When travelling, i’m usually the person my friends refer to as ‘the bag lady’. Mildly insulting but true. I can’t argue. I am the responsible mother hen. I plan dinners, find out the best places to go depending on our mood and make it a mission to make sure we don’t miss a beat. I take pride in my position. Although I always make sure to have a good time, I never let go entirely. I try to always be prepared for anything and make sure my friends have much to look forward to.
We arrived in Bodrum in the afternoon after quite a hectic journey over from Italy and I couldn’t wait to see the hotel which I took much pride in booking. A car was waiting to pick us up and we took a winding half an hour journey around mountains along the beautiful coastline. At the same time as I was enjoying the view, I was on my phone, checking for the latest night spots, restaurants, lounges, local haunts, market places and so and so forth. I was preparing myself for my usual scheduling battle of how much can I fit in to five days.
Bodrum, usually recognized for its beautiful sea, fun nightlife and ‘St.Tropez of Turkey’ label, meant that I obviously wanted to see all those aspects and see what the fuss was about, so I mentally noted down some plans as we arrived at the hotel and our bags were unloaded from the car.
As we walked though this massive open air reception and were greeted so warmly by the hosts of Macakizi, We were given a brief tour.
The hotel looked like it had formed organically out of the rocks and stone of the side of the mountain, little cottages along the different levels scattered like little private bungalows with sweeping white curtains and as if built out of the wood from the trees lining the pathways. Total brain shutdown. Bag lady has left the building. If this isn’t heaven, I’m not going.
The harder I looked the more I noticed the details of the colorful flowers and plants scattered everywhere, this place is like a hippy paradise. It made me want to throw all my shoes into the ocean forever and braid flowers into my hair. Peace and love people.
The breakfast area was a huge open air library/living room with minimalist accents and a view that made me want to sob like a three year old. As we walked down to the “beach” area, I realized that there was no actual beach at all, but a deck that skimmed the beautiful water with little ladders dipping into the sea. The deck was covered in beach beds and beautiful people. The beach bar rested between two sections of the deck right in the center with happy, tanned people from all walks of life. This place seemed to bring people together. This was no St.Tropez. There was no pretentiousness, no arrogance, no Versace, Versace, Versace.
I walked over to the water and there in front of me, in this beautiful sunset, were ducks. A family of ducks paddling along. Which I came to learn was something they did every afternoon. Even the ducks know this is the place to be.
That evening, once settled in our rooms, I would have usually started rushing everyone so we can follow my holiday plan for a fool-proof good time. All at once, time stood still. I didn’t want to go anywhere. I wanted to be right here.
I woke up the next day walked down to the beach deck and my friend and I met Abdullah. Our very lovely and unintentionally funny beach attendant. He took care of us everyday that trip, and each day, he was smiling, loving and a genuinely good person to have around. We would have fresh juicy figs prepared for us by the water in the morning, and juices you could only imagine, Lunch was a buffet style of homemade salads with a turkish touch all lined up along an outdoor table and let me say, it was so good I might have cried a little.
Not a single day did we experience anything else. We just wanted to be here and now. It was the most relaxing and wonderful thing I have ever experienced and in no way artificial and touristy.
Macakizi was crowded with Turkish people from all over the region who come here as their little getaway. Even the hotel has a beautiful story of how it came to be and the woman who built it, (I recommend you look it up). It was a magical experience unlike any other. As the five days of slow living and the island hippy attitude came to an end, I looked down at the shoes I now had to officially wear, and remembered that not all was lost… The bag lady and I parted ways for five days in Bodrum. Its the most freedom I have from and for myself. Plus I left a pair of shoes there as a symbolic gesture. I kind of regret it now because… I really need those shoes.