TÜRKIYE I woke up at 6:00 as the ferry docked at Samos Island, the closest Greek island to Turkey. Outside, the sun was blazing down and the architecture of the buildings nestled in the pine-clad hills had changed from the rounded, white-washed Greek style to sturdier, larger structures with red-tiled roofs.

An unexpected bonus onboard was free hot showers which we availed ourselves to while the ferry made the last 1½ hour journey to Kusadasi.  Once we had docked we had a 2-hour wait aboard the ferry to have our passports stamped then we disembarked and after spending some time in an information office we set off to find a hotel. We changed £20 at a rate of 4,372.59 TURKISH LIRA which gave us 87,000TL then after about 20 minutes of looking we found a cheap hotel for 25,000TL (about  £5).

After we had settled in we went out and had some lunch then wandered around the town which is an obvious tourist trap. We went into a leather shop and had a cup of apple tea with the salesmen while they tried their hardest to sell me a leather jacket then talked for a while with a carpet salesman. We ended up sitting out on the breakwater and it was such a hot day we decided to go to the beach. We walked back to the hotel and got our swimming gear and caught a Dolmus (shared taxi) out to “Ladies Beach” for a fare of 750TL or about 50p.

The beach was crammed with German tourists looking like beached whales washed up by the murky water. We found a spot on the sand and took turns swimming in the choppy water which was full of sand and weed but was beautifully warm. We spent an hour and a half there then caught a Dolmus back into town. We changed another £80 for 349,000TL then went back to the hotel for a shower. After relaxing for an hour or so we went across the road for a slap-up meal which cost us 50,000TL, about £12.

Later that night though, Linda came down with a bad attack of the shits and spewing so perhaps something in that meal wasn’t so good after all!  

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