I would love to write that Gocek is my top recommended place to go. I would love to express excited admiration for its untold beauty. Truth be told though, I found this Turkish resort to be unwelcoming. I said it was pretentious. My friend said it was upmarket. Either way, we knew it was just not for us.
About Gocek on the south west coast of Turkey
I heard about its reputation before I went. A small resort with six marinas, it is a popular stopping point on yacht sailing routes of the Turkish Riviera. Villas for sale in the area, often cost more than a million pounds. A friend also described it to me…
“Oh, you will love it” she said
My response : “ok, what does the resort have?”
“Rich people, loads of them” was the reply.
Another website describes it as…
“The preferred vacation destination for the sophisticated traveler”
Well, I am not sophisticated, and with hindsight, Gocek should have been on my list of places not to go. Instead, I decided to give it a chance and first impressions were not good. After walking around, we settled in a café on the marina and ordered ice coffees. I looked at the rest of the clientèle seated around me. Everything about them, from their brand name clothing to their body language, told me they were not my type of people.
We were totally on different wavelengths. We came from different worlds. When I travel around places in Turkey, I often ask the staff of local restaurants and cafes for information about the destination I am in. These locals can provide more details than any guidebook. However, the staff in this café seemed scared of the customers; they were not relaxed and hesitant to engage in any prompted conversation.
Instead, we found an old restaurant on the back streets serving basic Turkish food. There was nothing fancy about it but the owner was more down to earth and we found a common bond, a connection. He had lots to say about Göcek and there was no barrier of social status. That was my type of restaurant and they were my type of people.
I learnt a lesson that day. When a place is described as the ideal destination for jet setters and celebrities, I should stay away. When restaurants boast of gourmet menus and beaches are marked as private, I need to remember that is not what I am about.
I am more at home in down-market establishments, meeting locals who are not scared to talk to the customers. No matter how much I believe that every man is made equal, it takes others to believe in the same concept, if a friendship or common bond is to be formed.
Social status is very much a factor of life in Turkey. I even see it in the smaller down market resorts like Altinkum. The more money, you have the more respect you are given. Some call it sophistication while I say it is pretentious.
I will not be returning to Göcek and I suspect, Göcek does not want me back anyway.
Readers Question : Have you been to a place and made a promise never to return?