Kusadasi & Fethiye
We based ourselves in Kusadasi for two nights, as it’s a 45min drive to Ephesus, which we will do early tomorrow morning. We didn’t know much about the town and even though we arrived about 9pm, we had decided to ‘wing-it’ for accommodation. Plucking a recommendation from the Eyewitness Travel – Turkey, (love these books, but they need to get themselves online), we programmed the gps with the address. We would at least check it out and consider our options. The Grand Onder turned out to be just right (coincidentally, we discover it is where Debbie Rogers also stayed the previous year). Don went in and did his negotiations, coming back with two rooms for 2 nights + breakfast, for a grand total of Aus $200. They gave us rooms overlooking the port and pool and there was plenty of parking out front for the car. Having a car has its benefits, but trying to park it every night can be painful and sometimes expensive (Kellie Penrose & I found that out many years ago when we got our car impounded in Barcelona – another story for another time)!
It had been a long day driving from Demre (never going back) to Aphrodisias, Pamukkale and back to the coast, so we were looking forward to a good dinner. We walked along the port and didn’t get far before we discover a steak restaurant. Steak; when was the last time we had a good steak? It was a unanimous decision, three steaks and a bottle of red (of course). And they proved to be great steaks that hit the spot.
We visit Ephesus the next morning (see blog May 10). Arriving early was worthwhile, we probably had the first hour free of tourist buses. After that they arrived in droves and you feel like you could be in bustling peak hour in downtown New York, rather than an ancient city! Note: I do get to play with poetic license!
After coffee back in Kusadasi, we are checking out the tourist shops, only to fall prey to a shoe shop! Katrina and I both end up with two pairs of shoes. Of course we didn’t really need the shoes, but the fun was in the bargaining. My shoes started out at TL220 for two pairs, after much negotiation, my final offer of TL100 ($50) was accepted, but only after I walked out of the shop and the salesman chased me! I have no doubt that they still made a good margin on our ‘designer’ shoes.
The rest of our time was spent relaxing by the pool and taking a sunset cruise. It was nice to see the port from the bay and it was a spectacular sunset, but 1 hour was plenty.
The next morning we headed off to Fethiye. We decided to split our 3hr drive with a beach stop on the way. Our route took us past Akyaka, which had a nice beach and we spend a couple of hours relaxing and enjoying the turquoise waters. The water is crystal clear and the colour incredible – and you float with ease from the high salt content.
Fethiye is our last stop in Turkey and we will have 4 nights to relax in this seaside town. Katrina has selected our accommodation this time and she is pensive as we approach. We don’t want to have another Demre experience! Clearly, Demre is going to haunt me for a while! She has nothing to fear. We have a two bedroom, 2 bathroom (bonus) apartment in a small complex apartments built around a shared pool. The beach is at the end of the road, where we also find a beach club that provides sun lounges and umbrellas and we take advantage of these we are told they are “free today”!
Throughout Turkey the quality of wine (we are talking red wine), has drawn varied responses (mainly from me), that have included: “oh, that tastes like metho”; “You can’t be serious – they can’t call this wine”, “drinkable, but don’t buy it again.” We did stumble across a drinkable drop at times and Villa Delucca became a staple purchase at the supermarket. As the weather warmed up we ventured to try some roses and white wine, then back to rose (forget white). The price of wine in restaurants can be exorbitant, but one of our favourite places in Fethiya had a dry rose for TL35 bottle (do the maths yourselves: divide by 2 = Aus $). Given we normally paid at least double this anywhere else, we are not sure if they had made a mistake or perhaps it was a loss leader on getting customers. It worked, because we stopped there two nights out of four. The WCP (wine consumption price) had come down considerably.
The cheapest dinner we had the entire time in Turkey was also in Fethiye. We walk past a Kebab house with a juicy looking chicken cooking on the rotisserie (apologies to all the vegetarians). The cafe/fastfood joint is offering a meal deal of Chicken kebab, chips and drink for TL3.50 (……yes, it was $1.75 each for dinner), and no, we didn’t get food poisoning either!
Olu Deniz is a postcard perfect beach and is a ‘must visit’ if you are in the area and is about 20km from Fethiye. I have also read about a smaller beach called Gremiler, which we decided to checkout on the way.
Without a car or boat you would struggle to find, or get to, Gremiler. It’s a secluded cove with a couple of taverns offering beach chairs and lunch. We are possibly taken advantage of here because we agreed to free chairs with umbrella if we had lunch at the taverna. The beach looked too nice to pass up. Lunch, was fresh fish and salad etc, which was lovely, but was well overpriced at TL40 each. Lesson: confirm the price first! We wouldn’t have passed it up anyway, Gremiler was a gorgeous little spot to stop.
Olu Deniz, however, is everything they say it is. The one advantage we have is the time of year of our visit. In the peak season, apparently you can’t move on the beach. There is hardly anyone when we visit. The sandy peninsula is sheltered by the headland opposite which has created a lagoon on one side and sheltered beach on the other. The colour of the water takes on a new level of turquoise and it one of the most beautiful beaches we have been to so far.