Tag Archives: Altinkum Turkey

On This Day – Terror on The High Seas

Yesterday I told you about the boat ride to Bodrum.  The return journey was many times worse…

Read the full story Here…

On This Day – Truck Stop in Turkey

The visits to the Ancient sites of Turkey complete on 28th September 2014 we were making our painful return journey…

Hagi wasn’t in the AA roadside breakdown service or whatever the equivalent is in Turkey so there now followed a long winded debate as each of the passengers looked inside the engine compartment in turn as though they knew what they were talking about and offered alternative diagnoses and possible solutions.

There was a lot of head scratching, nodding and general agreement but the truth was however that there was no more engine technical knowledge between them than you could expect to find in an average reception class at a primary school and one by one the suggestions all inevitably failed.

Read The Full Story Here…

Entrance Tickets, The Temple of Apollo at Didyma

It is claimed by some to be the finest single ancient monument in this part of Turkey and this is a part of Turkey which has an awful lot of ancient monuments.

I can confirm that it is very impressive indeed although little of the original structure remains standing; it was destroyed by the Persians in 494 BC, ravaged by time, rearranged by earthquakes and plundered over the centuries for convenient building material, but regardless of the damage I found this to be a stimulating place with history literally oozing out of the cracks and fissures in  the columns and the stones.

Read the full story…

Entrance Tickets – Ephesus, Turkey


I am not a great one for ruins.  Generally it requires an enormous outlay of imagination and patience for scant reward but the site at Ephesus is so rich that I can walk on 2000 year old flagstones with recognisable buildings on either side…” – Michael Palin – ‘Pole to Pole’

Historically inspired by the visit to the Temple of Apollo at Didyma we were looking forward now to our bus trip to Ephesus and to Heirapolis (Pamukkale) to visit more ancient Hellenistic and Roman sites.

The bus was to collect us at eight o’clock so we woke early and after a modest breakfast made our way down to the appointed rendezvous point outside the apartment and then being the first to be collected began the tedious job of picking up our fellow travellers.

The problem with bus trips is that you cannot choose your travelling companions – it is a game of chance!  I imagined that we would be accompanied on this trip by middle aged historians in crumpled linen suits and battered panama hats, ladies in pencil-pleat skirts, archaeologists carrying trowels and leather bound notebooks and the entire cast of a Merchant Ivory film but at the first pick up we were joined by a Geordie and a noisy Lithuanian family and then horror of horrors by a misbehaving bunch of women who looked as though they should really be going to a market rather than one of the World’s finest archaeological sites.

You can call me a snob if you like but I couldn’t for the life of me understand why they were going on this trip.

It got worse.  It turned out that they were a darts team from Dagenham.  We were on a bus with an octet of middle aged women with inappropriate tattoos and piercings who were loud and embarrassing and behaved like escapees from a medical research centre.   I was horrified – we were going to spend two days with these people and as the journey started I looked out of the window and tried to block it from my mind.  I would rather have been travelling with a bus load of people suffering from an incurable tropical disease!

Ephesus Turkey

It took around about an hour to reach Ephesus and we passed through interesting countryside of agriculture, forests, villages, medieval castles and ancient temples but mostly through acres and acres of cotton fields which started at the side of the road and disappeared towards the horizon on all sides.  There was an awful lot of cotton out there and it turns out that Turkey is actually one of top world producers even though the product is of inferior quality to that of Egypt for example.

Eventually we arrived at Ephesus and ran the wallet robbing gauntlet of the hawkers and the unofficial guide book sellers and after a short break made our way inside the excavation site. It was busy of course but I expected that because this is one of the most visited tourist attraction sites in all of Turkey and we competed with bus tours and cruise ship day trippers from Kusadasi as we elbowed our way through the entrance and into the beginning of the tour.

Temple of Diana at Ephesus

We started at the top of the excavations and over the next two hours made our way down the ancient streets to the lowest point of the city which in previous times was the harbour which was difficult to imagine today because Ephesus is now a considerable distance from the shore of the Mediterranean.

We passed through hundreds of years of history, Greek theatres, Roman baths, ancient houses and even the public latrines and made slow progress towards the finest building on the whole site, the library of Celsus, which archaeologists have discovered doubled up bizarrely as a brothel!

