After another entertainingly perfumed bus ride, we arrived in the port town of Fethiye to begin one of the most shamefully self-indulgent weeks of my already self-indulgent life. For it was here that we boarded a yacht for a 4 day “blue cruise” around the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.
Where do I begin? Perhaps with long swims in starlight blue waters in secluded coves and beaches? Snorkelling with rainbow coloured fish, or visits to abandoned pirate caves and sunken cities? Market shopping in Kas for the fruit to power sangria soaked nights? Drinking beer and singing to a Turkish guitar beneath constellations only exposed to sight by our distance from the light of cities? Captain Hassan and crew helping me scratch up on my Turkish, and teaching the more respiratorily self-loathing amongst my shipmates to suck on the narghile, whose seductive tobaccoes made passive smoking more than tolerable?
Other highlights are too numerous to mention, although being assaulted by a shark in waters allegedly devoid of them would rate highly. Okay, so it was no bigger than a baby’s leg, but the beast tried to ram my floating-bed! The friends we made would pleasurably linger in our company for the days after we departed the boat for Olympos, with promises to catch up sealed by endless bumpings-into in Olympos and later even in Cappodocia. The simple fact is, the 4 days spent aboard “Alaturka” were equal to the easiest spent of my life, and I can understand why so many people who take that ride end up volunteering to stay aboard to work. Bliss.
Knowing only too well how dangerous it is to mix work and pleasure, we opted for more pleasure, spending our next three nights in the backpacking paradise that is Olympos. Along a beach of sublime welcome, Olympos is surrounded by overgrown Greek ruins and seemingly boundless forest, snow-capped mountains framing the horizon, even in late spring. The wealthy package tourists largely absent, guests there stay, not in any ordinary accommodation, but rather in the tree houses that comprise Olympos village.
After happy days on Olympos beach, and nights with friends from the yacht, plus a wonderful night hike to the mountain top Chimaera – a naturally occurring eternal flame – it was time to depart paradise for the stars.