And so we enter the last of the three weeks of venture into marriage and we did so with a bang…a very relaxed bang. Our last week of travels in the Mediterranean had us on a 75′ two masted sailboat with another eight travelers and four crew members. Around 3 pm we all piled into the dinghy, in two shifts, to board the Nemesis and meet our Captain for the first time. None of us really knew each other, except by name, nor did we know what the week would entail. Fortunately, we needn’t worry. We were in good hands.
First things first with finding our rooms that were assigned to us. Our honeymoon suite was in the aft of the boat with another room and was decked out with rose petals, a chilled bottle of champagne, and the entire boat anticipating us seeing it. Our room was spacious enough, the bed comfortable, large window for air flow and our own private bathroom and shower. Next, we met the three crew members and captain and discussed the route we would be taking. We unanimously decided on staying within the Bodrum peninsula and sailing more or less to Maremaris.
With that we took up anchor and motored to a more secluded cove about one hour east of Bodrum. We got our first swim in here in the crystal clear blue water which was a relief to the heat. That night we got our first taste of the chef’s cuisine too and we were all delighted with what was showcased. We spent the first night of many staying up late at the dinner table talking and getting to know everyone better and the week was off to a good start. I could bore you with the details of the R&R that surpassed for our seven nights on board or I could give you a rough rundown of what became our daily routine. I’ll do that…
8 am Arise and hopefully get in a quick swim to cool off before breakfast
8:30 am Bell rung for breakfast. A delightful Turkish breakfast was had each day that we enjoyed with much delight; tomatoes, cucumbers, toast, coffee or tea, watermelon, oranges, feta, another type of cheese, black and green olives, and some form of egg. We had this every day and it was such a fresh way to begin the day
9:30 am Briefing. Captain would provide us with the days route and itinerary
10:00 am We set out to either sail or motor. Generally we sailed in the morning from 10-1pm. The wind was refreshing but the sun hot! We spent this time moving around the boat to different loungers, finding shade, reading, taking pictures, talking, and napping
1-2 pm Pull into our destination for lunch and anchor. We’d immediately get in the water to go for a swim before lunch. Snorkel, tubes, or treading water was common
2 pm Lunch! And we would all be ready for lunch by this time. Most people had their first wine or beer at this point. Lunches were noteworthy (as were the rest of the meals) and included throughout the week lots of salads with tomatoes and cucumbers, moussaka, spaghetti, stewed green beans, Greek yogurt, stuffed peppers, tomatoes and eggplants, spinach and feta borek, roasted chicken and potatoes with paprika and tomato sauce, rice pilaf, mountain kabob, orzo, beef and roasted vegetable casserole, and fusilli pasta. There was always plenty of food.
3 pm Post lunch dessert of fruit. Platters of grapes, figs (!), kiwis, peaches, and melon. Sometimes the ice cream boat would come by.
3-4 pm Motor to our final destination for the night and tie up.
4-6 pm More swimming, reading, napping, kayaking, etc. Time to do whatever you wanted.
6 pm Tea time…or to others beer time. Little cookies or fruit bread or some of the snacks that we got at the market to nibble on.
6-8pm More swimming, reading, napping, kayaking, showers, etc. A lot more pre-dinner drinking.
8-10 pm Dinner! My favorite meal of the day thanks to the first course of various mezzes. I love mezzes and I discovered a lot of new ones. Those would be watercress in yogurt, carrots in yogurt, broccoli in yogurt, eggplant in yogurt (!), roasted eggplants, roasted red peppers in garlic, roasted zucchini with olives, roasted broccoli with lemon, broad bean puree, sea beans salad, fried cauliflower (!), fried zucchini fritters, grilled mashed eggplant, octopus salad, black eyed peas and potato salad. After I was stuffed we then had our main course served to us plated. These included: chicken and mushrooms in cream sauce with rice pilaf, grilled shrimps and sea bass, beef and mushrooms stewed with sesame seed roasted potatoes, mixed grill with lamb, chicken and meatballs.
10 pm We then had dessert because we weren’t full enough. Lemon and strawberry ice cream, baklava, “honeymoon cake”, halva, vanilla pudding. We’d talk and drink until about midnight when we all crashed in our beds.
This was the usual day but we did have a few excursions that should be noted.
Monday night we all went to shore to hike a short ways up to a fantastic sunset. The captain brought us bottles of wine and beers to drink while we caught the sunset. Monday night we were also presented with a surprise dessert of “honeymoon cake”, champagne and toasts. It was fun to celebrate us again and here the words of wisdom from those on the boat.
Tuesday we went ashore to Cleopatra Island. Word has it that Cleopatra had never seen a place so beautiful so she had sand shipped into this beach just for her. We swam a bit in the beach before exploring the rest of the ruins on the island. There was a very old theater, church, city walls and Apollo’s tomb (?). It was neat to explore for the afternoon.
Tuesday and Friday night we had dinners ashore as a group at a restaurant. Tuesday night was in a small town called English Harbor and Friday night was in Bodrum. Both nights I had mezzes shared with the group and fried calamari.
Wednesday morning we went to market. We rode a minivan shuttle to the market where the locals were. It was cool to see and fun to shop. Bryan and I ended up buying a nice tablecloth with some tassels, some corn nuts and candied peanuts. When we were waiting for our shuttle back the Captain bought us tea from one of the local vendors that was offering it. We made sure to catch a supermarket on the way back to the boat to buy out the store in tubes to float in.
Thursday night was the white party night. We were all told ahead of time to bring white to wear, which we all did, but it wasn’t until that night that we learned it was to celebrate our wedding again. After our fancy dinner we had more champagne and the dancing began. Like most dances, at first it was awkward and then Bryan and I tried to remember our Lindy Hop dance for the group, we did the wobble and the electric slide, and then the song requests really started coming in. The crew showed us some Turkish dancing and that was fun to see. After a while we were all too pooped to keep dancing but it was fun while it lasted.
Friday night we pulled into Bodrum harbor to tie up to the dock and we were free to explore the streets on our own.
Saturday morning before getting picked up to transfer to the airport we explored the city from the harbor. A large group of us headed to the 14th century castle (also housing the underwater archaeology museum) to explore and that was a very cool site to see. After a few hours there Bryan and I went to go get a bath at the Turkish hamam. This was nice. For about an hour and 25 euro we each got to sit in the sauna (not that we weren’t hot enough already), then get scrubbed mercilessly, then soaped up and rinsed off, and finally given about a 20-30 minute lotion massage. Our skin was so soft upon leaving and I felt cleansed and uber relaxed. We drank plenty of water and walked to do some shopping and get some kabobs before heading back to the boat for our transfer.
Of course traveling never goes perfectly and our flight from Bodrum on Saturday was canceled. This led to many lines, many inconveniences, and trying to figure out the quickest way to get home. We were put up in a hotel about 10 minutes from the airport, given dinner and breakfast the next morning, and then picked up to go back to the airport to catch the flight the next day. Our first flight to Frankfurt went well and after waiting in customs for an hour we had to be quick to get a new flight to San Francisco that had us running through the airport. We made that and had a 10.5 hour flight to SF before one last 2 hour flight to Seattle. We got to Seatac, got our bags, got an Uber, and were home just around midnight.
What a fantastic way to start our new lives as Mr. and Mrs. Miller.