Bodrum to Marmaris (Aegean Coast 1)

AQuaMArine, BlUES, Azul, SUnrise, Sunsets,CarIAN coast, BodRUM, SUnrise, Sailing, ExhiliratING, scenery, MOUntains, forests …………………………………………………………..

Bodrum is a great town, touristy with many markets, St Peter castle one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, great little restaurants and hotels ranging from grand and expensive to down to earth and genuine. We arrived in Bodrum after an awesome ten days just experiencing TURKEY. We stayed in a quaint boutique hotel, Hotel Gulec. Awesome atmosphere, nice garden, helpful staff, comfortable rooms close to everything but just out of reach of the hum and drum of a throbbing holiday destination.

Bodrum Seafront

After a good typical European breakfast, we left for Turgutreis in a minivan, all set and eager to start our two week sailing excursion.

The Carian coast, which stretches from Bodrum to Marmaris, has recently become a popular yacht charter and gullet cruise area. Little is known about the Carians. Homer mentioned they spoke gibberish. Indeed, their language still remains to be deciphered. However all that matters is the Meltemi wind which is responsible for sailing conditions this time of the year, beautiful bays, sandy beaches and other historical structures that line the shores of this mountainous green coast line.

TURGETREIS is the second largest town on the peninsula. We presented ourselves at The SUNSAIL base. After signing and producing all the necessary qualifications, we paid a visit to the local supermarket to stock our boat, “Hector” a 39 feet Lagoon, for the first couple of days sailing. We had fun finding space for 4 trolley loads of stuff divided amongst 3 couples!!

Getting ready to leave Turgetreis

We left Turgutreis at 11.00 the next morning and enjoyed the freedom of wind, waves and sails. Our first overnight stop was Mersincik Limani, the only natural port in the area. It was a nice spot with olive trees on the surrounding hillsides. The weather was calm and we anchorED in 10 m of water on the other side of the farmhouses and took a line ashore. A breeze might cause a swell and with a bottom of sand…….!

Mersincik

For lunch the next day we paid a visit to Knidos, home to the ruins of an ancient town. Great lunch, nice walk to the ruins and a refreshing swim. A busy little place.

The old town of Datça was our next overnight stop and it was well worth exploring. The old town is charming. No moorings are available but here is ample room to anchor in the harbor north or south of the isthmus. The restaurants, tavernas, cafés, nightclubs, boutiques, and markets are among the attractions at Datça harbor. Beautiful sunset and awesome sunrise.

 

Datça

Datça

After another day of freedom we ended in the Keci Buku Harbour with its Byzantine Fort. It is the most attractive anchorage besides Bencik. The ocean was like a mirrored lake, never ending with soft shades ranging from purple to orange and yellows. A truly enjoyable little paradise.

Tying a rope to the rocks

Bozburun, being a small seaside town with its own municipality in Marmaris, was out next stop. Here we had a romantic dinner for 6 in a white gazebo while candles flickered in the light breeze that ruffled the canvas ever so slightly. Awesome.

Bozburun

We left the town of Bozburun and headed for Çerçi Köyü, a  small but beautiful bay. Although sort of hidden away from the sailing highway it is a popular spot. By nightfall all the moorings were taken.

Çerçi Köyü

Next stop Marmaris. A week has gone. How fast did it go. Blue waters, constant wind, sails and good company sure is a recipe for a bumper sailing trip. See you in Marmaris!!

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Copacabana to Puno (Peru)

We leave Copacabana on a regular bus only to stop at the Bolivia/Peru Border a couple of kilometres later. We do not understand the language but by observing and with smiles, we are welcomed in Peru. We arrive in Puno and stay at the Casa Andina Classic Puno Tikarani. The roads are wet and muddy but the hotel has large and comfortable rooms. We have dinner at Mojsa right on the main square of Puno. The food was true Puno flavour and delicious – vegetable soup, trout kebabs and alpaca steak. Stunning! Tomorrow we visit Puno Uros, the floating Islands of Uros.

Floating Islands of Uros

The Uros people are one of the ancient people of Peru. They were forced to live on these floating islands made of Tortora Reeds, when the Incas expanded on their land. The Tortora reed is used in their homes and furniture as well as boats shaped like canoes but with animal heads at the prow. The reed base of the islands is between 4 and 8 feet thick. The base disintegrates from the bottom as it is soft and mushy. Therefore reeds are always added on top. We partake in a tourist exhibition of daily life and afterwards buy colourful handiwork.

 

A miniature canoe

Uros “artist”

The speed boat awaits us and we leave for Taquile Island. It is a tiny spot in the middle of Lake Titicaca. Time never advanced on this little island. The plus minus 350 Quechua speaking families that live here, operate a 14th Century collective agricultural system. They are renowned for textiles knitted primarily by men. We enjoy a traditional lunch of soup and fish at a private family residence. Typical music and dance of the area is another treat added to the itinerary. The island has a stunning landscape and excellent views of the snow-capped Cordillera Real Mountain Range.

