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Ruins and Beaches, Turkiye

October 20th, 2022

Thursday was a longish driving day to begin the drive towards the coast but we wanted to stop to see Çatalhöyük – the largest and best preserved Neolithic (new stone age) settlement in the world.

Diesel price was around 27.7₺ per litre but managed to find 25.83₺ so that was great.

Çatalhöyük  is a “tell” of a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic  settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BC to 6400 BC, and flourished around 7000 BC. In July 2012, it was inscribed as a UNESCO Site. The eastern settlement forms a mound that would have risen about 20m / 66’ above the plain at the time of the latest Neolithic occupation. There is also a smaller settlement mound to the west and a Byzantine settlement a few hundred meters to the east. The prehistoric mound settlements were abandoned before the Bronze Age.

The site was first excavated in 1958 and for four seasons between 1961 and 1965 then lay idle until from 1993 to 2018.  New excavations are currently being directed by Ali Umut Türkcan from Anadolu University.

Çatalhöyük was composed entirely of domestic buildings, with no obvious public buildings. While some of the larger ones have rather ornate murals, the purpose of some rooms remains unclear.  The population of the eastern mound has been estimated to be around 10,000 people, but the population likely varied over the community’s history. An average population of between 5,000 and 7,000 is a reasonable estimate. The sites were set up as large numbers of buildings clustered together. Households looked to their neighbors for help, trade, and possible marriage for their children. The inhabitants lived in mudbrick houses that were crammed together in an aggregate structure. No footpaths or streets were used between the dwellings, which were clustered in a honeycomb-like maze. Most were accessed by holes in the ceiling and doors on the side of the houses, with doors reached by ladders and stairs. The rooftops were effectively streets. The ceiling openings also served as the only source of ventilation, allowing smoke from the houses’ open hearths and ovens to escape. Houses had plaster interiors characterized by squared-off timber ladders or steep stairs. These were usually on the south wall of the room, as were cooking hearths and ovens. The main rooms contained raised platforms that may have been used for a range of domestic activities. Typical houses contained two rooms for everyday activity, such as cooking and crafting. All interior walls and platforms were plastered to a smooth finish. Ancillary rooms were used as storage, and were accessed through low openings from main rooms.

All rooms were kept scrupulously clean. Archaeologists identified very little rubbish in the buildings, finding middens outside the ruins, with sewage and food waste, as well as significant amounts of ash from burning wood, reeds and animal dung. In good weather, many daily activities may also have taken place on the rooftops, which may have formed a plaza. In later periods, large communal ovens appear to have been built on these rooftops. Over time, houses were renewed by partial demolition and rebuilding on a foundation of rubble, which was how the mound was gradually built up. As many as eighteen levels of settlement have been uncovered.

As a part of ritual life, the people of Çatalhöyük buried their dead within the village. Human remains have been found in pits beneath the floors and, especially, beneath hearths, the platforms within the main rooms, and under beds. Bodies were tightly flexed before burial and were often placed in baskets or wound and wrapped in reed mats. Disarticulated bones in some graves suggest that bodies may have been exposed in the open air for a time before the bones were gathered and buried. In some cases, graves were disturbed, and the individual’s head removed from the skeleton. These heads may have been used in rituals, as some were found in other areas of the community. In a woman’s grave spinning whorls were recovered and in a man’s grave, stone axes. Some skulls were plastered and painted with ochre to recreate faces, a custom more characteristic of Neolithic sites in Syria and at Neolithic Jericho than at sites closer by.

Vivid murals and figurines are found throughout the settlement, on interior and exterior walls. Heads of animals, especially of cattle, were mounted on walls.  

(We saw many items from this site back in the Museum we visited in Ankara.)

We arrived about mid-day after a “traffic jam” in the countryside:

We first had brunch in the camper in the parking lot before going out to see the site. There is an old visitor’s centre and a fenced in area around the East Mound.  (We could see the new Visitors’ Centre which is under construction.) The South Mound is closed and right at the entrance are two replica mud huts that show you how the houses would have looked and how the rooms were set up complete with wall paintings.

