Posts Tagged ‘beach’

The deserted former Greek town of Eski Doganbey can be found at the edge of the Dilek National Park, near the park museum. When the Turkish Republic became a state in the 1920s, Turkey and Greece conducted population exchanges, and the Greek-speaking, Orthodox residents of many coastal areas of Turkey were virtually expelled from their homes. I’m sure that’s only one side of the tragedy, since there must have been many Turks living in Greece who were sent to live in Turkey, whether they liked it or not.

Entering the gate into the city, you find restored houses and a quaint stone street.

The staff at our guesthouse told us about Eski Doganbey, and said it was on the way to Priene. It turned out to be near Priene, though not at all on the way to it—in fact, it was quite out of the way! Still, we were excited to go find a place that was off the beaten path. My hunch after seeing it is that it’s not really so far off the beaten path, but our guide book didn’t discuss it, so that was close enough for us. We found the town to be not completely deserted—though not a living person was visible, some of the houses were clearly inhabited and had (functioning) cars in their driveways, though we didn’t actually see their residents. Since the town seemed partially inhabited, we weren’t entirely certain if we had found the right spot. We found a park map so we stopped to take a look and were soon greeted by the caretaker of the park museum, along with a little girl who accompanied him. Unsure of what to do, we followed the man (who spoke about two words of English) into the museum and let him show us around. The museum was mostly filled with stuffed forms of the local wildlife; it was educational if also a little gruesome, since I don’t really care to see dead animals. They had a dolphin skeleton, which was pretty neat, as well as a telescope which the caretaker set up for us so we could look out at the estuary. After our visit, the caretaker confirmed that the surrounding village was, in fact, Eski Doganbey, and he showed us the gate where we could enter and walk around. Many of the houses have been fixed up and are now in perfect condition, but even though we saw a couple people, it still had an eerily quiet and deserted feeling about the town.

The Dilek National Park is on a peninsula, the end of which is a restricted area under the control of the jandarma, a sort of military police. To get to the area of the park with beaches for swimming, we had to go to the other side of the peninsula from where we were at the museum. In order to do this, we had to drive way out of the way to get there, since the middle of the peninsula only contains mountain hiking trails, but no way to cross over in a car. Once we finally arrived on the other side, we headed to the last beach, which our guidebook informed us was the nicest of the four beach areas. It was getting a little late at this point, and the Aegean is freezing cold, so we waded around but again chose not to swim. Probably the highlight of the beach was the wild boars that went wandering around the parking area late in the day.

The beach at Dilek National Park

Watch out for the wild boars!

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Samos, Greece

One advantage of staying near Kuşadası is that it is located quite near the Greek Isle of Samos, and a ferry leaves the port for Samos every day at 8:30, returning at 17:00. Samos has several cities, including Pythagoreion (named after the mathematician Pythagoras, who is from the island). That’s where we headed after arriving in the port of Samos. There is a lovely beach with crystal clear turquoise water and no waves, but when we were there the breeze off the water was so cold that we didn’t actually want to get into the freezing water itself—we weren’t hot enough! We waded around a bit and just enjoyed the surroundings, then headed into the center of Pythagoreion for a late lunch. There I discovered that Greek salads really do taste better in Greece, as I ate what is definitely the best Greek salad I have ever tried. I think it was worth the trip, though I must say that between the ferry ride and the waits for passport control at both ends, getting to and from the island took at least as much time as the amount of time we had to spend there! My recommendation, hindsight being what it is, would be to do an overnight trip to the island instead of trying to do a day trip.

The beautiful beach in Pythagoreion, Samos, Greece

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Before leaving the Fethiye area, we spent the day at Ölüdeniz, which means “Dead Sea” in Turkish. This is a beautiful blue lagoon which is protected as a national park so the beach is free from surrounding hotels; they remain off to the side and up the surrounding mountains. The Wikipedia page for Ölüdeniz indicates it is frequently voted amongst the top five beaches in the world, and after our visit, we certainly agreed that it was a top-notch beach. Ölüdeniz is also a very popular paragliding spot, so while you swim or relax you can watch the paragliders whirl slowly above you. It actually adds to the idyllic feeling of the place, as they seem almost otherworldly rather than man-made. This is probably because they are completely quiet in comparison with the usual noisy, motor-driven beach activities like jetskiing.

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After three really busy days sightseeing in Istanbul, we were really looking forward to our relaxation time on the beach. After short flight to Dalaman, we picked up our rental car—a manual, diesel Ford Focus—and drove the short distance toward Yonca Lodge, near Fethiye. It was a little tricky to find, but we managed, and luckily arrived and checked in just in time to eat dinner. We stayed there over the weekend; it was a great little place that offers half-board for a reasonable price, and it had a private beach with plenty of lounge chairs, as well as lots of hammocks and gazebos with cushions to relax in the shade. The staff spoke little English, so communication was interesting, but it was a really nice place. We were also very entertained by the many farm animals that inhabited the place, including many chickens and ducks, as well as some sheep. The water on the Mediterranean was bright turquoise and cold but refreshing, and the sunsets were beautiful.

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