21 June 2012

La Maison en face du Canal, Millepetit, Languedoc

When the Canal du Midi was built in the seventeenth century, its path lay through the estate of one Lord de Mille. There were two chateaux on the estate, one the main residence and centre for all of the farming (viticulture), and one further up the valley which was used as a summer residence for entertaining. The latter lay right across the line of the canal, so Lord De Mille was paid a handsome compensation, and he rebuilt the summer chateaux as a somewhat smaller edifice facing the new canal. The winemaking was so lucrative that he extended the farming activities and added a huge barn a farmhouse, stables and cottages for workers around the rebuilt chateaux. The property remained in the family for another three centuries, apart from a a short period during WW2, when it was commandeered by the German army. About 25 years ago, the youngest son of the family took charge of the estate and gambled most of it away. Napoleonic law stopped the banks from taking it all, so the family retained the original chateau (Millegrand, still a serious winery), but the rest of the property was broken up and sold, including the second chateaux and accompanying buildings, known as Millepetit. Over time the various parcels changed hands again, and now most of the land is owned by a farmer who has replaced the vines with other horticulture, grain crops, fruit and vegetables. The chateaux is the property of an elderly lady and family, the farmhouse recently bought by a couple: Andrew, from Yorkshire, and Cleide from Brazil. They have split it into a house and two studio apartments. Because they are minding someone else's house for several months, they are letting the house as well as the apartments, and that is where we stay. We enjoy having all mod cons for a week, particularly washing machine and dishwasher. We have wifi, and even watch some television (British).

Our week at the house at Millepetit follows a familiar pattern for vacances en France. We generally eat out at lunchtime, eat at the house in the evening. Each day we drive around, visiting the towns and villages in the area. We travel west to Trebes, where we watch canal boats passing through a three part lock and visit the very old and attractive church, further west to Carcassonne where we spend four hours exploring La Cite. The most memorable moment is hearing the Russian choir Doros singing in the church (4 voices only, amazing sound).
We go east along the canal to the Port of Homps, where we meet an Aussie from Hamiltaon Island living aboard a barge who gives us useful information about moving barges from place to place, then northeast to Minerve, a little medieval village in an amazing setting on a promontory encircled by a deep and wide gorge. It was besieged in the Cathar era bynSimon de Montfort senior, who broke the siege by a direct hit on the only well from a catapult erected on the other side of the gorge.
We travel south via some challenging twisty mountain roads to Lagrasse one day, and to Rennes-le-Chateau and Rennes-les-Bains another. The former is the site of the church where the young priest became mysteriously suddenly wealthy, did up the church in extravagant style and built himself a grand house. The source of his wealth remains a mystery, giving rise to all kinds of legends and books including the Holy Blood, Holy Grail story and the Da Vinci Code. After reading all the information in the museum my theory is that he was a grave robber who fenced whatever treasure he found via his brother (also a priest), and that was why he wouldn't reveal the source. We think the church is vastly overdecorated, but the house the priest built later and especially the library tower, conservatory and walk in between are lovely, and the views are spectacular, as they are during much of our driving.
Our last drive is east to Beziers where we meet up with another Aussie couple living aboard a canal barge. They have moved out of a smaller boat which is now for sale and we will go and look at it when we are in Bergerac. We walk along the Canal du Midi to the famous seven lock staircase, arriving just in time to miss the last boat of the day going through, but it is still worth seeing, even if not actually operating.

We seem to have a wet day at the start of each new phase of our trip, then it gets progressively warmer. We end our stay in Millepetit with a lovely meal sitting outside on the edge of the canal, on a glorious calm, warm evening, finishing with a walk along the towpath and across the little bridge to look back on our temporary home.