After viewing the huts, we saw a large group of school children about to enter the Visitor’s centre so we made our way to the excavation site at the East Mound first.  It’s under cover of a long roofed building and you can walk along boardwalks inside. There was one other couple inside with us.

By the time we explored that the kids were about ready to leave the visitors’ centre so we entered just before they left.  Then we had it to ourselves.

The nearby city of Konya has a large RV aire area that is free for up to three days with bathrooms, showers, power, dumping and water so we thought we stay a night or two here before making our way to the south coast.  There were already about 5 RV’s there when we arrived and by dark that number had more than doubled so we were glad we arrived early to get a spot on the non-highway side.

Once we got settled, Doug tackled reinstalling the shower shelf, and like many things, it’s never as quick and easy as it should be in theory.  But it got done and we are happy with the look:

Here’s what it looked like before where it had cracked severely around the faucet and Doug had taped it up:

and now:

It rained a bit on and off and the next morning after looking at the forecast: dreary and wet and cool, we decided not to stay a second night.  The coast is supposed to be sunny and warm – we keep chasing more summer!

Friday morning, Fran felt that yes, she’d lost the battle of avoiding catching Doug’s cold.  But she did not seem as congested as Doug got so hopefully it doesn’t last too long.  It’s the first cold she’s had since 2019.

Doug went over to check out the hot water situation at the shower/bathroom block but there was no hot water; we turned on our water heater and showered in Minou instead.  After dumping and filling our water tank, we left the campground and made our way into the city to a mall to go to a large grocery store hoping to find all the salad veggies we like there.  Many of the smaller supermarkets have little choice.

The mall didn’t open until ten so we had to wait about 20 minutes but once inside the store, we found most of what we wanted; but no beer or NA beer (many grocery stores do not sell alcohol in Turkiye).  We decided since we were not that low on those items, we’d look in another town.  It took our mapping app a while to get us out of town but eventually we made it and then passed through several mountain passes trying to reach the south coast of Turkiye.  Once we got over the highest pass at 1825 m / 6000’ the sky was clear and the sun was warming things up.  When we left Konya, it was on the chilly side and the high was only going to be 14C / 58F but here closer to the sea, it was lovely and warm.  The city of Manavgat with its old town of Side, had a forecasted high of 27C / 81F – can you believe that for October 21st!?

We began to see bananas for sale and later large greenhouses where they are grown and best yet, we see palm trees!

We were happy campers and Fran changed and got out her sandals again.

The mythological story of Side: Side was the daughter of the god of the mountain and the bull god.

The city entered into Persian rule with the rest of Anatolia in 540BC.  In 334 BC it surrendered to Alexander the Great, then later to the Ptolemaians, later still to the Seleucids and then regained freedom until 67BC when it entered Roman rule.  It became richer and eventually the capital of the region..  With its harbour it had a very cosmopolitan population with pagans, Jews, Early Christians.  It is thought St. Paul may have visited here in his travels.  The city continued to grow under the Early Byzantine rule.  However from the 7th century one, due to Arab raids, it began losing importance and shrunk.  The city was finally abandoned in the 13th century after the takeover by the Turks.  At the end of the 19th century, because of revolts against the Ottoman rul in Crete, much of its Turkish population fled from the island and came here. 

We parked in a huge parking area and will probably stay the night.  We then took a stroll for a couple of hours through the old town of side admiring all the ruins.  There are so many and several are still under excavation.

First we saw the Nymphaeum – a fountain built outside the city hall in the 2nd century:

Then the city gate:

There was a boardwalk along the road side passing along the colonnaded streets towards the Roman Theatre with many ruins:

Behind the theatre ruins:

In the main town of Side, we walked along the sea once again – ah!  There are palm trees, cactus and banana trees!

