A breath taking, virgin landscape Twisty Datca

Before summer, most people make vacation plans and early reservations. They listen to their friends’ suggestions. After all this is vacation, merely thinking about it is enjoyable; this is the time to enjoy oneself, to escape from the stress of professional life, to get a tan, to wear shorts, flip flops and t-shirts instead of suits… The list goes on…


Article: Ömer Lütfi Soylu

To sunbathe at the same beach, to swim in the same sea, open buffet and crowds is not my idea of vacation. For me vacation means seeing different places, eating a different local dish every day; in short to rejuvenate by discovering new things… 
This year we chose Datca as our route due to the fact that it is one of the rare places in the South which remained untouched, as well as its breath taking coves. After all, geographer Strabon said, “God sends his subjects to whom he wants to give long and healthy lives to Datca…”
The first stop of our journey is Cesme. After spending two days at beach clubs, we set off to Datca. Before that I want to recommend a great fish restaurant in Cesme.
Fish and sunset in Ildiri
We travel to Ildiri, pulling away from the chaos of Cesme. Ildiri is a small village 15-20 minutes from Cesme by car. There are also many summer houses in the village. After entering Ildiri, we pass Manzara Café and arrive at Ildiri Fish Restaurant located on the right side of the road. At the restaurant, which is nested by the sea, we sit at one of the tables on the quay and start on the delicious appetizers while waiting for the sea bream which we ordered beforehand. The sun starts to set above Chios Island and paints the sky in amazing shades of red and navy. If you can find fresh sea bream, you should try it. The restaurant’s grill selection is also delicious. It is best to make a reservation. 
Arriving in Datca!
When choosing our hotel, we have two concerns; hygiene and quiet. We settle in Luna Hotel located 300-400 m from Datca’s centre. It is exactly like we wanted; clean, quiet and cheap. The owner, Mr. Dincer is very sociable and has a good knowledge of Datca’s coves. His recommendations were really useful.  
First route: Hayitbuku, Ovabuku, Palamutbuku, Knidos
Our first route is the southeast of the peninsula. We start right after breakfast. We take our umbrellas as precaution, as well as our snorkels to see the beauties of underwater. A snorkel of medium quality is around 25-30 TL. Trust me, it will be worth it. Our first stops are Hayitbuku and Ovabuku located after Mesudiye Village, around 20 minutes from Datca. Villages in Datca are generally located on sheer slopes away from the sea. A local of Datca explains this was a move “to be protected against pirate attacks in the past.”
We stop our car at the hillside of Mesudiye Village to watch the valley and the sea. We also take photographs. Hayitbuku is a small cove. There is a small quay for boats. The sea’s temperature is perfect. A mild breeze prevents exhaustion while sunbathing. There are small cafes that provide lounge chairs, umbrellas and food service at the beach. They also have shower and dressing cabins. Chairs and umbrellas are free; the prices are low compared to beach clubs. We choose a place called “Hosmahal.” It is very quiet; there are only three or four families besides us. The quiet, the sound of the sea, the mild breeze… We are enjoying ourselves. At noon, we eat a light meal and set off to Palamutbuku. 
P.S.: You can choose to stay at small guest houses in Hayitbuku. You can find vacancies even in August. 
The name of the clear sea: Palamutbuku
We wonder where the name Palamutbuku came from. There had been many acorn trees in Palamutbuku. In time, these were replaced by almond trees due to their trade value. Palamutbuku is a bigger cove than Hayitbuku. There are wooden houses and small hostels for accommodation. There is also a small quay. The sea’s clearness surprises us. We learnt that the range of visibility at the bottom of the sea is over twenty metres. During our dives with snorkels, we appreciate the crystal waters. The chilliness, saltiness and clarity of the water make the sea irresistibly appealing and therefore we don’t spend any time sunbathing, preferring to swim. Fresh almonds sold by villagers at the beach are the most delicious snacks to be had at the seaside. One kilo is 30 TL. We heard that the restaurant called Le Jardin de Semra in Palamutbuku was really good, although we didn’t have time to try it. The stuffed squash blossoms are particularly recommended. 
