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Published: August 13th 2014
Watching his happy little furry face with his trunk pressed against the window and his tail twitching in glee as the bus started its journey was a sight to behold. We had grabbed an opportunity to do some exploring with one of our expat friends known as Happy. Happy or Keith to be exact has lived in Alanya for nearly 16 years and has spent many days using the buses to explore the Antalya region and beyond. A short trip over a few days would help with the itchy feet and would give Woolly the chance to discover more of the country in which we live and get back on the trail of Hadrian. Woolly says – The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round, the mammoth on the bus goes……. By the twenty fifth verse we were grateful to pull into Antalya bus station, stretch our legs and ……. Woolly says – SNACKS, so many to choose from, I was taking my time until Jo told me that if I didn’t get on the bus they were going without me, very mean
I thought. So grabbing several simit’s (rather nice wheel shaped breads) and a couple of extra provisions just in case I dodged through the suitcases and secured my seat ready for the second bus journey of the day. I’d forgotten how beautiful Turkey is and as mile upon mile went by I admired the mountains before gazing across the brilliant aquamarine sea. A quick stop allowed us to indulge in a cay before the driver hooted his horn and we were off again. The wheels on the mammoth…… I wish I’d bought a sock along! The journey seemed to fly past and as the doors opened for the last time a blast of hot air met us as we gathered our belongings and set off to see what Kas had to offer. Woolly says – Cash, sorry I mean Kaş was founded by the Lycians, and was originally known as Habesos or Habesa. The ancient Greeks decided that they rather liked the area and settled in changing its name to of Antiphéllos or Antíphilos, since it was the harbour in front of the city of Phellos. Why do all they go round changing
the names all the time? Maybe I should change my name, hmmmm how about Manny the Mammoth! Anyway back to history, from 395 AD the Roman’s took over and the town became famous for exporting sponges and timber around the world. Now if the Romans had thought about it they could have bought their sponges at Tesco and their wood from the local timber merchant! In 1923, because of the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey after the Greco-Turkish War, the majority of the population, which was of Greek origin, left the town for Greece. Kas has now became a tourist hot spot popular with divers who can submerge beneath the sea to feast their eyes on the many wrecks, fauna and fish. Now that’s something I could try, but then it involves water so ……. Maybe not. With Woolly dancing excitedly round we booked into a small self-contained apartment and set off for a dusk walk around the harbour. Woolly says – oh wow, what a beautiful place, with quaint cobbled streets and the smell of jasmine scenting the air, I was delighted with our little find. The harbour holds boats both large and small selling diving
trips, while the small shops displayed gorgeous handmade pottery, silks and glassware. With Jo and Happy flagging I decided that food was now of the highest priority having been snackless for at least an hour and we found a small café and tucked into the local ravioli and some stuffed pancakes, just a nice beer to finish and I would sleep like a mammoth. We woke to a blazing hot morning and after a delicious breakfast on the terrace we finally dragged the furry dustbin off to have a further look round. Woolly says – breakfast was a delight and having worked out that it is far better to stay on the buffet table rather than get a plate and go somewhere else I made short work of the cheeses, eggs and fruits on offer. Saving a few crumbs for later I followed the oldies down towards the town, within minutes I had made my first discovery. A Hellenistic temple under excavation. Parts of the groundwork were covered over but some of the outer walls and inner arches stood proudly facing the sea, not much there and no information but it was
a good start to the day. As we turned towards the harbour front we found a sign for a cistern, ohhhh Romans how wonderful. Reading the information it told us that the cistern was dated from the 5th
century and had been used for storing wine (just right for Jo) and palmnut oil. Carved from seven blocks of stone it also contained relics from the time. I eagerly looked around finding nothing that resembled a cistern, peering over a wall there didn’t seem anything to see, had they put the sign in the wrong place? Suddenly I noticed a Turkish man waving at me, being polite I waved back and smiled, he indicated to follow him, feeling slightly apprehensive as I really don’t need to buy any Turkish rugs I checked that Jo and Happy were behind me and trotted over to a door that he was opening. Indicating that we needed to go down the steps I allowed Jo to go first being the gentleman that I am and just in case there was something down there that might bite, before going down into the gloom below. I couldn’t believe my Mammoth eyes, I was inside a Roman Cistern
with lovely columns and water as clear as anything. I could see pots and mosaics under the water and I could only stand in awe at the wonderful place we had found. It was pretty incredible and a first for us all, (the photo’s really don’t do it justice) climbing out we set off to look at the harbour. Woolly says – the views are amazing and I could see the island of Mais which is still under Greek ownership as well as the amazing coastline. The walls have been painted to depict Kas’s history and with the boats bobbing about at their moorings we wandered happily around in the sunshine. The town centre with its Ataturk statue was quiet but a delight as were the tiny lanes that we found at each turn. Just as we were starting to tire we found another relic from yesteryear, a Knight’s tomb which was built by the Knights of Rhodes and is impressive to say the least. One snack break later we decided to leave our little town and catch the bus to the next town on the coast road.
Kalkan is very similar to Kas but without the Roman input, they to lost their population in 1923 when the Greeks left and are now recognised as a major tourist destination. Woolly says – the bus journey was marvellous, twisting round the edge of the coast we could see golden beaches and azure blue seas with small islands dotting the landscape. The trip was over all too quickly and we found ourselves in the bus station of Kalkan, looking down, a long long way down to the sea. Not being a Mammoth to give up on a long walk I decided to check for snacks in Jo’s bag. With Woolly occupied we faced the temperatures of forty five and plodded down towards the sea in the distance, it seemed to take forever in the heat and even though Happy is a very spritely sixty nine year old we found ourselves having to pause many times to catch our breath and stand in some shade for a few minutes. With the harbour in view we found our way onto the small cobbled streets, similar to Kas in so many ways but not holding
the same charm, we weren’t so much disappointed but it didn’t blow the socks off either. Woolly says – I don’t know what the problem is, I thought the walk down was fine! The cobbled streets gave way to modern restaurants decorated in pinks and greys and turquoise and orange, all very chic but nothing seemed to be older than Jo. I suggested a sit and a snack which was meet with nods of delight and we sat happily watching the boats and yachts entering and trying to park in the harbour. Happy being an ex-Navy man told me that they were moored not parked and explained all sorts of technical things about what they were doing wrong, along with some old sea tales, we spent a lovely few hours sipping our drinks and watching the world go by. Strangley there was a lifeboat in the harbour, strange as this is the first I have ever seen in Turkey, so I posed a question to the other two, do they have lifeboats in Turkey? Would I get saved at sea if I needed it? Jo’s fast fingers were hitting Goggle to find out and the answer
was not what I wanted to hear, only six countries have lifeboats in the WORLD, no more boats for me! After a unanimous vote we climbed into a taxi for the uphill climb to the bus terminus and arrived just as our bus was ready to go. A lovely day indeed and with further advenures planned for tomorrow, it’s so good to be travelling again.
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