We passed down the main pedestrian street and treated ourselves to gelato before reaching Athena’s Temple:

And the Men’s Temple:

We passed by the Great Bath House which you cannot enter:

We strolled further and saw a nice bar on the sea so stopped for a cold one:

This place had a glass floor through which you can see the ruins underneath:  (We even saw places like this on the main street.)

There are plots of excavations taking place around Side:

Then we strolled back through more ruins seeing the Episcopal Palace and a main street that is being cleaned up and put back together still.

We returned to Minou and chilled for the rest of the day.  The parking area was not the quietest overnight with too many comings and goings and barking dogs so we decided not to hang here any longer.

This part of Turkiye is known as the “Aegean or Turquoise Coast”.

Saturday, it was sunny and clear and we left Side to make our way further west along the coast to see Aspendos.   We were one of the few vehicles in the lot as it was early and we had the place mostly to ourselves.

Aspendos  was an ancient Greco-Roman city located 40 km east of the modern city of Antalya.

The wide range of its coinage throughout the ancient world indicates that, in the 5th century BC, Aspendos had become the most important city in Pamphylia deriving great wealth from a trade in salt, oil and wool.

When Alexander the Great marched into Aspendos in 333 BC after capturing Perge, the citizens sent envoys asking him not to garrison soldiers there. He agreed, provided he would be given the taxes and horses that they had formerly paid as tribute to the Persian king. After reaching this agreement Alexander went to nearby Side, leaving a garrison there on the city’s surrender. He soon learned that the Aspendians had failed to ratify the agreement their envoys had proposed and were preparing to defend themselves. Alexander marched to the city immediately. When they saw Alexander returning with his troops, the Aspendians, who had retreated to their Acropolis, again sent envoys to sue for peace. This time, however, they had to agree to very harsh terms; a Macedonian garrison would remain in the city and 100 gold talents as well as 4,000 horses would be given in tax annually.

In 190 BC, the city surrendered to the Romans. Toward the end of the Roman period the city began a decline that continued throughout Byzantine times, although in medieval times it was evidently still a strong place.

Aspendos is known for having the best-preserved theatre of antiquity. With a diameter of 96 metres (315 ft), it provided seating for 7,000. It was built in 155 by the Greek architect Zenon, a native of the city. It was periodically repaired and in the 13th century the stage building was converted into a palace for a time.

As was usual to minimise construction complexity and cost, part of the theatre was built against the hill where the Citadel (Acropolis) stood, while the remainder was built on vaulted arches. The high stage, whose supporting columns are still in place, served to seemingly isolate the audience from the rest of the world. The  backdrop, has remained intact. The 8.1m / 27’ sloping reflective wooden ceiling over the stage has been lost over time. Post holes for 58 masts are found in the upper level of the theatre. These masts supported an awning that could be pulled over the audience to provide shade. 

Nearby stand the remains of a stadium, baths, basilica, agora and nymphaeum.

This site had an entry fee of 100₺ and it was so worth it.  The theatre is the best preserved ancient theatre in the world.  It’s even used to this day for live evening performances in season.

We wandered around inside, up to the top, checking out the view of the stage from the “nose bleed section” and were in complete awe.

We then took a stroll through the rest of the site which is by no means as well preserved.  We saw the remains of the stadium:

The basilica (council house):

The agora remains:

And the nymphaeum back wall:

before walking back to the parking area.

As it was still morning and the city of Antalya was not that far away we drove into the city, got parked and took a stroll through its ancient Roman old town and found a place with a view to have lunch.

We saw Hadrian’s Gate:

see the chariot ruts

Then the crowded Roman harbour:

And we wandered through the narrow streets of shops until we found Koykos Restaurant high above the water for this view:

We enjoyed cold beer, bruschetta and pizza for lunch in the sunshine.  It was built on the side of a 2000 year old city wall:

You had to walk down a long a$$ tunnel to get to the restrooms:

The city is the country’s fifth largest and it shows.  The suburbs began about 10km before you reach old town and we even saw an IKEA!  We didn’t want to stay parked in the city and hoped for a place near the beach on the other side of the city.  Fran had found a place on park4night but upon arriving so it was super crowed with Turkish trailers and vans reminiscent of the place we stayed in Istanbul where people seem to leave their RV’s parked full time but much, much more crowded.

