- Offers some women-only departures.
April 21 Arrive Istanbul (IST) any time today. Our first official meeting will be at 5 pm when we meet in the lobby of our hotel. Weâ€™ll introduce ourselves and start getting to know each other before going out for a welcome dinner.
April 22 We'll start today with a morning tour of Istanbul that will help get you oriented to the city. We'll visit some of the major sites, such as the Topkapi Palace, the Haggia Sophia, and the Blue Mosque. Following the tour you have the afternoon free to continue sight seeing, shopping at the Grand Bazaar, or resting. Our hotel is located in the old city so it is easily accessible to other sights. We'll gather again for dinner and have time to pack for our adventure. B, D
April 23 This morning we will be transported to Sabiha, Istanbul's other airport for the short flight to Dalaman (although the price of the tickets is not included in the trip price, we will let you know the most economical flight available). Our English guide and the co-owner of the boat, Anne, will meet us at the airport. We get our first taste of the Turkish countryside during our drive to Marmaris Harbor where we will be met by the captain, cook, and crew of East Meets West, a traditional wooden sailing yacht called a gulet (Note: the crew are all men who have ample experience with all-women's groups and are always a big addition). After settling into our cabins we we will share a welcome tea (and biscuits) before heading out to a Turkish Bath (a scrub/exfoliation massage, foam wash and oil massage), the perfect way to start our week of activity and relaxation. Thoroughly relaxed and very clean, we return to the gulet to enjoy our first dinner on board about 8:30 pm. B, L, D
April 24 We start with a breakfast feast of fruit, tomatoes, cheese, bread, different jams, and strong hot coffee. The mountains surrounding the bay, that we have so far only seen from the boat, beckon to us for our first short warm up hike. We'll wander through the busy town, stopping to look at the little shops and restaurants, before boarding a public bus that drops us off in the hills beyond town. The road goes steadily and gradually up as we pass a village mosque and stop to look back at the ocean. At the top there is a glorious view of the sea spread out before us before we start the descent by another road. A minibus meets us at the bottom and we return to the boat for lunch.
Although the boat has sails, most of the time we use the engine for cruising so we don't take all of our time getting between places. On this afternoon's cruise we'll pass islands and wooded inlets as we head out of Marmaris Bay before turning south and cruising the coastline for about two hours to our next mooring spot. There will be time for swimming before enjoying dinner, which might be barbecued fish, fresh salads, potatoes, and other vegetables with other options for vegetarians. Yum! B, L, D
April 25 After another hearty breakfast we start the day with a walk to the ruins at Caunos. The path itself is lovely: we walk around Ekincik Bay as it starts curving around the coast under pine trees and past olive groves. It's about 7 miles and we'll be happy to enjoy our picnic lunch overlooking the sprawling ruins. Caunos dates back to at least the 4th century BC and the ruins mark its long and varied history before becoming part of the Roman Empire. While still being actively excavated, it is particularly known for the Roman amphitheatre that seated 5,000, the Byzantine Basilica, an ancient Doric temple, and well-preserved Roman baths.
We'll have some time to explore the ruins before being picked up by a river boat and taken up the Dalyan River. We pass the colorful town of Dalyan and the ancient Lycian tombs built directly into the rock, the oldest remnant of Caunos. Our destination? Mud baths! Start with a soak in a crystal clear thermal bath, proceed to the mud baths where you can plaster yourself and each other (this may be the most fun getting plastered you've ever had), wash it off in a cold shower, and then proceed to a further dip in the hot pool. You might not look any younger at the end but your skin will thank you.
Our river boat returns us to our gulet, moored at Ekincik, where another delicious dinner, possibly chicken or aubergine gratin, bulgur, more delicious salads, and a dessert of little cakes in honey, awaits us. B, L, D
April 26 The wonderful thing about cruising on a boat is that you can skip the built up places and head for the less crowded, which is what we'll do this morning as we pass Dalaman and head towards the Fethiye Gulf. Dropping anchor in a small bay, this morning's walk climbs above the water on a coastal path before turning inland on an old Roman mule track that we'll follow to the ruins of a Roman church and settlement at Lydae. Our path now skirts through woodlands along a gorge, ending in another stunning view of the sea below. From here we descend to Manastir Bay and the ruins of Cleopatra's Baths. According to legend, Mark Anthony built these baths as a wedding gift to Cleopatra where they found a hot water spring in this part of the bay. Our boat will be waiting for us in the bay and we can swim and snorkel among the ruins before lunch. After lunch there is an option for another walk around the next headland on another beautiful path. If you've had enough for the day, you can relax on the boat as it motors around to meet the walkers. Ah, choices! Tonight we'll moor in a small beautiful cove that is just a short distance away. B, L, D
April 27 Our walk today is shorter than previous ones, making this the perfect morning for a lazy start. Again our path takes us above the water and through woods, gaining a summit with clear views of the many islands that dot Fethiye Bay. We descend to another cove where our boat awaits us, with lunch and a relaxed afternoon. Our boat continues to the small yachting resort of Gocek where it takes on supplies while we wander the town or sit in one of the many outdoor cafes and drink coffee. There will be time for a swim before enjoying a dinner of chicken and freshly caught fish and calamari. B, L, D
April 28 Today we journey inland by a comfortable air conditioned vehicle. Weâ€™ll stop first at the Tlos ruins, which date from the Lycean period. Originally one of the six largest Lycian cities, it was first mentioned in 14th century BC records. Excavation of the site is limited but its location and size make it worth a stop because there's so much to explore.
We'll go on to visit the ghost village of Kayakoy. It was once inhabited by a Greek and Turkish community until it - and all Greek communities - were expelled by the Turks in the 20s (and in turn Greeks expelled Turkish communities from Greece). When a massive earthquake later decimated Fethiye, residents removed windows, doors, and roofing materials to help rebuild it. We'll have lunch here in a very authentic local restaurant amongst the ruins. A pleasant downhill walk to the edge of Fethiye will help us work off lunch before we return to the gulet. B, L, D
April 29 Today is our last walking day. Our path today once again takes us up to a ridge, this time overlooking the whole of Fethiye Bay and the famous Gocek islands. It's a great last walk as we can see many of the places we've walked previously. Returning to our boat weâ€™ll motor a short way to Yassica Island, which is actually a set of islands forming two arms that enclose protected water like a lagoon. Tonight we can build a bonfire on the beach and sit around watching the flames and savoring memories of the past week. B, L, D
April 30 Our exact day will depend on the timing of our return flight to Istanbul. We may do some last minute shopping or wandering the town, possibly even some last minute chatting or snoozing on the boat. Whatever we do, at some point we will transfer to Dalaman for our return flight to Istanbul. There we will return to our hotel and have time to clean up before going out for our final farewell dinner. B, L, D
May 1 The trip end this morning and you are free to leave anytime you want. If you have the time, you could easily spend more time exploring Istanbul or other parts of Turkey.
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