Marmaris, Selchuk and
We went to Marmaris since it was the only Turkish destination for the ferry from
In Marmaris we discovered a very pleasant small resort town with literally hundreds of hotels f ronting along the beach and waterfront promenade. It is a popular starting point for a variety of boat cruises along the Turkish coast. Unfortunately, Claire's restricted schedule prevented us from taking a multi-day cruise; but we did have one very enjoyable day on the
Selchuk turned out to be a delightful small town with a very pleasant walkable centre. Although very close to
Rather than try to visit
We also visited the oldest mosque in the region. Inside, I heard a guide telling a group of American tourists that the Koran makes numerous references to Mary and Jesus. He added that although Moslems do not regard Jesus as God, he is considered an important prophet. "Is this really such a big difference that we have to fight wars with one another?” he asked the Americans. “I don't think so".
While Claire enjoyed
Anyone who has seen the movie ‘Midnight Express’ knows that you don't want to spend time in a Turkish jail. But try telling that to the people who pay $420 to $630 US a night to stay in a double room at
We didn’t want to pay that kind of money to stay in a jail, so instead we chose the Hotel Romantic off Booking.com. It had an excellent location and looked quite attractive in the web photos. However, we discovered the name was a bit of a misnomer when we found separated twin beds in our double room!
To get an overview of the city, we again decided to take a ‘hop on hop off’ bus. What a mistake! While I thought the service in
After completing most of the bus route, around 1 pm we decided to get off and visit the Blue Mosque. As we were crossing the road towards the entrance, we were stopped by a man who told us it was closed. Every guide book warns you to avoid people who tell you attractions are closed, since invariably they want to take you to a friend’s jewelry shop or somewhere else which you really don't need to see. Given my disappointing experience with the tour, I wasn't in the mood to deal with this guy, but he kept insisting that I not try to enter the mosque. Suddenly, I saw three policemen across the street and approached them. "Is the Blue Mosque closed today?" I asked. "No" they replied in unison. I then pointed out the fellow who had tried to tell me otherwise, and requested that they find out what he was up to. I left as he was showing them his identification papers.
Since I did not have the appropriate clothing and had been inside the mosque before, I decided to let Sally and Claire go in without me. But a few minutes later they returned. "It's closed for prayers" they said. “It opens at 2”!
Instead we decided to visit St. Sophia, another major attraction. It was originally built as a church, then converted into a mosque, and subsequently a museum. On the way, we lamented the fact that we didn’t know anyone in
So imagine my surprise when I turned a corner in St. Sophia and there stood Miryam and Rafael Filisoph! They were as surprised to see me, as I was to see them. It turned out they were in
Unfortunately, after seven days it was time for us all to move on. On our final afternoon we decided to experience ‘one of the 1000 places to see before you die’; one of the oldest Turkish Baths in the city. Sally described it as interesting, although not relaxing. I would have to agree. My memory is of a jolly half naked Turkish gentleman who seemed to take great delight in scrubbing the skin off my forehead, and pummeling my sore calves with his elbows.
At 8 pm, we saw Claire off on an overnight train for