We aren’t scheduled to meet the boat until four, so there’s almost a full day to explore more of the history of Bodrum. A brisk uphill walk brings me to the ancient Amphitheatre above the city. The theatre itself is architecturally beautiful, but it also provides gorgeous views of the city, its castle and the Harbor. Another short walk, this time downhill, brings me to the ancient Myndos Gates that were damaged during a siege by Alexander the Great. There isn’t a great deal to see besides the gates themselves as the site is in the process of being developed, but there is a definite sense of history here. A walk down the hills through narrow cobble-stoned streets, past doorways hanging with flowers revealed the true charm of Bodrum. It is a lovely coastal city, full of life and action. I can see why visitors fall in love with it.
Later we explored the more boisterous side of Bodrum. Yesterday we had ventured out to the massive farmer’s market which teemed with produce and people. Today we walked into the ‘bar street’ where there is a covered bazaar, many restaurants and clubs, and beachfront cafes. This part of town rocks till the wee hours of the morning, and attracts a young and hip crowd. There are night club ships anchored in the harbor where you can dance till dawn.
At four, we were picked up by van and driven the short distance to the marina and our awaiting boat, which will be home for the next seven days. The Sunworld IX is a very pretty ship, classic in design and shining in the sun. This is a gulet, a form of sailing boat made specifically in Bodrum, – large, heavy, fat bottomed but graceful, with two tall masts, six guest berths and a generous back deck for dining and lounging. These days most of the gulet journeys are made under motor power though the Sunworld is an efficient sailing ship too. Most of the interior woods are mahogany and the floors are teak.
We meet the man who will be our guide on this journey, Serdar, who tells us the first and most important rule right away: “No shoes, please, at any time when on board. Bare feet only.”
This is done to protect the teak decks, but it serves to set a distinctly relaxed and casual tone as well. It’s difficult to be too reserved in bare feet.
Next post, a tour of the Sunworld IX.