Tuesday 26th September is the long travel day of the holiday. After our final excellent breakfast, we check out of the hotel (given a present of apple sauce), and then spend four hours travelling to Cesme, stopping off briefly at a small beach to have a drink and stretch our legs. We check into our final hotel, the Yelcin, which is on a steep side street by the side of the castle and overlooking the marina. We have to park the hire car in public parking area, but do get to move it to one of the three hotel parking space the next morning. The room is small with no balcony, but we have a view of the marina, and there is a communal balcony, terrace (which is where breakfast is eaten) and living room area, all of which we make use of. There is a nearby mosque with speaker aimed at the hotel; dogs howl each morning during the call to prayers. After unpacking we have an evening meal at one of the many cheaper eating places inland and away from the very expensive waterfront and marina.
Wednesday 27th September is a warm day with sunshine. After a buffet breakfast we head down to the seafront for a boat trip on a traditional wooden motor schooner (gulet), called the Saint Mary. We set off at 11.0am and return at 17.45pm, so a full day out; it costs 100TL each and is excellent value. We take a spot on the top deck on two sunbeams, a good position to enjoy the sunshine and views of the coastline. There are 18 passengers in total, a mix of Turkish, Germans and one other English couple. Paul manages to chat to several groups during the day, as usual!
We sail along the coast to a couple of nearby islands and make three stops during the day. The Blue Lagoon is the first stop where we swim in the sea (Paul snorkles too) and lunch is cooked and served (fish for Paul, pasta for me with water melon afterwards). The second stop is Coral Island where I have a snorkel too and we walk a little way in beach flip-flops to protect our feet from sea urchins, spotting a lot of fish. The final stop is Donkey island where there is a short jetty and we are able to walk to a nearby donkey sanctuary. We feed the donkeys the leftover watermelon skins, and see goats, a large rabbit and a dead snake.
The return journey is a bit rough as the later afternoon breeze whips up the waves; good fun though. I particularly enjoy the views of the Cesme peninsula coastline and the Greek island of His (Chios in Turkish). A very relaxing day which ends with a meal at the Friendly Corner restaurant and watching the sunset from the hotel balcony. A super first day.