Turkey: 7 6 19
Day 4: Cesme
(View from my room, Ciftlik Butik Otel, Cesme)
When the bus headed down the highway before I paid for my ticket or double checked that I was on the right bus, I worried that maybe my last driver put me on the wrong bus. What if I pronounced Cesme (chess*may) so badly that I was being driven to a different place? (Like Chechnya, Russia.) The bus was half filled with people including two British women sitting behind me who giggled over their dating practices and a Turkish the couple in front of me who might have been joining a--travel club.
As the bus passed apartment blocks that lined both sides of the road, a man stood, collected bus fares and handed out tickets. What a relief: I started breathing again. I pulled up Cesme on my phone and showed him. He pointed to the price on the ticket, 30 TL, which made me think I might be on the right bus. Hopefully I could figure out when to get off. He said something to the couple in front of me that might have been the equivalent of "Get a room." and they smiled at him and toned it down.
The bus stopped. I said to the driver, "Cesme?" And pointed to the ground. He nodded and I thought maybe one day I would buy the town a welcome sign.
I finally got an address for the hotel late last night, why was it so hard to get? and Googled it this morning. My hotel was an 85 minute walk from the center of town. Seriously? The guidebooks said you didn't need a car here, wrong again. The taxi driver' eyes got big when he looked at the address, making me think we needed to pack a picnic for the ride. I rubbed my fingers together for the universal "How much?" sign.
40 TL, more than the bus.
I suffered hotel envy as we passed bright hotels on the beach and next to restaurants. There were a lot of people walking around and a lot of cars and the entire town reeked of chaos. This was not the sleepy resort town I had read about.
We drove along the Aegean coast; the water was calm and I tried to come up with a name for the blue, but could only think of blue blue. After 20 minutes, we turned off the main road away from the ocean and drove up a dry hill filled with scrub brush. I tensed, the property had boasted an ocean view. Liars!
The driveway was over a mile long. Oh? We pulled in to a villa surrounded by wilderness and covered with lush red flowers. Beautiful. How many acres do they have? There's room to breathe here.
The manager met me with a smile and held my passport in his hands while he slowly said, "America. America" as if he had just learned that it was a real place. I had to help him find my passport number.
My spacious room opens to the pool and has an ocean view. I sat in a chair absorbing the beauty around me. This. This.
As far as I can tell, there are four rooms total. I am the only one who speaks English. I unpacked because it feels like I am a guest in someone's house.
They made me dinner and I swam in the pool (they mopped behind me when I got out.) I nestled into peace. I may never go to town. I might live here forever.
I love when things are better than expected.
(My hotel, Ciftlik Butik Hotel. I splurged for a pool/Aegean Sea view. A safe, beautiful place with super friendly, caring staff, a free breakfast: omelette, cheese, cream, cucumber, vine ripened tomato, bread, etc, air conditioning, tv (Never turned mine on.) Easier to be here with a car, but I walked to the town of Ciftlik that's 10 minutes away and also walked 85 minutes to Cesme and paid 40 TL for a taxi back. One day I will return and stay in the same room!)