14 June 2012

In transit: Greece to France via Turkey

Our plan is to spend our last morning in Kos sightseeing at the Asklepieion (ancient hospital), then meet our friend Dionissis who is coming in on the ferry from Rhodos that morning. But by the time we've checked out of the boat, parked our bags, had a reviving OJ, walked into the main harbour looking for the terminus for the tourist train to the Asklepieion, only to find it half way back to the marina, Dionissis has arrived, so we meet up with him and go to have lunch together. Dionissis gives us both a lift to his favourite restaurant on the back of his motorbike (serially rather than together), so we both have the fun of speeding through the streets of Kos on a bike with Tassie plates.
Spend some time with Dionissis after lunch, having a look at his boat Hector, then it is time to retrieve our luggage and start our transit to France.
The transit involves multiple steps, taxi from the marina to the ferry terminal, ferry from Kos to Bodrum, taxi to the hotel, night in hotel, taxi to airport, 6am flight to Istanbul, pause in Istanbul, flight to Toulouse, where we will pick up our Eurolease car and commence the French leg of our holidays. We are dreading it somewhat, as complex trips can be traumatic, especially if something doesn't go to plan. But it is in fact pretty smooth, with a number of highlights and only a few lowlights. Getting out of Greece is harder than it needs to be, waiting for ages for the attention of the Kos Marina staff to get a taxi ordered, and ridiculous bureaucratic processes to catch the ferry (see last blog). In Turkey our taxi gets caught in a major traffic snarl, but the driver manages to edge through to our turn off and find the hotel we booked for our overnight stay.
We selected the hotel from a website which, we thought, had told us that the hotel was close to the airport. Discover when we get there that we are only on the outskirts of Bodrum and still 40km from the airport. But the very helpful staff offer to drive us to the airport so we don't have to worry about whether a taxi will arrive on time (or at all), and also provide a meal at the hotel so we are able to get to bed early and diminish the pain of having to get up at 4am.
The long drive to the airport goes without a hitch and we enjoy two more very pleasant flights with Turkish Airlines, with a pleasant interlude in their Business Class lounge in Istanbul, one of the best lounges we've ever experienced. Excellent food and time to doze on both flights, so we arrive quite fresh and ready to tackle France.
Phone up the Eurolease depot who pick us up, drive us the short trip to their depot, ask us to sign a couple of pieces of paper, then hand over the keys to our brand new chocolate coloured Renault Modus. As usual I do the driving when we first start, and after a couple of circuits of the car park, we are off. We follow the Eurolease directions to the nearest fuel station, fill up the car, then are guided by the trusty satnav systems on our phones around the ring road that skirts Toulouse, down the motorway to Carcassonne where we exit and drive through Trebes, then on to Millepetit, which isn't on the GPS, but which we locate by trial and error on the side lanes near the Canal du Midi. We meet the owners of the house we're staying in, get settled in, drive back to Trebes for a meal and then it's time to collapse into bed, knowing that we will wake to the sight out our bedroom window of boats going past on the canal.

13 June 2012

Greece versus Turkey and some green stuff

After about two weeks in each country we found it interesting to contrast the two. Comparisons maybe somewhat skewed by the fact that we spent our time in Turkey in its largest city, but our time Greece in its most far flung islands, and generally in the less-visited harbours on those islands.

Turkey seems full of energy, a country on its way up, determined to prove itself. The population seems much younger and full of vigour, the Greeks are older and more laid back. Young Turkish men all have their hair neatly cut, perhaps because they've been in the army. In Greece we saw pony tails on men. In Turkey, no tattoos, some in Greece although not as prevalent as they seem to be becoming back home. Ancient ruins in Turkey seem to be better cared for and have more explanatory material. There was generally an entry fee, whereas there were sites in Greece you could wander for free, but we always felt we were getting our money's worth in Turkey. Food and diet are closely related, although we found rather more variety in Greek food.

A very noticeable difference is in the amount of bureaucracy. In Turkey this seems to be minimal and efficient. Provided you have your €15 in cash handy, it takes about 30 seconds to get your entry visa. Queues were long for some of the popular sights but were handled efficiently. In Greece we were given a thick folder of ship's papers for the yacht, full of official forms of all sorts. The day we left we wanted to leave our bags at the Marina Office after checking off the boat. It required the entry of a transaction into a computer system and the printing of an A4 sheet so that they could charge us €3.85 for the use of the left luggage room.

The biggest contrast was the ferry crossing between Kos and Bodrum, which is also a border crossing. Processing of our booking voucher on the Turkish side was quick and efficient, and they had a pleasant lounge area and duty free shop once you'd gone through passport control and security. In contrast on the Greek side, there were six ticket offices outside the terminal. Security guard sent me out to exchange my ticket voucher for boarding passes. Which one? Any one. Headed for the first, but was beckoned over by the second (first was already serving someone). She looked at voucher, sent me to first office. Looked at voucher, sent me to fourth office. Voucher finally accepted, passports checked, but then I was asked for €6 port tax, €3 each. Offered €20. Did I have change? No I didn't (Peter did, but he was back in the terminal, minding the bags and wondering what on earth I was doing). Bloke takes the €20 note, strolls slowly over to the snack bar in the terminal, strolls slowly back with change and I finally complete the transaction. Once through security and passport control we sit on one of the few seats on the quayside, engulfed in diesel fumes from another ferry taking about 10 minutes to depart. If the Greek economy is going to recover they need to revolutionise their systems.

