Kevin and Perry go large in Turkey
Can adults and teenagers ever enjoy a holiday together? Adrian Mourby and his brood gave it a go in Bodrum
Sunday 29 June 2008
The ad said that this was the place to bring your 16-year-old, that the Turkish coast had enough "even to satisfy Kevin the teenager" – but they reckoned without Perry, and we seem to have brought both: John the sulky teenager, slumped in front of the legendary Mausoleum of old Halicarnassus, behaving as if it had been built with the sole intention of infringing his civil liberties, and Livvie, the proto-teen, refusing even to get out of the air-conditioned minibus.
My wife and I cannot believe that anyone, even these two, would pass up the chance to see the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. "It's just a hole in the ground," grouses John, which it is, of course.
By the time we reach the Greek amphitheatre, enlarged by the Romans and used mainly for gladiatorial combat, neither of them is shifting. The only way we prise them out at all at Gumusluk – a sunken city whose ancient walls are visible one metre below the surface of the blue Aegean – is with the offer of chips and Cola in an over-priced shoreline café.
"I hate them," says my wife. "I hate them both." Certainly, our fantasy of combining culture and teen activity doesn't seem to have survived even the first morning. As soon as lunch is over, Liv is off to the shops in search of a fake Louis Vuitton bag and John has switched his personal stereo back on.
Our plan was always that the next day we would follow the children's agenda. After a traditional Turkish breakfast of olives and cheese (which goes down even worse than the Mausoleum), we head out of town to Ortakent, where Scala Beach has been recommended.
Here you can swim, snorkel, waterski or sprawl in "gazebos" (enormous beachside four-posters). You can also go banana-boating, bounce around on inflatable doughnuts, jet ski or parasail. Needless to say we do everything.
This part of the Aegean Sea is very calm and perfect for parasailing, which is why even my wife does her first ascent. Mehmet the motorboat man proves endlessly patient as we waft up in all the paired permutations possible from four people. On the kids' last parasail we agree with Mehmet that those two should be brought down right into the sea. They sink in up to their waists shouting, screaming and laughing. It's a good revenge on the little philistines for our beastly first day. "Cool," gasps Livvie as she is winched back on board.
The rest of the time we got the balance better. That is, my wife and I threw out all the things that we wanted to do – like the three-hour car journey to Ephesus for the library of Celsus. This was supposed to be the children's holiday and our idea of sneaking in some culture unbeknown to them was clearly not going to work.
Liv liked the fact that we were staying near the world-famous Halikarnas disco with its crowds of 5,000 and "foam parties", even if we insisted she only got to see it from the outside, and John liked the shop that sold reproduction guns and swords. And they both enjoyed the hotel pool and the harbourside restaurants that sold pizza.
Bodrum can be a great inspirational pilgrimage back to Hellenistic times, to the Roman Empire, to the Knights of St John and to the lyrical writings of Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli, the so-called "fisherman of Halicarnassus" who made this town a cultural hot spot in the 1960s – but not when you have Kevin and Perry in tow.
How to get there
Savile Tours (020-7923 3230; saviletours.com) offers family weeks in Bodrum from £2,395 in total for two adults and two children, including return flights, transfers and seven nights' b&b.
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