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Mazi, Bodrum – Eat at Kayabasi Restaurant and Swim Afterwards

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Hurma Beach at Mazi, Bodrum

Hurma Beach at Mazi, Bodrum

We visited Mazi in January after a long drive through the old olive orchards. The water looked like glass with pebbles shimmering underneath as if they have their own lights. Since then, I have been looking forward to coming back to the same location and swimming there.

Lower Mazi village, with a view of Datca Peninsula

Lower Mazi village, with a view of Datca Peninsula

On our first day in Bodrum, after a great meal the night before at Tersane Restaurant, we take off to go to Mazi. It is about an hour drive from Gokcebel. We drive on the back roads passing Gundogan with its great rock formations, Golturkbuku (hard to see from the road), Torba with its beautiful old houses and mature trees, and Guvercinlik with its resorts and wonderful views of the Aegean Sea. After Guvercinlik, we turn right after a big mosque. The sign says Mumcular. Mumcular is one of the largest towns of Bodrum Peninsula with no sea access. After Mumcular, we just follow the signs to Mazi. There are two beautiful villages aptly named “Upper Mazi” and “Lower Mazi”. These villages are untouched by the overpopulation of the tourist crowd. Luckily, they are still protected from the mountain-eating giant developments. We continue to descend until the road ends, and we are at the beach. The beach is called “Hurma Sahili” (meaning “Date (fruit) Beach”).

The view from the parking lot, our first arrival at Mazi Hurma Beach in winter

The view from the parking lot, our first arrival at Mazi Hurma Beach in winter

It is almost lunch time. Kayabasi (meaning “head of a rock”) Restaurant is literally perched on a giant rock right on the shore. Serving locals and tourists since 1960, we have heard that it is famous for its fresh fish and mezes. We choose the middle level of a three-story structure for its nice shade and its incredible view of the bay. The restaurant is run by the entire family. The owner’s ten-year old daughter, while many kids elsewhere busy themselves with iPad and iPhones, is doing a great job setting our table, filling our water glasses, and bringing our mezes.

View of Hurma Beach from the Kayabasi Restaurant, Bodrum

View of Hurma Beach from the Kayabasi Restaurant, Bodrum

 

While sipping raki, we explore the surroundings. The floor of the restaurant is just a flat rock painted in blue. There are beautiful plants in odd planters dotting the railing around us. The food is good. Very, very good.

A fig tree is growing on Kayabasi Restaurant's rocks

A fig tree is growing on Kayabasi Restaurant’s rocks

Hot peppers growing in the planters, Kayabasi Restaurant, Mazi, Bodrum

Hot peppers growing in the planters, Kayabasi Restaurant, Mazi, Bodrum

 

After our long lunch, I finally convince Al and Mehmet to go swimming. I have been eyeing the water from above dreaming about plunging in.

View of Hurma Beach from Kayabasi Restaurant, Mazi, Bodrum

View of Hurma Beach from Kayabasi Restaurant, Mazi, Bodrum

It feels wonderful to experience my first dip in the salty sea after more than a year. Coolness of the sea wakes us up from our almost sleepy lunch break. It feels wonderful.

We drive back enjoying the display of hand-made rugs and kilims made by the locals. While passing a small village, we see an elderly village man playing his violin right on the road side while his friends play cards and sip Turkish tea at a small village Turkish coffee house.

I hope Mazi remains the same. I hope it keeps its virginity. I feel kind of guilty invading this beautiful area owned by the villagers for so many generations. Also, I am very grateful to be part of this beauty at least a few hours.

Hurma Beach, Mazi, Bodrum

Hurma Beach, Mazi, Bodrum

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