We left there after finding nothing and kind of glad we didn’t and made our way to a small parking lot between some apartment buildings and a park that bordered the Karaman River only a block and a half from the sea. This was much more laid back and had a nice boardwalk down to the sea.

After parking, we took a walk to the water which had a huge boardwalk up above the rocky beach.  The water was spectacular looking so we had to check it out.  It was crystal clear:

And we both dipped our feet in the Aegean and found it refreshingly cool and inviting, but not so much we wanted to go swimming.  The outside temp is about 26C / 79 F but again, like other beaches we’ve encountered in the last two months, it’s very windy.  There were many people on the beach and a few swimmers.  We strolled to the end to near where we had first wanted to park and then returned back to Minou.

For parking in a city (at least not downtown) it was relatively quiet after about 11.

We had decided not to stay and we’d found a campground near a beach about 130 km / 80 mi away that was reasonably priced and away from a town.   We are both feeling much better though not 100%; Doug has a bit of a loose cough and Fran’s nose is still a bit leaky but neither of us got any sicker nor did we feel it was COVID at any time as we had no fever/chills and no shortness of breath.

The sun was glorious and it was a beautiful drive.

We passed lots and lots of greenhouses – many of them seemed to be for tomatoes this time and the mountains were majestic:

The windy coastal road was especially lovely and we got this video; would have been better if the sea had been on Fran’s side of the road but we think you’ll get the gist:

Today we noticed diesel was down in the 26₺ range and we again found it for 25₺.

We arrived at the “rustic” Andriake Camping outside the small city of Demre around 11am, took a stroll to check out the beach and then had breakfast.  Fran had been in a WhatsApp chat with a boat tour operator to take a day trip to the islands around here and we’ll see about checking other prices before deciding.

This campsite is near the pier for the boat trips, is away from traffic as well as the town and is on the rustic but cute side.  It’s not large – maybe a dozen or so campers comfortably but it has a bathroom/shower block with a washing machine and offers power, water and Wi-Fi.  There is also a simple restaurant on site.

We took a walk to check out the beach; it is all sandy (a dark sand) but the water is cold!  We went back to Minou and had brunch and Doug went out for a walk checking out boat tour prices as well to compare with what Fran had found.  The boats here seem to be for “hire” not really “tours” and they are desperate for business – there are way too many as well.  Nothing seemed to beat the price we’d been quoted but the only problem was they don’t provide snorkel gear (Doug has a prescription mask and no snorkel but Fran has neither a mask nor a snorkel).  They do sell them but we’re still deciding.

We went for a walk on the pier and lo and behold we saw a turtle in the water!

Bad pic with phone camera that you can barely make out:

Fran had read that the season here is May to October but we thought this late in the season we’d not luck out.  We then walked back along the pier and saw another!  Fran began taking pics with her phone:

And then a video as he was swimming in the same direction we were walking:

Then we saw four more in amongst the boats:

Well that made our day!

Fran chatted with a German woman back at the campsite asking if they’d done the boat tour.  She said “no but they wanted to do it later in the week” and her friend came over raving about it in German.  Fran suggested maybe we could go together so we’ll see.

We had a quiet afternoon at the beach reading and got surrounded by goats:

and enjoyed hot showers.

The Germans came over before dinner and said they’d booked a private boat for tomorrow if we wanted to join them – they have three kids.  The cost was €150 for us to share.  This was more than the price we’d received so we said we’d think about it; it was not a “tour” per se so we weren’t sure they would speak English or where they’d go and this woman speaks only a little and her husband, even less.

Today we passed through 3 tunnels.

Tuesday morning, Fran got back online and realized that the tour operator she’d been speaking with was not located here in Demre but in Kaş (pronounced “cash”), 40 km / 25 mi away so we were glad we’d not booked.  We told the German family we’d pass and then spent another day/night at the same campground.

