Turkey Stop 3: Fethiye

Based on the advice of my friendly Pamukkale host, I was off to my next destination – Fethiye. Located on the south west corner of Turkey, this was a small popular port town. This would turn out to be my favourite stop out of my whole Turkey trip. And I loved it so much that I ended up extending my stay here, and made friends that I still keep in contract with now.

It was a long bus trip again that took all day. And I didn’t have the best start to my visit with being greeted at the final bus station by the manager who also worked for a local cruise company. He was most determined to sell me a cruise and rather pushy about it. I wanted advice on where the minibus stand was in order to get to my hostel and happened to mention I was thinking of doing a cruise while in Fethiye.  He wasn’t pleased when I didn’t help to increase his obviously commission-based income. A rude arm point in vague direction I needed after 10 minutes and I was off bristling with indignation.

I felt a little better after getting to my hostel and having a good complain about rude bus station manager to the hostel host who was most sympathetic. I was looking for a cruise to sign up for, but there was no way I wanted to go with that particular company after that performance. I was sitting on the couch still feeling angry when a friendly guy sat down next to me. Turned out the hostel host had called his friend who ran another cruise company. They were sailing tomorrow and still had a couple of spaces. And on the off-chance his friend popped down to see if I would like to fill one of those spaces. He was so lovely and not pushy at all. And let me haggle a good price (why not as the boat did really need to fill those last spaces!) Suddenly my angry mood was gone and I felt much happier about my prospects. He had an Australian wwoof’er chick (Hannah) working with him in his office who offered to show me round the town centre a little and check out her favourite cafe. I ended up having dinner with her later in the fish market as well as another very cool Australian chick who would be my roommate during the cruise.

A street filled with umbrellas!

Tasty peach ice tea in the cute cafe. There are teapots tied to the tree in the background

The port all lined with fishing boats and cruise ships

The next day bright and early I was off on my cruise for the next 3 nights. It was a small boat rather than one of those massive cruise ships you’re imagining. Only big enough to sleep 16 passengers and crew. But it was an amazing cruise all the same. Setting off from Fethiye to nearby small islands and coves. The idea being to relax in the sun, swim, and eat tasty food prepared by the crew. I wish I could go back and do it again right now!

The captain

Our faithful cruise boat – Ros

Spotted some goats during our island hike

Some goat bells for sale by a local farmer

My attire for the whole cruise

At nighttime some of us slept out under the stars on the deck

Crystal clear water for the Ros

A hole in the cliff that I jumped out of. And it was scary high!

Having your feet up is the best feeling!

Me and Ali (he was the guy that sold me the cruise)

My other cruise passengers – the best!

This couple were newly weds and very sweet

Why yes that is an AMAZING view

My very cool roommate – Dayna

Before I knew it, the cruise was over. Time was moving too quickly. With minimal convincing needed from my two Aussie mates, I decided to extend my stay in Fethiye for a couple of days longer. I needed more time to check out the local sites of course.

The local tombs (that’s Hannah peeping round the pillar)

More tombs

One of the many Turkish cats

I tried out my very first couchsurfing experience with Dayna at Ali’s house. Hannah was also staying with him as part of her wwoof’ing experience so it was like a big girly sleepover. Very fun! And definitely opened my eyes to the possibility of future couchsurfing and hosting. We checked out a local bathhouse and had the full rub down scrub and bubble massage. It was quite an interesting experience. My skin felt very soft afterwards. The amount of dirt that came out with the scrubbing was a little gross! We also did a terrible day tour of the nearby Dalyan tombs. The only perk being that it was really cheap. Like only nz$15 for a whole day that included lunch.

I LOVED Fethiye. But it was time to head off and leave my new friends. I had one more stop to make before heading back to the UK. Making promises to my friends that we would all see each other again one day, I was off on the bus again.

Where I stayed: Yildirim Guesthouse
Price: €11 in a 6 bed dorm
Overall: Great little hostel. Very cosy setup with a few cats. The host was welcoming and set me up with an amazing cruise.

The cruise: I would highly recommend Before Lunch Boat Cruises. The boat is small but clean and well set up. The food delicious and cooked by the crew. The captain was great. He knows the area so well and takes you to all his favourite spots depending on the weather and views. Plus his brother Ali is a very welcoming face for the company. I really can’t recommend it more. The other cruise that I was so put off on was the Blue Cruise. It is one of the popular cruises to do in Fethiye/Olympus but apparently as its’ route is along the coast, it’s a lot more windy and choppy usually. My seasick-prone stomach was glad I didn’t go on that!

Turkey Stop 2: Pamukkale

After a long day on the bus, and changing a couple of times in different villages to progressively smaller and smaller buses and vans (as is the Turkish custom), I arrived in a small village called Pamukkale. I liked it immediately on arrival. Much smaller and friendlier than the large touristy Antalya. It had a small village vibe to it. The locals were helpful in directing me towards my accommodation and full of advice about what to go see next in their beautiful country.

The bus system was a little confusing initially but works quite well. Most cities have a main bus station called an Otogar which you can buy your bus ticket at, or you can visit one of many different little travel agencies in every city and village. Then you catch the bus (and sit in your allocated seat) and travel in your intended direction. Unless you’re heading to another big city, it is likely that you will have to change to another bus at the next big city Otogar that your bus arrives at. And then possibly change again into a van to get to really small villages like Pamukkale. Bus travel is really cheap in Turkey and does go everywhere. The buses and vans will have a destination sign in the front to help you get onto the correct one, but the Turkish people are very helpful and kind with giving directions.

I went to Pamukkale mainly to see its’ famous white cotton terraces with thermal hot springs which are a World Heritage Site. It is quite stunning to see in person. And the best thing I thought is that no shoes are allowed so you get to explore this natural attraction with your bare feet!

Looking up at the white terraces

Love being barefoot

There were gardens at the top. And some museums too

A strange Turkish plant

There were also some old ruins at the top. Very interesting to wander through

I spent most of the day on the terraces exploring with my feet. There was also an antique pool at the top filled with the thermal waters and quite beautifully set out. The pool had old bits of ancient pillars and various items on the bottom making it interesting to paddle around in. I spent a good couple of hours just relaxing in the waters and letting any stress float away. And thinking about my next destination which little did I know would end being my favourite stop in Turkey.

Where I stayed: BellaMaritimo Hotel
Price: €15 for my own private room and ensuite (so cheap!)
 There was a lack of hostels in Pamukkale. But with accommodation being so cheap in comparison to the rest of Europe, I was happy to splash out for my own hotel room. And it was heaven! Sleeping alone is the best. This hotel was lovely as well. Very friendly host and owner with very personalised breakfast service every morning. I would definitely stay here again.