Knidos and sunset
Before sunset we set off to the ancient city of Knidos. On the road, you pass through Yazıkoy and Yakakoy. The ancient city’s centre is at the seaside. There are ancient ruins located 6-7 km to the centre. Knidos is a breath taking place. We imagine ourselves in ancient ages. With its small quay at the seaside, city walls, city centre, temple and amphitheatre, it is a veritable city. 
In antiquity, Knidos was most famous with the sculpture “Aphrodite of Cnidus”. The work of the ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles, this sculpture was so beautiful and famous that people from other cities came to see it. 
Until that time, sculptures of gods were nude but sculptures depicting goddesses had only their neck and one breast uncovered. The sculpture of Aphrodite has not been discovered until this day but its pedestal is still in place. We contend ourselves with taking the pictures of the pedestal. On the top of the hill stand the Temple of Apollo. The city rises towards it like an ancient amphitheatre. While visiting the ruins, we imagine people from Antiquity around us. First the British and then Americans made excavations in Knidos for long years; thereby many artefacts have been removed from the site. Seeing what was left, we criticise our society’s lack of awareness of history. 
You should see the sunset in Knidos. One should visit Datca just for this. My advice is to watch the scenery from the top of the big amphitheatre. The ancient city, the historic lighthouse and the sun promise amazing scenes. 
Delicacies of Fevzi’nin Yeri
Since several people recommended us Fevzi’nin Yeri, a local restaurant, we decide to go there for dinner. Mrs. Semra prepares the appetisers while Mr. Fevzi prepares the fish. The young members of the family wait on the tables. This is a veritable family business. They describe their restaurant as “a quarter fish restaurant, a quarter tavern, a quarter meeting venue and a quarter friends’ table.” The place is very crowded; we wait 10-15 minutes for a table. The whole family is ready to host their guest properly. Each of ten kinds of appetisers prepared by Mrs. Semra with local herbs is delicious; you should try them. Fried shrimp is fantastic. After the appetisers, we drink shark fin soup; it is an unusual delicacy. Following red mullets cooked just right, we try another local flavour, locust bean pudding. It is delicious. 
Second route: Aktur, Ayak Adasi
The first stop of our second route in Datca is Aktur. Located 15-20 minutes away from Datca on the road to Mugla, Aktur is a great vacation spot with pine trees and two exquisite coves. For surfing enthusiasts, there is a small surfing school. 
Our second stop Ayak Adasi is a small island located 100-150 metres from the beach. Its only inhabitants are a few goats and rabbits. You can reach the island by foot. I advise you to wear water shoes to protect your feet from sea urchins. The beach is very quiet, the scenery is amazing, the sea is fantastic; we are extremely happy. There aren’t any facilities at the beach in Ayak Adasi. You should bring your own umbrella and water. Small fishing boats drop by and sell the fish they cook on board but you might miss them.  
Other recollections
Eating yeast fritters while taking a walk at the seaside in Datca, Emek Fish Restaurant and sea breams, fresh almond oil, Old Datca, Mehmet Ali Aga Mansion, Bortubet, capers, Pigs Bay and Aquarium Bay.
Farewell to Datca, to our journey and to the sea
While we are sad that it is time to say goodbye, we are happy for what we have seen, lived, in short what we can take with us, our memories. We are on our way to Istanbul with my dear wife, with whom I have experienced all the beauties of Datca; the colour of the sun on our skins, the joy of what we have seen on our faces. One cannot forget Can Yucel when the topic is Datca. We say goodbye to Datca with a poem from the master. 
Bury me, my dear, in Datca.
Pass Ankara and Istanbul by!
They’re full to the brim.
And most expensive
Take Zincirlikuyu for example
One grave is worth 750 million lira 
Here is relatively cheap
No chance of being out of place
No need for prayers
As I said, bury me in Datca
There, at the cemetery with a view of the sea
I’ll be pissed if they dig thinking of treasure 


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