The ferry from Rhodes to Santorini took a brief 45 minutes, the time it took to get on and off the boat took longer! As per our experience with Greece and it’s public transport, a lot of different ‘holding areas’ later, a lot of extremely pushy and stressed out Greeks later, and a steady 1 1/2 hours later, we FINALY board. Only to have a very uppity Greek family sit next to us who we assume are anxious on boats, so sniff lemons…? And constantly rearrange their bags.
We arrive in Marmaris port, surprised by the dominating mountains surrounding the apartment crowded bay. We hop off the boat reasonably swiftly, amongst the pushy Greek women who are in a great hurry to get everywhere. Once off Dan is swung a €15 visa fee, and we are both slammed a €24 port tax on top of our €27 each ferry ticket. Money comes, money goes… Faster. We step out of the ‘customs’ and are bombarded with “Taxi!” ” Taxi!”. We quickly take the hike and head for the bus station. Once at the bus station, a 20-30 minute walk from the Marmaris port, we find a mini bus willing to take us to Ortaca (Pronounced Otaja) in one hour. So we go off to find somewhere to exchange our euro’s. A Turkish man approaches us asking what we want, we tell him we want to exchange some money, he leads us to a ferry office and a dodgy exchange occurs which we are very uncomfortable with, and confused by, so only exchange €50, which exchanges into 143.50 Turkish Lira. We agree never to trust like that again, and try for a proper exchange place.
The mini bus hoons through Marmaris, up and out in a matter of seconds. Looking back at the city, apartments line the waterfront, but beyond the city centre there are beautiful multi coloured towns amongst the hills. I would’ve loved to have a wander round the city and outskirts, if only my bag wasn’t so heavy!!! We arrive in Ortaca at 2, having learnt that road markers don’t mean a thing in Turkey, neither does the right or wrong side, nor using a phone. From Ortaca we are quickly transferred onto another mini bus to Dalyan where we had previously booked to stay in a campground.
Dalyan is reasonably small, we are dropped in the town centre and head for the street which the campground is situated on. As we walk along the riverside full of small, open sided fishing boats and tour boats, we look to our left and there, in the cliff lie the ‘Anicent Tombs’ Dalyan is so famous for. We did not expect them to be, right there! They are very spectacular, with the sun setting behind the mountain we watch the light slide between the surround mountains, lighting up the tombs against the cliff side. I wasn’t sure what to expect in Turkey, but I certainly didn’t expect the chilly weather and the huge mountain terrain hiding all the villages in the crevices.
We find the campground, which looks fairly derelict, but no owner. I ask the shop where they are and he points me in the direction of the ‘yellow house over there.’ I knock and the owner is very confused as to, number one, why we would want to camp in winter, number two, why we are in Dalyan in winter, and number three, how I was able to book as they are closed. After many ‘Um’s’ and ‘Ah’s’ he lets us stay for free in a small patch on the side, the only non-soggy section. And of course, the local stray becomes our best friend.. It seems everywhere we go we attract a harem of pooches!
For dinner we head to the campground-owners recommendation, “The place opposite the Petrol Office.” A canteen/buffet style, with 1 TL plates. We get five plates from the buffet style with whatever is being offered, which looks to be egg plant, mince, rice, meatballs, salad and two cokes. It costs 14 TL, approximately €5. In Rhodes, we were spending around €50 per day, €10-€15 per meal with no drinks. Turkey is the place for us.
Our sleep is….interrupted. Amongst the call to prayer which is louder than expected and echoes throughout the valley, and the house next door which insist on wacking some metal pole against metal bath for half the night we get a few hours here and there. And wake nice and early to the rising sun, call to prayer. It’s raining, very hard. We decide to evacuate camp and move onto our next stop, Uzumlu, Fethiye horse farm a day early. But decide to come back to Dalyan in April to check out these ‘Anicent Tombs’.
Once in Ortaca waiting for our bus to Fethiye, we find ourselves amongst election rally’s. A huge bus with speakers drives past, deafening us, painted with the face of an assumed political member. A mini van follows with a different member, not nearly as loud… Some people close by point and laugh. The building across the road has five large political rallying posters of one man smiling with a Down syndrome child, a group of children, an old man, a truck driver and some animals, he must be suitable for one and all!!!
It’s a 45 minute mini van ride to Fethiye and once in Fethiye we are quickly swapped over to our mini van to Uzumlu. Each trip costing 5 TL each!!! The public transport system is fantastic, huge buses travelling in every direction, mini buses doing shorter routes, the drivers are helpful and do whatever they can to organise a swap over for you.
After driving up into the mountains even further.. The mini van chug chug chugging away.. Will it make it?!!!
We arrive in Uzumlu in 1/2 an hour, and await our pickup in the very small, town square.