During the long run from Serce to Gumusluk, Rick puttered away at a few small tasks. In a brilliant flash of inspiration, he realized that the broken man-overboard pole would make an ideal pig stick to raise his CCA burgee to the top of Aisling's mast. He had obviously chosen the right day to do it, because shortly after we got our anchor set at Gumusluk, we were visited by Royal Cruising Club members Kit and Penny (Kwai Muli). Since we'd just had the good fortune to discover a bottle of "Baron Romano" Spanish red wine under the floorboards, we invited them aboard and had an impromptu cockpit party. The leftovers of Shima's delicious red pepper dip and crackers went very well with the wine. Later that evening, we were invited onboard Kwai Muli for baklava, tea and a dram of Metaxa (a potent Greek brandy). Having cruised this area for many years, Kit and Penny were able to give us numerous tips on islands and anchorages. By the time we climbed back into our dinghy, it was nearly midnight.
In spite of the Metaxa, we were on deck early the next morning for the 56-mile journey to Kusadasi. Gumusluk looked like it could be a nice place to settle in for a few days, but we were on a mission to get to Kusadasi while the wind was in a favorable direction. It was a pleasant change to actually be able to sail part of the way. We pulled into Kusadasi in the late afternoon and took a berth at the marina.
If a concrete jungle contest were ever to be held, Kusadasi would blow Marmaris out of the water. With its Benidorm-style apartment buildings, it is not a picturesque location. The charges at Setur marina were nearly 40 euros a day and, to add insult to injury, since our contract in Marmaris did not expire until June 15th we were paying fees to two marinas simultaneously! But we had chosen to come to Kusadasi for its proximity to Ephesus and to be fair, the marina is very nice. We were also able to take advantage of their terrific laundry service, which has no ridiculous underwear rules like the Yacht Marine laundry. We dropped off a big bag of laundry, had long hot showers and then wandered down the waterfront boulevard to the "Slip Inn" for curry night (inexpensive and delicious).
The next day (Friday) was market day in Kusadasi. We grabbed our knapsacks and headed down the boulevard, then decided to make a quick detour to the Gino Marine office to ask for a second estimate on the stern pulpit repair. Since they were willing to look at it immediately, Rick returned to the boat with the appraiser. I strolled down the boulevard killing time until a sign advertising a "Unisex Berber" caught my eye. I decided to check it out. Twenty lira for a haircut seemed too good to pass up. Like many businesses here, the shop was a family operation. The "berber" (Turkish for barber) and his cousin the esthetician were both in their early twenties; the esthetician's little girl played in the shade under the awning.
The berber's scissors flashed so quickly I could barely see the blades. Meanwhile, his cousin was realizing that I had the potential to keep her in business for the rest of the week. She frowned over my fingernails and eyebrows, then asked if she could take my moustache off. Say what? Rick, whose responsibility it surely is to keep me informed of such things, has mentioned nothing about this development! Perhaps it would have been wise to let her proceed, but I was saved by a walkie-talkie call from Rick, who was on his way. When he saw my hair, it was clear that he was trying to hide his shock. "It's kind of short" he said. It was. Very short. More Eddie Fisher than Mia Farrow. "Maybe it's because it's still a bit damp" Rick said hopefully. Maybe. But later in the week, Nancy when saw me on a Skype video call, she burst into peals of laughter. "What happened to your hair?" she asked. "I had it cut by a berber" I said. "A unisex berber". "Why on earth did you let him cut it so short?" Why indeed? For the rest of our stay, every time we passed the berber shop, they tried to convince Rick to come in and get his hair cut (eyebrows and nose hair trim included) but he was having none of it.
Back to Friday. While the berber was finishing my haircut, Rick made arrangements to rent a car from the "Swiss" rental agency, then we finally headed off to the market. The Kusadasi market is a true farmers' market (i.e. no cheap T Shirts or genuine fake watches) and the sights and smells immediately put smiles on our faces.
We loaded our bags with fresh artichokes, huge heads of garlic, red and green peppers, huge beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, corn on the cob, cherries, strawberries, salted peanuts, peanuts coated with sesame seeds and honey; even fresh mackerel! We trudged back to the boat with our heavy bags, had a quick lunch, then retrieved our car from the agency. By 2 o'clock we were on the road to Selcuk.
