WORLD TRAVEL NEWS ARTICLE
The Peaceful Resort Of Bodrum
I have never been to Bodrum before so when I was invited to join a group of travel agents to fly there, I was quick in saying YES, please. Easy Jet fly direct to Milas–Bodrum Airport from both London’s Gatwick and Stansted Airports. Flying time is approximately three and a half hours. We were met by our host Errol and we set off to the 4* Isis Hotel and Spa in Gümbet, just outside Bodrum itself (http://www.isis.com.tr). The Journey time from the airport was 45 minutes. Just a quick note – the coach we used was fully equipped with seat belts and had good air conditioning.
Isis Dining Room
Our first day began with a visit to Myndos Gate, This western city gate was built by Mausolus in 364 BC and has been recently restored. The gate was the scene for one of the bloodiest battles during the siege by Alexander the Great. He placed his wooden towers and catapults facing the Myndos gate but, composed of four towers, it stood the onslaught of his Macedonian troops. After this we drove to see the windmills, positioned high up on a cliff to take maximum advantage of the wind. In their day these flour mills were very efficient and provided most of the flour for Bodrum but they are in a sad state of repair.
From the windmills we went to visit the Underwater Archaeology Museum, which wasn’t actually underwater but displayed objects discovered under the sea as well as a life size model of a ship cleverly incorporated into the building infrastructure. This museum was within the walls of Bodrum Castle. The castle itself was constructed by Crusader Knights who arrived in the early 15th Century and used the remains of the *Mausoleum as a quarry from which to build this still impressive fortress. It is considered one of the best preserved example of late Crusader architecture in the east Mediterranean.
We were then hosted by the Mayor of Bodrum, Mr. Mehmet Kocadon, to an enjoyable outdoor feast at the Trafo Restaurant in central Bodrum.
(http://www.bodrumbelediyeas.com.tr/trafo-bodrum.html# ) The large sun umbrellas came into play as a light drizzle commenced but they kept us all dry and didn’t diminish our enjoyment.
That evening we dined at the rather special Manastir Hotel, perched as it is high up and overlooking Bodrum and the surrounding seascape. It is what I'd describe as a boutique hotel which is delightfully different and has an assortment of colourfully painted old bycycles, used as fun objects, scattered around the gardens. (http://www.manastirhotel.com/en)
The following day, because rain was forecast, our itinerary was swopped around. It was a good move as it turned out. We set off to visit the *Mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Unfortunately, on the way there we experienced some serious rainfall which didn’t really ease up for the whole visit.
Mausolus ruled Caria from here from 377 to 353 BC. When he died in 353 BC, Artemisia II of Caria, who was both his sister and his widow, had a monument and tomb built for him. The word "mausoleum" derives from the structure of this tomb. It was a temple-like structure decorated with reliefs and statuary on a massive scalee. Today only the foundations and a few pieces of sculpture remain.
Soaked but undefeated, Errol lead us to a local café where we enjoyed a hot cup of Turkish tea and, of course, Turkish coffee. Suitably revived, we drove back to Bodrum where we were greeted by bright sunshine and no sign of the rain we had experienced. On the outskirts of the city we stopped off at the Amphitheatre, another structure accredited to King Mausolus’ time, although it wasn’t finished until the Roman era.
Now in warm sunshine, but a little earlier than expected, we arrived at Bodrum Golf Club (http://www.bodrumgolf.net ) where we were wined and dined then let loose on the driving range, or at least some of us. This is a very well kept 9 hole golf course, driving range and excellent club house.
That evening we had a really enjoyable meal in Bodrum’s Big Cheff Restaurant (http://www.bigchefs.com), in the heart of the city. The rain we had escaped from earlier in the day finally caught up with us but this time we were in the dry eating great food washed down by some suitable beverages.
Now, with fingers crossed for luck, we all voted to risk the weather the next day and take to the boat. So, following a very hearty breakfast at Ayana Restaurant which is right on the edge of a small beach we a great sea view, (http://ayanabodrum.com/en), we boarded their typical gullet. This is a traditionally designed two-masted wooden sailing vessel, most of which are typically built in the coastal towns of Bodrum and Marmaris. This particular boat was propelled by a diesel engine. The weather stayed fine and we visited a couple of uninhabited islands off the coast where some of our party dived into the not very warm but clear waters. An on-board cooked light lunch was enjoyed together with the odd can of beer (or two) after which we sailed into Bodrum harbour.
A quick dash around the shops for some last minute buys and then we walked to the Maritime Museum which displayed a super collection of model fishing boats and gullets as well as an amazing collection of sea shells. Then it was back to the hotel to freshen up and the off to our farewell dinner.
Bodrum was a quiet town of fishermen and sponge divers until the mid-20th century when tourism gradually became the main source of income. Now, despite the bad publicity in other parts of Turkey, this area of the country is bustling with tourists enjoying the great value for money that Turkey offers its visitors and the great welcome you receive. There were two large cruise ships in port one of the days days of our Bodrum visit. The area is rich in archaeological sites but really fails to make the most of them. The only site we visited with an admission gate and public toilets was Bodrum Castle. All of these super sites are extremely difficult for elderly people to enjoy.
Two airports serve the city. Milas–Bodrum Airport is located 36 kilometres (22 miles) northeast of Bodrum, with both domestic and international flights. Kos Island International Airport, 70 kilometres (43 miles) to the southwest, is accessible by ferry from Bodrum across a 20 kilometres (12 mile) stretch of the Aegean Sea. Kos airport's international air traffic is seasonal.
There are regular ferries from Bodrum to other nearby Turkish and Greek ports and islands.
For Holidays in Bodrum and throughout Turkey click on www.ecoturkey.com . For holidays involving sailing in gullets please visit www.guletholidays.eu .
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