 

Taquile Island views

 

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Titicaca and Copacabana, Bolivia

Today is the 25th day of January 2015 and we have an early start again. We board a regular bus from La Paz to Copacabana, a small pleasant little town with definitely no bearing to its counterpart in Brazil. The bus is full and La Paz traffic busy, noisy and impatient. The journey is to take 3 to 4 hours. We stop halfway for a stretch and then continue until we reach San Pablo. On the way we pass the islands where typical totora reed rafts, similar to those used by Thor Heyerdahl in his famous “Ra” and “Kon Tiki” expeditions, are still built. To use the ferry the captain demands a small fee. The crossing to San Pedro de Tiquina, the Bolivian Naval Base are stationed here, takes approximately 15 minutes. The bus is transported on a separate barge.

Lake Titicaca

San Pedro de Tequina

Our bus on its own barge

Our bus on its own barge

The drive from the port to Copacabana is pleasant with waving grass, ancient stone terraces and beautiful views of the lake with a glimpse or two of the snow-capped volcanoes. We arrive in the little town and get dropped of next to the Hotel Rosario del Lago, a well positioned and beautiful decorated boutique hotel.

After a quick delicious lunch of local products, we depart by small private boat for the Sun Island where we
visit the Pilkocaina Temple, one of Bolivia’s most important archeological sites. We then hike towards Yumani village. We drink a nice cup of real coca tea while enjoying the views of the Royal Range of the Andes, the pre-Columbian Inca terraces and the just beautiful landscape of a famous lake Titicaca. Rumours have it that the god “Kotakawana” (god of fertility)lives here. The islands of Titicaca was used as a place of worship by the Aymaras from time immemorial.

Isla del Sol

Isla del Sol

   

Pilcocaina Ruins

Pilkocaina Ruins

 

A view from Sun Island

A view from Sun Island

Enjoying a cup of fresh Coca Tea

Fresh Coca tea for the altitude.

 

A blessing

A blessing

From Yumani village we walk downhill through the Fountain and the Inca Staircase and cruise back to Copacabana. Copacabana is the Bolivian gateway to Titicaca and the sacred Sun and Moon islands. The Incas believed that the creator god Viracoca rose up from Titicaca to create the sun, moon, stars and first humans.

Lake Titicaca is the largest, deepest and highest lake in the world. Copacabana plays an important role in the blessing of newly acquired cars,trucks, buses and mini-busses. So every Sunday the new vehicles, all decorated with garlands of flowers, are blessed by the priest for a type of spiritual insurance.

A Blessed Truck

A Blessed Truck

 

Bus to Puno

On one of the floating islands

Reed canoe

We opt to eat in the hotel restaurant. Superb Andean soup and smoked trout from the lake were more than enough to send us to our comfortable and spacious rooms. The next morning, after a first class breakfast, we visit the Basilica and the Lady of Copacabana, the patron saint of Bolivia. We walk the few streets and after visiting markets and watching people bartering, we board the bus to Puno, our next adventure, in the early afternoon.

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Puno to Cusco (Peru)

We leave Puno after breakfast. We will be driven across the Altiplano to arrive in Cusco in the early evening. The word Altiplano is the Spanish for high plain and in this case it is the area where the Andes are the widest. It is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside Tibet.

Sleepy village of Pukara

 

We drive through sleepy villages and stop in Pukara, a small town known across Peru for its archeologic site of Pukara. Opposite Santa Isabel, perched on the Plaza de Armas, is a small local museum with interesting exhibits and it appears that Pukara is the centre for the production of the ceramic cow decorations. Known as “Torito de Pucara” they are placed for good luck, crop and livestock fertility and of course to bring prosperity.

Torito de Pucara

Our next stop is Rach’i, an Inca archaeological site. This site was built by the Incas as a control point on the main road originating from Cusco and ran to two other sections of the Inca Empire. It has a lot of buildings and ruins but the most important one is the Temple of Wiracocha. Wiracocha was according to Inca beliefs to be a giver of life, the creator god that according to mythology created the sun and moon.

Temple of Wiracocha

We enjoy typical Peruvian food in the form of a buffet in the town of Sicuani.

We visit the white washed church of San Pedro Apostol in Andahuaylillas. The dazzling collection of colourful murals, coffered and painted ceilings and an ornate gold-leaf altar, earned it the name of The Sistine Chapel of the Andes.

Sistine Chapel of the Andes

We arrive in Cusco just as the Sun finished its “Good Night” display. It was a long and exciting day and we are happy to check into Wakapunku Boutique Hotel.

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Cuba’s Jardines de la Reina.

Jardines de la Reina ……  or “Gardens of the Queen

It was so named by Christopher Columbus to honour the Queen of Spain.

 

This must count as one of the great dive locations in the world! It’s part of Cuba, which is the largest island in the Antilles, separating the Atlantic ocean and the Gulf of Mexico in the North from the Caribbean ocean to the South.

We stayed on a liveaboard boat operated by Avalon, for a week. The diving, staff, food, everything was just excellent!

The sunset was just perfect……….every day.

There were eels,

caves and crevices,

and then of course, many of the silky- and Caribbean -reef sharks.

You can read all about our trip to Jardines de la Reina on our DivingWorld blog at:

Diving in Jardines de la Reina, Cuba.

Diving in Jardines de la Reina, Cuba.

 

 

 

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