Antalya: The Jewel of the Turquoise Coast

Monday, May 17th, 2004: Kas to Antalya, Turkey

N 36°
E 030°

We head today to the jewel in the crown of the Turquoise Coast, the city of Antalya, for a full two days of sightseeing and some downtime. Antalya is a big city nestled on the Mediterranean whose main focus appears to be the hustle and bustle of the tourist trade, but we spend most of our time in the quaint and charming old city walking among the old Ottoman houses and carpet sellers. The old city is nestled around an ancient Roman harbour with bars, hotels and restaurants perched precariously on the cliffs leading up to the bustling streets. Across the bay lie beautiful, sharply peaked, mountains, constantly shrouded in big white clouds. The views are spectacular from everywhere within the harbour.

The Fluted Minaret, the symbol of Antayla

Our bus ride has been longer than expected today but we are rewarded with some spectacular scenery on the coastal road: Beautiful turquoise coloured sea crashing up to meet pine covered rocky cliffs. In some ways it reminds us of the Coast Highway, heading south from San Francisco to L.A. We arrive about 2:00 p.m., drop our bags, and quickly head down for our usual orientation and walking tour. Our hotel is, as most of the hotels have been on our Turkey tour, basic. They all seem to be family run with the husband running the front of house and the wife doing everything else. We spend the rest of the day walking the old city and getting our bearings before we head back to the hotel for a nap (me) and internet updating (John). We haven’t been able to update the web site or properly respond to email for the last 9 days. Turkey hasn’t grasped the concept of high speed internet yet so this has been difficult.

An Intimate Dinner for Two With an Awe-Struck Waiter in Tow

Our group is planning to meet for dinner tonight but John and I bow out and plan a nice, intimate dinner for just the two of us perched on a cliff overlooking the harbour. Loreena McKennit is playing as we arrive at the restaurant. She is very popular in Turkey and one of her more popular melodies has been adopted by the Turks with new Turkish lyrics. We laugh as we tell our waiter (who seems to be a big McKennit fan) that John comes from Stratford, where Loreena lives. The waiter is awe-struck.

It is actually quite cool here, about 20° and we need layers to keep us warm from the cool ocean breeze.

John has already negotiated a six hour boat ride for the group for tomorrow so we linger over our bottle of wine and walk the cobbled, windy streets back to our hotel, ready for bed.

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