Turkey: Antalya

I was going to write a post about the charms and loveliness of Antalya but first I’m going to rant at you (in a nice way!) about the Turkish bus system.

We’re about 20 minutes out of Antalya, heading for Pamukkale and, quite possibly, in a bus from the future.

When you get on and the bus is on time, smells nice and there’s nary a hole nor tear in any of the seats you think ‘hey, this is nicer than home’. Then you see the screens in the back of each seat and you think ‘hey, this is as nice as the better domestic planes at home’. Then you realise there’s wifi, the screens connect to the internet and there’s a guy handing out ice-cream and cake and drinks and you think ‘Hey! I’ve been magically transported into a Utopian future from which I never wish to return!’.

Lucas checks out the features.

Really, nice one, Turkey. You win at public transport.

Now, Antalya.

It was like a present that you get out of the blue, expecting nothing and then suddenly, hey wow! There’s something really great in front of you and everything about it is a pleasant surprise. Well, nearly everything. Because I was sick in Istanbul, Lucas and Luke booked this bit of the tour and based a stop in Antalya on a photo they saw. Lucky for us because it turned out to be clean, charming and our lovely accommodation was only a few minutes from the beach.

Our room is up on the left. In the courtyard was a little pool and some beanbags.

The ‘old town’ part where we stayed was a maze of cobblestone streets but the buildings were a weird mix of European and Oriental features. There were blossoming explosions of bougainvillea festooning the hotels and at night the sleepy, hot streets came alive with people out partying.

POW! Bougainvillea.

Antalya is on the southern coast of Turkey, at the apex of a bay that is surrounded by steep granite peaks. The little beach we went to was down a steep set of stairs and was more rock and pebbles than sand. Lucas and I rented a snorkel to share and there were lots of little fish to look at… when one wasn’t gawping at the leathery old people who were tanned an astonishing shade of coffee-brown and wearing white bikinis.

Adriatic-tastic!

In the evenings we went for a strolls through the streets, enjoyed some drinks, declined some carpets.

I could very easily spend a week or more in this lovely town doing very, very little.

Things I Like About Turkey

They love their flag… and you gotta admit, it’s pretty cool.

Obviously there’s going to be things I don’t like (I’m that kind of person). Sometimes they’re the same as things I do like. For example, how friendly people are, which you’d think would be a good thing until they persist in trying to have a conversation with you despite not knowing more than 10 words in English. But it’s hard to fault people for trying.. unless they’re trying to get you to buy a carpet, in which case a kick in the fork is tempting.

Mosques. That’s also in the ‘don’t like’ basket – but Turkey’s not alone here, if that makes any difference. And they’re fine buildings (if you like your women in a tiny box at the back of the room where they can’t … god, don’t even get me started) but the noise. ALL THE TIME. Well, ok not all the time. But just once at 4am is enough. And you’d think Allah would deserve some decent speakers but mosques seem to have made a bulk order sometime in the 70s, so they’re more tinny than a B&S Ball in Dubbo. If you don’t get that reference then you haven’t been to a B&S ball in Dubbo and are free to congratulate yourself on a life well lived.

Tonight we’re in Pamukkale and there’s one right outside our bathroom window (a mosque, that is, not a B&S ball.. thank god. I’d chose calls to prayer over Cold Chisel any day). As we left to walk up to the travertines (more on those later) the call to prayer started with an ear-splitting shriek and we seriously contemplated some kind of criminal action after sundown. Honestly, I’d love an opportunity to find out exactly how many muslim people are hitting the mosque at 4am compared to, say, midday. Although I have this image of Muslim people as far more reliable in that regard than all the Christmas-Christians I know.

Aaaaannnyway, I hear you – this is a post about what I like about Turkey, not religious intolerance (which, by the way, I feel equally towards all faiths. Churches can keep it down too, particularly on Sunday mornings).

The delicious iced tea. I may never be the same again. I found peach iced tea in a large bottle today (rather than a can) and rejoiced. That’s right, Jess, Amanda rejoiced about finding more tea. You possibly won’t recognise me when I get home.

The tiny little cups of hot apple tea. If I have to drink a hot beverage it may as well be super sweet and in tiny quantities. Turkey *gets* me.

Lanterns. Like I haven’t raved enough. I have a certain electrician friend who might want to avoid my calls when I get home.

Want.

The food, obviously. I mean, who doesn’t like Turkish food?

tee hee.

The landscape. It’s so god-damned dramatic. Steep mountains, azure seas, fairy chimneys. Sometimes I read my kindle just to give my eyes a break.

Just some ol’ beach, you know. Nothing special.

The price of stuff. Things are so cheap here. The boys got kebabs (like the ones at home) for $2 each tonight. Most meals are around $5. Getting back to $30 restaurant meals at home is going to be a sad shock.

The way everyone comes out at night, even on a Monday night. Every night is time to socialise and sit out and have a few drinks in Turkey. I’m still not on ‘siesta then stay up late’ time… but I wish I was.

Plus I can’t help noticing that Turkey has taken on about half a million refugees from Syria. These people have big hearts and with all the ‘stop the boats’ rubbish going on at home, I can’t help feeling more than a little impressed by the way people here open their country to others in need.

Don’t go changing, Turkey.