Our tour guide gave us some interesting information about the Turkish economy. Wages are low, so most Turks share a cheap apartment. But the Turkish government provides cheap credit to help people buy apartments, and other things from cars and cows to solar hot water systems. As a result there is solar hot water and sometimes solar power everywhere in Turkey, despite the fact that they can only use it for 9 months of the year (they have to drain the hot water systems in winter as it can freeze overnight). We also saw a number of wind farms as we travelled. Greece also has wind farms, but less than half the houses have solar hot water, nothing like as common as in Turkey. All light globes in Turkey seem to be low energy, and we think it is the same in Greece, but we spent less time inside buildings.

On the subject of being green, both countries have some degree of rubbish separation and recycling, but the green bag has not yet arrived. You get a plastic bag with every purchase, however small. I have done my best to recycle them myself as rubbish bags. Another interesting feature of the coastal towns in both countries are signs in all the loos requesting that you don't put used loo paper into the bowl, but instead into a bin. Hard to change lifetime habits (found myself fishing soggy paper out a few times), but a good idea as I think the sewage treatment may be fairly minimal.

Would I want to live in either country? If I wanted a quiet place to write a novel, I'd stay in a studio apartment in a small village on a Greek island, Maltezana on Astypalaia, say. But if I was going to live and work in a real job, I'd choose Turkey, more energy, less bureaucracy.

