Suitcase and World: To Fethiye.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

To Fethiye.

e left Göreme and Cappadocia last night. It was a bittersweet departure as I had really grown to love the little village and the surreal landscape that surrounds it in my short stay there.

Before we left Kelebek Pension, we said our goodbyes to the staff who had treated us so well during our stay there. We had gotten very spoiled by them. Lei and I retrieved our luggage out of hotel storage and and walked down the hill to town for the last time. By now, it was about 7pm. We stopped at Şahin's shop to say goodbye to him and his cousin Yasar and to pick up some Turkish (Anatolian) music CDs that Şahin had said he would burn for us. We then headed to the otogar (bus station) and waited for the 7:30pm overnight (13+ hour) bus ride to Fethiye - we had bought our tickets two days earlier.

The bus system in Turkish is EXCELLENT. It's a very extensive system so getting from point to another is a breeze. It's very affordable - our ticket to Fethiye cost around 40 USD. The coaches are very clean and comfortable and last but not least, the buses arrive and leave on time.

Our bus arrived into the Göreme otogar a few minutes before 7:30pm. We stowed our luggage into the baggage hold, got on board and settled into our assigned seats. As we made our way down the road, the bus attendant popped a video into the VCR. I remember it was an American film dubbed into Turkish but I can't remember what movie it was.

The sun was beginning to set and Lei's Dramamine kicked in shortly thereafter so she would be asleep for most of the journey.

We headed down the road. I nodded off shortly after dark but found myself waking up each time the bus stopped which was every few hours or so. Every few stops, we would step off, stretch our legs and visit the WC (water closet aka ladies room). Side note on the public toilets in Turkey - you have to pay to use them but they are exceptionally clean.

The next thing I know it, I'm waking up and it's just before sunrise. I have no idea where we are but about 10 hours had passed since we left Göreme. It was overcast and my heart sank as I worried that it would be overcast in Fethiye as well. I had been so looking forward to warm, bright sunny days by the Aegean Sea.

I look over Lei and she's still deep in dreamland :-)

We pulled into an otogar for a short stop. Back on the road, the landscape turned mountainous. As we rode on, the sun was beginning to peak out from behind the clouds. I kept my fingers crossed that the skies would continue clear up as we neared Fethiye.

We arrived at the otogar in Fethiye shortly after 8:30a. I woke Lei up - poor thing, stumbled off the bus groggy as ever. We retrieved our bags from the luggage hold. Surprisingly, we both had enough presence of mind to spend the next half hour or so scouting out buses to our next destination which was Selçuk. Though we weren't leaving for another two days, we thought we should go ahead and buy the tickets while we were at the otogar.

With that task done, our next challenge was to figure out how to get to Tan Pansiyon which was where we had booked a two night stay. We mentioned this to one of the people working at the bus company that we had bought our tickets from and he told us that the owners of Tan Pansiyon were his friends. He asked us to wait a few minutes and then he would take us there. How nice of this guy and how lucky could we be? Read on.

We boarded a dolmuş ("dole-moosh") and away we went down the main street in Fethiye. A few blocks later and the driver motioned for us to get off and pointed us to head down the street and somewhere there would be Tan Pansyion. We did as were told but had absolutely no clue where we were going. While I stood with the luggage, Lei walked in search of the Pansiyon. I pulled out the Lonely Planet guide to look at the map of Fethiye to try and figure out where we were and how to get where we needed to go. Next thing I hear someone asking me if I speak English. I replied "Yes" and found myself talking to an English woman who wanted to know if she could help me. I told her we were lost and needed help figuring out how to get to the Pansiyon. She took one look at the map where I had marked the location of the Pansiyon and gave us walking instructions on how to get there - we were about a 15 minute walk away. By this time, Lei is back. We say our thanks to the kind English woman and continued on our walk along the main street of Fethiye.

We passed all the key landmarks that the English woman told us we would walk by - the Police Station, the Post Office, the Mosque, etc. We walked on and on and on.

Then, out of the blue, an elderly gentleman approached Lei and handed her a business card. It's for Tan Pansiyon. We exclaimed with joy. We replied back that that's where were were staying and I pulled out the note of introduction that Serra had written for us. He read the note and immediately recognized who were were! What luck!

We followed the man, walking for another 10 minutes or so. Then, I see the sign for the Pansiyon. We arrived. WE MADE IT!!

There are no elevators in Turkey. Okay, that's an exaggeration but we had to lug our bags up to our room at the Kybele Hotel in Istanbul, at Kelebek Pension in Göreme and now at the Tan Pansiyon. We climbed the steps leading up to the roof top terrace. At the top of the stairs, I turned the corner and was greeted with a beautiful view of Fethiye Bay.

We check out the room. Spare but comfortable. Then there was the bathroom. Just about the smallest, most compact bathroom I've ever seen outside of an airplane. The showerhead is actually just above the toilet and there's no room for a door - just a shower curtain. It looked like they had turned a shower stall into a bathroom. Everytime one of us had to take a shower, the other had to be out of the room entirely as there was not enough room in the bathroom to towel off and change. Our teensy, weensy bathroom very quickly turned into a source of amusement for us. We will always have fond memories of it :-)

While Lei freshened up, I climbed into the hammock that was strung up on the terrace just outside our room. It was still overcast and all I could do was hope that the clouds would burn off as the day progressed. There was a slight breeze blowing that keep the hammock gently rocking. I began to decompress from the past two hours of relatively frenzied activity.

After I took my turn to clean up from the bus ride, we headed out to town for lunch. We walked on the promenade that runs alongside the bay. Boats of all sizes were berthed and people were out and about. The skies were beginning to clear up. It was going to be a beautiful day and finally, we could chill and enjoy a small bit of the Turquoise Coast....and that's exactly what we did for two days!