It's rare that the four members of my family spend long stretches of time together. With Bri at university in practically a different country, my parents working full time and us daughters choosing more and more to spend our holidays with friends or boyfriends, we're all aware that our customary family holidays are probably limited now. It's so lovely - and important - to enjoy the time we have together while we can!
A few weeks ago, we flew to Bodrum to escape the bustle of London. We spent our first morning marvelling at the incredible view from our hotel (the Doria Hotel, in nearby Bitez - highly recommended if you ever stay in the area!) and stuffing ourselves with the local specialties at breakfast, including mint and halloumi pide (a type of flatbread pizza - my favourite!), Turkish yoghurt topped with pomegranate molasses and tahini, and a dark, rich honeycomb.
We visited the ruins of the first mausoleum, one of the Ancient Wonders of the World - so named because this former gigantic tomb housed the remains of Mausolus, king of ancient Halicarnassus (now Bodrum).
Next we took a stroll along the bustling marina to visit another monument, this time highly restored - Bodrum Castle.
The view through my sunglasses.
Built in the fifteenth century as a site of defence by knights from the Order of St. John, the castle is now home to a museum of underwater archaeology (!) and an Islamic minaret has been tacked on to the castle's chapel. Very reminiscent of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, a Greek Orthodox basilica turned mosque.
We escaped the blisteringly hot sun inside the English Tower, a shaded hall decorated in the 'English' style with mounted lions' heads and antlers, and made mercifully cool by the sea breeze blowing in through the windows.
After wandering around the ramparts and the dungeons, we went home to change for dinner at the Marina Yacht Club restaurant, which consisted of...
Beautifully seasoned stuffed squash blossoms.
Ice cream scoops of hummus!
Mains including giant prawns for my mother...
...and a bowl of mussels spaghetti for me!
This little fellow waited patiently for scraps.
I'm wearing an trusty old favourite from Urban Outfitters in this picture.
We spent most of the next day cooling off by the pool, getting stuck into our holiday reading. I chose the fantastic thriller I Am Pilgrim as one of my books, which happened to be set partially in Bodrum.
Poolside selfies. A mandatory pastime when my sister and I team up on holiday.
More ruins and the best view I've had this year in part two...