09 June 2012

Sailing in Greece Part 2

Our first stop in week two of our sailing holiday in Greece is Livadhia on Tilos, reached after a long motor trip from Syrna (very little wind). It is different again from the islands we have already visited, more of a resort town. There are groups of umbrellas all along the beach in front of the various hotels, studio apartments and tavernas. There are signs of sophistication like an ATM, the first we've seen since we left Kos, and a postbox. There are a number of mini markets, and little boutiques selling items for the tourists to buy, like jewellery, beach wear, hand made soaps, etc in interesting back streets up behind the harbour. We ate a wonderful meal for €35, two vege starters which we shared then roast goat with chick peas. And as usual there was complimentary cake, which you feel you should eat and it's delicious anyway. So once more we stagger back to the dinghy, return to the boat and fall down exhausted by a surfeit of sun, wind, food and drink.
Finally the supposedly prevailing NW wind does actually prevail, and we have a good sail to Khalkhi, slightly marred by jamming the main in the in-mast furler, but there is enough wind to make good speed under headsail alone. Khalki augments its limited mooring space with a pontoon jetty in summer and we are whistled in by the harbour master, instructed to moor stern-to on the outside. After three attempts at getting holding, he gives up on us and we moor alongside. Next boat in, properly moored at right angles, contains a bunch of young public school Poms, friendly and interesting. One is sluicing down the deck of their boat with a bucket that has too short a line, so he loses hold of it on one dip into the water. He goes over the side hanging on to the gunwales, catches the bucket with his foot, heaves it back on deck, then pulls himself back on board over the scuppers, no mean feat. Watching amazed, we were joined by an older, moustachioed, very proper English chap who'd walked the length of the jetty to say to them, "Jolly good to see the flag flying chaps, but you're flying it upside down - would you mind reversing it, please!" whereupon they took down their very large Union Jack courtesy flag and put it back right way up. Unlike all the other harbourside towns, Khalkhi has stone houses with terracotta tiled roofs, and plastered houses painted all colours, yellow, pink, blue, lavender, olive, giving it a quite different character. It also has two tall towers, one a church, very different from the standard blue dome. The area along the harbour in front of the tavernas is also wide, rather than being just a narrow road, but seems to be pedestrian only, giving the place the feeling of an elongated plaza. About half way along there are primary school kids practising their Greek dancing, with tourists enjoying the music, taking pictures, and some of the locals (and tourists?) joining in towards the end. When they finish we eat at a restaurant specialising in Cretan dishes. We chat to the Cretan proprietor and learn enough Greek so that at least we can give and return greetings. The moon is full and the sight of it rising is stunningly beautiful. As we return to the boat a brass band (live? recorded?) strikes up with, of all things, "That's amore", followed by a couple more Italian numbers and finishing with the Mexican Hat Dance. Very strange choice. Khalkhi is a pedestrian town whose narrow passages don't permit even a motorbike, so it has a medieval feel.
Next morning we enjoy exploring the town and patronise the cafes again before heading off on a beam reach to Palon on Nisiros. We stop at Tilos again on the way, but only to break up the journey and don't go ashore. We need to get to Palon early in the day as there is nowhere to anchor, you have to do a Mediterranean stern-to moor in the harbour. But the wind is kind and there is plenty of room, and this time we berth without difficulty, with a bit of help from the guy on the next boat who takes our lines. In contrast to Khalkhi, Palon is full of vehicles, with four car/motorbike hire places in between the tavern on the harbour front, and tourists on rented motorscooters everywhere. We opt for the safer option of a very small car, and drive around the island, visiting the other harbour town Mandraki, then driving inland to the crater of a dormant volcano, then up to Nisia, a town perched high on a ridge with the sea on one side, the crater on the other. There is a parking area just outside the town, then you walk through passageways designed for people and goats. We eat in the village square, or more properly circle, a tiny space with a church, two tavernas and not much else clustered around a stone mosaic circle.
We explore Palon itself next morning, before heading out on our last leg from Nisiros to Kos and the marina. It is blowing hard for the first time, and once we get the sail set right we fly along at 6-7kt, reefing progressively as the wind rises to over 35kt. Inevitably once we round the end of Kos and head toward the marina we have the best part of an hour of motoring into a headwind, but there are windsurfers and kite surfers moving at amazing speeds to watch as we slog through the chop to the fuel jetty, where we come alongside easily with an on shore wind. Getting into the marina berth in the wind is trickier, but the pilot boat is there to assist with advice and a push at the critical moments, and we are finally safely berthed. We are here a day early so that we can see something of Kos before we leave Greece, and because we hope to catch up with a Greek friend from Tasmania, Dionissis. We've found his boat Hector on the hard stand here, but no sign of him yet.
We unwisely leave starting our exploration of Kos until about 11am next morning so much of it is done in the heat. Kos was razed by an earthquake in 1933 which gave archeologists the opportunity to start digging in the ruins. As a result Kos is a town of consistent modern and rather boring architecture wrapped around about seven archeological sites, one or two quite large. The only ancient monument that appears to have survived the earthquake is the castle built on the point by the knights of St John which is large and impressive, but is more ruined and less well cared for than Bodrum Castle. In the evening we drink our last gin and tonics aboard Astraea, go ashore for our last dinner in Greece. Tomorrow at 5pm we catch the ferry back to Bodrum, the start of our 24 hour transit to Millepetit in France.

04 June 2012

Sailing in Greece Part 1

We are half way through our two weeks sailing in Greece on our chartered Bavaria 39 yacht Astraea. We are enjoying the luxury of having two people on a six berth boat, we are using the spare cabins as a dressing room each and we each have our own head (bathroom). In-mast furling and roller reefing make her easy to sail, and we are gradually learning how to get a nice sail set with the unbattened main sail. As is the norm for cruising, the winds haven't always come from the right direction, or at sufficient strength to get us where we want to go in a day, so we have done more motor sailing than anything else, with one unpleasant afternoon of slogging into a chop under motor alone, and a couple of good 5-6kt sailing spells. The motor is low revving and quiet, so motor sailing is not tiring, and has the advantage that it keeps the batteries charged and the fridge cold. What it doesn't do is heat the hot water, and as we haven't yet stopped at a jetty with power, cold showers have been the order of the day, not really an issue in this climate. I have swum most days, and the water on board is as warm as the sea anyway.

