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Bodrum

Today's stop is Bodrum, a peninsula in the Turkish part of the Mediterranean. You can tell it is a bit touristry from this picture of one of the restaurants. Those are not Byzantine era bears.

Before I talk about Bodrum, there was something slightly funny from yesterday. Vicki and I were walking around the exercise track on the top deck of the ship as we were heading to Bodrum. We normally walk about 3 miles an hour, and Vicki's Apple Watch makes announcements at every mile mark, sometime like  "Mile 1, time 20 minutes and 10 seconds", or whatever it is. But around 20 minutes is typical. Yesterday, we were walking casually. The mileage announcements were coming often and claiming we were walking 3-1/2 minute miles. Not bad, but confusing, until we realized it was giving us credit for what we were walking plus the distance the ship was covering. 

OK, on to Bodrum. Today, at breakfast, we met a Turkish man on the cruise. He used to live in Bodrum and said it was a great place when it used to take 11 hours to reach by car from Istanbul. It was a friendly town. Then they built an airport, so it only took 45 minutes. He saw the writing on the wall and left before the influx. Bodrum is now one of the most expensive places in the Mediterranean to buy a house. Out tour guide added that it is also the most popular summer vacation site in Turkey, by far. The permanent population of Bodrum is about 150 thousand. In the summer, the tourist population makes that expand to exceed 2 million. I'm glad it wasn't summer as it appeared to be crowded enough already.

Below is a picture of one of the main parts of the island. We were told that, before the airport was built, houses only existed on the lowest level near the water. Everything you see above the first row of houses was built after the airport allowed people easy access to Bodrum.

Bodrum is also famous because it was the location of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Halicarnassus is the ancient name for Bodrum. We didn't see any sites related to this mausoleum, so you can just file this away as another random fact.

We did see Bodrum castle, built over a period of 100 years starting in 1406. It was well fortified and withstood many assaults by larger armies. Eventually it fell. Today it is used as a museum. A museum and peacockery. There were several peacocks wandering the grounds, including a rare albino peacock.

There were several displays of various artifacts dating as far back as 1400 BC. One that interested me was a series of urns.

These are all original. And they were all used in the wine trade. Each city or area made their own wine, and some were more sought after than others. Same as today. How did someone know which one they were getting when they made a purchase. The answer is the shape of the wine urn. Each town had their own design, so one would know where the wine came from by the shape of the urn.

A more interesting piece was this crown, made of pure gold.

It was found, 99% intact, in a sarcophagus found under the castle. It has been dated to 1400 BC by association of coins also found in the sarcophagus. The remains were apparently from a queen or princess of the time, who was buried with wealth, perhaps to help her journey to the next life. Actually, her bones were also found, and also intact. They think her name was Ada. And, no, I am not making this up. They do not know for sure, but apparently have some records of royalty that perished about this time.

The last picture I have shows partial remains of a 14th century ship found near Bodrum. Our guide said there were a tremendous number of sunken ships found in the Aegean sea, the portion of the Mediterranean between Greece and Turkey. I don't remember the exact number, but something like 4,000 sticks in my mind. He said this was partially because the Greek Islands, which number about 6,000, were used as a training ground for sailors. 

One last thing. You may wonder where a picture is of Bodrum castle itself. I forgot to take one. But here is a link.

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