Gunaydin! -Good morning! is a Turkish greeting word used before noon to mark the start of a day.
The Turkish schools’ summer holiday is long and it is quite a hot season in Turkey, so it shouldn’t be surprising to say that Turkish people are quite keen to have a summer house away from the city, ideally somewhere along the Mediterranean coast or the Aegean sea. Depending on the budget, some families go for a apartment flat and some goes for a semi-detached or detached houses with a garden and a pool in a private development. For me the ultimate ones are the ones closest to the beach. I don’t care if they only have the bare necessities as long as I have the sea close by . Nothing is like waking up to a sea view, breathing in the sea breeze and smelling the sea! And Bodrum is my favourite place in Turkey for holidaying because of its lovely dry breeze, lacking the heavy humidity!
The day opens with a healthy and hearty Turkish breakfast. This is a serious meal in Turkish culture, I should say. If a Turkish friend of you invite you for breakfast, then you can expect to have a full on feast ! It is a good opportunity for the family to gather around the table to wrap up the ongoing things and plan the day ahead.
What does this legendary Turkish breakfast include? Well, we Turkish people do love dairy products. So some cheese varieties are definitely a must-haves on the table. We have our own Turkish cheese varieties like ‘kasar‘ cheese very much like English cheddar; feta cheese and some other cheese varieties with herbs. A mix salad with sun-kissed tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh herbs bought from the local market drizzled with olive-oil and lemon juice will accompany cheeses. Also green and black olives are the other delicatessen of our soil which we enjoy eating during our breakfast. Olives are also marinated in olive oil with a bit of thyme. And finally to complete the breakfast table, we should have freshly baked bread and ‘simit‘ aka sesame bagel bought from the nearest local bakery. Freshly baked bread is second to none to be honest and you can’t make Turkish people settle with a stale bread at all unless they are toasted. And also our freshly brewed Turkish tea is the drink for breakfast that we all enjoy drinking cups after cups throughout the day not only for breakfast. So setting and sharing a Turkish breakfast table requires a bit of good team work. As mum of the house sets the table, one should go and fetch bread and simit from the bakery along with a newspaper from the local supermarket and the others will need to be in charge of pouring the tea so everybody can take their seats together at the same time to enjoy what is laid out there on the table!
Once the breakfast is done and dusted, the preparations to go down the beach takes over not to miss the beach day. We normally pack 2 beach towels per head, sunscreen, a book, hat, a pack of nuts, a sandwich and a bottle of water to keep us going. Also we take our ‘tavla‘ backgammon with us as this is a serious part of family entertainment for a Turkish family. It makes awful lot of noise whilst playing it and creating a considerable noise pollution but here you go! We love playing it! And we teach our youngsters how to play it to make sure they will keep up with it. Whoever is defeated on the tavla is replaced by the next one in the row to carry on the battle.
For us, it is no, no to swimming pool. Swimming pools are no substitute for the sea. Fact. We should dip into the cool and salty sea of Aegean Sea to refresh ourselves. We secretly know that the ones lounging around the pool area are the foreigners and not Turkish local people at all. I do believe that swimming in the sea actually keep us healthy throughout the winter with no runny nose and chest infections. So it is a good sports in every sense!
Don’t be alarmed when I say I bring my own bottle of water and sandwich in my beach bag. This just makes a small part of the daily provision. The day is long and we love eating and drinking all the time – Turkish tea, Turkish coffee, lemonade, ice creams, beer, coke..Bring them on!
You will be surprised how conveniently located the coffee shops, bistros, fish restaurants along the beach. So you will be properly hydrated and fed all the way. The variety of food is also overwhelmingly rich so you will be spoilt with the choices offered to you. My personal favourite to eat while I am on holiday in Turkey are the olive oil mezes – starters in small portions. They are healthier , lighter and really yummy! Fresh beans sautéed in the olive oil and octopus salad, squid are in my favorites list. If you don’t mind eating carbs once in a while, ‘gozleme‘ – the filo pastry with layers of minced meat or cheese with herbs or potato, grilled on a special flat hot surface, is a very practical and delicious option to eat for lunch with a pint of cold beer. And it is really cheap!
Water sports are also part of the day entertainment with a bit of action after eating and drinking all day long. Every kind of water sports are offered. They are not cheap but rather moderately expensive I should say. If you love sailing, Sea Garden in Yaliciftlik is a very good destination. Mark Warner is selling package deals for this destination. http://www.markwarner.co.uk/ .Also Ortakent is another neighbourhood in Bodrum Peninsula with good wind conditions and there are some very popular beach clubs in Ortakent with sailing facilities at hand. http://www.neilson.co.uk/
Sailing away on a daily boat tours is something that you should not miss if you can’t afford to cruise with a private ‘Gulet‘ for a week, all inclusive. Next time I will write about the Gulet cruises in Mediterranean & Aegen Sea with some tips. Bodrum is a good location to take a boat tour to swim in pristine waters away from the crowd in summer season. Just make sure you are boarding on a clean, tidy boat with shower and changing room facilities. It is worthy to pay a few extra pounds to secure a nice clean boat with good service so that you will be enjoying an unforgettable day out on the sea. It is a good idea to have everything included in the price so they serve you cold and hot beverages on unlimited basis.
Summer days are long but summer days on the beach are much longer for us to cherish every minute of it. We love spending time by the sea till late. Sea gets calmer and clearer as the strong beams of the sun starts to fade away gradually. A nice tranquilly descends on the shore. It is extraordinarily beautiful to swim and take pictures at this particular time of the day as the haze lifts away. This evening time by the beach is our family favourite and we usually crown it with an ice-cold bubbly or a salty & icy margarita! Can it be a better way to end a beach day?
Summer nights are equally long and full of entertainment in Bodrum. There is no shortage for that either for couples or families. One of our favorite is Turgutreis Marina for a evening meal or a drink with a nice stroll along the sea with lots of stalls selling their hand crafted items at good prices. Kahve Dunyasi in Turgutreis Marina is a nice stop to enjoy a Turkish tea or coffee with some typically Turkish patisserie delicatessens. This is a really popular place with Turkish folks so it may be a problem to find a seat in here. The other place we enjoy spending time is Yalikavak Marina and Yalikavak town itself. There are some lovely fish restaurants in the town right by the sea and the town itself is a good old fishermen’s town with loads of local and tourists alike. Yalikavak Marina which is a 15 minutes stroll from the town is from another world. It is full of posh catamarans, well-polished impressive yachts and a number of high class boutiques offering top notch products mainly for boating people.
Bodrum has loads to offer with every kind of conveniences to make it a happy, relaxing holiday for you and the family.