Since leaving the busy Kos Marina, we have stayed at six islands, in harbours of varying character, but we've enjoyed them all.
Xerokambos on Leros was typical of a harbour depending on the passing cruise boats. There were two sets of free moorings set up by the two main tavernas ashore. We'd anchored before we worked this out, but that gave us freedom of choice of taverna. We made a good choice because not only did we have a large and excellent meal, but the taverna owner towed us back to the boat when we couldn't get the outboard to start (our problem, Peter had misfitted the safety switch in the dark.)
Grikou on Patmos had a sleepy holiday feel, a very pretty harbour with a bit of a beach and people sun baking, tavernas here and there. We dined on delicious fish at one, had coffee and cake next morning at another before moving on. The Dodecanese islands are very rugged and barren - it's like sailing round the Maatsuyker group in Tas but without the ocean swell, much warmer, and with not much chance of 70kt winds.
Our next stop was at Levitha small island with no houses, a single taverna. To our horror the narrow cove was already packed with charter yachts when we arrived, all moorings taken and a couple of boats at the end of the row anchored with lines ashore. It was so narrow that after going down the line of moorings we had to back out again. But there was another smaller inlet at the other end of the harbour, out of sight of the main part, which we anchored in and had all to ourselves. We had to eat aboard, but in the morning I was able to fulfill a long-held fantasy and skinny dip before breakfast.
After the solitude of Levitha, Katapola on Amorgos was all hustle and bustle. It has a quay with a ferry terminal and lots of charter yachts moored stern-to. We were too tired to try a Mediterranean moor, and after a few failed efforts found holding in a bay just along from the main port, where we were helped to put a line ashore by a Belgian live-aboard couple on a Beneteau. We spent two nights there, enjoying the day in between walking right round the harbour, stopping here and there for meals, drinks and to re-stock provisions at the various shops and supermarkets. Peter spent some time watching the day's new arrivals attempting their stern-to mooring: after watching them we are somewhat less nervous about it as we couldn't do a worse job. Amorgos was picture postcard Greece, full of typical architecture of whitewashed square houses, little steps winding up the hills, blue doors, window frames, shutters and domes of the churches, the blue and white punctuated by the vivid reds, pinks and yellows of geraniums, bouganvillea, hibiscus. The sweet resiny small of some unidentified plant, and peppermint gums here and there to make us feel at home. And of course, cats everywhere. One calico cat constantly importuned us over dinner, digging its claws into my leg to make sure I understood that it would like a share of my food, particularly when I was eating rabbit stifado.
Maltezana on Astapalaia was a mixture of fishing village, subsistence farming (goats and hens), and holiday venues ranging from large hotels to studio apartments, all of which appeared entirely unoccupied. We saw goats being brought ashore from a small fishing boat, probably being brought back from one of the more barren islands like Levitha or Syrna where they are left to graze. Everyone was very friendly, although their English was often limited, and we haven't even mastered good morning in Greek so just have to do our greetings in English and hope they understand. We were offered a share of a plate of fruit by some workmen, and one of the three cafes happily agreed to plug in my charger for my camera battery while we went off to see the ruin of a 5th century basilica, with mosaics, returning it to us when we stopped for coffee on the way back.
Ay Ioannis on Syrna was our Saturday night stop, and it must be one of the quietest Saturday nights ever spent. We knew it was going to be barren like Levitha, but feared the might be many other boats there ahead of us again. Instead we had the whole harbour (and presumably the whole island) to ourselves. We picked up the solitary mooring (used by fishermen sheltering from a blow), cooked aboard and watched the sun set and an almost full moon rising. Once again I was able to have my morning swim without bothering with bathers. Clear blue water, blue sky, what more could you want?

