We had decided to head south to the beach to lap up the sun for a few days before leaving turkey. We needed to take the ferry from Marmaris to the Greek islands but really didn’t want to stay in such a tourist mecca. With that in mind we booked to stay at an awesome hotel on the beach in the next town called Icmeler. Our plan to avoid tourists failed miserably. While Icmeler was lovely and we enjoyed the beach there were tourists everywhere. It is seriously the English version of Thailand.
You have genuine concern it’s not going to be a great stay when upon entering your hotel you step on a dog turd in the corridor and walk it all over the rug inside your room, only for the owner to say “oh terrible sorry” and just hang the rug outside on a railing. But when your paying 30euro a night for two people you can’t really complain and things did improve. Even if the shower head did fall on me a few times and there was only a bottom sheet on the bed with one itchy blanket. Luckily our travel towels make excellent light blankets on a warm Turkish evening. The Turkish breakfasts were pretty good here; omelet, fresh bread, tomato, cucumber, feta and olives. The hotel was super budget and actually called a Pension. Located a 5 minute walk out of the town centre in suburbia. An area with unit blocks, some with half missing roofs, tin Sheds and the odd tractor.
We caught the morning bus here from Istanbul which took around 7 hours. The bus dropped us off in the tiny town of Eceabat and our hotel was literally 100ms away- stoked. We stayed at The Crowded House Hotel, supposedly an aussie run hotel though we didn’t see anyone who worked there who wasn’t Turkish, no matter. It’s pretty basic but also really cheap.
Which country’s Lonely Planet Guide do you reckon would be the current best seller?
Istanbul is one crazy place. It’s on the european continent (unlike the majority of the country) but it is crazy like most big Asian cities. From our first experience to our last it was hilarious!
Our first, a simple bus ride from the airport into the city. Only problem, they over filled the bus so when we got on there were no seats left. No worries we can just stand in the isle yeah? Apparently not. We were ordered off. Only concern was that the luggage doors were closed. I told them we weren’t getting off until they got our bags out. Probably because they did not want to think about going back in there considering how ‘well’ they packed everything, they weren’t sure what to do. Eventually after hoping on and off 3 separate times, we were allowed to stand haha. We stayed in an airbnb place near Taksim Square with a quiet little local named Ozan. Pretty simple place in a very basic street with enough cats to swing a room. They were all pretty feral too. I accidentally patted one and contemplated amputation once I realised what I’d done. There was a cool little cafe up the street that did great coffee and even had Wi-Fi.
We travelled by train down to Biarritz from Hossegor, which was probably our shortest travel day ever. We are staying in an airbnb room in a family’s house in Anglet/Biarritz and since they’re super nice we were met at the station by Patricia’s mum. She didn’t speak a single word of English but we managed and she was really sweet.
As soon as we arrived at the Hossegor Surf Hostel we chucked our bags in the room and hit the beach. It wasn’t the warmest day but it was so good to see the ocean again. The hostel was nice and the owner is a champion, but it is a bit of a man cave! He is super relaxed and friendly, but this laid back approach clearly influences all aspects of his life. The place has good facilities, but it gets cold at night and wasn’t real clean. One bloke left his mash potato and sausages in the pot on the stove for two days haha, pretty gross. Seeing what the three other back packers were cooking (and leaving lying around) for dinner each night actually made us realise we are fully eating like kings for povvo travellers really. Smoked Salmon pasta, lamb and prune tagine with couscous haha, not the most economical meals. Sometimes you can waste a lot of time looking for a descent shop too, as we did one afternoon where we ended up walking about 10km through Capbreton, only for it to start raining halfway back. Ah well good excuse to stop for coffee.
Our last week and a bit in Paris was basically a blur of cycling, picnics, walks and trip planning sessions in our favourite cafes. A great little cafe right near the girls called Le Petit Indices and our local Cafe Audjourdui, where the urinal and hand basin are side by side in the unisex bathroom. Pretty awkward, but of course I had to give it a go. Weird that Heidi had to wash her hands twice while I was in there though?
Paris is an expensive city for sure but you can actually holiday (and really experience it) without feeling like your missing out on anything or having to sit at home and eat toast. We have been living and loving Paris for under AUD $70 a day (including accommodation).