Where the River Meets the Ocean
Trip Start Oct 24, 2005
331Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
What I did
We were hot and sweaty by the time we rolled into Dalyan, and ready to just drop our bags and get out to see the town's sights, but first needed to sort out our accommodation. We were only staying one night, so we weren't going to be terribly picky; we were, however, relieved that one of the first places we looked at was fairly clean and cheap -- sold!
While we were keen to get a move on, we also needed to locate some lunch, and decided that search took priority. We found a very cute spot on the river and had a lovely mezze lunch, complete with some excellent mucver (zucchini patties). While we dined, we admired the view of the Lycian tombs further down along the river and reveled in the quiet of the town.
We were there for both the beach and to explore the history a bit, so weren't quite sure where we should start our day. In the end, we opted to rent mountain bikes and try to pedal out to the beach. It sounded like an easy enough task, but the bikes were of subpar quality and the chain on mine kept falling off (usually while I was in the middle of cycling up a hill, of course). The combination of the late start and the lousy bikes did not equal a successful trip to the beach. We abandoned our plans about halfway there because we were making such poor time and decided to instead enjoy biking around the country roads.
The road we were on cut through the middle of gorgeous pomegranate orchards which were located along the edges of small lakes and ponds. We had never seen pomegranates outside of the grocery store before, so had no idea what they looked like "in the wild." We stopped a few times to investigate and were able to see the fruit in different stages of development at the various orchards.
All the biking and orchard walking had made us thirsty, so we stopped at a very scenic restaurant to quench our thirst with a few beers. The lovely little restaurant was set right on the edge of one of the aforementioned lakes. The tables and chairs were spread out over the grass and under the flowering trees. We took our time, sipping our beers and enjoying the day, then hopped back on our bikes and continued the ride back to Dalyan.
A little later, we saw another intriguing spot and made the call to stop for a second drink. This restaurant was also near the lake, but this time was close to the tall marsh grasses that grew along water. The tables were all on a deck and were covered by private thatched roofs. It was another great stop and we watched the turtles (probably not the loggerheads mentioned above) splashing about in the water before returning to our bikes.
Even though we hadn't made it all the way to our intended destination, our first day in Dalyan had actually been surprisingly successful. It's those happy accidents that make traveling more worthwhile, sometimes.
We finished the day with a tasty veggie dinner at a candlelit spot on the river, enjoying the well-lit Lycian tombs that loomed above us.
Since we'd missed out on the beach the previous day, we were keen to get there on our second, and final day in the town. Unfortunately, things weren't looking very promising during our first attempts to do so. To get to the beach, you either had to have a car/bike/taxi to ply the longer, much less direct road to the beach, or you could take one of the many boats that ferried people to and from the beach via the much more direct river route. It appeared that all the boats had gone earlier and that we might have missed out completely. However, in the end we were able to find one last one willing to take more passengers and we gladly hopped on with our beach gear in tow.
The journey to the beach was lovely: we skimmed through the rushes and tall marsh grasses, able to look up at the tombs overhead and the hills they were carved into. The beach itself wasn't terribly crowded so early in the season, so we were able to carve out a large space for ourselves on the sand (sand! a rarity in Europe!). It was, unfortunately, a little overcast, but we had our books and were content to laze beneath the clouds and lose ourselves in the stories. The clouds overhead grew darker and darker, and eventually we noticed sprinkles on the pages of our books. We decided it was best to get up and go, so packed up and hightailed it back to the boat. It's a good job too: the skies opened up as we climbed on board and everyone got drenched.
Back in Dalyan, the rain had stopped, so we were free to roam the streets during the last few hours we had left before heading back home. We did a little souvenir browsing, but everything was well out of our price range, so amused ourselves by just window shopping and stopping for tea.
We had arranged a private car to take us to the airport through our hotel -- a fact that we were less than pleased with, but which was the lesser of two evils. While we were able to get to Dalyan by bus, it appeared there were no buses from Dalyan. I know, I know, it sounds crazy and like we were just the unknowing victims of a tourist scam, but I assure you, we were not. We checked all over town and were told the same thing over and over again: the only way to get out of Dalyan was with a taxi or an illegal hired car. We begrudgingly went with the latter, shelling out 55TL for the short 20 minute ride. It was a bit of a sour way to end our trip, but there was nothing we could do about it -- sometimes you just have to roll with it.
And with that, we brought an end to a wonderful four days spent on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, exploring new spots, and getting in a short holiday before summer kicked into overdrive.