Among thousands of them, Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli’s Bodrum story is the most famous and well-known story without any doubt. He was a famous poet, journalist, writer, and historian. Today we know him as the Fisherman of Halicarnassus who wrote the below lines.
Don’t you ever think that you will depart as you’ve arrived The ones before you made that mistake tooThe Fisherman of Halicarnassus
They have all left leaving their hearts and souls in Bodrum
He was exiled to Bodrum in 1925, after publishing a story criticising death sentences on an Istanbul newspaper. His punishment turned into an eternal love for the beauty, culture, and history of this small town.
It is not possible to disagree what he thought years ago. There have been many more poets, writers, musicians, artists who left their souls and hearts in Bodrum after the Fisherman. I am neither the first nor the last one caught by the attraction of this siren town. It is hard to resist when the Aegean calls.
My First Bodrum Story
My own Bodrum story has begun years ago when I was in the university. I was looking for a summer job in one of the touristic destinations in Turkey, preferably in Bodrum. It was the end of amazing, and fun, 80s.
I had never been in Bodrum, but I was very curious about it. We were listening songs about Bodrum, telling about Bodrum’s summer loves and sleepless nights. Besides, I think I was the only one who had never been there among my friends.
Finding a job or accommodation in Bodrum was an adventure itself without having money and not knowing anybody to help me there. Yet, I was young and restless.
I took a train to Izmir first, then started hitchhiking for Bodrum. It took 2 days to cover 230 kilometres. I had to spend two nights in Kusadasi and Didim, before I got to Bodrum just before the sunrise.
Bodrum was not like any other place I had been before. Little white houses with no more than two stories high were striking. Most of them had gardens and patios filled with orange, tangerine, and lemon trees, as well as jasmine and Melissa flowers, with their pleasant scents.
Then I saw the Bodrum Castle for the first time under the orange colour of the rising sun. There were some silhouettes of distant lands behind it. I did not know they were the Greek islands then, but the view was impressive. It still is!
I did not have money or a place to stay. I had no idea what I had to do next. I sat by the seaside and watch the rising sun for a while, wondering my next move. Then that move found me. Two men walking on the streets came across right behind me and started a chat.
One of them was telling other that he had to find waiters for his new bar. It could be my only chance to stay in Bodrum for a while and I jumped into the conversation and said, “I am the waiter”. I had just found my very first boss there. It was not the beginning of my engineering career but eventually I had found a place to stay, beer to drink and lots of dishes to wash.
That summer went very fast. I had no chance to see neither Bodrum nor other towns around the peninsula. We were working from noon till 5am. I left Bodrum undiscovered after two months of hard but fun work. Still, it was the beginning of my Bodrum story.
It took 15 years to get back to Bodrum again.
One of my best friends, Nedim Cingoz, has decided to move there and spent the rest of his life as a vacation. I had to visit him and see how he was doing. Although he was originally a Bodrumian, he had to leave town for university. Then he married and started to work in Ankara where we met. After his retirement, he moved back to his hometown where most of his family still lives.
With Nedim Abi’s help (“Abi” is a common word which we use for men older than us, including older brothers), I have discovered that Bodrum was not just a touristic location. I was also a place for art, culture, history, and amazing people.
It was an Aegean autumn; mild and rainy. If it was not raining, I went to the beaches for swimming. The streets were not so busy. Almost all the locals had returned to their daily routines after working day and night in the peak season. They were just enjoying the beauty of their town like they always do.
In Aegean towns, you do not need to look for an opportunity to start a chat. Just say something and the rest will follow. I listened different stories from different people. I tried to learn and live Bodrum from their point of view. When I realized that everybody had her own Bodrum, I decided to start my own search.
Since then, I have been travelling to Bodrum whenever I can.
I enjoy being there, learning about the culture. The locals are amazing people and having conversation with them are always fun and informative. I made good friends there who brought a new perspective in my life. The fun I had has become a life experience for me and I decided to share it with others.
Sharing information with others on a blog was not something I had experience with. Although my average English skills, lack of technical knowledge on web development and living in another city had been the challenges for a travel blogger like me, I liked it and used it as an opportunity to learn new skills and meet new people
My Bodrum story is not complete yet and I will keep sharing it on Enjoy Bodrum which is a kind of travel guide. I hope it can help improve your experiences as well.