After a year of travel. we are back in Turkey. We touched down at Bodrum-Milas airport and took a taxi into town. The driver told us that we were his first trip of the season. This time last year he had made twenty. Such has been the hit on Turkey’s tourism – and this before the Ataturk Airport attack in late June 2016.
We arrive at Tay Pansiyon (like a large b&b) at 11.30pm; it is still in the mid-thirties (about 95F) and are immediately directed to the garden courtyard for tea and a chance to watch some Euro 2016 football. Our bags are taken to our room and we are told to relax, check-in formalities can wait until tomorrow. Lovely Turkish hospitality.
Tomorrow arrives and so the unusual hot wind. It is 42C (270F!!) and my eyeballs are burning. We head to the beach and the huge sunshades of the beachclub. 40TL (about £10 in pre-brexit money) gets you two sunshades, sunloungers and a table for the day – or if you order 40TL worth of food and drink, it’s all free. Easy decision.
We dash into the water only to discover to my surprise that it is freezing. Gonul dives in and gets on with it, but I just stand there, making sure the water laps no further than upper thigh. We are due to do a week’s boat cruise and I am praying that the water is warmer than this!
As Gonul continues to float off I am rescued by cold beer and more Euro2016, and then we go to meet her bestie, Gulistan who has flown in from Istanbul.
We head for Mado and their wonderful goats milk ice cream. Their cafe in Bodrum has decking over the water and we watch the fish in the crystal clear water and imagine who our fellow cruise passengers will be. Two years ago our 14 cruise mates included a wonderful cross section of people including Australians, an Italian gay threesome, Dutch and Turks and we speculate whether we will be lucky again?
We just have time to buy flippers and snorkel mask (at midnight) before the shops are considering closing. Perhaps one more tea and cake before resting up for the night? We head back to Mado but their selection of cake is limited at this hour and the tea is finished. No problem says the lovely lady at the counter. She sits Gonul and Gulistan and takes me to a wonderful cake shop some hundred yards away. Choose what you want and I will bring it to your friends’ table, I am instructed. Sure enough both tea and cake arrive at our Mado table and as the clock passes 1am we end a beautiful and warm evening. Our adventures in Turkey have begun!