It’s five o’clock somewhere…
Car rental in Turkey is always an adventure, and always works out somehow. In Izmir we once got a Tofaş Şahin, like the antiquated taxis then in service, and discovered it had one-candlepower headlights. We had leftover fuel before returning it, and stopped by an uncle’s mechanic shop, where he alternated pulls on a siphon hose and cigarette trying to harvest the last few liters.
This year we aimed higher, reserving a Nissan Qashqai or similar. On arrival in Marmaris, we were offered a free upgrade as the Nissan was still out. The whole rental car industry seems like a scam, but I’ve learned to just roll along with it and hope for the best. We ended up enjoying a nice ride on the switchback road out of the valley.
We took a rest stop on the side of the D525 facing Bafa Gölü. It was a feast for the senses, all five of them. The visual splendor of the lake was cancelled by the roar of tour buses flying past two meters behind us. The vaguely pleasant campsite aroma of the wood-fired samovar was offset by the universal barely-comfortable plastic chairs. The tiebreaker was the food, and our sense of taste was delighted by the otlu peynir gözleme (cheese crepes) made before our eyes. The only way we could get it fresher would be to sit closer to the fire.
The roadside rest stop was mobile, unpacked from a van. A family of four provided service, the matriarch cooking and managing the cash in a hip bag, a man and woman doing cooking and bussing, and a young girl greeting and fetching tea. Produce, olive oil and honey were displayed for sale, but the main attractions were the view and the breeze.
Well-fed and rested, we proceeded toward Izmir, crossing through the gorgeous and fertile Büyük Menderes River valley. The ancient river gives us the word meander, a reminder to take our time and enjoy the stops along the way.