the site. They were local men that had ridden their motorbike up. As we walked up onto the site, we were just blown away with the ruins and the site that they occupied. There was the great Temple of Zeus, the Gates to a horse racing track (Olympic Games were held here), and two men’s banqueting halls where one of them was in pretty good shape, the First Andron and Second Andron. We also came across an incredible 4th century Tomb that had 3 sarcophagus inside. Like the other day when we saw the tomb, there was a huge cut stone door laying in front of the opening. Labranda was abandoned around 1000AD and it is surprising just how good the site looks today. We could tell that winter was just around the corner as it was cold as heck up there. We spent about 2 hours wandering around and enjoying Labranda before we turned “Bumble Bee” around and headed for home. Today was another great day in our book of “Great Days on Our Journey”.
19 November ’04, Friday. For the last couple of days, we have been to Bodrum twice and the bazaar market once. As far a Bodrum, we were looking for a time table and prices on the ferry from Bodrum to the island of Kos and then on to Rhodes. Well, it just isn’t going to work…. The ferry can handle only 3 cars at a time (and we could be one of those cars) but, we are too high to get on. Right now that only leaves us with one option that know of…drive around and inter Greece at the top and work our way down to Athens and then if time still permits, we will go onto the island of Crete. When this happens, it is good that we have wheels to make the change easier. One of the other reasons for going to Bodrum was to see if we could get new curtains made for “Bumble Bee” now that we have the seats looking great. We happened into a small shop that specializes in drapes and curtains and they just happened to have a perfect fabric in stock and could get right on to the job. In fact, they could have it done by 2pm the next day….well, that was another $120 million lira. So far with the seats, the curtains, and the carpet, we have spent re-doing the interior of “Bumble Bee”…right at $300,000,000 lira or $200 US dollars. We’re happy, so you can be too…. Then yesterday we finished the day off by going to the Thursday Market/Bazaar in Yalikavak. It is amazing the prices that we can get fresh fruit and vegetables for. Just about every thing we bought was 1 million lira ( 33 cents ). 4 baking potatoes, head of romaine, head of broccoli, 4 apples, and on…each group was 1 million. 2 loaves of fresh baked bread white or whole wheat…600 lira ( 18 cents +-). Fresh meat and fish are on the other hand kind of expensive…a nice cut of prime beef (similar to new york) are 15 million a kilo ($10 US). This one meat market we have been going to (Bonnie close your eyes during this segment) really does have some wonderful meats…beef, chicken, turkey, goat, and lamb. Then this morning we went for a real nice walk on the other side of the bay from Yalikavak. We look directly over there from our living room and deck and it has just been asking us to come visit. Well this morning we did. The whole area isn’t developed and the roadway dropped off to trails. These ran up the side of the highest hills and also followed around just off the shore. The little native flowers were blooming and it looks like a lot more to come. We were right next to one of the areas that burned the other day. Thank God it didn’t happen when it was windy, as what we saw, it only burned about 10 to 12 acres before burning it’s self out. We did find some interesting rock “flows”. One of the areas were there was a flow we found a “Burial Chamber” carved into it. The large rectangular rock that was used as the door was laid in front of the chamber (see picture above). This was one of 3 caves or chambers that we saw on today’s hike. After lunch we went in to get the curtains and they look great. I’ll get pictures on the web-site later.
16 November ’04, Tuesday. A couple of unstable days and nights here (weather wise), and a couple of trips to Bodrum are the hightlites for us here in Yalikavak. The wind was quite strong and the rain came in buckets, but fortunately the heavy part was short lived. For the last 3 nights we have had some thunder and lightning in the distance over the sea, and that has been fun to watch. Louise and I have had a couple of long exploratory walks to see just what we have around us. About ¾ mile down the beach is a smaller community that has a large boat building/remodeling yard. It is amazing the size of most of the boats that we have around here. They are mostly wooden power sail boats called “Gullets”…really a beautiful craft. I would guess the average size at 60 to 70 feet and a beam of 12 to 14 feet. Our apartment is just in front of the smaller of the 2 marinas here at Yalikavak. I was just watching one of the “Gullets” make it’s way back after a day cruise out to some of the islands or possibly a lazy kick-back float out in open sea. I had mentioned that we had the seats re-upholstered in “Bumble Bee”. They came out beautifully, so now I am looking to have new curtains made. We found a lady that will do the sewing, but I’ve got to find the material. Thursday is market day here in Yalikavak, so we will keep our eyes alert. Last night we had a knock at the door while watching a movie (50 First Dates), and one of our neighbors was standing there with a large plate loaded with a beautiful dinner…what have I told you about the people of Turkey ??? It was wonderful !!!
13 November ’04, Saturday. Thursday was basically a travel day as we had an early start out of our gas station and headed on to Bodrum. This was a drive over one mountain and then over another, down into one valley and then onto the next. We saw the Mediterranean and then the Aegean Sea’s from the far off mountains. The climb over a couple of the mountains was some of the steepest that we have had yet. On one of the climbs, we pulled into a turn off for breakfast and enjoyed the view that carried on forever below. Some of the switch-backs were so tight that you almost had to come to a complete stop in order to make the turn. This does a lot for maintaining your momentum.
At about 10:30 in the morning, we pulled into Bodrum. Now the challenge was to find a place to call our own for the next 30 days. If you have had the opportunity to follow our web pages, you will remember about 3 weeks ago, we were here and did some preliminary exploring for a place to spend a month or so this winter. Well, we went back to the place we thought we might like the best, but we couldn’t find anyone there. So, on we went, practically knocking on each and every door. As it was, we did find a place to stay, but it cost us quite a bit more than we first had found. What do you do?…well, we took it. It is larger, has a full sized refrigerator, clothes washer, oven, and is right on one of the marina’s in the middle of this little village and on the upper floor with a great view.
