Saying “goodbye” is never easy, especially in these Covid times when future meet ups are uncertain with lockdowns and cancelled travel arrangements possibly occurring at the drop of a hat.
However, we felt very grateful that our daughter and son-in-law had managed to leave the Netherlands and visit us for two weeks and we have many beautiful memories to enjoy until we are together again.
Hannah and Pieter left in the very early hours to get to Izmir airport as their flight took off around 6am. They fully expected the airport to be quite empty but were shocked to find it heaving with people.
They arrived at 4.15 am but after waiting over an hour to check in and then going through two security checks and standing in a long queue at immigration/customs, had to run to their gate to get to their flight in time!
We on the other hand, had a leisurely and very good breakfast and set off at a reasonable hour to return to Sunday where she was anchored in Orhaniye.
Rather than take the direct route back to Orhaniye we decided to drive first to Didim to have a look at the marina where we have booked in our catamaran Sunday for the winter.
On the way there we drove through a town called Şelcuk which we discovered, is the gateway to Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the 10th century BC.
The ruins of Ephesus include the remains of a large amphitheatre and the Library of Celsus. Also near Selçuk and part of the UNESCO site, is a marble column, one of the few remains of the Temple of Artemis completed around 550 BC which has been designated one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
We were excited to drive past Ayasuluk Hill, on top of which we could see a fine Byzantine fortress (7th century), also part of the UNESCO site.
There are many other amazing places of archeological interest belonging to the Ephesus site and we are very much looking forward to spending time to explore the whole area really well in the winter months.
When we arrived in Didim we found the marina easily and were happy to see it looked very smart and had great facilities. Everything was extremely clean and well cared for and there was plenty of space between moored boats and also for manoeuvring while entering and leaving berths.
The marina seemed rather isolated but apparently there is a regular bus route into town.
After a quick lunch we hit the road again and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, especially as we wound our way down towards the coast negotiating the alarming z-bends.
The next day we left Orhaniye to join Sue and John on S/V Catabella. They had left Datça while we were away and were now anchored below the ancient and wondrous site of Knidos which sits right at the intersection of the Aegean and Mediterranean regions.
Having had to return the hire car and do a bit of shopping before we left to join them, we decided not to try and get there that day. Instead we travelled to Ova Bükü, half way along the Datça peninsula for the night.
The following morning we arrived at Knidos before 10am but it was still pretty crowded with many big gulets (sailing boats built on traditional lines and now used as luxury tourist accommodation) and quite a few cruising boats too.
Some of the vessels were “Med moored” while others were free anchored and the space was limited so it took us a while to find a suitable “spot” but once we were settled we were very happy with our choice.
It felt amazing to be anchored in the shadow of this beautiful and atmospheric ancient Greek city, right in the spot where in the far distant past warlike triremes and merchant vessels carrying wine, wheat, olive oil, glass and other cargo had anchored.
The city of Knidos moved to its current location right on the tip of the Datça peninsula in 360 BC. It was first excavated in 1857 and of course, as with so many of these ancient sites, many treasures were taken to England and are now in the British museum.
Excavations by Turkish archeological experts were launched in Knidos in 1988 and have continued since then.
Most of the recent work has focused on the restoration of areas that were excavated and left by the early explorations. Abandoned excavation pits have been closed and ruins restored to give visitors a feel for how the city was originally laid out and it’s main features.
From the decks of Sunday we could see steep terraced hillsides, planted with olive, almond and fruit trees, that rose above our idyllic bay. On one side of the harbour was an amphitheatre, columns and various ruins while on the other side there were the remains of ancient harbour walls and terraces dotted with dressed stone.
It was such a wonderful experience exploring this rare historical gem. One of the most amazing aspects was finding so many bits of pot (and even an almost complete amphora!) just lying scattered everywhere.
We walked amongst temples dedicated to Greek gods and early Christian churches and chapels, some built on the site of temples. We were also amazed at the beautiful stone carvings everywhere.
A broad street with a row of heroons (built in ancient times for heroes or people who did important work on behalf of their city) took us towards a lovely amphitheatre from which we could see our boats anchored in the ancient harbour.
By an elegant water fountain right on the harbour we imagined overjoyed sailors drinking their fill and washing their salty faces after a long voyage. How delighted they must have been to see the beautiful fresh water cascading over the sides of this lovely fountain.
The restaurant right next to the site was open so what better way to end our tour than to have a lovely dinner under the shadow of ancient Knidos?!