Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Back from Turkey

Lucia, Eldar and I returned to Budapest from Turkey in the early morning hours of this past Sunday, 16 July. By and large, it was an excellent trip. In the text below, I will write a synopsis on where we went and what we saw and did.

Saturday 1 July 2006

Arrived Antalya late, 10 p.m. or so Turkish time. No real issues at airport, except that our ride wasn't there and we had to take a taxi to the hotel, but it wasn't too pricey. About EUR 15. Lucia felt the Taxi wasn't comfortable enough for that price. It was a yellow "Tofas", about 10 years old. Driver spoke no English. At hotel around 11-11:30 p.m. Turkish time. We watched the tail end of a World Cup soccer game. Maybe Portugal and somebody, I forget. Hotel was located in old town Antalya, comfortable and affordable. Nice view of the bay and the surrounding mountains from the rooftop terrace where we ate breakfast the following morning. Eldar remarked that the water seemed to be still. It did in fact appear frozen, as the swirling patterns we could make out did not appear to move. After packing up and checking out, we stowed our bags and headed out. We walked through the nearly deserted streets of the old town, chatted with a few shop keepers selling carpets and bric-a-brac and explained we wouldn't be buying that day, but would return in a couple of weeks to make purchases. It was hot and they didn't push. We walked in a nearby park and dropped into a private access to the water. It wasn't at all a proper beach, that was some miles away. This was more like a configuration of terraces built on the rocks descending to the water, with access to the water off the lowest terrace via a set of stairs. The upper terraces were for sunbathing, snacking and so forth. The water was a bit cool and over Eldar's head. No waves to mention. And the swimming area was roped off. The toasted cheese sandwhiches, salad and fries were mediochre and overpriced, as was admission to the beach itself. But it felt good to get wet and catch some sun. And we knew this was just a taste of things to come. As we'd left the sun cream at the hotel, I had to borrow some. The first person I asked, and deeply bronzed Turkish woman in middle age, explained that she just had special tanning oil that offered no protection but that we were free to borrow it just the same. I declined and went with Eldar over to what looked to be a North European woman also in middle age with her two young daughters. They were all blonde and fair skinned and naturally they had high protection stuff which the mother was happy to lend us.

After a couple hours there we headed off. Somehow we knew when our afternoon bus to Anamur (our next destination) would leave. I think we did some more strolling through the nearby park. I suppose we caught a taxi to the bus terminal and began on our way to Anamur early that evening with the goal of visiting the ruined Byzantine city of Anamurium.

Late Sunday 2 July

Arrived in Anamur in the middle of night but not too late to encounter a tout who wanted to lure us to a hotel by the harbor. We already had planned to stay at a place near the bus station that the guide book reccommended, as our plans did not include the harbor, but the ancient city. The hotel was decent enough. Breakfast the usual break, cheese, olives, tomatoes and boiled egg. But the ancient city was amazing . . . . more on this soon.