On tour in Turkey

We allowed about four days to go from Istanbul to Kos, where we were picking up our charter yacht. Plan A was to take a ferry across the Sea of Marmara, take a train to Izmir, bus to Selcuk, visit Ephesus, then bus to Bodrum and a ferry to Kos. Normally we plan and book all our own travel via the web, rarely resorting to travel agencies. But the information about trains in Turkey was somewhat confusing and the blog comments from other travellers contradictory, so we sought advice from local agents in Istanbul. The first seemed quite bemused that we should even be considering a train trip, and recommended against. When we got a similar reaction from the second agency, we abandoned Plan A and since the bloke was particularly helpful, agreed to let him plan and book our complete itinerary from Istanbul to Kos. The pluses were that we didn't have to make any further effort or worry about missing connections, or trail about in the heat with luggage trying to find the right bus stop or whatever. Instead we would be picked up from the hotel and one end and dropped at the ferry at the other, everything in between organised for us. And because we were to fly to Izmir we would have more time on the way and would be able to visit Pamukkale as well as Ephesus. The downside was that our visits to Ephesus and Pamukkale would be as part of a bus tour, working to a schedule.
The Grand Wonders agency who organised our activities around Selcuk were not quite as efficient as the agency in Istanbul. The days for the tours were swapped without telling us, so we weren't ready for the first day. Hotel pickups to take us to the bus and ferry station were late, causing minor panic as we were afraid of missing our connections. But the Nazar hotel we stayed in Selcuk was lovely, with excellent home cooked meals each night, and the tour guide, a retired English teacher, was most informative not only about the historic sites, but also about Turkish life in general.
We had enough free time in Selcuk to visit the Ephesus Museum (interesting) annd the ruin of the vast Byzantine church where St John is supposedly buried (impressive). From the rooftop dining area of our little hotel on our first night we saw and heard a noisy procession, which we were informed happens when young men are called up for national service - it is a send off from the town or village. At the meal we found ourselves in company with other Aussies. Interesting contrast: an American group and a Chinese couple picked at the Turkish food, but the Aussies, both we and the other group of six, ate everything with great enjoyment. Most noticeable was the beetroot salad, left by the others, eaten with enthusiasm by us. The other Australians came from Bairnsdale, so there was a bit of conversation about sailing on the Lakes.
Pamukkale is amazing, both to see the natural wonder of the of the limestone cascade down the valley that has been created over a period of thousands of years, but also to see the ruins of Heiropolis. It has a beautiful theatre in the process of a major restoration - currently you can only go into the upper half of the seating area, but the view from the back stalls was well worth the climb to get there. There are other ruins that we walked through but with only about 3.5 hours there we didn't have the time and/or energy to walk all the way to the north gate or visit the museum. A less attractive sight was masses of bare tourist flesh: because you can swim at Pamukkale many people were walking around in shorts or bathers, often not a pretty sight. One found oneself thinking that the Muslim customs of covering up have a lot going for them.
Our second day's tour was to Ephesus in the morning, then "Mary's House", the house where (supposedly) the Virgin Mary lived in her old age and died. Interesting coincidence (?) that Ephesus was formerly the centre of worship for important pagan goddesses, first Kybele, then Artemis. Finally we were to go to what's left of the Temple of Artemis, the Artemision, once one of the Seven Wonders of the World. I visited Ephesus in 1978, so was interested to see how much more had been excavated or restored. We found it still wonderful and even more impressive, but absolutely teeming with tourists. We had to keep watching for our guide and waiting while she gave us very interesting information, and were typically only given a short time to wander off on our own to look at things. If we ever come again we wouldn't take a tour, but would bring some lunch so that you could stay for a whole day and look at more things more slowly. I could have given Mary's House a miss altogether, ditto the leather factory that we visited between that and the Artemision, although the jackets were beautiful and the reversible ones that could be folded into a small bag quite astonishing. And the Artemision is also a bit disappointing because there is nothing left after the Brits who excavated it took all the good bits back to the British Museum. Our guide tells us that the locals call it the British ditch, now containing a couple of small ponds and families of geese. The solitary restored column has a storks' nest on the top, as do the bits of ancient aqueduct in various spots in Selcuk.When the tour ended we strolled around town and were introduced to the game of okey, played at every table in every cafe, a sort of number version of bananagrams, with a bit of rummy or poker thrown in. Would be very good for your mental arithmetic.
Selcuk has a country town feel, Bodrum is a resort with hundreds of hotels, and something that passes for a beach, strewn with pale poms sun baking. Other poms are walking the arcades of tourist shops in their socks and sandals. Our hotel was typical, with two pools and a poolside bar where they played head-banging music. We spent minimum time there, eating lunch and dinner out and exploring Bodrum. Main attraction for us was Bodrum Castle, which, as well as being an interesting medieval pile, also houses a wonderful underwater archeology museum, with collections of astonishing artefacts fished up from three shipwrecks, including one bronze age ship which contained objects which were already some 300 years old in 1300BC. Not only was all this fascinating, but one also got to see a rather splendid rooster and several peacocks, one of which obligingly did the whole tail raising bit. Although we were exhausted from climbing all over the castle we had trouble sleeping when we returned to the hotel as the bar stays open till midnight. At about 10:20 we called to complain about the volume of the music and they reluctantly turned it down. Not a hotel experience to remember. But that was the only sour note as we reflected on eleven great days in Turkey as we crossed to Greece on the Bodrum-Kos ferry.