Escaping the Rain!!


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Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Side
September 3rd 2006
Published: September 4th 2006
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What would you most hate to do when the forcast is for 10 days continuous rain?
Go camping!! That's what we had planned - 2 weeks camping in Cornwall. Sorry people in Cornwall, you have a beautiful county but who wants to sit under canvas watching the rain pour down and tripping across a wet field to answer a call of nature?

We were all set to go but on seeing the forcast we searched through the internet, got a late booking to somewhere guaranteed to be hot and sunny. Turkey, well Side, to be exact. (Prounounced Seeday)

24 hours later we were sitting on a plane winging our way to bluer skies.

The hotel turned out to be a bit basic but at least it was somewhere to rest your weary head after a hard day swimming in the sea, lazing on the beach and sitting in a bar being waited on hand and foot! It was located a 5 minute Dolmus bus ride away from Side centre, no motor vehicles were allowed in so the journey had to be finished on a tractor disguised as a train.

Side itself consists of many old Roman remains, including an ampitheatre that is still used for concerts today. Many of the bars and restaurants are built into the actual ruins and the streets are narrow and cobbled and lined with interesting shops. The whole place comes alive in the evening giving it a party atmosphere.

Our hotel ran a free bus to the beach and that's where we spent most of our time. It was a long straight beach lined with sunbeds and umbrellas, which isn't our favourite type of beach but to be honest they were needed as the temperature often topped 50 degrees C.

After a few days we decided we needed to do a bit of site seeing so booked a tour to the ancient city of Antalya. We were up nice and early raring to go but where was the bus? It never turned up so after our nice receptionist made a few phone calls we were put on the trip the following day.
The bus did turn up this time but as soon as were were seated we were told the news, this trip was going to the water park not Antalia but we wern't to worry as we would do the first half of the trip with the rest of the party then be switched to a car for the waterfalls and Antalya bit. Strange!

The first part of the trip turned out to be a tour of a gold factory, we expected to see huge vats of liquid gold bubbling away. Oh no, after a 2 minute talk about how gold is coloured we were led into a showroom exibitting very expensive jewelery! Now the hard sell began, as Stan and I didn't have little children running around our ankles with arm bands on eagerly waiting to get to the water park, we were targeted! The guide there followed us around like a shadow continually saying I obviously liked 'good' jewelery as I had a gold chain on. In truth it was fairly cheap from good old Argos. Whereas he kept putting nasty ugly chains and necklaces under my nose for £1,300 plus!! I explained politely that I couldn't buy any of these as I didn't have that kind of money on me and he helpfully suggested that they could deliver it to my hotel and I could pay then! Doesn't he realise we were staying in the cheapest hotel in town and were only there for the sunshine? We were given coffee which incedently no- one else was, and I'm sure he thought that would clinch a deal. He had another think coming but the coffee was welcome anyway!

Finally we were on our way and soon arrived at the water park, as promised a car was waiting for us and we were whisked of to the waterfall. Thankfully the guide left us to walk around on our own and said to meet her back at the car in half an hour. Half an hour!!! This was the highlight of our day out, we'd just wasted a whole hour in the gold 'factory', we took our time taking numerous photos and exploring the caves that went behind the waterfall. We arrived back at the car 45 mins later to find a disgruntled tour guide.

Next stop was Antalya itself, we parked up in a restaurant car park and were introduced to the staff. We declined lunch saying we were not hungry and went off to explore on our own, eating the sandwiches we'd made earlier. Antalyia is a nice little port with some ancient Greek houses very similar to the ones we'd seen in Bulgaria. After an hour we returned to the restaurant to find our guide had 'saved' a table for us.Stan had had a quick look at the prices and said they seemed reasonable so we agreed to eat as she was beginning to look a bit 'put out'. We ordered simple snacks and were astounded when the bill turned out to be double our calculation. The prices had been in Euros not Turkish Lire but the Euro sign was VERY descreet!! Now we knew why she was so eager for us to dine there! Big fat commission!

Next stop to our dismay was another jewelery factory, No!! I can't go through this again, we made a hasty retreat as soon as we could shake the salesperson off. Our guide was no where to be found, she eventually turned up saying she had wanted to give us a good chance to choose something!! They just don't get the message, ok, she did explain that the tours are run at rock bottom prices to persuade people on them and they make their money on commision, but surely expecting someone to spend over £1000 on a £3 casual trip to a waterfall is a bit much!! Isn't it obvious if we book the cheapest tour in town we don't have that kind of money? Maybe we're just cheapskates!

Anyway at the mention of a leather factory tour next I got a bit nasty and said we'd come to see waterfalls and were NOT going. She got the message and took us to an extra waterfall that hadn't been on the itinerary so we did quite well after all. Then she redeemed herself and also took us to the Roman Ampitheatre at Aspendous and to see some ancient aquaducts and bridges. She also took us down a quiet country road and showed us the local crops of pomegranites and oranges. Now this was more like it!

We arrived back at our hotel best of friends, well sort of, and gave her a 10 lire tip which she snatched from my hand and tossed it on the dash board without a word of thanks. Charming!

After this we decided we would 'go it alone' in future and began planning our next trip to Alanya (not to be mixed up with Antalya) on the good old Dolmus busses.


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