Monday, October 4, 2010

We're in Turkey!

We have passed our first week in Turkey and what an amazing country this is. We have seen some very unique and unusual places. We started last Saturday with a boat ride from Rhodes to Marmaris. That was fun because we took the high speed catamaran. It was different from the much slower ferries but you couldn’t sit outside so it took some of the fun out of it for me. It was, however, a very quick trip.

Leaving Rhodes we had to pay a tax of 15 Euros each. Interesting. On arrival in Turkey we had to pay a VISA of 60 USD each! That was more than twice what the citizens of any other country had to pay. Wow, the Canadian and Turkish government obviously have “issues”. It made for a very expensive day.

We took a cab to the bus station (otogar) and as we drove the cabbie offered us deals to drive us all the way to Selcuk (pronounced Sel-chook). He started at about 150 Euros and made it all the way to 100 Euros as we reached the station. He felt his cab would be far more comfortable than the stuffy old bus. We declined his offer to his great disappointment and booked the bus for 50 Euros. It was interesting that most everything is listed in Euros AND Turkish Lira.

The bus turned out to be very elegant. It was a huge coach that looked brand new. It felt like we were traveling in business class on an airplane, particularly because they actually had bus attendants! The bus attendant served us complimentary drinks and snacks a few times during the 4 hour bus trip. There were headsets and video screens at each seat so you could choose from a variety of movies, television stations, music or games. Most everything was in Turkish, of course, but that didn’t stop us from having quite a bit of fun playing around with the sets.

We arrived at Aydin (can’t get directly to Selcuk) and climbed off the bus to find a connection. The Turks are very used to tourists obviously and as we dragged our bags across the lot, a few men came running up to me to ask where I was going. I told them and immediately one grabbed my bag and dragged it off to another bus, shoved it in the back and looked at me expectantly. Tom, meanwhile, was having conniption fits behind me. I could hear him hyperventilating and spluttering as he jogged to keep up. Was this the ONLY bus to Selcuk? Was this the most expensive one? Did this bus actually go there or were we being kidnapped off to never-land? The bus driver looked somewhat irritated as Tom and I discussed the options and the driver grabbed each of our bags to shove them on the bus.

We sat on the bus for the next 20 minutes while Tom’s heart-rate returned to normal. It was about 33 degrees out and the bus was probably hotter. It was a small van-like object, nothing like the elegant affair we had just stepped out of. Our astute observation skills determined that we were on one of two buses to Selcuk and the other one left later than ours. Eventually the bus took off and we were whisked away to Selcuk.

At the Selcuk station we had instructions to go to the corner to find the sign for our hotel. This turned out to be very accurate and within a few minutes the van from Atilla’s Getaway arrived to take us to the hotel. It was a lovely hotel. It was tucked in behind a restaurant at the side of the highway but was an oasis of calm and charm. It looked like a great place to stay if you were in your twenties and it was the height of tourist season. There was a bar next to the pool, hammocks, lounge areas with pillows and hookah pipes, ping-pong and pool table, volleyball court and weight lifting area. All in all, a fun place to be.

Apparently I have run out of storage space for pictures so I have to purchase more space. I don't have a credit card on me in the little bar we are using for Internet at this moment so will have to wait for another time to upload more pictures.


maryanncart said...

Loved reading about your trip to Turkey and although we've Skyped, the written word is great! Can hardly wait to read the next one. Love Mom