Adventures of the Turkish Coast

Trip Start May 20, 2012
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Trip End Jul 22, 2012


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Flag of Turkey  , Aydın,
Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It has been an incredible past 72 hours, but I will try and situate the experiences I’ve had for you. As I was writing this I was sitting in a garden in front of the120-year-old house that we were staying in surrounded by the sounds of mooing cows, crowing roosters, and also meowing cats in a small rural town at Lake Bafa on the southern coast of Turkey. I must start with our adventure to Bodrum first.

We arrived in Bodrum to be welcomed by what seemed like everlasting pockets of bays, clear blue water,and sunshine. We spent the day lying at the beach, enjoying the Aegean’s salty, brisk water. After lounging in the sun we were greeted by our Turkey expert, Zafer. He is an experienced diver and has done some historic excavation, so he knows the country incredibly well and is a wealth of knowledge. Upon his arrival we headed out to the Underwater Archaeological museum in Bodrum, which resides in the castle that lies right in the middle of the harbor. The museum was amazing, many old artifacts and exhibits on the excavations they have done in Turkey. That night a few of us enjoyed some beverages on the beach and went to a few of Bodrum’s nightclubs. Bodrum at night was a completely different atmosphere that I have ever seen and it was quite interesting, not to mention a couple of the European Futbol championship games were on.

 The next day we headed out for a tour out on a boat that we had rented. This is where Zafer showed us some areas that the monk seal is known for inhabiting as we swam in the clearwaters of the Aegean. We were on the boat until lunchtime where we grabbed a quick lunch before taking a tour of the peninsula that Bodrum rests upon. From there we stopped at a few areas that have developed substantially in the past 20 years. We finally arrived at our destination where we waded our way to some ruins and swam for a few hours. After that we headed back to our hotel for dinner around the area, sat out on the beach once again and went out for a late night snack of döner.

 The next morning we headed to Lake Bafa, which is a fresh water lake that was once salt, but was cut off from the Aegean due to silting as an effect from deforestation. Upon arrival at our bungalow-esque hotel, my roommate Nick and I were the last to receive our room key. We were put up in a room about 50 meters up the road that was in a 120-year-old house, it was extremely baffling and also complete with the aforementioned cows, roosters, and cats. Next we went out on our boat adventure. The lake was beautiful, with islands that had many ruins on them. We landed on a particular island after having boat engine difficulties to explore once again. One of the men who took us out was from Germany who specialized inthis area and took us to a cave in the mountains that surrounded the area in which we saw 9,000-year-old prehistoric new-age paintings. It’s difficult to see them with a blind eye, but with a camera they were very apparent. Easily the oldest thing I have seen in my life and it was difficult to not sing the theme song to Jurassic Park in my head while exploring this area. We later enjoyed a traditional Turkish dinner, which was absolutely delicious and headed to bed early for some much needed rest.

Today we enjoyed a delicious traditional Turkish breakfast, had a short lecture and then headed off to Delik Peninsula National Park. The national park used to be owned by the Greeks and some of the villagers in the area, in the 1950’s the villagers donated their land and the park was erected. It was absolutely beautiful and extremely hot today. We swam for a bit, had a chance to read, and even saw some wild boars. We are now staying the night in Kusadasi, a larger town on the coast of the Aegean.

If you made it through all of that, I would be extremely impressed. I’ll probably be updating when we arrived to the Greek island of Lesbos, if not sooner!
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