Today we decided to check out Marmaris which is about 30 km’s from Akyaka on the other side of the peninsula. We decided to bypass the centre of Akyaka due its roads being a nightmare and headed out along the river road past all the lovely restaurants.
The flatlands which surround Akyaka are covered in fields of wheat and fruit trees including oranges and young pomegranate trees.
Heading over the peninsula it was nice riding up through the pine covered hills, eventually arriving on the hills overlooking Marmaris.
The city stretched from high on the hills down to the bay with lots of new brightly coloured apartments and condominiums. Marmaris is a popular European tourist destination and riding through the city it’s glaringly cosmopolitan after being in some of the rural centres we’ve been in lately.
We parked the bike near the Attaturk monument which has one of the nicest statues of the father of modern turkey that we’ve seen. Dressed in a suit and flat cap he cuts a rather dashing figure.
Around the harbour there’s a thriving tourist industry of tour boats of all different types and for all different tastes. There’s party boats with highly decorated fittings like the Viking, dive boats, and sedate cruisers with signs which read “no loud music”.
Along the wharf area towards Marmaris Castle is a diverse restaurant area with all sorts of restaurants catering for the tourists. We took a walk around the area hearing lots of people speaking English and Dutch language, the two main tourist groups of the area. Talking to a really nice Kurdish man in a cafe it was interesting hearing about his life and how as a Kurd he came to be sitting in Marmaris. There’s been a lot of news about the Kurdish PKK bombings in Turkey, so it was nice to hear how he saw things in Turkey. Like many people in Turkey he said that the media was killing the tourist industry by the over reporting of refugees and the bombings. He also said as a Muslim he couldn’t support the killings carried out in the name of religion as it went against everything he’d learnt, peace and tolerance were the only answer.
After wandering along the beautiful wharf area we took a short cut through the local area. It was being in another country after the glitzy main streets. Small shops selling all sorts of goods, markets, cafe’s and tiny restaurants reminded us a bit of Asia, where entrepreneurs just open a shop.
As Marmaris was a bit overpopulated with tourists we decided to head around the bay and maybe do a lap of the peninsula. There were no shortage of resorts and big hotels around the bay but finally we arrived in Içmeler where the sign “Venice of Turkey” piqued our curiosity.
A lovely flower lined canal ran through the beach side suburb and lots of resorts fronted the beachfront promenade. After being in Marmaris, despite the big hotels it seemed pretty quiet so we decided to have a cruise around.
An all day English breakfast sign signalled the place to stop. Although we love Turkish food it’s nice to change it up with some of the old favourites. There were only a few patrons so we had no trouble finding a table. It was a pretty nice restaurant serving English, Turkish, Chinese and Indian meals. The staff were really friendly and because there were hardly any patrons we had a chance to sit and chat. Most of the resorts surrounding the restaurant are all inclusive, which from our experience can be a bit industrial, however the restaurant offers reasonably priced good food and a little entertainment because every night’s karaoke night.
We got chatting to a young English couple from Somerset who were chilling out for a few weeks here. They’d befriended a local Turkish family who’d lent them fishing gear and they were happily relaxing fishing in the canal.
On the way back from Marmaris we spotted the sign to Cleopatra Island so decided to take a detour. The road led through farm country which ran up into pine covered hills. Lots of wheat fields and fruit trees grew around the area with the occasional shepherd grazing a flock of goats along the road. Eventually we arrived at , with a small tourist office and wharf which services the nearby Cleopatra Island. Open topped Desoto off road vehicles were lined up in anticipation of the arrival of tourist season along with a few landrovers.
As it was now late in the day we headed back to Akyaka. It was a nice day out in Marmaris but I think we prefer Akayaka. Tomorrow we head to Kusadasi.