I am a total stranger to public transport, other than planes I don’t do public transport. There are reasons for this, and it is not just that I am snotty beyond belief! I come from deepest, darkest Pembrokeshire. We don’t have public transport in Pembrokeshire or if we do it’s only if you happen to live in a town or can cadge a ride on a school bus in the mornings. Which is why all our children pass their driving tests as soon as they are old enough, if they didn’t they’d be hanging around the house for the next few decades being annoying.
In the village I first lived in in Pembrokeshire we had a weekly bus when I moved there in 1987. It stopped the next year never to appear again. In my last village there had never been a bus and if you wanted to catch one you had to walk two miles up to the main road. So buses and trains were never on my radar and when I moved to other countries or travelled I just used to pick up a hire car at an airport and get on with driving myself.
Also, I am not good with lots of people around, I never was and since Phil died I have got worse. My personal space is now roughly the same size as Western Australia, it used to be the size of the Isle of Wight but it’s grown. And I can’t cope with crowds. So I find the idea of crowded buses rather intimidating. However, having put the car into intensive care by blowing the turbo in the outer reaches of Mugla I’m having to brave public transport for a few weeks whilst small but determined men in Korea scour cavernous warehouses for a new turbo for the Hyundai.
Turkey has an amazing public transport system and whilst I was aware of it and admired it for its reported efficiency, economy and regularity I didn’t actually have any direct experience of it. Now I have experience of it. I had an appointment in Kusadasi the other week and so I caught a dolmus from the village, changed in the Otogar for centrum, got there in record time and then caught the dolmus from the Friday market back to the village. Very impressive, very efficient, nicely air conditioned and cheaper than if I had taken the car given the painful price of petrol and parking here! In fact a lot cheaper and a lot more convenient because as the season progresses Kusadasi becomes increasingly unfriendly to the motorist and parking becomes a real issue.
Of course one trip on a dolmus did not make me a convert. I’m not the kind of person that lets a fleeting acquaintance with something make me an expert, but this whole public transport thing looks promising, at least for unladen journeys. I don’t think it would be quite so good if I relied on it totally for ever.
Friends have told me amazing stories of the kind of things they have found being carried on the dolmus, from chickens and goats to, on one memorable occasion, a horse, and the dolmus drivers are known for their gung ho, can do attitude in getting everyone and everything on board even if it means stacking people to the rooftops. I have also found that dolmus drivers are, so far, friendly and kind and have the patience of saints. When I caught the dolmus back from Selcuk market on Saturday I was supposed to change buses in the neighbouring village but the driver just kept on going and dropped me off at the bottom of my road in Kirazli and it cost only 3tl.
I may brave a snorkelling trip to the Millipark next week, there is a direct dolmus from here to Davutlar every half hour and then it is just a short hop into the park. Sounds easy, sounds quite fun and I won’t have to hoover several tons of sand out of the car on my return, which is a plus. Shadow is less impressed by the whole business though, she likes her regular car trips and hates staying home; she likes to sit in the back of the car with her head out of the window and the wind in her ears! She is hoping the small men in Korea come through with the necessary part asap.
Getting to Kirazli by Dolmus
From the Friday market area of Kusadasi there is a dolmus roughly every hour to Kirazli. It’s the Aydin bus and it costs 2.5tl and it runs from 06.00 to 21.30 during the summer months. There are English speaking guys there marshalling the buses and they’ll make sure you get on the right one.
From Selcuk there is a bus to Gokcealan every hour on the half hour from the main bus station. It will be parked on the far side of the bus station normally the third bus from the right – there is a sign. The driver will normally take you through to Kirazli and it costs 3tl, or it will drop you at the far end of Gokcealan village and you can catch the next bus through to Kirazli for a short hop (indi bindi) fare.
From Davutlar take the Aydin bus that goes via Kirazli.
In Kusadasi any bus taking the turning opposite Tansas will be going to Kirazli. So go to the big Tansas on the ring road (which is on the Saniyi Sitesi bus route), cross the road on the weird bouncy bridge and walk the twenty metres of so up to the turning to Kirazli and wait there.
For info, if asking anyone which bus to get on, Kirazli is actually pronounced Kir Az Luh, that final “i” is a uh sound in Turkish, if you pronounce it Kirazlee people will look blankly at you!