Fran caught up on photos and a few chores and Doug did a few chores and walked into town.  He was checking to see if he could final snorkels and a mask for Fran so we wouldn’t have to pay the prices onboard. He did.

By dinner time we had decided to do the boat trip out of Kaş so Fran confirmed with “Captain Ergun” and after a quiet night we left early to make the boat departure time.

We made it to the pier early and entered the pay parking area in order to spend the night after the cruise.  Fran walked back into town to the office of the company and paid for our trip and by 9:20 we boarded.  The boat is what is called a Bermuda boat and it has a main deck where the dining area is enclosed with windows that open and an upstairs where about 20 beach loungers are set up, about one of third of them under cover.  We chose two in the middle aisle to be away from the sun and waited our departure.

Surprisingly, we actually left ten minutes early and the boat was not full – YEAH!  There were people from Norway, Denmark, Australia, the Ukraine, US, Pakistan, a young woman from Toronto and of course, Turks.  The captain (same guy Fran had been chatting with) spoke English and all announcements and information were given in both Turkish and English.

Our first stop was Inonu Bay where we stopped for 45 minutes to jump off the boat and swim in the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea.  We used our new snorkel gear and checked out the waters but only saw a few fish.  But to be fair, Turkey is not known for snorkeling so our expectations were not high.  The water was way warmer than at Demre and it was quite enjoyable.

Upon returning aboard, tea and small cakes were offered.  There is a small bar onboard for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic  drinks and snack food for purchase.

Next stop was Akvaryum (aquarium) Bay for another swim before lunch on board while anchored.  While the name suggested that maybe there would be more fish, there were not many more than the first stop but the water continued to be quite pleasant.

We rinsed off on the boat’s fresh water showers and went inside to have lunch.  It was a hot lunch of your choise of fish, beef or chicken (ordered ahead) and it was quite a full plate of food.  The meat of your choice came with rice, potatoes and pasta as well as a garden salad and bread.

Upon setting sail once again, we were taken past the sunken city of Dolchites

Kekova, also named Caravola (in Greek: Dolichiste), is a small Turkish island near Demre in the district of Antalya province which faces the village of Kaleköy (ancient Simena). Kekova has an area of 4.5 km2 (2 sq mi) and is uninhabited.

On its northern side there are the partly sunken ruins of Dolchiste/Dolikisthe, an ancient town which was destroyed by an earthquake during the 2nd century. Rebuilt and still flourishing during the Byzantine Empire period, it was finally abandoned because of Arab incursions. Tersane (meaning “dockyard”, as its bay was the site of an ancient city Xera and dockyard – the Roman Harbour we visited -, with the ruins of a Byzantine church) is at the northwest of the island.

The Kekova region was declared a specially protected area on 18 January 1990 by Turkish Ministry of Environment and Forest. All kinds of diving and swimming were prohibited and subject to special permits from governmental offices. In later years the prohibition has been lifted except for the part where the sunken city is.

Then it was on to the village of Simena which is famous for its ice cream and a castle with a large necropolis. 

Our friends, Joe & Josée had been here two years ago and raved about the ice cream so we had to try.  We stopped at the first place and each got a double scoop and it was very good.

We wandered over to the bay where there was a large tomb in the water:

And then up to the castle and the graveyard full of tombs next door.

There were lovely views down to the village and water from up there too.

On the way back down Fran saw the place Josée had recommended for its ice cream so we tried some more.

We returned to the boat by the requested 2:30 and we began the trip back to Kaş with two more swimming stops.  The first was just beyond the sunken city at an former Roman shipyard where there were more old building ruins and a church visible:

Then around 4 we stopped at Yaglica Bay for a final swim.  The captain said there was a hot spring on one side of this little bay and this time only about a third of us went in the water including Fran.  The water was very cool the first couple of inches but she said it was definitely warmer underneath.

After a final rinse off, we both got changed, enjoyed another beer and a snack before we were back at Kas by 6 as scheduled.  The American couple and the two Pakistanis were interested in seeing our “home” and came over to have a peek.

