Sailing on a Gulet

A traditional Turkish Gulet is a wood boat with two or three masts that sails the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea. We boarded our ship in the cute port town of Marmaris for a 4 day adventure.

The Sadri Usta was our beautiful teak boat with an amazing outside eating area. After meeting our wonderful crew, we went to one of 7 cabins to unpack. Queen-sized beds, shiny teak woodwork, and plenty of light from our large back windows that opened. This ship has private en-suite bathrooms with showers. There isn’t air-conditioning but I didn’t even notice as the ship sped across the waves. Wine glass in hand while reclining on the aft deck after an excellent meal and viewing stunning sunsets–Life doesn’t get any better than this. After our tours there were options for swimming and kayaking.

Day 1: After anchoring in Ekincik Cove, we transferred onto a smaller boat to ride up the Dalyan River to visit the 2 century (AD) seaport city of Kaunos. It used to be a seaport until silt filled the harbor and the site was deserted.

Kaunos is very close to another ancient rich city( Lycia), so we puttered along to view the 4th century cliff tombs. An interesting side-note is that Lycia is mentioned in Homer’s Iliad.

Don’t miss the little town of Dalyan for super shopping deals, especially for shoes and leather purses.

The next day we dropped anchor near a spot called Cleopatra’s Baths. It’s rumored to have been built by Mark Anthony for his love but there’s nothing to support the claim. Ol’ Mark should have gotten a historical pat-on-the-back notation if he actually did this for lovely Cleo. After landing, we went on a nice hike and were able to see a Lydian cistern and ruins before dropping down the hill to the turquoise sea once again.

Later in the afternoon we landed on Gemiler Island which was a resupply destination for pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. Not all of them made it. There are tombs all over. The most famous resident was Saint Nicholas. Santa was in Turkey all this time–not Scandinavia. He was buried here in 326, but his relics were removed in 650 for safer keeping to the nearby town of Myra. The ruins of Christian churches built between the 4th and 6th century are fun to explore, and if you hike to the top of the hill, you’ll find a small lighthouse. The views are top of the world from up there.

Day 3 we landed near Gemiler Beach to go to the Kayakoy Greek ghost town which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town originated in the 14th century but in 1920, after the Greco-Turkish war, the people were forced on a death march. Any survivors were shipped to Greece where they became refugees. The population exchange was based solely on religion. Turkey wanted a Muslim country untainted by Christians. This is what happens when countries are led by theocracy. Furthermore, Turkey insisted that the lesser population of Muslims living in Turkey MUST return and occupy the deserted Greek Heritage homes. However, the Muslims feared the ghosts of the tortured people. The returning Turks were farmers and this saved these ruins because Kayakoy was settled high up on unfavorable land. The original residents were exceptional craftsmen and didn’t need fertile ground. Another interesting fact is the remaining non-conforming religions in Turkey were eliminated in one swoop by one edict: If you became Muslim—you didn’t have to pay taxes. Currently, a few artists live here.

We disembarked in the lovely town of Fethiye. I so could live there during the winter. I see myself in a small place with a built-in pool and maid service with delivery of fresh fish to my door.

A few more. I can’t resist!

Keep a lookout for my next and last post for Turkey : EPHESUS

Ruins of Perga and Aspendos Archeological Site

We drove from Cappadocia on a well-maintained highway that takes you up and over the jagged-peaked Taurus Mountains. (**side-note–they drive on the right side.) When we crossed the summit a whole different world appeared. We went from captivating dessert to a lush Mediterranean landscape ripe with citrus trees heavy with fruit.

Antalya, on the SW coast, is the perfect place to stay to visit Perga and Aspendos. Have I told you that I could easily live here during the winter months?

Perga was an ancient Greek city founded in 1209 BC. although bronze-aged people lived here earlier. It was a big city covering 9.3 miles although it’s not all uncovered yet and extensive repairs have the theater closed this year. Alexander the Great used Perga as an important base to spread invasion inland around 334 BC.. He made Greek the language and written word of the land. The Hellenistic gates were built during the reign of Emperor Hadrianus (117-138AD). Currently, archeologists are repairing this area but the surrounding (later) Roman expansion with niches for marble statues can be explored.

Perga really sparkled with the Romans occupation (1-2AD) when the town grew past the Greek Gates with the additions of a Theater, stadium, a marble floored Agora (market), and a pretty amazing Roman bath. After St. Paul and St. Barnabas set up a mission here, there were 2 basilicas built that I believe are in ruins.

STADIUM–held 12,000 spectators to all kinds of games and races.

AGORA–the marble tiled floor is covered for protection but it’s still there! Imagine this space with vendors under a covered roof and a little temple in the middle?

Main Street—imagine cascading water that flowed down fountains in the middle of the street. The marble street has etched grooves from many chariots that traveled on it. Did you know that the ancient width of a chariot’s wheels is the width of track for a railroad? True!

The Roman Bath had 4 marble mosaic floored rooms: Changing room, cold bath, warm bath and hot bath. You can see in spots where furnaces and waterpipes were under the floor. This place had exquisite marble statues all over the place! When you return to Antalya, go to the archeology museum to see them.

Benefactor fountains–there were beautiful fountains all over, fed from the nearby aqueduct pictured below, bottom left. The fountain was so large, I couldn’t get it all in one picture and it isn’t all repaired yet. The statues installed here are also in the museum.

Nearby is Aspendos , another ancient city in ruins but the theater is the most intact in the world. For this we can thank the Turks who rebuilt it and used it as a caravan stop. This is also another check-mark for Atlas Obscura enthusiasts.

Originally, this was built during the time of Marcus Aurelius ( 160-180 AD) and held up to 8,500 seated and standing spectators. The width is 315′ across. There is a beautiful 2-story backdrop and two towers that flank the stage. Today, this theater is still being used for opera, ballet and music.

Nearby is a little street side restaurant serving Gozleme—flatbread with melted cheese and spinach.