Friday, October 3, 2008

Goldring Travel's 2008 Food & Wine Cruise on the Seabourn Spirit: Travelogue Part II

Still being blessed with wonderful weather we arrived in Fethiye, Turkey; a small yachting and tourist town near some very interesting historical and beach sites. Having traveled in the area fairly extensively in the past (including chartering a gulet - a Turkish wooded sailing yacht- for a private Blue Water Cruise a few years ago...but that is another topic) we used the day to relax, stroll around the town, permit my wife to start getting back into speaking Turkish, and later to meet up with my brother-in-law and his family who coincidentally were visiting Fethiye on holidays from Scotland. After picking up some local wines (sort of a challenge in Turkey) we enjoyed a very good typical Turkish lunch of various kebabs and yogurt with some local wines at a local restaurant. This was, of course, followed by a well deserved restful soak in the "secret" forward hot tub.

The captain, Geir-Arne, my good friend, invited my group to the bridge for the sail away from Fethiye and, with my good "supervision" of course, he did a great job missing the dock and setting us out to the open ocean; charming everyone as always "aboard yourrrrrrr Seeeeaboooorrrn Spirit"! It was then off to get ready for a wonderful dinner at the Captain's Table for dinner. With the Captain charming everyone I sat back and enjoyed the always wonderful tasting menu. I must say that the quality and small touches that come out of Chef Jochem's galley are worthy of special note.

It was then on to Kusadasi, Turkey yesterday. It was, without question, one of the nicest days I have have ever spent while on holidays. We awoke to a cool, but very sunny, morning for our tour of Ephesus and our cooking class. We arrived at Ephesus with some crowds, but nothing like those seen in the summer months. More importantly, without the heat you were actually able to stroll in comfort rather than feel sort of stressed by the heat to complete your journey back in time down the Roman streets. Our guide was charming and, having been there twice before, I sort of allowed my mind to wonder; knowing my guests were being well cared for. It was then off to the small village of Sirince (pronounced Sur-in-gee) which was filled with wonderful old streets lined with traditional shops and, fortunate for us, many wine shops as grapes are grown in the village. (I picked up a "local" bottle of wine - no label - and hopefully it will be the same wine I tasted in the shop!). Other than the wine shops it was a wonderful step back in time. (It reminded me a bit of Sintra, Portugal).

The highlight, however, was our next stop: our cooking class. A wonderful older woman, with a bright smile, and most definitely "cooking with love" had us gather in her small restaurant's kitchen (and with Seabourn limiting this tour to 16 people it was perfect) where she prepared six different dishes with remarkable speed and then added them to a fantastic buffet which we all enjoyed in her garden; my lunch accompanied by the traditional raki drink. A treat...hopefully...was my Turkish coffee where my grounds were read and I was told of the riches and joy which are soon to come to me as the fruit of my previous hard labor. With Seabourn providing each of us with a Turkish cookbook, we may not be able to repeat the the atmosphere when we get home, but we can sure give making some of the dishes a try.

After the obligatory carpet shop ending to our tour, we then headed into the bazaar and met up with a jeweler we had purchased some things from in one of our past visits. Having dodged that bullet and being able to leave with no new purchases, it was time for a quick rest and then off to the Exclusively Seabourn Experience in Ephesus. We arrived by bus to a beautifully lit Roman city with candle lit tables with small tastings and local wines being poured. Out of pure luck we sat at the table which was right in front of the Library directly viewing the chamber musicians who played a lovely variety of classical pieces in this truly romantic and inspiring at the same time setting. Then it was back to the ship for a wonderful Seabourn Welcome Home greeting. Then it was a fantastic Seabourn Grill buffet and the Rock the Boat show out on deck.

Tomorrow is our last day...but it is the Galley Market Lunch and then our Food and Wine Tasting!