Here’s a couple of the photos I took during my trip to the coast, needless to say I can’t wait to get back on the road. If things go as planned there might be some traveling around the Black Sea region in the works for October, fingers crossed. For larger versions of the images please visit my portfolio website, where I’ve uploaded these and the photos I posted a couple of weeks back. I hope you enjoy them.
In this post I’m going to try and give a short summary of my trip along the Aegean coast with some thoughts, recommendations, and tips that will hopefully be useful to you if you’re visiting the region or maybe just inspire you to go there. I’ve made a custom google map if you want to see the locations of the places mentioned and how they relate to each other. Some of these places we stayed in for a longer period of time, some were day excursions, and a few we just passed through. Some of them were amazing, others less so, but they were all interesting in one way or another. Let’s begin shall we…
Kalkan This is the place where our trip started, and as things turned out would also be the place where we spent our last days before heading back to Istanbul (more on that later). This town was quite a pleasant surprise as it reminded me more of a European riviera spot than your typical Turkish tourist town. Don’t get me wrong, the town is very touristy and like many other places in this region has a nasty case of the “Brittish invasion”.
What sets it apart is the classy way they’ve dealt with it, you can really tell someone with a strong sense of style and cohesive vision has been in charge here. It’s also easy to avoid the more touristy aspects and make this place your own so to speak. Expect impressive rooftop restaurants, a relaxed atmosphere, friendly people, and a beautiful white stone beach. In fact, we liked this place so much that we traveled nine hours at the end of our trip just to go back here. Partly because of the town itself, but mostly because of the wonderful B&B we stayed in and the genuine people we befriended.
Patara Easily reachable with a short bus ride from Kalkan this famous beach with it’s 12 kilometers of white sand makes it easy to avoid the crowds and enjoy a day in the sun all to yourselves. It closes at 19.00 though as the area is a nature reserve and the beach is used by sea turtles at night. Right behind the beach is a huge area with ruins of the old Lycian city, some of it excavated and some of it still half buried in the sand, all of it very impressive. Be sure to spend at least half a day just walking around exploring it.
Kaş This is a pretty normal looking Turkish town about 40 minutes from Kalkan, it’s got a couple of nice spots but nothing extraordinary, you can either explore a bit or just head straight for the main attraction in my opinion, namely the private tour boats taking you to Kekova. The boats leave in the morning and get back in the evening, so be sure to schedule a whole day for this excursion. The area of Kekova include sights like a sunken Lycian city, and the quaint village of Simena with it’s castle ruins. On the way back and forth the boats will stop for frequent swim breaks, and a pretty decent lunch is served on-board. Definitely recommended.
Turunç We actually visited another town before going here, namely Dalyan, but disliked it so much from first impression that we just had a quick lunch and then decided to move on. Unfortunately Turunç was only marginally better. This place struck me as somewhat tragic, I use the word tragic because it really has every natural prerequisite to be a wonderful place, but unlike Kalkan there is no unified vision here and the pandering to tourists has killed the soul of the town. We planned on staying for two nights, but ended up leaving after one as we heard whispers of another place close-by (Selimiye) that was supposedly nicer.
Funny story, as we decided to give our posteriors a much needed break from the small local buses and shall we say their lacking in the suspension department, we payed a little more and grabbed a taxi. It turned out the driver was also the governor of Turunç and we had a long frank discussion with him lamenting the path his childhood town had taken to attract tourism and in the process loose it’s authenticity and identity. It’s really a shame and I sincerely hope things can change in the future.
Marmaris If you’re anything like me you’ll avoid this seizure inducing, neon drenched, charter tourist infested party town like the bubonic plague and just pass right on through. Enough said.
Selimiye Well, they say third time’s the charm, and in this case the old saying could not have been more spot on. Selimiye is everything I look for in a vacation spot, small, genuine, relaxed and with high quality restaurants lining the waterfront at night. Situated in a naturally protected bay this place is a true gem, and with the clientele consisting to a large part of people docking with their boats has a more diverse and international feel to it than most other places in this area.
The only thing missing is a great beach, but the water is clean and it’s easy to find spots for swimming as most of the lodgings are right by the water and have their own little stretch in front of them for you to enjoy. We stayed four nights as we were worried that any more time here would have made us too comfortable to leave at all, and this trip was about seeing different things after all. No doubt this is a place we will return to.
