Thursday, 5 June 2014

Mediterranean Coast, Turkey

Ah, the Turkey Mediterranean, also known as the turquoise coast!."a region of endless azure sea lined with kilometres of Sandy beaches and backed by mountains rising up to almost 3000m." - lonely planet guidebook.

A chic city on the coast. Just short of a million people, this city actually had a cool, laid back vibe!
We stayed five minutes away from the tourist hub, which was perfect as we were central and could wander around then return to our room.

Since the horrible night bus, we were pretty tired, and it took a couple nights to catchup on sleep. As It's incredibly hard to take a nap during the day when you know there is so much to see and do. So we waltzed around the historic harbour and took a boat ride around the marina.

The marina was beautiful!.. Full of pirate ships, blue water and surrounded by old castle walls and flowers.

Unfortunately we were harassed the minute we entered the harbour to buy buy buy!
Men lined the beautiful harbour and yelled out to tourists to come on their half hour boat tour.
Since Indonesia and Sri Lanka I have learned to keep my eyes and head down and not even respond to the sellers. Maybe give the occasional head shake, but I try not to get suckered in. I hate being a walking ATM!...anyways, I must say that the Turkish men are quite entertaining and even comical, especially when it comes to selling their buisness. Here's an example...
"Yes lady! Excuse me...Boat tour ?? Cheap for you!" - turkish man
Silence and keep walking...-me
"I know it's a good deal!.. I've made you speechless"
" much!"-me
" special price for you lady..10 million Dollars!! Muhhaha.. I mean 10 Turkish Lira"

Anyways we finally caved and took a half hour boat around the harbour for $5 CDN each.

Then we chilled out and enjoyed a beer on the grass while we took in the beauty of the marina.

Next day we took the antique tram to the nearby beach which was a pebble stretch of beach. The afternoon was spent practicing our paddle ball game.


   From Antalya, we took the metro, a bus and a taxi shuttle, and three hours later ended up in Cirali/Olympus. Upon arriving at our guesthouse, we were greeted by a guy who smiled, said "welcome", then grabbed our bags and silently walked us to our room. He didn't say one word on the route, then put our bags down in our room, turned, closed the door and left.....
"Well,... That was odd!??...."

we found ourselves in a rustic, overgrown, naturistic accommodation with chickens and cats roaming the grounds. It was very quiet, relaxing and full of scenery and wild life. It felt like we were camping!

   The village consisted of two main rounds that lined the beach and were sheltered by trees. A few restaurants and markets were scattered along the road. The main form of transportation was pedal bikes. We spent two days biking around, enjoying the beach, checking out ruins and playing paddle ball by day, cards by night.

  A local guy who was selling corn on the beach was intrigued by our paddle ball game. Ashton gave him a paddle and the two of them rallied. For being a beginner he did really good! Soon the three beach sellers were playing while we cheered them on. A couple times a "rush" of tourists would come and the sellers were off to sell, but quick to return to paddle ball. The guy we chatted with was 26 years old and very entertaining. He said he makes good money from June to September selling food on the beach. Then takes the rest of the year off to relax and occasionally teach tikewando to kids in his town.

 It was here that we both submersed ourselves into the Mediterranean. (The water has been just too cold!) I was only able to make it up to my knees in Greece, but finally,.. Beginning of June..the water feels a bit warmer... Refreshing...

 Super blue water, pebble beach and mountains as backdrop, made for the perfect swimming afternoon.

The ruins were a few steps behind the beach, in a shaded valley, amoung vines, flowers, trees and a trickling stream.

 Two nights at Olympus flew by as it was such a beautiful, quiet place and we were having so much fun pedalling around.

Often referred to as the ole hippie trail, we lucked out by staying with a super nice turkish couple and experienced "traditional village life".
Our greeting was much more personal than at Olympus...this time we were given coffee and cookies while we communicated with the wife through a series of charades, since her English was lacking..then the husband, 'Jet' arrived and joined us, while we ate watermelon. Jet spoke nearly fluent English, so we really enjoyed our visit with him. During our stay, the couple made sure we were content and offered plenty of coffee and treats throughout the day. We were also invited to a wedding!!..which sadly we declined, as our backpacking clothes have become stinky, crumpled, worn..and well, not really wedding attire. Jet told us that weddings here are very expensive, with pure gold bracelets being worn by the bride, and 600-800 attendees.

