Bodrum – the Magnet
For most travellers, the South Aegean coast of Turkey is a holiday resort and not much else. However, after spending some time you get trapped in the spirit of the area, the fun capital of which is Bodrum. What looks like any other small town on the seashore, turns out to be the center of the beautiful people of Turkey. Politicians, artists, movie and TV stars… anybody that’s anybody in the country has to dedicate at least a week of their summer vacation to Bodrum. Along with them are students and families from Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, the three main cities of Turkey.
On the other hand, of course, hordes of European tourists fill the resort towns like Gï¿½mbet, Bitez or Turgutreis, on package tours, looking for sun and cheap prices. Don’t be fooled, Bodrum is not cheap. Eating along the waterfront might be cheaper than in Marbella or St. Tropez, but go into any of the posh restaurants and start shaking…if you are rich in Turkey, you ARE rich, the restaurant and bar owners know it and cater for them.
The real population of Bodrum is half the local, year round inhabitants, half the summer seasonal workers. Both will make your stay wonderful, they are the ones that create that unique atmosphere, welcoming and cozy, and at the same time liberal and free. Leave your preconceptions at home the first time you arive in Bodrum, especially if it’s your first visit to Turkey. You’ll get rid of your prejudices in less than fifteen minutes. Bodrum is a shock treatment against any ideas about the Turks you might have brought along with you on the plane. No covered women, no alcohol restrictions, no belly dancers and you may even get a bacon burger if you feel like it. But, don’t be dissapointed, it does feel like Turkey, like the real Turkey, the country that’s in constant change, the modern vision of a great nation that has opened its mind and its heart to Europe. Of course, if you are looking for tradition you can also find it, travel agencies provide for all those in search of exotic souvenirs.
The more time you spend in town, the harder it is to go away. The special Turkish flavor of its peoples, mixed with an easy going lifestyle makes you want to stay forever. Bodrum has all the shops you need, all the eating, drinking and dancing to keep you busy every night and the peninsula around it provides hundreds of special places to get lost and go swimming, sailing or just watch the sunset.
I can tell when I’m in a place where you feel at home because I’d like to go bare feet all day long. I have my list of Bare Feet places that I’ll publish one day, Bodrum would be in the Top 3 if it wasn’t for the boiling hot temperatures that’d leave skin prints on the pavement…it’ll be on the night time list, though. In magic places like this, it’s inevitable to fall under the spell.