Turkey 22: Bodrum

Well, we got out of Fethiye alive.

Not that there was any sort of concern before this morning.  Our shuttle to the bus station, though, was freaking crazy!  Three guys sitting in the front, the driver speeding around blind corners, through gas stations, laughing with his friends all the way.  It was the shuttle bus version of when Cameron’s dad’s car was taken for a joyride in Ferris Bueller

Anyway, we got out of Fethiye, I’m a nice shade of red from yesterday, and now we sit in Bodrum.

The plan with Bodrum was to “break-up” the trip a bit, avoiding an overly-long bus trip in favour of a slightly less long bus trip.  Rather than go direct from Fethiye to Selcuk, we head to Bodrum to shave an hour and a bit off the later trip.  Plus, we get to see one of the Wonders of the Ancient World.

What’s left of it, anyway.  In two locations.

Once we got our stuff dropped off, we went on a relatively treacherous walk on Turgutreis, a street in Bodrum that has a faded yellow line for a  sidewalk, one direction for traffic and, apparently, no speed limit.  So that was nice.  After getting our bearings, we started to see these shabby signs for the Mausoleum Museum until, eventually, we found it!

The Pyramids of Giza are the only existing Ancient Wonder, and for the rest of them, you have to use your imagination.  The Mausoleum has been reduced to a series of marble column pieces strewn around a courtyard, some bits of statues, a floor plan and a DVD that basically gives the story of the Mausoleum as “Mausolus was married to his sister, Artemisia, and when he died, she build him a giant tomb.  Alexander the Great came to Halicarnassus later and saw the Mausoleum and said how impressive it was.  Bodrum’s a neat place to visit.”

Yeah, could have been a better video.  Relatively accurate, though.  A lot of the post-Alexander history is murky and people aren’t even sure when it actually fell to ruin.  I’ve found 1304 AD as a possible date, with an earthquake being the likely cause.  Regardless, the building does live on.  Sort of.

In spite of all the earthquake damage, the base of the tomb was still recognizable and you figure somebody – SOMEBODY – might have known what it was.  Well, the Knights Hospitaller may or may not have known, but the long and short is that the ruined materials from the Mausoleum were used to strengthen the (then) brand new Castle of St. Peter which, oddly enough, was built where most historians think Mausolus had his proper palace.  As well, some of the friezes from the Mausoleum were used as decoration at the castle.

Now, no longer being used for defense, the castle houses the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archeology.  Lots of amphorae, relics from a glass-trading ship that have survived 3500 years later, the body and riches of a princess and some nice views of Bodrum harbour.

Then, after spending a few hours in the heat and still being burnt up from yesterday, that was about it.  Brief stop back at the hotel, out again to have a “kumpir” (a giant stuffed baked potato), a pistachio-covered éclair, and then done.

Bodrum did make a nice stop.  Not sure I’d spend more than a day here, though.  I know there’s some package tour destinations up the road and the main strip looks a bit like South Beach (minus the naked people), but it seems like a less laid back Fethiye, more a place to park your boat than a place to stay.

Anyway, tomorrow we head inland again for Selcuk!  Going to see Ephesus!

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