There were no Easter Eggs in the Turkish Riviera....

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Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Antalya
March 31st 2008
Published: April 1st 2008
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The Beach! The Beach! The Beach!

With the mountains off in the distance, it was a little cloudy the first day.
After a harsh German winter, Megan and I could think of nothing better than a long weekend in the Turkish Riviera. Actually, really all I said is that I wanted to be warm, and well there was a really good offer for Antalya, Turkey, so we booked it! :-) I was fairly exhausted from all my previous travels around Germany and Italy, but as I ran through the ice and snow falling from the sky to get from train to train and off to the airport in Stuttgart, I was absolutely thrilled to be heading to 20 degree celcius weather!

Megan and I met in Stuttgart and slowly found our way to Terminal 4 at the airport, the well...ghetto terminal...It took forever to check in to our Sun Express flight, and then get through security, but soon enough we were off the ground and on our way with a plane full of pale Germans to Antalya! The flight was about 3-1/2 hrs and I spent the time sitting next to a very interesting...yes interesting older couple from the Black Forrest. They were quite talkative and well I could understand nothing that they said, as they spoke with a Swaebisch dialect.
Nurenburg Street CarNurenburg Street CarNurenburg Street Car

The old street car that was donated by the Germans.
There were none the less entertaining and I shared my headphones with the guy as his connection was broken, and of course neither of us could stand to miss the Sandlot 2 in German. At least thats what I think it was. It was a bit of a rough landing as there was some weather in the area, so everyone clapped...strange...I guess Germans get loud and friendly on public transport when they are going on vacation!

Megan and I caught our bus to the hotel, checked in and dropped our stuff off in the room. We were interested to take a quick tour and eat some dinner as we had not had much over the last few hours. We got a snack and a Turkish beer, Efes, which was kind of like a light Pilsner. The lobby bar was really dead so we decided to take a round around the hotel and go see the pool outside. We were very dissapointed to find the large pool completely empty with a big rope around the outside. There was a small pool that was half inside and half out that was filled and had chairs around it, but we were slightly

Colorful Boats in the Antayla harbor.

The next morning we got up at 9 am to meet up with our Tour Manager that was going to be at our hotel. She was really nice and cleared up for us that none of the hotels had water in their pools right now because to them it was still the winter season. It was raining a little, but warm, and we were a little disappointed, so we booked a day long tour for the next day. We took some time getting ready and then decided to head into town since there wasn't too much desire to lay out at the tiny pool in the weather. The Tour Manager told us there was a small street car we could take from around the corner that would take us into town. It was a gift from the city of Nurenburg and they only had 2 of them that just rolled along on one track from one side of town to the other. The weather started to clear up and we took our jackets off to take in the warmth as we rode the little wooden street car into town. We played 'follow the tourists' for a while and wandered through the streets of the Old Town in amazement of the old walls, buildings and mosques. I really thought it was crazy to be a tourist somewhere where German was the first language you were approached with. After wandering the streets for a while, we happened upon the harbor area which was absolutely beautiful. There were tons of little boats that filled the small old harbor area. I was constantly amazed during my trip at the color of the water, it was this beautiful turquoise that I cant even describe. Very different. That was something that I always noticed on Semester at Sea, the water was constantly changing from sea to sea. It always fascinated me.

After taking some pictures around the harbor and checking it all out, we headed back up the array of tourist shops to go find some authentic food. Luckily, living in Germany, we are well versed in the art of the Doener (like a gyro, but turkish). We wandered into the more authentic part of the city and smelled something fantastic. We turned around to see not just doener meat roasting like normal, but with REAL fire and a man with two big large knives to cut it off with. I was in awe. We walked into the store, and of course no one spoke much of either language we knew, so we just took a seat and pointed at something on the menu. It really put every doener I had eaten in Germany (over the past 4 years) to shame. We were definitely the only tourists hanging out in the place, which means we picked well. :-) We wandered around the city a bit more and walked around one of the Mosques, then we ran right into a HUGE street market. They had vegetables, fruit, cheese, clothes, spices, you name it! We had so much fun pointing at things and playing sign language. I love authentic experiences like that where you know you are seeing the real culture. We bought these thin tortilla type things, some feta type cheese, oranges, etc. Actually I think we just kept buying things because we were having so much fun and it was costing us basically NOTHING. I picked up some spices from a lady, and wasnt quite sure what I had bought till later. After picking up a few more touristy things in the other area, we headed back on the old Nurenburg Street Car to our hotel. The evening was filled with a not so fancy buffet dinner and a couple of drinks at the lobby bar.

