Visiting Cleopatra’s favourite beach and a lion.

Gökova was sleeping when I woke up. The sun had risen, the soft waves were kissing the sands, and my head was aching as result of the Raki I had last night. It was cold, but I had a Turkish breakfast in the hotel restaurant having the se just in front of me. It was around 10:00 AM when I helped the tour guide arrange our luggage on the trunk. I didn’t want leave, at the same time, I want more. More Turkey, more people, more everything. Travel had been an incredible experience, learn was only one of the achievements.

On the road, the tour guide told me we are heading to Datça. A port town in the southwestern Turkey located in the Datça Peninsula in the Aegean Sea. The road was beautiful, hilly and full of trees, the air was cold, but the sun warmed enough to let me use a t-shirt. We stopped a while to appreciate a landscape with tall trees, and a rustic path. The road was part of one the most beautiful trails in Turkey. We took some photos, and return to our journey. Suddenly, Fırat turns right into a dirt road, it was as we were driving inside the mountains around us. The road ended in a pier. “Are you open for a boat travel?” He asked me. ~I don’t know if any of them will take us, probably we will have to pay for all the others passenger who isn’t here.” Observing the boats on the pier, the blue water, I said to him, to offer to pay a just price for a tour wherever he was taking me. 120 Turkish Liras and a lot of talks put us in a boat. “We are going to Cedar Island.

Cedar Island (Side Adası) is located on the Golf of Gökova, and you can reach the island by boat. They depart from the Cali Quay, taking visitors to the famous Cleopatra Beach, and the ruins of the ancient Kedrai. Opposite to Cedar Island, we have the Greek Rhodes Island.

The day was spectacular, sunny, with a cold wind revolving our hair. Sit on the boat, I had the bluest sea I had seen until now in front my eyes. Observing the boatman manoeuvring the small boat with almost careless, I thought how they could find their way in the middle of nowhere. A shadow on the water made me turn my eyes to the sky. Some seagulls were following the boat, probably think his owner will fish soon, and maybe they could steal some easy food.

We arrived at another pier, being received by the people who guard the island. Turkish government put the Cedar Island under protection, few tourist is allowed at same time. I left the boat, and looked around, the island was not totally flat, with some elevation here and there. Fırat told me then, the ancient Caria city of Kedrai had let many pieces to our exploration.

Kedrai was a city surrounded by walls and towers (some still visible from the coastline). There are the remains of a temple to Apollo, the Agora, necropolis, some other building. However, the most impressive ruin is the theatre, located on the east of the island. I walked in the camps covered in flower that surrounded the theatre. Sit there observing how the time had changed the landscape there. How many lives had enjoyed the place? How was be enslaved by the Spartan General Lysander during the Peloponnese War? And about Cleopatra?

We return on our steps following to a small beach. Fırat comment about how that beach became known as ‘Cleopatra Beach’. It was said, the Roman Emperor Mark Anthony brought the golden sand by ship from Egypt for Cleopatra enjoy her visit to the island. Other stories, tell about how Cleopatra refuse to put her foot only on Egyptian soil. No matters if the story is false or true. The beach was fantastic.

Moments like that are common in Turkey. One day you are sitting in a theatre where Thales was sat one day, the other you put your feet on a beach where Cleopatra had walked. Sometimes, you see yourself immerse in a temple located in the city where Socrates lived.

We return to the land, to the same pier we departed. Time to continue our travel. Our next stop was Knidos.

It was almost 3 PM when we arrive at Datca, but we did not stop there, we headed to another ancient city. Knidos. After 35 km of good road, we faced 2 km of a dusty and full of holes’ way, in the end, all the effort worthen. Knidos was there, near the sea, where the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas meet.

Knidos was city belonged to the Caria civilisation. The city had walls and a tower near the sea. Two port were built to serve commerce and military. Today, you can see there a Theatre, the Odeon, the Temple of Dionysus, the Temple of the Muses and Aphrodite, and many other buildings. Knidos brought back my memories from the British Museum. In the main hall, there is a lion, he is called the Lion of Knidos. There is a replica of the archaeological site.

We explored the place for about two hours, the sun began to set, and I did not want drive in the darkness. Arriving in Datca, our first step was to look for a hotel, not an easy task in a beach city in winter. We found one (dreadful), and let our luggage’s there we went to a restaurant for dinner. It was a simple meal with white beans, rice, and salad, but the taste was divine.

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