Car rental, ruins, New Year's Eve
Bodrum Travel Blog› entry 8 of 19 › view all entries
We rented a car in Bodrum from a local agency that charged 22 euro -- all the other ones like Avis, Enterprise, Europecar charged twice as much! The rate also included full collision and liability insurance, and the rental shop dropped the car off right at our hotel.
First we drove to Becin Castle, a Byzantine era castle set on top of a rocky hill. The walls were really well preserved and there were spectacular views of the surrounding valleys. There was an entrance fee but no one at the ticket booth, so we just went in and explored the ruins on our own.
Next we drove to Labranda, where there were the ruins of a 2000 year old city set high up on the hill side.
From there we went to Euromos, where there was a temple of Zeus.
As a side note here I should say that I didn't think going to ruins would be the most exciting thing to do -- but they were actually quite fun to explore. Most of the ruins are remarkably well preserved. And all of them were completely deserted and free to enter (since no one appears to man the ticket booths during the off-season). We probably saved over $80 total among the three of us by not having to pay entrance fees. A lot of the ruins are quite stunning, and even the lesser known ones in Turkey seem like they could be a huge tourist attraction in any other country.
At night we went out to the waterfront area in Bodrum. During the summer, the Bodrum beachfront is packed with beach and party-goers. Yesterday night, there were maybe about 3 people total there, so our expectations for NYE were low. We arrived at the marina for dinner around 9PM and initial signs were good as there were lots of Turkish familes out in the restaurants. I ordered a steak which was listed on a menu for 12 lira. When we got the check, the bill had it listed as 20 lira. Phil and Dave also had the prices of their dishes bumped up. We complained to the waiter who showed us a different menu with the bumped up prices. So they showed us one set of prices from one set of menus, then charged us higher prices from a different menu. We were all really angry and went downstairs to complain to the manager.
Service at the restaurant was also incredibly poor. During dinner the waiters handed out tamborines and New Year's party hats to all of the tables except ours. They also ignored us for most of the meal. What's funny is that we were going to tip 20% anyway, but since they tried overcharging us by 20%, they got nothing.
After dinner we wandered around the waterfront looking for a bar to relax in. In contrast to the night before, many of the bars were full. In fact, most places wouldn't even let us in because we didn't have any girls with us (and also, I think, because we were foreigners). We were probably among the only foreigners along that street that night, which might have been cool if people had been friendly.
We found a random place that let us in and I ordered 3 beers. I asked the bartender for the bill and a few minutes later a random waiter handed me a piece of paper with "60 lira" written on it. So after the restaurant tried to rip us off at dinner, this bar was trying to charge us $40 for 3 beers, where previously we had been able to get beers for as low as 2 lira. It was a total scam. I refused to pay and the bartender started yelling at me. I said I'd give him 20 lira at the most. He took the 20 lira note out of my hand and then started physically pushing Phil out of the bar. We said we were going to contact the police and he laughed and told us to try.
We found two policemen only a few meters away and started talking to them. They didn't seem to keen to help us, and said we would have to go down to the police station to file a report, and that it would take 4 hours.
It was around midnight at this time, but since two different establishments along the waterfront had tried to grossly rip us off because we were foreigners, we weren't really in the mood to celebrate anymore, and went back to call it a night.
As a side note, when we were driving around earlier in the day, everyone was incredibly friendly. In one town, we stopped to ask an old man for directions and he got into our car to help direct us to what we were looking for. After we arrived he just got out and presumably just walked back to where he had been standing (it didnt seem like he needed a ride). Another guy we asked for directions got in his car and said we could just follow him. It was just really odd to see such extremes of kindness and mean-ness in one day.