My last weekend, however, was marred somewhat by a couple of idiots I met in the bar on Friday. New boat owners hailing from Essex and London they had nothing good to say about the sailing community. Or Turks for that matter. I sat and listened as they slagged off Turkish workers for being lazy, and yotties who help each other only for personal gain. Eh?
As Liz alluded to we both texted our parents and asked them what they recommend seeing in Malta. Both Liz’s mum, Dorothy, and Dad insisted on checking out St John’s Co-Cathedral, which he described as ‘gob-smacking’.
The prehistoric temples were as stunning as anything on Malta, but having already seen a couple of sites and the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta (which houses all the goodies, including some superb statues from 5500 years ago, including my favourite, the “Venus of Malta”) we were less stunned than we should have been. Don’t let that put you off, though, it’s an awe-inspiring site and built on a great spot overlooking the island.
Despite my blatant atheism I do love a good cathedral and this does not fail to impress. Whilst one spends many a moment wandering around, mouth open agog at the many splendors that adorn the walls and ceilings, for me the highlight were the marble tombs in the floor.
Not only do the Maltese siesta for most of the day, Malta completely shuts down on a Sunday so they can spend seventeen hours in church worshipping some bird in a blue dress. This was the perfect opportunity to drive into Valletta and wander the ancient streets, though it was made a little frustrating what with every tourist site being closed for the day!
After my watch, which actually saw us into that nasty weather, I attempted sleep in my cabin. It was a bit like riding the wall of death, but eventually I caught some Zs. Ten minutes before my next watch. Still, I got to watch the sun rise on a calmer sea and the good news was we were making excellent progress.
The tables turned a little, however, when the back-end of the front we were avoiding stirred up the waters and caused a little chop. Stanley’s classic ‘wow, big waves’ comment won’t be forgotten in a hurry. He was commenting on 1m swells, bless him. It was fun for a while.
We spent the first hour listening to the VHF, which was a real education. Having done most of my night-sailing around the UK and then across empty oceans, it was a new thing to learn about Philipino Monkeys. For those who don’t k now, all vessels should have their VHF radio on stand-by on the international channel 16. It’s used as a hailing channel and for emergencies but it can be open to abuse.
I’ve just completed my first watch. Me. I’ve just helmed a 50m motor yacht from Marmaris, Turkey, into international waters. I’m now officially one of the big boys. I wonder what nautical tattoo I’ve earned? Image of a gin and tonic on my forearm?
Having spent much of the winter aboard Rama producing The Porthole, and spending Christmas Day around the dinner table with 18 friends, it was only fitting that Liz and I were invited to help deliver Rama to Malta, along with Gordon, the chief engineer who we had befriended over the winter period. The deal was that we could come along for the ride providing we helped out with a bit of cooking and watching…
The next day was another early start and after a big Turkish breakfast served in the garden under fruit trees we set off for Didyma. We found our way there quite quickly and once again arrived before the official opening time and before anyone else. What can I say about Didyma? The site dates back to 8th century BC, but the ruined temple seen now is of 4th century BC origin.
The stadium, which seats 30,000 people, left us both speechless. The two agoras, temples, palaces, colonnaded palaestra, odeum, bath houses and other structures kept us absorbed, but again, it was the theatre that charmed us. It has been built in one of the two bronze age mounds found on the site and is in great condition, with carved names on some of the seats and an impressive throne-style chair in the middle of the front row.
It is difficult to choose a “best bit” because the city as a whole works so well, but the theatre takes some beating. Situated near the top of the ridge, with views looking steeply down across the valley for miles and miles it seats 12,000 people.
To help put this little trip into context we’ve included a road map (in the bottom right hand corner you can place western Anatolia within Turkey). The Greek island of Kos is on the bottom left and just off the map under Marmaris is the Greek island of Rhodes. Starting at Marmaris we headed north east through Tavas towards Denizli….
Introduction to our Turkish Road Trip Welcome to the land of tractors and silver-domed mosques. The south Aegean and western Anatolia region is a beautifully rustic area in south west Turkey that hosts some of the most magnificent Roman sights in the whole of the Med. They say Turkey is an open-air museum with more Greek and Roman antiquities than … Read More