TURKEY - Ephesus - The Library of Celsus

Ephesus was once one of the most important cities in Asia Minor, a natural trading crossroads between east and west and for a while enjoyed a status second only to Rome.  There is a lot of reconstruction of course but I am not averse to a bit of sympathetic reconstruction because without it it is difficult to imagine what it might have looked like.

After considering the issue I think I agree with Henry Miller who (writing about Knossos on the island of Crete) wrote in the ‘Colossus of Rhodes“There has been much controversy about the aesthetics of Sir Arthur Evans’s work of restoration.  I find myself unable to come to any conclusion about it; I accepted it as a fact.  However Knossos may have looked in the past, however it may look in the future, this one which Evans has created is the only one I shall ever know.  I am grateful to him for what he did…”

The guided tour through Ephesus was concluded by a visit to the Greek Theatre, which was later used as a Roman gladiator fighting venue and then we were out of the southern gate and heading back to the bus.  I could have spent longer at the site but our itinerary was determined by the restrictions of the tour bus timetable and it whisked us off now for an instantly forgettable lunch, which would have been alright in an emergency but not out of choice, at a tourist dining treadmill.

Temple of Apollo Didyma

Lunch over we now drove to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, although you would have to have a very good imagination to be able to understand how wonderful it was but could do no better than rely on the description by Antipater of Sidon, a Greek poet of the 2nd century BC:

“I have gazed on the walls of impregnable Babylon and on the Zeus by the banks of the Alpheus, I have seen the hanging gardens, and the Colossus of the Helios, the lofty pyramids, and the gigantic tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the sacred house of Artemis that towers to the clouds, the others were placed in the shade, for the sun himself has never looked upon its equal outside Olympus”

So it must have looked quite magnificent I imagine but except for one solitary column there is nothing there today and it turns out that if you want to see more, guess where you have to go, yes, the British Museum.  This was a staggering disappointment, it really needed some Arthur Miller approved reconstruction and interpretation and I for one was glad when it was all over and we were back on the bus and we could continue the drive to Pamukkale about three hours away to the east.

Ephesus Turkey


Related Posts:

Spartacus the Gladiator


The Roman City of Pompeii

The Roman City of Herculaneum

The Roman Amphitheatre at Pula

The Aqueduct of Segovia

The Roman Buildings at Mérida

The Roman Ruins at Segóbriga

Diocletian’s Palace at Split

The Roman Buildings at Arles


The Greek and Roman Ruins at Empuria, Catalonia

The Palace of Knossos in Crete

Athens and Ancient Greece

The Acropolis Museum in Athens



Weekly Photo Challenge: ROY G BIV, Rainbow Fish

Turkey Altinkum

Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

IMX Tours Alktinkum Turkey

Hagi wasn’t in the AA roadside breakdown service or whatever the equivalent is in Turkey so there now followed a long winded debate as each of the passengers looked inside the engine compartment in turn as though they knew what they were talking about and offered alternative diagnoses and possible solutions.

There was a lot of head scratching, nodding and general agreement but the truth was however that there was no more engine technical knowledge between them than you could expect to find in an average reception class at a primary school and one by one the suggestions all inevitably failed.

Read the full story…

Looking Back on 2014

Wroclaw Arial View

January always seems to be a good time to go away if you ask me and this year I found some cheap Ryanair flights at only £50 return to Wroclaw, the fourth largest city in Poland and as we had previously been to Krakow and enjoyed it there we quickly the decision was quickly made to visit the historic capital of Lower Silesia.

We enjoyed a wonderful weekend in this charming Polish city and enjoyed it so much that we have made arrangements to go to Warsaw early in 2015.

Semana Santa Holy Week Siguenza 3

Twelve months previously in March 2013 we had travelled to the small town of Sigüenza about one hundred kilometres north east of Madrid on the road to Zaragoza and Barcelona and we liked it so much we decided to return for a second visit.

One of the reasons was to see the  Semana Santa for a second time.  This is one of the most important traditional events of the Spanish Catholic year; it is celebrated in the week leading up to Easter and features a procession of Pasos which are large floats of lifelike wooden sculptures of individual scenes of the events of the Passion.

Ireland Dingle

There is a pub quiz question that comes up regularly and which I always get wrong, which is ‘what is the nearest country to the United Kingdom’ and the answer of course is Southern Ireland or Eire but I always forget about the border with Northern Ireland and blurt out ‘France, it must be France’.  Not surprising then that until now I have never visited the country.

