Gulet holidays then and now

Gulet Holidays Then And Now

Originally used for fishing, or transporting goods along the southern coast of Turkey, the elegant lines of the two-masted wooden gulet cut a very different swathe through the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean in those days than they do today. Every year in the summer months, thousands of people come to Turkey to enjoy the delights of gulet holidays of a very modern type. Gone are the days of all work and no play aboard these traditional schooner vessels, and in their place are lazy days of leisure, and relaxing evenings spent drifting warm waters and admiring the inimitable beauty of the Turquoise Coast.

Food Then

When they were first used, thousands of years ago, the gulets transported precious cargo of olive oil and wine up and down the coast. Many of the sailors and traders who worked these routes were migrants and their origins would have heavily influenced the ‘cuisine’ on board. There would probably have been some North Africans who would have brought the heavy spices and fruits and nuts of the region; and there was likely to have been some seamen of European and Asian origin who would have added their own slant on ingredients. It would have been simple but flavoursome fare on board, using the abundance of fresh seafood caught along the way and the wonderful fusion of cultures provided by the crew.

Food Now

Today, from the moment you step on board for your gulet holidays, until the moment you leave, you will be plied with meals fit for the Sultan of the Ottoman empire for whom much of traditional Turkish cuisine was created. The dishes you will enjoy today are a direct result of the 17th century palace chefs who were employed to tempt the royal palate. You will dine on plates of mese, fat juicy Turkish olives, local cheeses and cold meats. Hot dishes will include kebabs, kofte and seafoods; and if you have any room left, you can finish off with a sticky honey dessert or a baklava and Turkish coffee.

Accommodation Then

Luxury wasn’t the priority in the times of the ancient Mediterranean trade route, and the crew slept in rudimentary cabin accommodation for their journey. There were no crisp cotton sheets to slide into after a long, hot day in the sun, and they would certainly not have had their own bathrooms instead, by necessity, bathing in the sea.

Accommodation Now

Today the gulets are built with comfort rather than cargo in mind. Spacious, air-conditioned cabins have their own bathrooms and every comfort you could desire. There is usually a common lounge area with comfy cushions and recliners for sun-bathing, and meals are taken up on the deck while enjoying the stunning backdrop of the Turquoise Coast. Modern gulet holidays certainly don’t mean roughing it, and your accommodation will rival that offered by many five-star hotels.

Daily Activities Then

Not diesel powered like today’s gulets, the crew would have spent much of the day in the rigging ensuring safe and speedy passage. When in port, it would be a hard day’s labour loading and unloading the precious cargo. Perhaps of an evening though, there would be some respite from their labour as the crew relaxed on board with a mug of Raki.

Daily Activities Now

On gulet holidays today you can do as much or as little as you like. Swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, kayaking, diving and sight-seeing may all be part of your day. Or, perhaps, you would rather just lie back, slather on the sun cream and fade off to sleep as the glorious scenery drifts past your eyes…

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