As I said before, the breakfast at Fulya Pension was great. We were also able to get discounted tickets to take a boat tour.
The guidebook said the tour was 25 lira, I’d heard that the other Tango Pension (the backpacker place) sold them for 20 lira, but at Fulya Pension they were just 15 lira each.
This was both of our favorite day in Turkey. It was also one of the cheapest.
We got on the boat at 9:00 and the boat took off at 9:15 am. We didn’t know exactly what to expect, but sometimes that’s the best way to go. We were the only foreigners on the boat. Koycegiz is a holiday spot for Turkish people. Within a very short time we had made friends with a bunch of the people on the boat. They had all brought picnic baskets, coolers, games, books, and other things. We had brought just our camera and towels since lunch was included in the price of the trip.
Lucky for us we were sitting near a retired forester and his family. He shared passion fruit, apples, and figs with us.
All from his property in the hills of Koycegiz. His son and daughter in law both spoke English and we became fast friends with them. They live in Istanbul and were visiting to spend time with his dad.
As the boats chugged along we chatted and I marveled at my first sighting of Lycian tombs carved into the rock faces above. The tombs look like ancient greek cities but they are carved directly into the sides of mountains. Stunning and powerful. The lake is filled with reed beds and the mountains make a jaw dropping backdrop.
I spotted a big sea turtle as the boat went by but Hanane didn’t believe me. Later we found out that Koycegiz is a place where sea turtles come to lay their eggs so I felt justified, though her doubt had made me wonder if I was seeing things that weren’t there.
As we came closer to Dalyan, I was relieved that we hadn’t chosen to stay there. There were literally hundreds of tour boats along the shores of Dalyan and plenty of pasty, chubby tourists queuing up to get in them. Meanwhile we were chatting with our new Turkish friends. I was relieved the boats didn’t stop in Dalyan.
Our first stop was at a beach on the Med. The admission was 2.5 lira each but it was worth it. The sand was very hot and so we ran across it to the cool waves and looked out at the many islands in front of us. A natural channel connects the lake to the sea and at this point it was only a 50 meter wide strip of sand that separated them from each other. The beach was filled with chubby Europeans on holiday from Britain and Germany, but overall we enjoyed the time there.
We returned to the boat for lunch and it was delicious. They barbecued fish on board and served them with salad and watermelon. After lunch we expected to go to the mud baths, but it turns out we had more time at the beach, so this time we jumped in the brackish water on the side we were on and swam with the other folks from the boat. Hanane amazed me by jumping in the water from the side of the boat despite not being able to swim very well. I pulled her up and over to shore because she was panicking a little because she hadn’t expected to go so deep.
Finally, we left and went to the mud baths. They were a very reasonable 4 lira each for the mud baths and the thermal mineral baths both.
I don’t recommend dunking your whole head under the mud since I got plenty of it in my eyes, ears, and nose. Instead it is better to just rub the mud on your face. It was fairly surreal to climb out and look at all the other mud covered people drying in the sun. Like being on another planet. The mud is slightly radioactive and contains many minerals which are supposed to be very good for your skin and health.
After the mud dried, a shower and a swim removed it. Then it was time to sit in the mineral baths. Also very nice. Our only complaint for the day was that we would have preferred to spend more time at this spot and a little less at the beach, but perhaps that’s only us. We were at the mud baths about an hour. a very fun hour.
When the hour was up we got back on board the boat and went back to Koycegiz. On the way back the guys on the boat pumped up the Turkish music and everyone danced! We were both exhausted and fell asleep without having any dinner. It was a great day. We met friends, had a wonderful day, and didn’t spend very much. Does it get much better?
I swear my mustache is safe and sound with my cousin Lou. I might take the chance to grow a big Turkish mustache while I’m here though.