Mon 03/08/09 03:36
I only spent one night in Bodrum

So, I’m now in Kusadasi, Turkey after my short stay in Bodrum. The difference between the two is really no that much different, at least from what I can tell, and I’ve only been here for about two hours. There is one difference though, and I don’t think it’s something that is quantifiable, and that is, I love it here. It’s somewhat like Anatalya with it’s charm, but it’s a little more touristy. The complete opposite of Bodrum, all touristy and no charm.

  

The bus ride here was about 2 hours and when I got here the sun was going down, so after I checked into my hotel I decided to go for a walk. The hotel is on a hill right in the middle of a neighborhood, or so it seems, I walked out about 2 blocks and I was in the middle of a marketplace, or bazaar. There were people everywhere wandering through the shops, eating, and basically just having fun. I don’t know why this place feels so comfortable and Bodrum didn’t. I ate dinner overlooking the harbor as the setting sun disappeared below the horizon. I tell you it was just perfect. After that I wandered for a little bit taking some pictures and seeing some of the sights. I’ll have to explore tomorrow when it’s light out if I really want to see what it looks like, but for now this place is great.

  

  

  

I’ve been in Kusadasi for two nights and tomorrow morning I head out for Bulgaria, Varna, Bulgaria to be more accurate. The bus leave at seven in the morning and first stops in Istanbul where I change buses and then on to Varna, the whole trip will take about twenty hours. After two nights there, I’m planning on going to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, and after that, probably Romania, though I’m not sure of the exact timings right now.

Mon 03/08/09 03:32

I’m in Bodrum, Turkey right now. The path here was a long and difficult one… don’t you just love stories that start with a challenge? I decided to head to Bodrum this morning after reading about it last night. It’s basically a big tourist spot with lots of people, and lots to do, from what I read. At the time I thought that sounded good, a little touristy could be fun. After I got my bus ticket I went back to the hostel to book a room here for the night and found out that there weren’t any available. It didn’t really concern me though because I thought that the lack of rooms was based on the fact that I was trying to book a room on the same day, and so the daring Ken came out. I’ll just go and see what happens. The thing is, is the daring Ken kind of retreated the closer we got to Bodrum, and by the time I got here I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find a room. I took some screenshots of the different hostels and their addresses in Antalya before I left so I thought I try the largest hostel thinking that they’d have a better chance of having extra rooms. We got into Bodrum at 845pm and after a little bit I jumped on a service bus to the hotel, a service bus is more like a van that does routes, the driver is going to tell me where I need to get off the bus, at least that was the plan. We’re weaving through huge amounts of traffic and the driver would yell out a spot and some people would get out and others would get on, just like a regular bus. We’ve been driving for about 45 minutes and I see the sign to the Otopark (bus station) and I figured out that the driver had forgot about me and I was back at the bus station where I had started. J Sooo… the driver apologized profusely gives me my money back and puts me on the next service bus. By now it’s about 10, oh and I forgot to mention my nerves were starting to get to me that I was going to get to the hotel and find out that they didn’t have any rooms. I was thinking about lying and saying that I made reservations, I was watching where the bus was going looking for a place that was hidden that I could sleep if I couldn’t get a room, you know, a secluded tree or behind a dumpster somewhere out of the way, but basically I was getting nervous. Now the second trip on the service bus was starting and my nerves were pretty much gone, I had that desperate feeling. The bus drops me off and I’m in the middle of a dark road with a couple of buildings with no light on around me. I know that I’m in the middle of the city, but by looking at what was around I could have been dropped off at midnight halfway between Gallop and Farmington from the lack of people and lights. So I just started walking, and came upon a hotel. Was my luck changing? It wasn’t the hotel that I was looking for, but any port in a storm, right? They had a room too, they said it was 30 Lyras, which is about 20 dollars. My luck was changing, perfect price and best of all I don’t have to use my backpack as a pillow. So they ring it up on the credit card and the receipt says, 60 liras… hold on, that’s double so I bring it to the guys attention and he said no, it was 30 euros. Bullshit, I know what I heard. Back to the nerves… the fact that I found a place with space had made life good, and the thought that I would have to leave and wander around some more didn’t seem too enticing, so in the world of “a fool and his money is soon parted” I paid the 30 euros and said, “thanks.”  So the guy leads me to my room and I go in, he leaves, and the room is dirty, dirty ashtray, beds not made, soap open in the bathroom, and to top it off no air conditioning. J I love  backpacking. My instincts told me to complain, but my mind told me to ignore the bad, so I’m sitting here writing to you about the experience.

  

Okay, now that the rant is over, let me just say about my first impressions of Bodrum… Holy Shit! The place is packed with people and cars, and although it’s night and I didn’t get a great look at the geography, from what I did see, it’s absolutely beautiful. I can’t wait until I get to wander around tomorrow.

