KUSUDASI, TURKEY

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We arrived in Kusudasi at around 11am; a little later start than we’re used to, but then we weren’t altogether sure what to expect. All the reviews talked of it being a cracking place to go shopping, and bursting with bars and restaurants – none of which are things that we get particularly excited about or look for in a port stop.

Breakfasted and ready, we went ashore hopeful of finding something to interest us. A hill adjacent to the port had the name of the town displayed in ‘Hollywood’ style, and a fort on the opposite side of the small bay looked promising.

Once through the cruise terminal building, we were very quickly distracted by a large old building with the name ‘Kervansaray’ across its entrance gate. Curious, we wandered in and discovered a courtyard surrounded by arches and stone staircases leading to a verandah that was cordoned off. There wasn’t a great deal else to see other than a photographic exhibition on the ground floor, which we enjoyed looking at. Not entirely sure of the building’s original purpose (although, it looked like a small fort of some sort), we exited and moved on.

Outside in the street again, we came across a noticeboard showing a map of Kusudasi, that promised a route linking the old town and selected locations of culture. Following this struck us as possibly being a good idea, in that it may provide us with a bit of a structured plan, so we took a photo of the noticeboard, and opened up Maps.Me in preparation for a ‘cultural’ walk. However, no matter how hard we tried, we kept losing track of where the route was supposed to be leading us. What the map showed us just didn’t seem to align with reality, and after several frustrated attempts at trying to follow it, and failing to find any culture, we eventually dumped the idea.

At this point, we started making our way through the centre of Kusudasi – in retrospect, a bad idea – and very soon realised that it is VERY touristy; not really our cup of tea at all. The incessant barrage of shopkeepers trying to ambush us was just this side of uncomfortably pushy, and quite aggressive into the bargain. As Tracey pointed out; even if she fancied doing a bit of shopping, the attitude of the shopkeepers was such that she didn’t feel relaxed enough to browse and be left alone long enough to make any buying decisions.

Eventually, we’d had enough of all the hassle and was happy to escape and get back to the promenade, from where we worked our way round to the fort.

I should mention at this point that I really wanted to climb the hill to the monument we could see on its summit, and the KUSUDASI ‘hollywood-style’ sign, but I also had to concede that it was probably a little too hot, so we didn’t.

Entrance to the little fort turned out to be free, although it was mostly landscaped pathways and little viewpoints, and not really much of a fort at all. The square keep at the centre of the area was locked up and inaccessible. Needless to say, It didn’t take us long to walk around it, and by the time we were on our way out, we fancied a bit of a sit down and a drink. Which was when we discovered a little bar at the base of the small island with seats looking out into the bay and even a cordoned-off area for swimming (although, we hadn’t brought out swimming stuff out with us).

This bar turned out to be an excellent choice. We sat on one of the outward-facing bar stools and ordered drinks and a plate of chips each, all of which came to a very modest 225 turkish lira – about £10… we were amazed.

The bar and the chips went some way towards making up for the trial of walking through the town. As we sat contemplating life, the universe and everything, we came to the conclusion that if we come here again, we’ll definitely make the effort to climb the hill, then head straight for this bar and go for a swim.

Back on the ship; dinner in the evening was a Turkish Buffet on Lido Deck. After eating, we went up to Deck 14 at the font of the ship to watch us sail away. I was mildly cross with myself that I hadn’t brought out my camera or phone with me to take photos. A further ‘promenade around the promenade’ (it was very windy tonight) was followed by a visit to the Britannia Lounge for a little live music until heading back to the cabin.

Tomorrow, we are due to arrive in Bodrum, Turkey, which we rather expect to be a bit like today… we’ll soon see…

Peter Woolley

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