As easy as it would have been to chill at the accommodation all day eating treats and crushing tea, while visiting with the owners and other guests, we managed to hike half hour to the beach each day. Patara is turkey's longest uninterrupted beach, and fluffiest that we've seen. 18 km of beach and sand dunes line the coast. We found shelter from the wind and soaked up the sun rays.

    Ruins behind the beach were magnificent, as we toured the 5,000 person theatre, a lighthouse, and Main Street of the ancient city. The ancient city of Patara is where st. Nicolas was born.It's always fun to try to look back in time when Lycian people used to roam the Main Street..

 (Can you imagine all of the hard work that went into building this theatre.. And then imagine all of the performances that were held here?. It's One of the biggest ancient theatres that held up to 6,000 people!!)

  What do you think life was like back then?
Personally I Imagine women in bare feet, brown robes and flowers in their long hair, carrying around kids strolling along the street, stopping to gossip with other women while "running errands" and taking care of their families, while men carried around marble and built marvellous structures, then sitting around drinking tea or wine in the evenings, also gossiping with their neighbours. I envision lots of talk about invasions and their safety, but otherwise is see happy people
going to school, the market, having meals with family, enjoying theatre, turkish Baths, etc...
Hah a....

So the way we've been moving along the coast is by public bus. We go sit at a bus stop on the main highway and wait for a bus to pull over. No one really has a timetable, frequent buses drive along the coast every 15-30 minutes. We throw our bags in the back and jump in. Usually the bus is packed and everyone shuffles around to accommodate way more people than should be in the bus. Stools are set up in the isle, and people stand. There usually is a driver and a second worker who collects fare as we drive.

 We always seem to have interesting experiences on travel days, another reason why travel days are my favourite. It's exciting to see the scenery and interact with the locals while heading to a new destination.
We are currently in Olenduz! Sadly it's not what we expected.. Of course it's beautiful and a great town, however it has been invaded by British families. I just read that thousands of British peopleown homes in the area and/or come here for lengthy vacations. We have no problem with. British people, they are hilarious and cute! However, the influx of tourists means prices rise for us backpackers and everything feels "touristy"..countless restaurants and souvenir shops... No authenticity..

It's not all bad ,... We rented an apartment with a kitchen!! After backpacking for 5 months, it's so nice to be able to make our own meals and drink our own wine while in the comfort of our comfy clothes and cute apartment

When we arrived we played paddle ball on the beach and ended up booking a day trip through the local man who wanted to try paddle ball. .. He was revved up to the max... Too much caffeine.. Or maybe just loads of energy!.. He later explained that he needs his energy for his two wife's and 12 children! Yikes!

The boat tour was ok. We walked through butterfly valley to a tiny waterfall, and stopped at st.Nicholas island and cold water spring for a quick dip. The downside to the tour was the weather. Grey, cold and rain prevented us from seeing the deep blue colours of the water. I went for a dip near the cold water spring.. It was frreeezzzinnggg!

Anyhoodles we are still in. Olenduz and will either update this blog or write a second part..
Here are some random photos to share with you....
A colourful street we found. Probably the best spot to be if it rains;)

A common Turkish meal for tourists. Lots of chicken Kababs!.. Tomatoes! And lots of bread and greasy Fries!

Corn field

Corn treat on the beach!

 Quick workout sesh in the park !
 Our guilty pleasure.. McDonalds ! In every country we've been in ! Lol..
Four little birdies in their nest! These smarties would turn around, stick their bottom out over their nest, and poop onto the ground!.. So impressed by their cleanliness !..momma bird would bring them food all day long!
So here i am, "bah  bah bah-ing" at my goat followers, when some man pokes his head out of his home which is along side of the road, and begins yelling and screaming in Turkish...not sure if he was freaking out on me.. Or the goats...either way, he scared my goat friends away..
So strong!

Bah bah black sheep... Have you any wool...
Sunset at Patara 

 Good news and great news...
We booked flights to CROATIA for June 11th!! We plan on checking out Montenegro for a week and then spending two weeks in Croatia!
And.. We booked flights home!
July 2nd at 2100 we fly into Saskatoon airport!...

1 comment:

  1. These photos look amazing!!!!! Hope your having an amazing time!!!!