It was an early morning the next day as we headed off on our tour of the Mediterranean coast and the ancient town of Myrna. We headed out of the city and were directly in a mountain range, on the coast, I have never seen mountains so close to the water like that, I could imagine it might look like parts of Hawaii or maybe New Zealand, really not sure if it resembles anywhere in the world. The area near the coast looked very volcanic like Hawaii. We traveled for a couple of hours up through the mountains (where they apparently have skiing in the winter?!?) and then came back down on the other side to follow the coast down to our final destination. We had one stop along the way to enjoy the beautiful view from the top of the mountains and enjoy a famous Turkish Tea. (like a black tea in a small glass) The coastline that we followed for the next hour of

Look at the real fire cooking that Doener Meat! Now thats authentic!
our journey was absolutely breathtaking. I have never seen such beautiful white rock with clear turquoise water in my life. I wish i could have taken more pictures but it wouldn't have done it justice anyways. Finally we arrived at our destination and headed straight to visit the church where Saint Nikolas was buried many many years ago. I know what you are asking yourself right now, Saint Nick, but he is just a funny character that we made up to make kids happy. NO my friends, there was really a Saint Nikolas and he lived in TURKEY. No joke. :-) He traveled all over Europe helping children, hence the Sinterklaas party that I went to in the Netherlands back in December. That was a celebration of the real Saint Nikolas.

So we walked all around the remains of the church and visited the tomb where he was originally buried. It was really neat as the church was VERY old, from the 100's or so. It had been destroyed by earthquake and war over the years, but really was quite intact. After checking everything out we went and grabbed a fabulous lunch that was part of our tour. We

were told at some point that Turkey is almost completely self sustainable when it comes to food. There were orange trees everywhere and tomato farms where we were on the coast. It was neat to see the fresh fruit just hanging everywhere. Explains why their was so much fresh fruit and veggies in the market we found the day before. We ate our lunch amongst the oranges and then got back on the bus to head to the ruins from the Lycian people. I got the history of the Lycians in German so I am no expert, just figured out the basics and enough to enjoy the tour, but you can read about it here if you are really interested. Basically they were a civilized culture around about the time of the Romans. What is left in the ancient town of Myrna includes a beautifully intact theater and some of the tombs that they had carved into the side of the mountain. I really had never seen anything like this in my life. Apparently whole families would get a tomb together and the higher up they were richer. The theater had some damage apparently mostly from a large earthquake

Yes, I found this in TURKEY. Love it.
many years ago, but was still mostly intact. It was a bit different from the roman architecture.

Megan and I ventured out...well next door to the Sheraton for dinner that night as we didn't quite feel the buffet sounded appetizing. We found a nice restaurant and enjoyed a fabulous dinner with wine for a very reasonable price. Actually we had the whole restaurant to ourselves, with silver dome presentations of food. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and wandered around the hotel for a while, and were very excited to run into a huge My Little Pony sign! I was thrilled and took a fabulous picture with it. I will attach for all of your amazement.

The last day in Turkey was spent with a rigorous day at the pool and a long evening at the traditional Turkish Hamma, Sauna. Megan and I signed up for the Emperors treatment which turned out to be 3 hrs of fantastic massage, masks, soaks, and a crazy scrub treatment while lying in the middle of a room with people on a hot stone. It was definitely an experience to be had. We felt fantastic afterwards, our skin was super smooth and we were
Megan and IMegan and IMegan and I

With the beautiful Mediterranean Coast
content after a day in the sun and being warm while it was snowing in Germany. It was an Easter filled with sun and warmth but no easter eggs or bunnies unfortunately. I missed being around family and friends, but I was thrilled to get away to a very different country for a long weekend.

Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 26


Worshiping the Sun!Worshiping the Sun!
Worshiping the Sun!

Doesn't get much better than this!
Remember this townRemember this town
Remember this town

This is where I want to go next! They had an international sailboat harbor!

This is the original tomb of St. Nikolas
Muslim and ChristianMuslim and Christian
Muslim and Christian

I love the religious mixing of symbols on these touristy souvineers

Hes in Turkey all along, forget the North Pole. Its much warmer here.


The Theatre

See the tombs on the hill

More of the beautiful theater

We climbed down these. They weren't exactly even, but they were set for acoustics which is so cool

2nd April 2008

again.... so jealous!
Wow! Looks like you had fun :) I am again jealous. I have the travel itch SOOO bad! It's been a while. I love the my little pony cut-out... nice. Do you remember that giant my little pony mansion you had? I loved it and always wanted to play with it and you were over it... haha

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