10.28.2012

Summer lovin- had me a blast. Summer lovin- happened so fast...

Wrapping up a week of Kurban Bayram holidays- which, for me, means Hollydaze... And Hollydaze means Turkey Trotting.  So the '3 Witches of G-tep' hit the road with the pedal to the metal. We blazed a 1500 kilometer trail- BUT more on that journey on my next post...

What this holiday in fact did was inspire me to blog about the last of my summer odyssey after I returned from visiting Odysses on Kos Island- 1 of many lovely Greek Aegean islands. So you all read up on that journey, but what happened afterwards? Well, in fact, the party didn't stop there. I sailed back to Turkey- Bodrum.

Bodrum is in the southwestern Aegean region of Turkey. In ancient times it was known as Halicarnassus. Its famous king, Mausolus was around sometime around the early parts of the 4th century B.C. When he passed on, his (sister) wife, Artemis, built him a tomb so great to reflect his greatness that the word mausoleum is today known throughout the world. This stately tomb of Mausolus is one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World.

The massive fortress,Bodrum Castle, stands proudly today at the harbor entrance and was built in the 15th century A.D. by those pesky Crusaders... There is also an underwater archaeology museum there so check it out when in the vicinity. It is the setting for my adventures when traveling to Kos- which is becoming more and more frequent!

So this is how my typical Bodrum experience plays out: I get into town on the bus (ugh- I'm getting VERY tired of long distance bus rides, but at least the bus system in Turkey is awesome and as comfortable as it can possibly be). The good thing about the otogar (bus station) in Bodrum is that it is right smack in the center of the city on the waterfront practically. What this means to me is that I don't have to walk far with my backpack to catch a boat over to Kos.

Depending on the ferry timetables, as well as extenuating factors such as the good looking male population in the city, or how desperate I am to get my hands on some Greek food, I decide how long to stay in Bodrum. By the way, there is this really cool outdoor disco, The Halicarnassus, that is fun to frequent- all night if one so desires. I would, of course, know nothing about this whatsoever...

So this last trip, I only had a few hours to spare in Bodrum after returning from Kos because I wanted to get to Kabak and just chill out at my friend's camp- Reflections Camp.  So this is how those few hours went down:

I always go to this one cafe on the backside of the harbor. I'm sure I have seen many generations of this cat's family lineage...

So my HQ is a very nice place. I have everything I need inside my backpack, and I can drink, eat and sun worship all day long here. The Bodrum Castle is seen in the background. The place is very lively and it's just a nice, cool vibe away from the hustle and bustle of tourists going crazy shopping just on the other side of this area.

The jetty/harbor entrance is really cool. There are areas here where you can just lounge around on the rocks and watch the boats enter the harbor. As well, the water is (seems) super clean here and you can jump in for a dip.

This is a view from the jetty looking at the town and esplanade that runs along the waterfront. It is lovely. Too bad so many sunburned tourists...

just another picturesque picture of the Aegean...



At this point the pictures stop, but I didn't...

...And that brings me to the next stop on my odyssey: Kabakastan. So I caught my bus to Fethiye. I had already been through Fethiye this summer on an earlier journey from Kas. I'm pretty well familiar with Fethiye so usually now just continue through to my destination. Now, Kabak is my 'go-to' spot in Turkey when I need to commune with nature. I somehow feel closer to Hawaii when in Kabak- or as we so affectionately call it, Kabakastan. Because, it is it's own entity. And it always feels like I'm in a parallel universe when I'm there because... well I can't really explain it succinctly.  Let the pictures do the talking...

my bungalow at Camp. I have everything I need: dive gear, sunscreen, moonlit evenings, The one thing I don't need are mosquitoes- but they are provided anyway. The mosquito net helps....

Breakfast is typical in an untypical environment! Damn the food is good here. The kitchen staff is excellent.

my closet- which consists of my favorite clothing- BIKINIS!!!

things can start to get a little freaky in Kabakastan...

view from one of the paths

you can do anything in Kabakastan

something bittersweet about this so I had to capture it. It's the strange dichotomy of 2 separate ways of life...

country

a new yoga platform since last summer- right at the water's edge

day camps on the beach

self-portrait

the Dragon Bar is in it's 2nd year of existence at Reflections Camp!


it's not Hawaii, but it's amazing. Only waves could make this spot more perfect- and surfers!

nice perspective, and a familiar one for me!

drool-worthy

sometimes one tires of paradise and needs to get back in the gritty so here I am with Chris helping him pick up supplies for his camp, Reflections Camp, in Fethiye. We're picking up ice and beer for the Dragon Bar.