Yesterday (Friday), was kind of a catch-up day. We did laundry, shopped for groceries, unpacked the van, went for a long walk, and headed off to bed by 8:30pm. Today was some of the same, but in addition we went to Bodrum (about 12km away), and found someone who could re-upholster the van for us reasonably. Believe it or not, they had it all done in 4 hours and it looks great. Then back “home”, and barbeque hamburgers and get rid of the mosquitoes in the bedroom. They had a couple of brush fires across the water from us tonight that got quite large, but now it looks like they have been put out. Business for the local merchants is very slow now, but with Ramazon coming to a close on the 15th, they are expecting more people to come into town for the 3 days of celebration. I have a few more items that I would like to have done on “Bumble Bee” before we leave here on the 12th of December, but we will have to see if I get it accomplished. Tomorrow…???
10 November ’04, Wednesday. Well I’ve got a little catch-up to do… We went into Fethiye and found a mechanic that would jump right on the van and fix our little water problem. As it turned out, it was a little hose that was leaking right at one of the joints. Once it was found, it was easily fixed. The rain has continued off and on since the first day we arrived. We are definitely into the thunder, lightning, and heavy rain for awhile. First thing in the morning we do get a break from it, and that normally will hold most of the early afternoon, so we are able to get in some swimming time. The surface water is a little cool, but the lower water temp is incredibly warm. The lagoon that we are camping beside is fairly shallow and when the sun does come out, it warms the sand to keep the water temperature really wonderful. Yesterday (Tuesday) Ralph and I were in the water and all of a sudden a large octopus came right up to us. It had to be at least 3 feet long or more and was absolutely beautiful. Then for some reason, it slowly made it’s way right for Ralph. It got to within 3 feet before it started to back off, and then with a quick spurt it shot right past me and out of site. It left us both wanting more. Ralph and I had gotten into the water to do some snorkeling, so you know now what we then started searching for. Well, we weren’t so lucky in finding him again, but we did have fun trying. Speaking of fun, Susan had never been snorkeling, so with about 10 minutes of encouragement and about the same in showing her a couple of things, she was all over the bay seeing the bottom and the fish as she had never seen them before. Speaking of things that we had never seen the likes of before, first thing this morning, we went into Fethiye to see some of the best examples of Lycian burial chambers in mountainsides anywhere. These are the Tomb of Amyntas, an Ionic temple façade carved in the sheer rock face in 350BC. It was a steep climb up to visit the tombs, but it was really worth it. Now back to last night… the fellow who owns this campground goes out fishing from early morning to sometimes late night. Well, he brought back 2 nice sized Barracuda, so we bought them for last nights dinner. This was the first time any of us had ever tasted Barracuda and we loved it. It really was excellent !!! This morning we had to say good-bye to our campground at Oludeniz ((meaning, “Dead Sea”) it’s not void of life like it’s biblical namesake, rather it is a sheltered lagoon hidden from the sea)), and some very good new friends. Ralph and Susan had to head off in their direction and we in ours…we will keep in touch and I’m sure we will see each other again. Tonight we are camped in the parking lot of another “Gas Station”, this one in Marmaris. We will be here just over night and then on to Bodrum in the morning. Tomorrow….on the road again
7 November ’04, Sunday. As we walked from the grocery store in Fethiye, we felt our first rain drops in quite sometime. That’s OK, as it really is quite dry here now and we are long past the rainy season for the area. We have been expecting it sooner than later. The only thing that we haven’t been expecting was the red light that all of a sudden started flashing at me from the dashboard. It showed that we were overheating…not good. We headed over to the gas station and checked our radiator water, and sure enough, we were low. Now as it started to pour down heavily, and was getting dark, we really were getting a little depressed. We had to find the campground also, and in the dark, it wasn’t going to be fun. We had been given directions at the grocery store, but we were quite a ways out and it was really raining heavy now… Flooding of the streets, cars in the ditch, trucks and buses slipping their wheels going up hill, and us over heating…I didn’t like it one bit. Yep, I might have been a little bitchy, I admit it, and guess who was close enough to receive it all…sorry honey… Well, we did finally get to the area and ran into Ralph and Susan again. They hadn’t been able to find a campground that was open yet, so together we went looking (looking hell, I couldn’t see through the rain). Finally, after getting in and out of the van a number of times, we are soaking wet and we decide that we are going to just park in one of these “closed campgrounds” as long as we can find a toilet we can use. As luck would have it, we did find such a place, and we were also able to hook up to electricity as well…what a find, although we were trespassing. Now, first thing this morning we were able to get out and see just exactly what we had found. Not too bad, but how can we improve on it??? As we were looking this whole thing over, a man seemed to come out of no where and just walked around us kind of checking us out. Pretty soon there were a few men across the street that you could just tell were talking about us, and then a car with a man and his wife pulled up. The first thing they did was go over to the electrical cord and pull it out of the wall. The lady then picked up my electrical cord and started to wind it up and walking away with it. Well, time to go into action…. Keep cool and “MAKE FRIENDS !!!”… I smiled, I spoke softly, and they couldn’t understand a word of what I had to say… But wait, they have someone else coming… He’s a big young man and maybe… Thank You Lord, he speaks some English. We were able to convey our dilemma. We weren’t looking to stick anyone for anything, but we just wanted to find a place to sleep during this rainstorm and beyond if possible. Well, we are here for a second night and maybe even more. Things are good except the rain comes and goes, and I still haven’t had a chance to look at the water problem in the van. Tomorrow…more of this