Sunday, 10 June 2012

Seaside Antalya and Fethiye


Once we'd disembarked at the Antalya bus station it took us a while to find the correct public bus, no. 60, into town but we finally found it and were the only ones to board which was great as we could have a seat to ourselves and a seat for our backpacks.  However, our freedom was short-lived as within 10 minutes the bus was so full the driver was refusing to allow anyone else on!  This did make minding the backpacks and finally making an exit rather difficult as we had to bulldoze our way through the crowds, but despite this we managed to get off at the right stop and easily found Sabah Pansiyon which was located in the charming old part of town. 

After a very decent breakfast we walked along the seaside boulevard to the Antalya Museum, which was a very interesting museum with lots of statues of all the Greek gods and the crazy stories behind how most of them were created (like being pulled out of another gods head after it was split open by a hammer…)

We explored the old Roman ship yard and foreshore before enjoying a street side kebab for dinner with a side trip to collect our washing.  (It may sound boring to include “collecting our washing” in a blog, but when you have been wearing all your clothes for a week just to stay warm, and can finally wash when the weather is finally warm enough for only two layers  – it's an exciting occasion!)

Lycian tombs carved into the rock
The next day we were bound for Fethiye, another coastal town, and it was a very scenic 3.5 hour bus trip there.  We had to walk the couple of km from the bus station to our hotel as we hadn’t received a reply from the owner about whether they provided a pick-up service or not.  Turns out they do and the nice owner had been driving around to try and find us as our bus arrived early.  By the time he reached us we’d almost made it to the hotel, and when he pulled up beside us he showed us the brochure for Aliş hotel to prove he wasn’t a tout and we could safely get in his car - smart idea!


Crusader Fortress

We were greeted by Helen, the resident Brit whose main job is to meet and greet fellow Anglophones, and who is a lovely lady.  There was a great sitting area next to the stagnant pool (it was winter, so no complaints here!) and also a troop of kids staying there who were training to be chefs (their hometown school had been destroyed in an earthquake so they were boarding there while they had no school).  We walked back along the boardwalk to town, noticing a significant increase in foriegners compared to other towns in Turkey.  It was unclear whether they were tourist or expats, but either way the whole foreshore had a relaxed atmosphere and was nice just to stroll around.  We found a local place for dinner whose owners welcomed us with enthusiasm despite the language difference – and best of all they served Lahmuçan, which is essentially a very tasty thin crust pizza, Turkish style.  We ordered a few sides, and it seems that everything comes with huge amounts of flat bread (fresh and delicious from the oven) so we were thankful for the 2km walk back to our hotel to digest our meal, even if the sea breeze was a bit chilly!

Very tasty pastries!
The next morning we were served breakfast by the pool – French toast, which was a nice change from the traditional Turkish breakfast of cucumber, olives and yoghurt dip with flat bread.  We walked back through town and hiked up to the small but impressive Lycian tombs carved into the rock face and then on up to the Crusader Fortress which gave good views over the harbour and town.  We found the fresh market on the way back into town and decided to have a culinary experience with a freshly made Gözleme and also some quality pastries, the best being the one with pistachios…  yum.

Dave and his first shisha
As we strolled back along the foreshore we decided that it was high time we tried a Shisha so we found a café with couches along the waterfront and ordered our 1st ever water pipe.  We asked the waiter for his recommendation of flavour and he said apple-mint was the best so we gave that a try.  After doing a quick search in Google (Dave's nerdy idea) for the correct technique for smoking a pipe we settled in to enjoy the view and the experience.  An hour and 40 minutes later we were both light headed and getting cold so we decided that we should move on, it took a while to get the smoke out of our lungs and we decided that as enjoyable as it was, for health reasons it was probably something we shouldn’t get into the habit of doing! 

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