Güle güle Turkey!
After five weeks of exploration and adventure, we are bidding a farewell to Turkey. As if we were not supposed to leave, our ferry from Fethiye to Rhodes in Greece was cancelled due to lack of passengers. Four in our case. So, we were bussed to Marmaris to the ferry there. In true Turkish style, the bus stopped for a break and the driver brought us çay (Turkish tea) and water! Marmaris again! Our second unscheduled trip, it seems to be drawing us in.
Turkey in review - we have loved it!!
|Roman Milestone, put in place during|
Augustus Caesar's rule
The history! Make that the history on history on history. Age upon age - Neolithic, Bronze, period upon period - Archaic, Classical, Roman, Hellenistic, and era upon era - Byzantine, Turkish, Ottoman. Ruins of empire after fallen empire dating back millennium. And filled with historical legends - Caesar Augustus, Cleopatra and Antony, Homer, Alexander the Great, John the Baptist, Mary the Virgin and Suleiman the Magnificent.
The food! Breakfasts of cucumber, tomato, cheese, olives, bread salad greens and cake! Tomatoes, always peeled of course, that taste like tomatoes, the sweetest fruit and salty feta. Aubergine featured in many dishes, fish, chickpeas and lentils. We sample everything from Testi kepap to wild boar. And, naturally, the local beer and wines! Sean's new favourite dish is lentil, tomato and mint soup.
The warm, clear waters! Seriously clear and beautifully warm. From the boat, we watched schools of fish feeding and marvelled at the squid swimming along the rocks. Swimming with our swim goggles, and with each breathe we looked down through the blue at little fish, rugged rock formations, sea grass and the odd bit of litter. Beats the black line of a swimming pool any day.
The culture! The blue and white nazars warding off the evil eye found hanging in doorways of shops and houses and on the companionway of boats. A cotton waffle blanket replacing a top sheet. Passing your plate to be served rather than passing the platter at mealtimes. Friendly, friendly people. - nothing is too much bother. Çay, everyone drinks it all the time.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk! We were impressed by how revered Atatürk is by the Turks. Statues everywhere, flags with his image flown from houses and even his signature tattooed on people's arms. He was impressive. Considered the founder of the Turkish Republic he separated church and state, removed Sharia law and introduced civil law. He believed in gender equity so women were given the vote and an education. But most interestingly, he created a written Turkish using a modified Latin alphabet and improve literacy amongst the Turkish people from 10% to 70% in two years.
New friends! And we have made some new friends along the way! Ilsa and Jorrit from The Netherlands who touchingly gave us our own nazar to ward of evil eyes on our travels. Netti, also from The Netherlands and the rest of The Hemera gang. Gwen, the expat American, who entertained us with great food, wine and conversation on her yacht in Marmaris. Our new dive buddies, Sandra and Markus from Germany, who lead us on dives, could spot the unspotable camouflaged in the rocks and sand and livened up our dive logs with stamps and stickers. We look forward to catching up again our our travels or yours!