2014 has been a big year for me as I reached the birthday milestone of sixty years and I was planning something special to celebrate the occasion and then some friends asked if we would like to visit Ireland with them and that seemed special enough so we set about making travel plans.

Thomas' Place Kalami Corfu

In 2004 I celebrated my fiftieth birthday with family on the Greek island of Santorini.  On the final night I treated everyone to a birthday celebration meal in a taverna and drank far too much Mythos Beer, Ouzo, and Metaxa Brandy and rashly declared that we would do the same thing in ten years time when I would be sixty.  I went to bed and promptly forgot all about it.

My children didn’t forget.  As 2014 got ever close they kept reminding me about the offer that I had made that night and so eventually I had no option but to deliver on the promise.  Sadly the Boss Bar in Santorini  closed down sometime between 2004 and 2006 and so I needed to find a suitable alternative and decided upon the village of Kalami on the island of Corfu which we had enjoyed a couple of years previously.

Turkey Souvenir Shopping Bag

The end of the Summer usually means the Greek Islands for our travels but this year we were breaking with tradition and although close by to the Dodecanese we were visiting mainland Turkey instead.

At the end of the holiday I drew up a balance sheet of our visit to Turkey.  I had enjoyed the antiquity and the ruins, the temples and the ancient cities; the long walks along the coast; the friendly people; Bodrum; our excellent apartment courtesy of our friends Steve and Kath and the weather.  On the other side of the balance sheet was the dogs, the litter and IMX Travel but overall I declared the holiday a resounding success and look forward to returning to Turkey as soon as the travel itinerary allows.

Budapest Travel Group

At the end of the year we travelled with friends  to Hungary and its capital city Budapest.  We had been before in 2007 but only for a couple of days which wasn’t nearly enough time to see the sights of this magnificent city so had no objections to going back for a second time.

Budapest was an absolute revelation, I had not been expecting anything so grand, it was easily as good as Vienna and in my opinion much better than Prague, the scale of the city eclipses Bratislava and Ljubljana and I liked it as well as any other city I have visited.

2014 has not been our most prolific travelling year – that was in 2007 when we managed to get away somewhere twelve times, once every month.  Airline tickets were cheaper then and we didn’t have grandchildren so I doubt we will doing that again soon.

Just six overseas trips this year and oddly, although I often say that I won’t go to the same place twice this year half of our travels were to places that we had enjoyed previously – Sigüenza, Corfu and Budapest and I think we will try and avoid repeat visits in the future if we can.

So now the serious business of planning for 2015 really begins.  We will start with a city trip to Warsaw in February and then see where the rest of the year takes us…

Turkey, Final Days

Turkey Souvenir Shopping Bag

On the penultimate day we were running out of things to do.  We were awake early and taking breakfast on the balcony and decided to take the bus to the nearby town of Akbuk which was recommended for its Friday market.

This being Thursday I was smugly certain that a bus ride there would do no harm.

So we walked to Altinkum and to the bus terminus at the bottom of Kemal Atatürk Boulevard and waited twenty minutes or so for a Dolmus to turn up.  The bus arrived and we set off on an uncomfortable forty minute ride to the town situated around the bay on the opposite side of the peninsula.

When we arrived I was in for a shock because on account of this being a religious holiday weekend the Friday market had been brought forward to Thursday and the bus dropped us off at the market car park and there was no way of escaping it.  Kim didn’t want to escape it of course and I had some difficulty in keeping up with her as she set off into the labyrinth of stalls like a child visiting a Father Christmas grotto!

There was nothing I could do but tag along.  A week ago in Didim market I was able to volunteer to take the grocery purchases home but here in Akbuk I was thirty kilometres away from sanctuary so there was nothing for it but to grit my teeth and put up with my hopeless predicament.

Poseidon Altinkum

Actually, it wasn’t that bad I have to say, it was a relatively small market and within a very short time we appeared to have seen all that there was to see so we left by a back exit on a dusty street and made our way to the sea front where we wandered around the boats in a way that we hadn’t been allowed to at the Didim Marina and then we found a comfortable bar next to the sea and stopped for a drink before taking the Dolmus back to Altinkum.  Akbuk had been an interesting distraction for a morning but I won’t be rushing back!

For the rest of the day we didn’t do anything that we hadn’t done before so I have nothing really to tell you about except that we did go out for dinner rather than stay in and cook for ourselves and we took the Dolmus to Yesilkent and back and in between we enjoyed a final last evening meal before returning to the apartment.