Chris's awesome ride

boat outings are a must down here in Kabakastan. There are so many uninhabited nooks and crannies along the coastline. There is always a deserted beach one can find- complete with castaways and pirates... haha

very romantic, no?

the beauty seeps into your skin and permeates your soul leaving you stuptified

sunset swim

from one of the hiking trails


reflecting on Reflections Camp details...

Reflections Camp HQ- the kitchen! It always smells good here!

Seckin co-rules the empire with Chris

take me there...

...and then there was Mik... I was fortunate enough to meet Mik & her crew. They were visiting from Izmir where they live. I ended up hitchhiking a ride with them to Izmir- which was unexpected on my itinerary, yet another highlight of the summer. And I do mean highlight.


So a little history, or actually herstory, about Kabak. To visit there today one gets a dolmus from Fethiye and takes it to the end of the road- Faralya. Faralya is the village above the valley that you hike down into to reach the plethora of camps in Kabak. Kabak, or Kabak Kolu (canyon) is famous for its pine trees, waterfalls and beaches. It is, or was, off the beaten path in terms of Turkey tourism. In the past 11 years I have noticed a great change anyway, and now there are some resort-type structures built in the valley complete with air con and swimming pools. You can also hitch a hide into Kabak withe these safari jeeps that run up/down the precarious dirt road all day long. It is kinda a shame because now anybody can get down there... I do mean this in the most demeaning sense I suppose... What can I say, when I want to get away from it all in Turkey, this is the only place, so far, that I can do it at.

Anyway, it is still absolutely beautiful, but with more people. Unfortunately there are more profiteers here in the valley and care nothing about the natural environment and 'vibe' of the place. It is also reflected in the type of tourist that they bring in. There is talk of paving the pot-holed road so more package tourists can come in. This will totally FUCK UP the energy of the place. Yes, this is how I feel. Kabak is a journey, and the experience of getting there is what sets you up for your trip with the place. I mean no pain, no gain. You used to only be able to get there by hiking in/out of the valley. This is the real deal. You can't bring all the modern conveniences and shit down there. You take only necessities- you. And you hike. And you get there and you trip out on the beauty and the difficulty of getting there. And the peace you feel with the environment. And you appreciate this as well as appreciate your humanness. You sit around the bonfire at night on the beach or wherever and meet people from all over the world who come to Kabak for this exact experience. So yea, Kabakastan is in great danger of being overrun with the typical BULLSHIT package tourism. In fact, it has already arrived. It is upsetting. Why can't that shit just stay in Oludeniz?

Okay I digress. Back to the beauty of the place... So Kabak is a stop on the Lycian Way. This is a long distance coastal footpath that the ancient inhabitants, the Lycians, used. It covers 500 kilometers- from Olu Deniz to Antalya. it traverses from the mountains to the sea continuously. It is rigourous. It is amazing.

So I ended up meeting these crazy cats in Kabak and so hitchhiked a ride with them back to Izmir where they live and work- at Izmir Economic University. What a ball it was. This is the 2nd time I've been to Izmir. The first time was during Kurban Bayram last year. I didn't really like it so much, so didn't expect much this last trip except in that I met some cool people. Well this 2nd round of Izmir was amazing. It's funny how perspective changes with circumstances...

Here are some of my highlights of Izmir:


Mik's hood in Narlidaire (?)

popoki #1

sunset shennanigans at Mik's...

world seems sideways...

popoki #2

amazing journey these toes have been on this summer...


I'm a sucker for boats- any kine. AND a man that goes along with a boat...

a city with a nice wide esplanade next to the sea is always a good city

Mik and I doing the strip in Izmir

Mik procuring more adult libations for us

we had our own personal chauffeur...

man on a mission

we had a secret mission



post work euphoria.

gargoyles

walkabout

downtown in the distance

3 muskateers

contemplating the bigger things in life

yours truly...

we ran the poor guy into the ground...

Mik. Contemplating. Life.

And now... now it is 4 A.M. on a cold Gaziantep night- or morning. I wish it was a cold Cappadocia night- or morning, but it is not. Tomorrow, or today, is Republic Day in Turkey so no work! This is good. It gives me time to collect my marbles. I think I lost some marbles in Cappadocia. I will return there soon to pick them up...

So, you all can expect the next update to be about my Kurban Bayram hollydaze. Why? Because every day is a Hollyday with me...

The Bewitching Hour ends now, as well as this post. I've no desire to edit it. Not even going to proof read it in fact.  Enjoy. Comment. Question. Laugh.