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Published: June 30th 2017
Today started with a nice breakfast at Hotel Rumi. This was the first time breakfast included fresh fruit, and the first time the hotel restaurant was located on a rooftop terrace, which was very nice. The terrace had a view of the mosque and Melvana museum. After breakfast we checked out and walked to the Melvana museum (which includes the Melvana mausoleum). It was really interesting. The mausoleum was very beautiful but we couldn't take photos so you'll have to take my word for it. We bought a book at the gift shop, so I've included some of the photos from the book here. The museum included many beautifully decorated books and calligraphy. I love Arabic calligraphy. The gift shop was especially nice, so Susan and I also bought a t-shirt, magnet, shopping bag, apron, spice mill, and a set of demitasse cups/saucers (for Arabic coffee at home).
I haven't mentioned it much, but there have been several instances where photography is not permitted (today at the Melvana museum and mausoleum, the Dark Church at the Goreme Open Air museum, Topkapi Palace - Treasury and Relics room, etc.). I understand why photography is prohibited in a place like the Melvana
museum and mausoleum. It is a very religious place and many of the people there were very reverential and it clearly meant a great deal to them to be there. They didn't need tourists pointing their cameras at everything (or god forbid, taking selfies!).
It was drizzling a bit this morning, but it stopped while we were at the Melvana museum. After the museum we embarked on our drive to Antalya, over the Taurus Mountains. It was pouring rain mostly, with lots of thunder and lightning. I was glad to be safely tucked away in the mini-bus with our excellent driver Hassim at the wheel. We stopped for lunch at the Mountain Restaurant which was very good. I had yogurt soup and the always good, freshly made bread. There were shops there and Susan and I bought a pretty scarf and a shirt for our cat sitter Michael, and some dried fruit for snacks. I love the dried fruit and nuts which are so available here.
We continued our drive through the mountains, stopping at a fruit stand for some excellent little bananas. Nihat gave us some carob which I really liked - I will get some when
I see it again. It was pouring rain at the fruit stand. I have a jacket with a hood and umbrella, but they were packed away in the suitcase. My feet got soaked during the quick stop. Ecco hiking sandals aren't good in the rain!
We continued onto Aspendos, and it warmed up as we descended. By the time we got to Aspendos it was sunny and warm. It had been quite cool in the mountains. There is an absolutely fabulous Roman theatre at Aspendos - apparently it is the best preserved in the world. It was built in the 2nd C, and has seating for around 12,000. We enjoyed climbing all over it, although I found I couldn't climb to the higher levels as it activated my fear of heights. At the gift shop (there is always a gift shop!) we bought a book on Iznik tiles and a booklet on Aspendos.
We stopped at the Aspendos aqueduct, then continued on our way to Antalya. On the drive there was tons of lightning and a torrential downpour. It was still pouring rain when we got to our hotel - Safari Hotel - and the power was out!
So we all hauled our luggage several floors upstairs, at which time the power promptly came back on. When I say we all carried our bags upstairs, I mean most of us did, while a few older members of our group seemed to think we should also carry theirs. Hah, sorry, you're responsible for your own bags. Safari Hotel is a pretty basic hotel but it does have two computers for guest use (this reference to using hotel computers seems charmingly antiquated 6 years later!).
We went for dinner at a nearby chicken place, and I had vegetarian mezzes. Susan had the chicken and said it was really good. There was a bit of a problem with the bills - many of us were charged too much and we didn't know the tip was included. Sometimes that sort of things happens with group meals. It was sorted out eventually. It was pouring rain again during the walk back to the hotel. I hope it's not raining tomorrow. We leave tomorrow at 9:30 for Phaselis, then onto Kars. We are very excited to see the Mediterranean for the first time!
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