Datça Our next stop was actually a place nearby called Ovabükü as we had heard the beach here had been voted best beach in Turkey. It turned out the beach was the only thing there, except for a couple of B&B there was no town or anything else to speak of. This might be ideal for someone who’s idea of a vacation is laying on a chaise longue all day, every day, but it was not what we were looking for. Instead we decided to move on to the Bodrum peninsula, however the day was nearing its end and we were getting tired at this point, so off we went to Datça for a good night’s sleep and in the morning we would get back on the road with renewed energy.
What to say about this town, Datça is possibly the most melancholic place I’ve ever visited. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s apparently popular with Turkish retirees or maybe it’s the gigantic abandoned hotel in disrepair smack in the middle of town, I’m not exactly sure. There’s nothing really wrong with it per say, but there’s a definite air of a town with it’s glory days behind it. If you, like we did, spend a night or two here I recommend heading straight for the marina as the atmosphere here is more vibrant and there’s a couple of nice restaurants if you’re feeling hungry after a long day of traveling.
Gümüşlük/Bodrum Leaving Datça we again decided to take a break from the monotony of the many buses we had been on at this point, and instead take the ferry to Bodrum. The two and a half hour boat ride was a welcomed change of pace, replacing stuffy air conditioning with a fresh ocean breeze. Bodrum city itself is pretty but too touristy for my taste, instead I recommend staying in one of the smaller towns on the peninsula and going here for a day trip of shopping or to visit the well preserved castle and museum in the harbor.
In our case we decided to go to Gümüşlük, a town we had visited last year and liked a lot. This place is very cute and popular with Turkish intellectuals and celebs, much like Selimiye there are great restaurants along the waterfront and the atmosphere is relaxed and non-intrusive. The geography around it is quite interesting and encourages exploration for that special little cove all to yourself. There’s even a small island right there in the bay with ruins currently being excavated by archeologists. If there’s anything to complain about it would be the cost of lodging and food as it can easily reach double or even triple that of other places in the south.
I’ve returned (grudgingly I might add) to the chaos of the city after an amazing three weeks of traveling, relaxing and photographing along the Aegean coast. I had a terrific time and I’m currently working on a small write-up of my trip where I will share some thoughts and tips for anyone else considering a visit to the region. In the meantime here are some dailies that I didn’t have time to post before I left. For larger versions of the images please visit my portfolio website.
So, for different reasons I haven’t been able to update in a while, but I’m heading off for a 3 week trip along the Aegean coast on Saturday and thought I’d make a small post about some gear I picked up before going. Just some initial thoughts, no fancy review or anything.
I’ve been meaning to buy a decent travel tripod for some time actually, the one I normally use is a super heavy duty (and large) tripod from Manfrotto and hence got left behind in Sweden. After trying out several brands and much consideration I finally settled on a BENRO A2691TB1. I have to say I’m impressed with the build quality and stability of this thing, especially with how compact and light it is. It’s also quite affordable considering you get a very sturdy B1 ballhead with it.
I also picked up a Shoulder Harness V2 from ThinkTank for my Urban Disguise 50 V2, basically turning my shoulder bag into a backpack when I need it. This is one of the reasons I absolutely love this brand, the gear is highly modular and you can tell they’re genuinely interested in making the best possible solutions for working professionals instead of just forcing you to buy yet another bag. Highly recommended.
I’m picking up some film at the lab later, so if I have time I’ll post some more dailies tonight, if not I’ll see you guys when I get back.
“My own resolute idleness has mostly been a luxury rather than a virtue, but I did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since I’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love. I suppose it’s possible I’ll lie on my deathbed regretting that I didn’t work harder and say everything I had to say, but I think what I’ll really wish is that I could have one more beer with Chris, another long talk with Megan, one last good hard laugh with Boyd. Life is too short to be busy.”
- Tim Kreider article in New York Times
“All of my work is film, and all of the black and white work is darkroom printed. I used to only work in this way but have been doing a lot of colour work in the past few years. The darkroom has been my biggest ally, my most influential partner, in all of this. Every “error” is interesting and has something to teach you. So often a new aesthetic or concept begins as a mistake — I accidentally print a photo two stops too dark and realize that the resulting aesthetic suits it better, to give a modest example. I have learned more from the idiosyncrasies of film and paper and chemicals than anything else. I pity the digital photographer and their absolute control over an image. I’ve always been drawn to working in the darkroom for the above reasons, but I continue to work in it today for conceptual reasons, mostly.”
- Mark Peckmezian interview by LPV Magazine