In 2010, my friends from New Jersey joined us on a beautiful Blue Voyage (link). One of our last stops was Cokertme in Gokova Bay close to Bodrum. Our boat moored close to the pine-clad cliffs. We took the tender to the little pier on the beach while gawking at the one of the largest yachts in the world (my research after the Blue Voyage proved that it was the 65th largest yacht in the world).
We walk on the narrow pebbled beach and found this very interesting, very unique place. It was almost like a secluded place. When you enter, first you notice the carpet maker sitting in the shade. On the right is a woman baking bread in a small wood-burning oven standing in the middle of the garden. On our left is their craft store selling all kinds of trinkets.
There were rabbits hopping around, cats meowing, and chickens grazing. All the chairs were covered with very colorful shiny fabrics, while similar fabrics were hanging above us providing a soft shade from the sun. It was colorful. We could not resist but eat our second breakfast there in one of the open air rooms that has a low table and cushions on the floor.
The entire place had a very feminine look with a strong female aura.
When I finished my book. I went looking for a great photo that was about Turkey and related to the story. I went through all the pictures I or my friends have taken in all of our trips together. And I found one! My dear friend Lois Reilly Farina’s picture of that place in Cokertme. I had the right “chair” as a symbol for my book.
This year. I am determined to find the place. I cannot remember the name of the restaurant/store. All I know is that it is in Cokertme. I check all the information on the Internet but somehow cannot find anything about it.
We take off early in the morning driving through pine forests, villages, and beaches and finally arrive at Cokertme beach. It is a very small place consisting of a few restaurants and hotels. And I see it. It is called “Gelin Dostlar” (meaning “Come in Friends”).
Gelin Dostlar is run by a mother and a daughter who left the big city life in Istanbul and moved down to this little village. The daughter remembers us. I think she remembers Al. Then mother comes out. She is exactly what I remember her as. I pull a copy of my book from my backpack, and tell her I have a surprise for her. I show her the photo on the cover of my book. She smiles as I sign a copy of it and give it to her.
The place has changed. The mother tells me that the previous chair covers and the shades were all ripped off with the winds since they were very delicate. The place still looks great. We order tea and then go for a swim.
The kids on the shore are catching fish. The water is so clear, we can see the fish way below under us as we swim.
We come back to Gelin Dostlar and order “Ci Borek” with tea. And we seal our lunch with Turkish coffee. I walk around and pick some ripe figs.
We drive back again through the mountains, pine forests, and villages. We sometimes have to slow down to accommodate the goats and the cows. It is all about letting go and enjoying the nature.