The sun sets on a very special Christmas!

Our Christmas decorations aboard S/V Sunday were complete except for one nostalgic item – the sweet fragrance of a genuine Christmas tree.

All we needed was the sweet fragrance of a genuine Christmas tree

On our travels around the Didim area we had seen plenty of the hardy little pines so beloved of Europeans at Christmas and decided to try and find somewhere to stop and find a suitable tree from which we could “trim” a couple of small boughs.

Eventually we found a place where we could stop with suitable “victims”. Using our very superior Dille and Kamille bread knife from our camper van Jonathan managed to lop off two branches from a healthy looking pine (the tree needed pruning anyway he said afterwards.)

Telltale legs under the pine tree

So finally, on Christmas Eve, our decorating was complete and S/V Sunday smelled like Christmas!

Hannah making last adjustments to
our pine branches
It’s beginning to look (and smell) a lot like Christmas!

Christmas Day dawned magnificently – despite the forecast of rain, dawn was a shimmering rosy pink, full of promise for a glorious day.

Christmas Day dawned magnificently

We had a lovely breakfast with Hannah and Pieter who were staying at the Yacht Club Hotel – taking advantage of a fantastic offer which included a three night stay with breakfasts, Christmas lunch and party, a Boxing Day brunch and a massage each in the hotel spa.

The view from Hannah and Pieter’s room
Christmas breakfast!

Then it was back to S/V Sunday to open our stockings before returning to the restaurant at the Yacht Club Hotel to meet up with our fellow yachties for a fabulous Christmas lunch.

Opening our stockings on S/V Sunday

After a very protracted and delicious lunch we partied the night away to the sounds of a really good band.

Christmas lunch with our fellow yachties

As well as all the traditional fare (Turkey, ham, beef and all the trimmings) there were countless delicious desserts. In the interests of research, Pieter tried so many that he lost count!

After lunch we enjoyed the band

On Boxing Day we had a lovely day aboard S/V Sunday with our friends Jack and Jan from Anthem. We played our traditional Christmas present game in which a dice is thrown and depending on the number, you either open a present, pass your “winnings” to the left or right, or “steal” a gift from someone else. As always, it was great fun.

Boxing Day breakfast
Hannah checking out the rules for the present game with Jan and Jack

After the obligatory Boxing Day walk on the beach and more food we rolled into bed ready for more adventures the following day.

Lovely views on our obligatory
Boxing Day walk

We were keen to show Pieter and Hannah some of our favourite places in the Didim area while they were with us, so the day after Boxing Day we drove the van to the lovely village of Kıyıkışlacık.

The lovely village of Kıyıkışlacık
Rural Kıyıkışlacık is still very traditional
We loved all the cows
Such pretty waterside views

Once again the weather was fantastic and we were able to enjoy a wonderful meal on the quayside in this sweet little fishing village before going to explore the ancient remains of Iasos.

We were able to enjoy a wonderful meal
on the quayside
The local cats enjoyed it too

Jonathan and I have paid several visits to this atmospheric site and every time we go we learn more about its history and the lives of its inhabitants since it’s inception.

Every time we go to Iasos we learn more
about its history

The visible ruins date from around 400 BC but archeologists have found evidence that the site was first occupied in Minoan times – around 2,000 BC.

The visible ruins date from around 400 BC
Exploring the ruins

When we’d finished having a look round we walked along the water’s edge to look at the fortifications in the water that date to mid-Byzantine times. Pieter and Hannah started to walk over the remains of the wall that poke up from the water like stepping stones but they turned out to be very slippery!

Heading for the fortifications in the water
The submerged wall turned out to be very slippery to walk on

It was early evening when we departed for home and on the drive back along the narrow road that runs from Kıyıkışlacık to the main road, we saw a sarnıç – a water storage cistern dating from Byzantine times.

We parked up to show Hannah and Pieter
the water cistern
A sarnıç -a domed building used
for water storage

There are 250 of these curious domed water storage structures just in the province of Muğla.

Hannah discovered that it had great acoustics

We stopped to show Hannah and Pieter what it looked like inside one. Hannah discovered that it had great acoustics and broke into song.

Before long, the lady we had noticed working in farmland on the other side of the road came over and started to video her.

The lady working in nearby farmland filmed Hannah singing

Later the lady proudly showed us footage of a famous Turkish clarinetist playing for a television programme in the same cistern.

It was almost sunset

As luck would have it, the sun was just about to set and the place where we’d stopped was the perfect location to watch it dip into the sea below. A wonderful end to a very special Christmas!

The place where we’d stopped was the perfect location to watch the sun dip into the sea below

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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