On the final day we did even less.  Got up late, cleaned the apartment, replenished any supplies that we had used and then went for a final swim and a lunch at Paradise Beach.

The mood there was much calmer today and the owners appeared to have settled their differences because there was no arguing.  The man had a smart new hair cut so perhaps that was what the savage argument had been about? Who knows?

Today we threw calorie caution to the wind and ran through the entire menu of pancakes, meatballs, salad and fries and then we washed it down with an Efes or two and just sat and looked out over the sea and let the afternoon slowly slip carelessly through our fingers.  It would be a long time before we would enjoy the sea again so we were reluctant to leave but eventually it was time and we made our way back to the apartment for final packing.

In the late afternoon the airport transport bus (not IMX) arrived to collect us and soon we were making our way out of Altinkum and Didim and making our way around the southern shore of Lake Bafa and towards the airport at Bodrum.

As we drove I drew up a balance sheet of our visit to Turkey.  I had enjoyed the antiquity and the ruins, the temples and the ancient cities; the long walks along the coast; the friendly people; Bodrum; our excellent apartment courtesy of our friends Steve and Kath and the weather.  On the other side of the balance sheet were the dogs, the litter and IMX Travel but overall I declared the holiday a resounding success and look forward to returning to Turkey as soon as the travel itinerary allows.

Temple of Apollo Didyma



Turkey, Pancakes and Domestics

Altinkum Turkey

Wednesday began early for me, I was beginning to return to my UK body clock regime and I was up at six o’clock sitting on a chilly balcony with a first cup of tea.  Even the sun wasn’t up yet, Kim certainly wasn’t!

It was a crisp, clear morning with a faint orange glow crawling slowly over the hills to the east like a creeping red wine stain on a tablecloth and I sat outside and watched the sunrise just because I could and I knew that there wouldn’t be many more opportunities this year.

Suddenly the sunrise became rapid and considering how long it took to clear the mountains within an hour the sun was surprisingly high in the sky and was a reassuring ball of yellow flame.  It was becoming warmer by the minute, I stopped shivering and had a third cup of tea.

The days were slipping away in the way that final moments of a holiday seem to accelerate at a disproportionate speed to the start but we weren’t in the mood to do anything dramatic because we were staying in an excellent apartment, there was a shop around the corner that sold cold beer and splendid beaches nearby.

The day after the dog walk we decided to go back to Paradise Beach and have a swim and a pancake lunch at the beachside bar/shack.  We had already declared them to be the best food we had eaten in Turkey all fortnight so were happy to go back.  This didn’t take an awful lot of planning so I had a fourth cup of tea and waited for sleepy Kim to make an appearance.

About mid-morning we left the apartment and before going to the beach we did the Yesilkent walk again, strolled along the road, stopped for a drink at a favourite bar and then walked back along the coastal path to Paradise Beach.

The brief period of indifferent weather had passed now, the winds had dropped, the temperatures had risen again and the beach and the sea was back to its very best.  There were only a couple of other families on the sand so there was plenty of room to spread out so we left our things and went for a long refreshing swim.

Turkey decorated containers

After half an hour or so we dried ourselves off and made our way to the shoreline furniture which belonged to the shack.  I really liked it there, the furniture was old and storm battered, faded, creaking and as dusty as an undisturbed library, it was shabby and worn and Kim said that it suited my style down to the ground.  I think this was meant to be a compliment?

We sat for a while and waited for service but something didn’t seem quite right today.  The owner seemed to be sulking and his wife had a bit of a face on.  Eventually he came across and took the order and took it back to his wife.  I don’t think she wanted to do the cooking today and snatched the order from his hand and passed it on to her daughter who set about it straight away.

We had stumbled across a domestic!  At first we could hear them shouting at each other in whispers in the way people do in the hope of not attracting attention to themselves but as the minutes passed the volume was raised and they completely abandoned any attempt to keep the dispute in any way private.  Soon they were yelling at each other, arms were waving and there was the dramatic posturing and gesturing that accompanies an argument such as this.  We felt rather embarrassed but we had ordered now so we turned our chairs to face the sea and tried to ignore them.

I confess that I found this impossible so gradually turned my chair around again and watched the dispute play out.  Finally he had had enough of the ear bashing that he was taking and tried to make a get away. He got into his car and started to reverse away.  She heard the engine and chased after him wielding an empty beer bottle and threatened to smash it over the windscreen.  He obviously thought better of his plan to escape and as he got out of the driver’s seat she threatened to smash it over his head if he tried it again.  I was convinced that we were only seconds away from physical violence.