We had a light dinner and Fran mostly a lousy night’s sleep as we could here music from a bar in town and in fact, that wasn’t so bad but the two RV’s parked across from us were playing their own musical instruments into a set of bongo drums and they played until around 2am!

Wednesday morning, we left before our 24 hours of parking was up and made our way to see Kaş’s roman theatre where a yoga class was actually taking place but it has a lovely view of the sea from the top row.

That morning Fran awoke to a dead Garmin fitness watch.  It is deemed waterproof but she noted a few cracks on the backside so yesterday during our boat tour it must have took on water.  Dang.  And it feels really weird not to wear a watch so we’ll try and find her a cheap one until we get back to the US.

Our plan today was to check out the ruins at Patara but more importantly to go to Patara beach one of the few actual sandy beaches in Turkiye and it’s 18 km  / 11 km long!  We were trying not to get our hopes up too much.

You pay an entry fee into the area which includes the ruins and the beach as it’s a protected turtle nesting area and you must leave by 6pm.  It cost 90₺ each (about $5). We parked outside the museum shop and took a stroll around the ruins.

There is a large theatre:

A boulterian/basilica/council house:

and a large agora that leads to an ante temple which we never managed to find the actual path to so we only saw the top of it.

Next it was on to the beach.  After parking, we walked over to check  it out – it ticked most of our “beach wants” boxes and we decided to spend some time here.  We had an early brunch, packed up our chairs, umbrella, kindles etc. and spent over four hours near the water’s edge.  It was lovely sand, clear water (a little cooler than yesterday but not bad) and the sun was out fully with not a cloud in the sky.  When the wind picked up a little bit after twelve, we were concerned it would get worse and blow the umbrella the wrong way, but within a half hour it had calmed down and we stayed till about 3.  The temp reached 26C / 79F today and it was perfect.  Fran actually went into the water (alone). The forecast continues to show similar days but slowly dropping temps over the next few days so we are quite happy.

After using the facilities, we thought we’d have a beer at the beach restaurant where pretty good music was being played but they were out of real beer – only had malt left so that plan crashed.

We returned to Minou, got changed and put everything away.  As you cannot stay within the park boundaries we saw there was a parking lot in the nearby village of Gelemis where others had spent the night so we made our way there for the night.

We left the beach thinking it might be the best beach in Turkiye so it was a little hard to decide not to stay but we’d have to pay the “entry fee” once again so that decided it.  We drove inland to two roman ruins.

First was Letoon which from our research didn’t seem like it would be that great.

The Letoon was a sanctuary of Leto located 4km south of the ancient city of Xanthos to which it was closely associated, and along the Xanthos River. It was one of the most important religious centres in the region though never a fully-occupied settlement.

It was added as a UNESCO Site along with Xanthos in 1988.

We pulled in and the site is laid out there more or less right in front of you before even purchasing a ticket.  Yeah, it was not too much to see.

We look a photo of the best part, the remains of the theatre (it was into the sun too so not great) and continued on to Xanthos.

Xanthos is much larger and had more to explore, but again, not was fully restored.

Xanthos was an ancient major city. The remains of Xanthos lie on a hill on the left bank of the Xanthos river. The number and quality of the monumental tombs still standing is a remarkable feature of the site.  Xanthos is also a UNESCO site.

Xanthos was a centre of culture and commerce for the Lycians, and later for the Persians, Greeks and Romans who in turn conquered the city. As an important city in Lycia, it exerted significant architectural influences upon other cities of the region.

The big highlight today was a hike in the Seklikent Canyon (we only learned about this after reading  our friends, Joe & Josée’s blog of when they were here two  years ago).

We found a free parking lot about 300m before the main entrance and walked over.  It was about 10:30 in the morning.  We paid our entrance fee and we had worn shoes we were comfortable getting wet as we knew there were “stream crossings” with very cold water.

After paying you pass under the road and get on a boardwalk of about 200 metres long.

