One sultry autumn afternoon, Liam and I rode the dolly to Gümüslük, a pretty picture-postcard village set among the ruins of the ancient Carian city of Myndos. This was a well-trodden excursion for us, a frequent and welcome distraction from bustling Bodrum Town. As a protected archaeological site, Gümüslük had mercifully been saved from the rampant over-development that afflicted much of Bodrum Peninsula.
As we bussed along the meandering heat-cracked road, I imagined how different the scenery must have been before the mad march of little white boxes up hill and down dale. Stunning, I was sure. Nevertheless, the hinterland surrounding Gümüslük still managed to impress; snapshot glimpses of pine-smothered hills and Tiffany blue waters cast a beguiling spell. We arrived at the small otogar perched above the village and meandered down the hill to the rows of craft stalls peddling multi-coloured knick-knacks, eclectic artwork and small pieces of fine silverware. Liam liked to potter, umming and ahhing at each stall and chatting to the hawkers. Sometimes he even bought a trinket or two. Just ahead of us, the glassy harbour gleamed beyond the quay and drew us to the water’s edge. The sheltered anchorage has been a sailors’ safe haven for millennia. This is where Julius Caesar’s chief assassins, Brutus and Cassius, moored their galleys during the ensuing punch-up with Mark Antony, something that even gets a mention in the famous Shakespearian tragedy.
A late lunch was on the menu. We’d long since learned to avoid the overpriced identikit fish restaurants with their press-ganging waiters reeling in the catch of the day. As emigreys on a fixed income, we left the fishy eateries that lined the bay to unsuspecting tourists and well-heeled Istanbulers who equated price with quality. Our destination was our favourite low-cost lokanta, a ramshackle kind of place with mismatched furniture and wipe-down table cloths. Dalgiç Restaurant was set off the main drag and served our favourite fast food – freshly prepared gözleme – delicious savoury rolled pastries laced with a tasty selection of meat, cheese or vegetable fillings. Our effervescent patron attended to our needs out front while his pantaloon’d missus rolled, chopped and griddled out back. The flat-bread feast was washed down with a ripe bottle of red, a cut above the ancient Myndoan plonk that was reputably mixed with sea water and caused unending flatulence. Sated, replenished and wine-mellowed, we wandered down to the headland and waded across the partially sunken causeway (submerged by a long forgotten earthquake) to Rabbit Island. Here, as was our tradition, we tumbled over antique stones*, bunny spotted and settled down on a grassy ledge to witness one of the most sublime sunsets the Aegean has on offer.
*Sadly for visitors, Rabbit Island is off limits to waders due to renewed archaeological interest. Don’t let this put you off. The sunsets are gorgeous from every angle in Gümüslük.