Our first stop was the Ephesus museum; where a re-creation of one of the terrace houses of Ephesus really captured our imaginations (perhaps because the man depicted reclining on a sofa eating grapes reminded us so much of our friend Bruce). Who could forget the statue of Priapus (oh my!) or the model of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world (of which a single pillar remains standing, in a field outside Selcuk). A group of university students from Arizona, travelling in the footsteps of Paul, was most interested in a Hound of the Baskervilles -sized guard dog in the courtyard.
Next we drove up the mountainside to the house of the Virgin Mary, or "Meryemana" as she is known to Muslims. Legend says that Mary came to Ephesus with the disciple John, and the visions of a 19th century nun led clergy to the foundations of this house. I suppose it is possible that Mary lived here, or at least near here. In any case, the setting is beautiful and tranquil. A nun was reading quietly in a corner of the chapel. Each visitor is permitted only two candles and I decided to light one for Dad and one for Isabel. (It seemed appropriate that the central word in the embroidered altar cloth was "Isa," but I later learned that this is the Turkish name for Jesus.) On a wall outside the chapel, bits of rags with prayers and wishes written on them were tied to a frame.
Of the ones written in English, some were poignant ("Please me get better from my surgery) some were the sort of wishes I would make myself ("Please keep my family safe, please let my children have happy lives") and some were humorous ("Please let H lose weight!").
Our last stop of the day was Sirince, which was a Greek village up until the population exchange of 1923. It is a picturesque place, with rows of two-story houses set on a hillside and tiny shops selling handiwork and local delicacies. Although described as one of Turkey's wealthiest villages, you see a different picture if you dig behind the scenes. As we walked through the town, a woman wearing the baggie cotton pants, printed blouse and headscarf that are typical in this region approached us and motioned us up the hill. "Antique maison" she said, "photos". We followed her uphill through narrow streets to an old house in a sad state of disrepair, through a courtyard littered with rubbish and past a donkey in a stall. We removed our shoes in a dark entryway that smelled strongly of donkey, then climbed a rickety staircase to a small bedroom with three bedrolls on the floor and a grimy casement window overlooking the town. She opened the window and motioned at the town..."Photos". She disappeared briefly, then reappeared with a bag of tablecloths and runners. Clearly we had no choice but to buy one, so I chose a small tablecloth and paid the price she asked (10 lira). As we left, a dramatic thunder and lightning storm began and she quickly pulled her threadbare washing from the clothesline strung outside her door. I suspect her life is not an easy one. I wish I had paid more for the tablecloth.
We ended the day with a cockpit meal of mackerel, corn on the cob and fresh tomatoes, then tumbled into bed to rest up for the next day's road trip, to Priene, Miletus and Didyma.
Gumusluk has limited room but is an attractive anchorage. We anchored in 24 feet; bottom was rock, weed and some sand. Wifi from restaurants ashore. Ruins of ancient Myndus are ashore. Imray guide says that water and electricity are available at the dock but we did not check it out. Minibus service to Bodrum.
Kusadasi is a busy tourist town, but a great base from which to see some of Turkish's best sites. Ephesus, Priene, Miletus, Didym and Pammukale are all accessible from here. (Alternately, if you are cruising Greek waters and do not want to buy a cruising permit for Turkey, you can anchor at Samos and take a ferry across to Kusadasi for roughly 40 euros/person.) The fees at Setur marina include electricity, water and wifi. Fuel, chandleries, repair services and provisions readily available. A large selection of reasonably-priced restaurants are within walking distance. The marina has a swimming pool with a fee of 5 lira per person charged. In June 2011, the cost to wash, dry and iron a large load of laundry was 15 lira (underwear welcomed. Underwear even ironed!) There is a large Kipa store just outside town on the road to Selcuk. Excellent vegetable market on Fridays.
We rented a car from the "Swiss" rental car agency, but tours to a variety of sites are also available from tourist agencies. When you work out the cost comparison, don't forget to factor in fuel, which is extremely expensive.