I was hoping to spend more time in Turkey as I had originally planned to go there from Kos for a while but I had to change my plans. Still if another country is on the doorstep then I am instinctively going to go there even if it’s for a day.
As it turned out taking a day trip to Bodrum from Kos was really easy. There is loads of tour operators selling tickets all over the island. No visa hassles and they even collect you on a coach from your accommodation in the morning to drive you to the ferry then drop you back at your door in the evening. All for €25, I was sold, I’m going to be a tourist.
AS promised the bus collected me early the next morning and drove us to the ferry port in Kos town. I was used to being here early in the morning as I had previously arrived by boat a few weeks ago so knew there would be lots of migrants around. Which is no surprise, you only have to watch the news to know that this is the main route they take.
This time though I saw the navy taking that morning’s fresh arrival of migrants off a boat. Families with little children in life jackets. It really hit home to see it happening in front of me, these people are risking their lives to escape persecution and they have nothing. I’m helplessly watching whilst eating an overpriced sandwich.
There was an English guy stood in the queue behind me cursing them and being seriously small minded and racists. I was really trying to tell myself to leave him to it because I didn’t want to get kicked off the day trip before it had begun and besides I was going to Turkey for the day so just ignore him and be good. I lasted about 10 more seconds then I had to tell him to shut the f*ck up. Much to the delight of half of the queue and I had instantly made some new friends.
Sailing to Bodrum from Kos is a pretty amazing journey. With a backdrop of a volcanic island and Greek islands behind you and the mountains of Turkey, a whole new continent ahead of you.
When we arrived the woman from the day tour operator was telling me to wait for a bus. What for? I asked, we are here. She replied that for the first 2 hours there was a bus tour. I took a look around me and thought to myself, right so that 2 hours on a bus with Mr & Mrs racist and a bunch of sunburnt British tourist who had already manage to get half pissed on the boat. This is going to be like a scene from Benidorm. I mean I don’t know what the biggest culture shock is here, Turkey or them?
I declined opting to do my own thing, she insisted saying it’s the highlight of the day and besides it’s free. Thinking to myself nothing in life is free I asked what we would see. Turns out they are heading to some windmills then some ruins and there is a local guide. This made it sound a bit more appealing, I couldn’t see these things in a day on my own with no motor and she is not going to take no for an answer so I’m on the bus.
The tour was as I had expected it to be, we stopped barely long enough to take pictures at the historical sights but then stopped off in a car park where we had to wait for the “more adventurous” passengers to be deprived of their holiday funds in return for taking a ride round the car park on Camels. Puke!
The guide was actually good craic though. He was telling me how he is a guide in the summer and a student year round. He is 27 and has always been a student because students don’t have to do national service. I asked if he was going to be a student forever to which he replied no because when im 29 I will have to do national service anyway, unless I find a wife, but I don’t like girls he laughed “I will go to England”. I did not know what to make of this guy, was he joking? Was he serious? I honestly don’t know but he was certainly entertaining.
Once the Turkish equivalent of a donkey ride on Blackpool beach was over it was time to get back on the bus. This time we stopped at a gold factory where we had to go inside and listen to sales pitches trying to sell jewellery. Remember how I said nothing is free? Turns out the gold factory provide the tour for “free” and this is where it ends. Luckily there was a bar round the corner!
After this we got dropped back in to the town where I finally had a good few hours to explore on my own. Bodrum was a lot more touristy than I had imagined it would be but is also a very pretty town with lots going on. Including an authentic Turkish bazaar (Market) complete with spice stalls. Walking through the main shopping area is a colourful experience with multi coloured flags and lanterns hanging over head and shop front displaying all sorts of items.
It is as you would imagine fairly hectic with shop owners who wont take no for an answer and practically try to drag you in to the shop. I was told though that it used to be worse but its punishable in these days to get to pushy with the tourists.
My first experience of how pushy they are was when I stopped for a split second to look at a pair of shorts that I liked the look of. It was cold in the morning so I had left wearing jeans and it was now mid-afternoon and 35 degrees so I needed shorts as I packed none. Before I even had time to think he was like my new best friend and already packing the short in to a bag for me, AKA you’re not leaving without buying these shorts. Then the haggling started, we went from €20 down to €5 in no time so even though they were blatantly fake it was not a big price to pay and I was sorted for the day.
I ran in Mc Donalds toilets to get changed and noticed a fag burn on the shorts. I put them on anyway and headed outside where I put my hand in the pocket and realised there was a paper tissue in the pocket. These had been warn and not even washed. I had kind of gone off the idea of shopping for shorts now. Jeans it is.
I found the sea front and chilled outside a bar for the last hour then just as I was settling in it was time to go back to Greece. The kebabs here are so good that after a couple of beers in the sun I ate a second one on the way back to the boat. Another country ticked off the list and an intersting day out. I am defiantly returning to Turkey someday soon though and for more than one day. Im looking at you Istanbul 🙂