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                               MARMARIS, TURKEY
Our passage from Port Said to Turkey was long and arduous because we had to motor almost the entire way. The wind was on our nose, as always! We were sailing so tight that our boat speed averaged 2 knots at best! But we didn't push the engine too hard and kept our fingers crossed. The wind was not strong although the seas were a little unsettled but we never encountered the adverse conditions we were expecting. As long as the engine was driving us forward, no matter what the discomfort, we were happy!
For days we were sure we could not make enough westing for a course to Marmaris and decided that we would have to head east for Finike instead. But on the last day, the wind came around and we sailed in to Marmaris Marina, happy to be in Turkey. At first sight we were surprised to see so much green and high hilly terrain. The landscape really reminded us of being back in the Okanagan or in the San Juans.

Marmaris Marina

May 7 - We entered the sheltered Bay of Marmaris and we were led into a slip in the marina and literally jammed in between two other boats; I was sure we couldn't possibly fit as we backed stern in to the wall. Our fenders were squished flat but once in, we were stuck to stay! We hired the agent at the Marina to check us in, super expensive for fees, cruising permit and Visas (Canadians pay the most-$60 US each) and discovered the most wonderful showers, rating a 10 on my list! Marmaris has most facilities a cruiser could possibly need and the town is only 20 minutes away by bus.


That day we got news that the obsolete gear  we had been looking for was located in Great Britain, possibly the last one in the world. The guy was holding it for ransom so we had to make the decision whether to buy it, but not sure how good an idea it is to spend so much money on a 20 year old engine.

It rained a bit when we first arrived, welcome it was to wash some of the Red Sea dirt off the boat. Over the next few days we explored the town of Marmaris, an enchanting town, with cobblestone streets and a world of charm. Although very touristy, the local vendors have not been tainted in their attitudes towards foreigners. We talked to so many people as we walked around town. Carpet sellers, restaurant owners, shopkeepers, but they were not speaking to us to sell anything...just friendly conversation and curiosity about where we are from. Such a wonderful change from Egypt. Photos of Marmaris
We went for an Egyptian meal with old friends we hadn't seen in a year and new friends that we only knew through their webpages that made this journey last year. (13 of us).

There are several ways to get to Marmaris town, 10 km from Yacht Marina. A free ferry goes once a day or a dolmus (small bus) leaves the marina every 20 minutes -2.50 YTL ($2 ea). We hopped on the dolmus and climbed a twisty tree lined road past goats running freely and admired the scenery of the bay below.

Marmaris Town

Marmaris has a population of about 28,000 but summertime sees that number swell to 200,000 with the influx of tourists. Prices around town reflect the popularity of the area but it is a clean friendly and interesting place to visit.


 

I immediately fell in love with Marmaris, with its cobblestone streets and relaxed atmosphere. We just strolled around, and talked to the shopkeepers, carpet salesmen, restaurant owners and such. In Turkey, it's customary for stores to post a man outside who will call to passers by in an attempt to get them to come in to the shop. We heard 'Hello my friend, how are you?' and 'My friend, where are you from?' quite a bit. There are leather shops, barbershops ('Hello my friend, do you need a shave/haircut?'), clothing shops, jewellery shops, etc. But no one was pushy and when they realized we were not interested in their merchandise, they were happy just to chat, sometimes offering tea. Everyone seemed interested in where we were from and wanted to hear about our travels.

Since Gord was still suffering from his toothache, since Egypt we went to a dentist just wandering in off the street prompted by a sign in English "Dentist".  We climbed and climbed 3 flights of stairs, with each floor the stairs were narrower and darker. We were about to turn back and flee when we reached a small door at the top of the stairs. We rang a bell, the door opened and without a word we were handed plastic slippers  to put over our shoes! We were led in by someone who does not speak English and within minutes Gord was whisked away. He returned 20 minutes later, having been examined and x-rayed with state of the art equipment. He had a gum infection around a tooth that will eventually have to be replaced with a bridge, but in the meantime the dentist gave him a prescription. The bill for all that was 50 Turkish pounds (about $35!!) What a deal! But then the antibiotics were $20.


Harbour

The Marmaris harbour and quay extend along the beach walkway that runs the length of the town. Numerous outdoor restaurants line the waterfront on one side, while rows of Gulets lay stern to, ready to take tourists to the surrounding rugged coastline of the Marmaris area.

Gulets

There are thousands of Gulets throughout SW Turkey. Many are built in Bodrum and are modeled after the traditional fishing boats of the Aegean Sea, the modern version of the ancient cargo bearing craft which used to trade along the coast of Turkey. Inspired by classic lines, wood is the featured element.  In general, gulets vary in length between 14 and 35 meters (52-110 feet). Although generally motor powered, many have sails, although we have seen few actually hoist them for anything but show.

   

The old section of Marmaris is full of quaint restored Greek houses, with courtyards and glorious gardens of bougainvillea and oleander, spilling into the shady lanes.

   

We wandered through the labyrinth of narrow stone alleyways surrounding the Castle, now practically fully encased in shops selling colorful carpets and bric-a-brac.

A covered bazaar is the main shopping area although it does not have as much character.

Our all time favourite Durams (a blend of chicken and veggies wrapped in pita)were found in Marmaris. Cost 3 YTL each (about $2.50). We have made this little stand a regular stop
when in town.

May 13

As time for Chris' arrival was fast approaching we made plans to take the 13.5 hour(!!) bus ride to Istanbul. This in fact turned into a 15 hour bus ride with many stops along the way. We arranged for a rental car to be delivered to our backpacker hotel in Istanbul for our driving tour back to Marmaris.

After comparing prices of the various bus lines we purchased our tickets for 50 YTL (1.20 YLT=$1) each and hopped on a bus at 8 pm to start our tedious overnight journey to Istanbul. The buses in Turkey are modern and comfortable, although 15 hours on any bus is a struggle! We travelled at night so didn't see much of the scenery, stopping along the way for beverage and bathroom breaks (and yet another opportunity to purchase all those souvenirs you can't live without).

NEXT >>>ISTANBUL

     

Christmas 2008

As I traditionally try to decorate the tree with something unique to the country we are in, this year Turkish Eyes adorned our little Charlie Brown.

 

On Christmas Eve we enjoyed a good time singing Christmas Carols and other songs with friends at the Marina.

Floor dancing was a good way to keep warm. It was only 4 deg outside!!

Wendy organized Christmas riddles!

Pictured here are
Bridgett and Peter with Wendy.

Gord with Mark (Balvenie)

On Christmas Day a group of us climbed the mountain behind the marina. It turned into a wonderful sunny day and we enjoyed goodies and brandy overlooking the islands with the snow capped mountains in the background.

Christmas Evening about 34 of us went to Greenhouse Restaurant for a full Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings!

The restaurant even sent a bus to pick us all up and return us back to marina later.

December 27  Gord's B-Day

A terrific party at our favourite restaurant called Orange. The restaurant sent a bus to pick us all up and then gave us a 10% discount on a truly delicious meal. Gord said it was the best steak he had ever had!

Pictured left: Bridgette & Peter (White Rose), Mark & Amanda (Balvenie), Tony & Pat (Full Flight), Wendy & Ian (Remedy), Debra & Brian (Chinook), Ginny & Gord (Ascension)

January 23, 2009 Hurricane Force 10 Storm in Marmaris Yacht Marina >>>

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