Marmaris: directly from… Rhodes
Although it is a known tourist destination in Turkey, Marmaris it is often known thanks to the excursions that are offered in Rhodes. Tourists there, frequently take advantage of one of their day of holiday in the Greek Island and go to visit this little city in Turkey in a one day cruise. That is the same way I visited it. An hour and a half by ferry from Rhodes (Greece). While entering Marmaris’ bay, the landscape is, I have to admit that, more than pleasant: green hills “fall” into the intense blue of the southwest Aegean Sea.
Landed on dry land I have to pass through customary customs checks, very long, as always. The queue is quite long and we have to wait outside, with almost 100° F, under the Mediterranean summer burning sun, not exactly the more comfortable setting. Time pass and I get inside the building, there is a free WIFI connection for travelers, but it doesn’t work properly. I then give up.
Finally I step into Turkey (and Asia)!
From the port to Downtown Marmaris, there is a pleasant promenade, you first have to pass through a small open air mall, decorated with palms trees and very well cared gardens.
Continuing walking you got over a little bridge, that crosses a canal, that reaches the sea few feet next to the bridge. Lots of boats, small and medium size boats. As you continue walking the promenade, you meet fountains and restaurants with outdoor seating and free WIFI, a really pretty area!
The walk leads into Downtown Marmaris, at that point yoll have the beach on your left side and the city on your right side. And this is the view that I see in front of me:
Marmaris: between Asia and Europe
I do start the actual Marmaris’ tour. For at least two important reasons: first I am starving (I want to try some local delicatessen; and second I want to visit this city at the edge of west Asia.
Marmaris has shops, restaurants, fast foods, and typical south European building. But you can clearly see, and perceive that you are not in Europe. You got the feeling that here people want to be like Europeans, but their roots, the Arab-Muslim influences are very strong: veiled women, absence of alcohol in the restaurants, etc. At the same time by the way, you can meet girls without headscarves and sometimes you can even confuse them for Europeans. Also in some touristic restaurants you can find alcohol. This is a contrasting reality, let’s say a contradictory one.
Now it’s time to eat! After several restaurants checked out, I choose a typical Turkish Food Restaurant, not one of the more touristic ones, but the place is still full of people, a usual sign of good quality of food and often low cost!
In fact although the restaurant is not very cool, pretty rough (as one of the greek restaurants on the Aegean islands), the food is very good and the prices are very affordable. Thankfully the waiter speaks English, the is quite common here, cause of all the tourists who pass by around these areas.
I try various dishes, from the most famous turkish Kebab to other ones. I must say that this kebab is better than many others eaten before in Europe. But I am here only for a day, and I spent the last 2 weeks in Greece, in Rhodes, where the European version of kebab, the Gyros is so common, and the comparison between this kebab and the greek gyros comes quickly to my mind: I honestly do prefer greek Gyros, far off (made with pork meat, here in Turkey pork is forbidden due to religious reasons)!
After lunch I walk around the city, not very beautiful on its modern part, the beach and the sea water are very dirty, far away form the beaches of Rhodes. However Marmaris it seems to be a very popular destination for Turkish, in some ways it reminds me the more famous Cannes in France and for just a while, California comes to my mind because of all its palm trees and aquatic sports and activities on the beach.
On my opinion, the most interesting part of Marmaris is the part between the port and Downtown. I’m talking about the ancient city that lies partly on a hill. Ancient and characteristic buildings, souvenir shops, etc. A bit annoying are some shopkeepers that try to grab you inside their shops and make you one of their clients.
Time passes by quickly and it’s already time to get back to the port. I’m returning to Rhodes, two hours by ship and I’ll be back to the Colossus’ island. Read my article about Rhodes!