Bodrum and Selimye
Two of my favorite aspects of living aboard our boat while traveling the world is: 1. Taking all my favorite things – (pillows, boots, blankets, and outerwear for any weather) with me, and 2. Living wherever I feel like living. I’m not someone who loves the city or loves the country but rather, I love them both. Living on a boat allows us to find the best of both worlds and it’s our time in the city that allows us to appreciate the anchorages and the quiet peaceful anchorages that help us to enjoy the cities.
We enjoyed the city life in Istanbul and Kusadasi, but we were all looking forward to some time at anchor by the time we arrived in Bodrum. To be fair, Bodrum is a big-ish city, and it has shops, restaurants, a killer bazaar, and some fun tourist stuff. So, we hadn’t really found peace and quiet, but we were only there for a couple of nights. The marina, too full to accommodate us, was massive, but I was secretly a little pleased that we would be at anchor in the harbor. And the anchorage was also large and full of boats, but we had a nice place to drop and swing freely without a problem – allowing us to be our own island in the midst of “busy”.
Under a different circumstance, we may have passed Bodrum completely since we were all looking forward to the quiet anchorage, but I’m so pleased that we stopped. One of the few regrets we had with going to Istanbul is that we were missing some of the best known and epic “cruising” that Türkiye has to offer and Bodrum is right in the heart of it. For us to have passed it by while we still had time to explore, would have made the regret permanent. Since we stopped, we had a chance to see and appreciate it – no regrets!
Likely the best-known thing in Bodrum is the castle. Built partly from stones from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the castle has been reconstructed and is now one of the most well-known underwater archeological museums and sits prominently on the peninsula.
Jack has had more than his fill of sightseeing and Alec and I wanted to take our time in the museum, so we gave Jack the “day off” (it was Saturday and he had been working hard in school all week). When we got home, we showed Jack photos of our adventure, but he truly enjoyed his day of hanging out and resting. Win-Win and everyone is happy.
The archeological finds are amazing! Thousands of Amphorae have been recovered and are displayed all over the museum. Sometimes, when we stroll through a museum, I play a game with myself. If I could, which of these treasures would be the one that I took home? Well, I found my favorite! It is pictured below. Mentioned in Homers Iliad as the only type of writing tool of the time, it is made of wood with ivory hinges. The middle is filled with wax, and one may write on it with a stylus. SO COOL! What a discovery.
The medieval Castle of St. Peter was built by the Knights of St. John in 1402 – a transnational effort by the Spanish, English, French, German and Italians and each country is represented by a tower with the crests of the builders carved into the entrance. It served as a hospital for Christian crusaders who were fighting in Jerusalem. The castle was taken over in 1523 with the Ottoman Empire defeat. I love how the Ottomans didn’t destroy what was here but rather converted it for their purposes. In this respect, the chapel was converted to a mosque and a minaret was added.
Once one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was built in 350 BC. Unfortunately, through successive earthquakes, it was destroyed but remnants from it exist today (though we didn’t visit) and some others were taken and are evident in the Castle of St. Peter.
Bodrum was a fantastic stop but for a couple reasons, 3 days was enough in the anchorage. The nightclubs are very loud and with the ports open, music blared until 2AM. Add to that the many mosques begin the first of 5 calls to prayer at 0550 am. Once that begins, I’m up. And in Bodrum there were a few mosques with speakers pointed in our direction. I would hate for anyone reading to get the wrong idea about my morning aversion to the call to prayer. I love it all day long and appreciate the sweet reminder to have a few words with God. I even enjoy (though I obviously can’t understand a word of it) the sound and cadence. It reminds me of the catholic ringing the church bells which happened all hours of the day when we were in the Venice at the Santa Elena Marina just adjacent to the Sant Elena church and convent.
A very fun aspect of cruising is running into “friends” that we meet along the way, and Gratitude tends to stand out in a crowd, so it is not unusual for someone we have met to drop anchor next door and re-connect which happened in Bodrum. We met Jonathon, aboard Aphrodite in Bozcaada and while we were only in the same place for 1 night, we shared a mutual admiration for each other’s boat. I am such a firm believer that the right people come to you in exactly the right moment and Jonathon was that for us. We have had an administrative challenge that we have been grappling with and without getting into it here, Jonathon was the absolute perfect person we needed to meet at the perfect time. When we met again in Bodrum, we owed him a drink for his earlier help, and he generously shared more knowledge with us. Following his suggestion resulted in a most delightful week at anchor in one of the sweetest harbors we have ever been. Selimiye, Türkiye is a place unlike any other and we fell in love.
The restaurants, the hotels, the shops and beaches, the harbor are all lovely. It is a tiny little place but just what we were looking for to get off the beaten path and find a place few know about, and this is it. The challenge from a boating perspective is that the water is all very deep and except for a few tiny spits of land shallow enough to anchor, the entire harbor is surrounded by 150’-250’ depth. We have been reluctant to anchor, then back to shore to tie lines as we did in a few places in Croatia -basically because- well, we haven’t felt like it. But here we really had no choice, so we dug out the bags of lines and chain and Jack and I transported them to the rocks on shore. Here are some photos of this idyllic spot. What is particularly fun when we do this is I feel like we have our own private beach club. We can drop the SUP’s in the water to explore and Jack just spends the day snorkeling. This feels to me like the perfect vacation and just the right counterpoint to all the city stops we have made lately. We were fully stocked up on groceries from the fabulous market in Bodrum, so I was perfectly happy to stay for a week or more.
Approaching the end of our monthly contract for internet, we needed to find a Turkcel telecom shop to top up our card. This is a challenge here because it can’t be done remotely (as we were able to do in MNE) and it can’t be done for several months at a time (as we did in Italy) so we must make a monthly pilgrimage to a shop for them to top up the wifi. Alec and I may have just embraced the lack of connectivity but since Jack is back in school, we needed to get this taken care of.
Remember I said that this was a tiny place that nobody has ever heard of? Turkcell isn’t here either, so we had to take a 40-minute bus ride to Marmaris to get the internet card topped up. This turned out to be a good thing since it allowed us to see if we should come here next on Gratitude.
After a week of mostly boat cooked meals and relaxing – it was time to move on. Next stop…