As a much needed contrast from our sleeping village beauty, we rode the dolly into Bodrum for a walkabout. We found the town in frantic refashion mode with mechanical diggers in full destructive swing. The Town Hall has been utterly gutted, the promenade hassle cafés have been demolished and the crazy paving beneath is being excavated. All along the narrow pedestrianised ‘bar street’ the cobbles have been ripped up leaving a multi-puddled dirt track and entire buildings have been razed revealing views of the Aegean not seen since Mausolus was on the throne. A chic new civic square overlooking the crusader castle would be a spectacular urban statement. I suspect it’s not to be. Doubtless, short sighted, short term commercial considerations will prevail.
As befits the town’s reputation as the summer playground for the Turkish urban elite, I sincerely hope that sufficient time, money and imagination will be spent on the finished product.
In a vain effort to raise its game, Bodrum’s ill-favoured ugly sister, Gümbet, had its own makeover last year. But still the roads leading into the tacky resort remain grimly uninviting, marred by dereliction and casual building debris. The meagre improvements to the central townscape look cheap, rushed and unfinished. You can’t polish a turd.