Saturday, May 7, 2011

On the road to Muğla

The ladies had finally decided where they would like to go for their last trip of the holiday. Their choice was the Temple of Apollo at Didyma which would include a stop at Bafa Lake and the ancient ruins of Herakleia or a visit to the old town of Muğla and the copper smiths of Kavaklidere.

Bafa Lake
While both were interested in the Lake Bafa Natural Park, the desire to see the copper smiths still working at their ancient art won out. We decided to make  it a two day trip as it would be less tiring. A visit to Muğla was first.

Temple of Apollo Didyma
 Muğla is the district centre, what we would call the county town. It holds a huge market every Thursday so this was the obvious day to go. Armed with Tom Tom and a tiny map in my Rough Guide to Turkey we set off at approximately 10 o'clock. I knew the road as far as Muğla but wasn't sure İ could navigate the narrow back streets of the city centre, especially on a busy market day.

 Left to my own devices İ would have left early but İ did not want to tire my guests unnecessarily. The road climbs high above Milas to Yatağan. The views alone are worth the journey. Sean always says, this part of the country is like Wicklow with sunshine. Unfortunately, there are major road works here at the moment, so if you get caught behind a lorry there is little chance to pass. However, the road will be magnificent when it is finished.

Conveyor Belt
 We knew we were approaching Yatağan when we could see the smoke rising from the thermal power plant. Coal is brought directly from the surrounding mountains by conveyor belt to the plant. İt is one of the major centres of employment in the area. The other is the many marble factories that dot the region.             

Conveyor Belt

Tree at Pinarbasi - spot the face in the tree
On the face of it, Yatağan has little to attract the visitor. But in the surrounding area you have the Pinar Başı restaurant. İt's main attraction is an 800 year old tree. There is a large hole at the base through which a natural spring used to flow. İt is approximately 6m in diameter and 30m high. This tree is now protected by the Department of Forestry.

Natural spring water flowed through this tree.

Also on the approach road, is the ancient city of Stratonikeia but İ will leave that for another post.

Metin outside the Hurtur Hotel
Passing through Yatağan we stopped at the Hurtur Hotel, a very comfortable hotel by Turkish three star standards. İ have stayed here on a couple of occasions. İ was greeted with smiles as İ made a reservation for that evening in my best rkish. The prices hadn't changed. 50 lira(tl ) a head for bed and breakfast. İt is just a half hours drive from here to our destination.

We continued on our way, passing the road to Metin's village and also the turn for Belen Kahvesi. This is a famous coffee house in the village of Çaybükü.
View from Belen Kahvesi
Many tourists visit here because of a tragedy that took place there in 1946, made known in the

nationally famous song 'Ormanci' The basic story tells of two friends who like to play checkers together in the cafe. One evening a forester comes in and gets involved in an argument with one. He loses his temper and injures the other friend with his knife. The injured man draws a gun. All three struggle, and one friend fatally shoots the other. The forester later moved to a new job near Ankara, the man who fired the shot served his sentence and later moved to Muğla. One evening he is listening to the radio and hears the song Ormancı which relates the story of that fateful evening.

We approached Muğla and, in spite of having TomTom, managed to take the wrong turn. İ wasn't paying enough attention. This is where TomTom comes into his own. Unlike my husband, who is known to shout in stressful situations, 'Aonghus' my voice of choice, politely told me to take the next left and continue.

İ'm not sure 'Aonghus' has ever travelled this particular road! Things look smaller from a distance, therefore, that great 'eye in the sky' should have known that we were chancing our luck driving down a street that would have anyone who suffers from claustrophobia screaming.

Narrow Streets of Muğla
Sean stayed calm under pressure, wing mirrors almost scraping walls on both sides, while my ladies marvelled at the quaint back streets. Time would have been better employed praying there was no oncoming traffic. Luck was with us and suddenly the street widened slightly to allow a heaving mass of humanity room to shop and bargain.

 Past a mosque and suddenly in front of us was that wonderful blue P indicating a car park. A sharp right, pressed the button, barrier lifted and we were safely parked on the second floor of the covered car park. TomTom and Aonghus were put to bed and we set out to explore.


  1. Ooh that road looks very,very narrow! Is it big enough to actually accommodate a car? The photos are lovely and it sounds like you had quite an adventure. I love old ruins :)

  2. It was extremely narrow and brought beads of sweat to Hubbie's brow. We had a great time especially Mum and Bee who were seeing it for the first time.


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