But then it seemed to suddenly calm down, she went off to sit in a shady corner, he went to the shoreline to rake up some sea weed and the daughter finished cooking our food and brought it to our table.  It was delicious again and as we finished a second bottle of beer we agreed that we would come back here in a couple of day’s time for our final meal and perhaps some more entertainment.



Turkey, Terror on The High Seas

Ali Sultan Bodrum Ferry

It was fiercely hot day, so hot that it was almost breathless in Bodrum but back at the harbour on the other side of the peninsula a strong wind was blowing, the sea looked rather uninviting and the ferry was rocking from side to side at her mooring.  The boat trip suddenly didn’t seem like such a great idea.

After a while the boat left the harbour and headed out to open water and shortly after clearing the coastline it began to labour in the heavy seas.  The rigging squealed, the deck groaned, the hull sighed and the rivets creaked. With every murderous crash through the mounting waves we were lifted out of the water and then dropped back down again with a violent thud that jarred violently through the whole complaining shambles of a boat from bow to stern.

I was even more worried now than I was on the outward journey and although I could make out the lights of Altinkum across the water it looked an awfully long way away.  This boat was a disaster, if it had a certificate of seaworthiness then I am a brain surgeon.  In accordance with a regulation of the International Maritime Organisation all ships are required to carry certificates that establish their seaworthiness and emergency procedures, the competency of sailors and so on but I looked and could find nothing. Even refugees escaping from Africa to Europe would think twice about using the Ali Sultan I can tell you!

As the boat continued to pitch about in the choppy seas some of the passengers began to turn pale, their suntans evaporated and they looked unwell and because I was worried about being ill we stayed on the highest deck and watched the ugly boat battling against the waves.  Its dumpy bow didn’t carve its way elegantly through the water it just crashed head on into them and the ferry juddered and jarred with every impact as though it had taken a succession of straight rights to the jaw from a champion heavyweight boxer!

As we reached what I calculated to be roughly mid distance I was at my most concerned.  I looked around for life boats but couldn’t see any, there were a few cracked and ageing red and white cork  life belts but I don’t think they would have been especially useful in an emergency.  I worried about just how long it would be possible to survive in the sea if the boat capsized.

Once we had passed half distance the comforting lights of Altinkum started to get brighter and the wind and the waves started to calm down and it was at this point that the skipper left the wheel house and came out on deck.

He was staggering and at first I put this down to the pitch and swell but then I noticed that he was holding a can of beer and he was completely plastered.  We had come through a force four storm with a skipper that was on the beer and the truth of it is that he had probably been drinking all afternoon.  He was obnoxious and behaved inappropriately but even though he was drunk most of us were just pleased when he stopped his antics and went back to the controls.

On the positive side however we did see a good sunset!

As we got closer suddenly the note of the engine seemed to change and everyone in the wheel house suddenly rushed outside to look overboard and to listen to the grumbling of the cylinders and the groan of the exhaust.  Later I read some reviews of the boat trip and it seems that it isn’t uncommon for the Ali Sultan to break down at sea.  At the time I just hoped that he was going to get the heap of rotting junk back to Altinkum  in one piece.

Eventually he approached the jetty and Kim jokingly said that we would know when we were back because the skipper would probably crash straight into the harbour wall and then he did just that and sent everyone lurching forward as we all hurried to the front in anticipation of departure.

This took longer than it should have done because it turned out that it wasn’t just the skipper that was intoxicated but the entire crew and they struggled for several minutes to get the thing tied up and the rotting gang plank in place while we stood with all of the other passengers whose collective priority was just to get off.

One thing is absolutely certain, I’ll not be recommending the IMX Bodrum by boat excursion to anyone!

Be Warned, Be Very Warned!

Ali Sultan Altinkum to Bodrum Ferry


Some more of my boat journeys recorded in the journal:

Corfu and a Speedboat Breakdown

Malta Tony-Oki-Koki

Corfu-1984 Georges Boat

Motorboat Ride from Kalami to Corfu Town

Rowing Boat on Lake Bled in Slovenia

A Boat Ride with Dolphins in Croatia

A Boat Ride with Dolphins in Wales

A boat Ride with Dolphins in Ireland

Gondola Ride in Venice

Captain Ben’s Boat in Anti Paros