Rest Now, Travel Later...
Andre Van Der Bijl
Joint Managing Partner
By Andre Van Der Bijl
What will be your first place to travel to once the lock down is over? I am sure you have all dreamt and thought about the endless possibilities once we are back to our travels.
For me, this is an easy to answer question … Hopefully my first flight will be to my beloved Bodrum… (Gumusluk to be exact which roughly translates as “SilverBay”) located approx. 17 kilometres away from the hustle and bustle of vibrant Bodrum, a small bohemian fishing village where time has slowed down and it’s a calmer pace of life. Where the fishermen go out early in the morning with the smell of fresh bread in the air and the first call of prayer in the distance.
I have been drawn to the Bodrum Peninsula for the last 15 years and have had the pleasure of visiting 2-3 times a year, it truly is my corner of paradise.
It would be difficult to sum up in a few words why this part of the world is so special to me, but after 15 years I still get excited the night before travelling like a child on Christmas morning.
From walking along the bay of Gumusluk, sipping a pre-dinner cocktail in one of the many bohemian café’s with magic lanterns, (feet in the warm water obviously) …. Discovering a new hidden gem of a restaurant tucked away in the hills, treating you with a breath-taking view of the Aegean Sea combined with the most delicious meze, kebab or freshly grilled fish.
Strolling past the market stalls and haggle over £0.20, feeling smug with a bargain… drinking Turkish tea (caj) like a local at the market square whilst watching the world go by.
I love my early morning walks, discovering new bays, beauty spots and little family run Turkish breakfast places.. One of my favourites is “Lemon” it is only a 30 minute walk from our place and is an experience not to miss. Lemon starts as an art gallery with quirky locally crafted artefacts. Once you enter the restaurant and gardens you can see the most spectacular view over Gumusluk.
Inviting rustic furniture welcomes you in and every table is different… a Turkish breakfast is a whole new ball game….. approx. 20 dishes arrive, a real meze and a joy for the eyes… the most delicious fresh warm bread, numerous types of cheeses, (believe me, cheese is a bit of a big deal in Turkey and will not disappoint, hard, soft, goat, you name it, they got it…) home-made jams and fresh honey, juicy tomatoes and peppery fresh rocket salad, cucumber, peppers, numerous homemade delicious vegetarian dips, olives, succulent spiced sausage slices with “pull beber” (chilli flakes) and of course eggs from the farm next door. Gallons of Caj and freshly squeezed orange juice… whilst watching the world slowly wake up…..pure bliss.
Alternatively I am equally happy with a “simit” from any local bakery, a simit is a doughy pretzel covered in sesame seeds, not to sweet, not to savoury, a perfect snack during any walk.
The people are just so kind and all they want to do is help you. As I work in hospitality I know how to recognise service and good hospitality, one story I will never forget. A few years ago some new villas were being erected near our villa, a small builders camp was set up and a young lad of approximately 14-15 years old was taking care of the base ensuring the caj was ready, the camp was tidy and errands were done. The camp was located near a fence, people are allowed to go over this fence to reach a small beach. Without fail every time visitors that walked down our track to go to the beach were welcomed with a big smile from this young lad and a friendly “Günaydın” (good morning).
Every single time when a lady walked down the track to come to the beach this young lad would walk towards the fence and help her over the fence, no questions asked, no tips accepted, he just did this because he cared. He would make a great hotel manager!
Last but by no means least, the sunsets … Being a peninsula the area has to me the most spectacular sunsets and many evenings we chase the sunsets around the area. Over the years I must have taken hundreds of pictures of these breath-taking sunsets, watching the deep orange ball sink into the Aegean sea and slowly see the towns and villages lit up getting ready for an evening of fun, food, raki drinks, music, laughter and enjoyment. Knowing that in a few hours that orange red ball will rise up golden again and shimmer over the clear turquoise waters, delivering another beautiful sunny day in Turkish Paradise……..