Then you reach an small area of shops/food (and where you can purchase/rent shoes) and then you have to get yourself over many rocks with fast flowing water rushing over them to a rope that you can use to get across the river.  Doug helped Fran keep her balance and we got through it.

The rest of the way is walking through the river but at times there is a muddy bank to walk on and at other times there’s a bit of a rocky scramble.

It was pretty amazing and we thoroughly enjoyed this little trek.  The water is very, very cold and at the beginning it looks glacial which makes no sense to us…. The canyon narrows and widens and at times there are boulders, just caught in the notches of rocks.

The hike is supposed to be 4km / 2.8 mi long round trip.  The canyon itself is 18 km / 11m long but there’s a water fall at the 2km point.  However, when we were close to it there comes a point where the river becomes a pool and the depth is more than waist high – here we paused and went, aaah no thanks.  We had read the waterfall was not spectacular and the canyon itself was what we wanted to see/experience anyway.   It reminded us of The Narrows in Zion National Park without the deep pools.

The entire hike took just over an hour and being the time of year it is, it was not crowded.  At times we’d meet 2 or 3 or 4 people but it was never crowded.  Highly recommend this experience.

As it was still early we continued westward towards Fethiye to its famous nearby beach, Ölüdeniz which is touted as the prettiest beach in the country and it’s known for paragliding.

Fran received a text today advising she’d complete her 25GB + 15 GB packet but still has some of the 5GB of free social media.  She’s happy she has another pack to use now.  Doug also finished his first 20GB a couple of days ago and is working on his second pack.  These should last us until we leave the country now.

Parking near the beach is expensive but Fran found a camp spot on park4night next to a small mosque that has 24/7 bathrooms and water access just under a block from the sea.  The lot is a dirt/gravel lot next door to the mosque so it’s a small walk to the bathrooms.  There are several water taps and we made a practice of just taking our gallon jug over there every time we went to use the facilities.

After settling, we locked up and walked down into the town to access the beach.  Man, this is a touristy town and it caters to the Brit vacationers and ex pats.  All the prices are in £ and there is a long main pedestrian street full of shops, salons and restaurants that you must pass by in order to reach the beach.

Enroute we saw a mani/pedi place and the price looked great for a pedi (£9) but it was closed.  A little further down we saw one for £10 and then another at £9 so we both got one done.  It was not the most glamorous or inclusive but it was done and the staff were friendly.

When paying we realized we had not brought a lot of cash and this almost broke us.  We’d rather not take out more cash as we had a bunch in  Minou, so we’ll have to make sure we can use our credit cards for the rest of the day (although Fran keeps a few Euros in her purse in case of emergency).

We stopped at a sunglasses/watch shop and Fran got a £20 watch for £15 and feels better.  She’s added a pedometer app to her phone to count her steps for the next two months.

Then it was the beach, which as we expected, was super touristy and not all that long – the beach at Patara was so much better with only one beach restaurant and miles an miles of clean sand.  This beach was coarse sand with small rocks in.

There were many paragliders and we saw lots of them land right on the beach boardwalk – it was crazy;£ a few times, they nearly hit people!


We wanted to find a bar that had music so we could sit and watch the water and after strolling up and down the bar area, finally settled on the “Friends” bar on the second floor which had okay music but a nice view.  We each enjoyed a drink but it was far too early for dinner so we left and wandered around town for a while.

view from our table:

Then we both felt like burgers and after googling “best burger in Ölüdeniz” we ended up having a 5pm dinner at Arti’s Burger house.  We went in with low expectations and were rewarded with a pretty darn good burger.  They advertised Coldstone Creamery ice cream but they did not have any so we had dessert later at a Gelateria on the main drag.

Fran spotted a nice white cotton men’s shirt with two breast pockets (the kind Doug likes best) and we stopped in to try one on and he bought one.

We returned to Minou, did a few bathroom/water runs and then had a quiet night until the first call to prayer, which was super loud seeing how we were parked right beside the mosque!

BTW we are both feeling much better and seem to have recovered from our colds.