  

Mon 27/07/09 11:14
I can start to get caught up a little.

I’ve been sitting around on the internet tonight, first updating it and now rereading the posts and comments that some of you left. It appeared to me that some of you may have tried to leave a comment and it didn’t get added. There is a problem with my blog that when an apostrophe is used it will nullify the post if there isn’t a “backslash” in front of it. The backslash is “”

Anyway, if you’ve tried to leave a comment and it didn’t work that’s probably the reason, and if you want to leave a comment please be aware of this little technicality, but don’t stop leaving comments. It’s great to know that there are people out there that are thinking about me.

Mon 27/07/09 08:30
Probably the most beautiful place I’ve seen so far

It’s Monday today, which makes it my second day in Antalya, and for the record, this place is beautiful in nearly every regard. My first day here I walked around in basic awe of what I was seeing, the cobblestone lanes, the old buildings intermingled with ancient ruins, and what makes it probably the best is that there really isn’t that many people here. The latter makes for an experience that if you squint really hard, and maybe use your imagination just a little bit, you start to feel like you are in the old days. It’s peaceful and relaxing if your imagination fails you. J At first I thought that it was because of the fact that it was Sunday and there was a “changing of the guard” so-to-speak in regards to the lack of tourists, but today it’s just as peaceful.

  

Today I got up and after a small breakfast I headed for the sea. The Mediterranean Sea has the best water I’ve ever seen, no lie, and while I was hiking around yesterday I kept thinking that although I wanted to see the city, my first goal should have been to jump into the warm turquoise water. Well today right after breakfast I did just that, and much like Beirut the beach is more or less just large boulders, but I was looking forward to it nonetheless. The Mediterranean didn’t disappoint at all, the water is warm, clear, and calm. I can’t exaggerate how nice it was, so nice that I ended up staying in the water and on my own boulder for about 5 hours, and I’m the new owner of a sunburned back. J I even cut my foot on one of the rocks too, but that wasn’t enough to get me out of the water… I’m thinking about going back right before sunset to get another swim in.

  

Sun 26/07/09 13:58
and on to Antayla

After all the stress of trying to figure out what I was going to do, it turns out that I only had one option, and that was to fly to Istanbul. Well, at least that’s what the travel agent told me. I mentioned that I was going to get all my travel plans taken care of earlier while I was in Beirut, but it didn’t turn out that way. By the time that I got to a place where I could use the internet I couldn’t make reservations anywhere, so I was forced to go to a travel agent. They told me that there weren’t any ferries to Turkey from Cyprus, and they said that I would not get a visa at the Syrian border, so the only thing left for me was to fly to Istanbul. I love Istanbul so it may not have been what I wanted to do, I really wasn’t disappointed that I would go there. The timings of my schedule was kind of crappy though. I left Beirut at 340 in the morning, and my bus to Antalya, Turkey didn’t leave until 830 at night. Like I mentioned I love Istanbul and I thought I’d use the time to do a little sightseeing. Boy was I wrong. First the bus station was about an hour from the center of the city, then they wouldn’t store my bags for me, and there wasn’t anyway I was going to walk around with about 60lbs of backpacks on in 92 degree temperature. So I ended up hanging out in the bus station for about 13 hours. The time went really fast, and the people working there seemed to almost enjoy the fact that I was stuck. After my third nap, I was just sitting in a chair staring up into the distance when a guard came up to me with an espresso and an English newspaper. I looked at him and around the lobby and all the people working there were smiling like they felt my pain. 🙂

I think I’ve mentioned this before in another blog, but the people in Turkey are really nice to me. I’ve been told that they can be mean, but I really can’t say that I’ve had one experience of a mean person. I think Turkey is probably my favorite country, after the US of course. To give you an example of how nice people are, I arrive in the airport at Istanbul and needed to get to the bus station. I didn’t want to get a taxi, so I start kind of wandering around looking for someone to help me, when I talk to a bus driver. He points me to a bus stop I go over and talk to the driver there and along with a passenger they decide that they know where I want to go, and that was the correct bus. The passenger “takes me under his wing” so to speak and gets off the bus at the same time, gets in a taxi with me and drops me off at the bus station before he travels home. Most places that I’ve been anyone helping me like that, would have asked for money, but this guy was genuinely a nice guy. Though I have to admit I kept thinking that he was up to something, but that’s more of me being paranoid than anything else. I really do love Turkey.

I finally got on my bus to Antalya that night to cheer of one of the porters there. No lie, as all the passengers were lined up to get onto the bus, he tapped me on the shoulder, I turned and he raised his hand and said with a big smile, “Your bus! Your bus!” The trip was one of those great rides that I think planes used to be, it was comfortable, quiet, and not crowded, really probably the best transit time I’ve had.