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KALEICI (ANTALYA) & THE MEDITERRANEAN COAST


Having seen our fill of churches, mosques and ruins, and at the tail end of our Turkey journey, our travel palates had started to get a tad jaded. While our Kaleici accommodation, the Tuvana Hotel, was quaint and lovely with a distinguished Ottoman vibe, the top sheet on our bed was so small that it could barely fold under the mattress on either side, forcing Peter and I to play tug-of-war for sheet space all through the night. As for the blanket, there wasn’t one. Facing the morning with half moons under our eyes and feeling like we’d been hit by a road train, thank God our first day was a free one.

Having said that, Kaleici was a gorgeous revelation.  After breakfast in our hotel, we spent the day at our leisure, skirting the harbour, walking the old streets and exploring the neighborhood without a particular destination in mind. That evening, Peter and I met up with my lovely niece, Alexandra and her Turkish husband (and Antalya local), Ahmet. After a delicious dinner of mezes at Hasanaga Restaurant, we walked the short distance to the harbour and enjoyed a glass of Turkish red at Ahmet's family boat, Baba Nuri. 

Day 2 in Antalya was another "tour day", albeit a very relaxed one. Picked up from our hotel at a very civilized 09:30 am, the tour was a private one, with just Peter and I, and our guide. Heading towards Olympos/Cirali, we visited the Roman ruins in the vicinity of Phaselis. Phaselis was an ancient Greek and Roman city on the coast of Lycia. Lying between the Bey Mountains and the forests of Olympos National Park, its ruins are located north of the modern town Tekirova in the Kemer district of Antalya. After a quick dip in the warm and crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean, clearing the cobwebs of our heads after another restless night’s sleep, we viewed the ruins with our guide. We marveled at his encyclopedic memory regarding historical fact. After enjoying some simple and very delicious feta and spinach gozlemes at one of the seaside restaurants in Olympos, we embarked on a short but very scenic boat cruise before heading back to Antalya.

Day 3 in Antalya was a free day, thanks to the cancellation of our tour through the villages of the Taurus Mountains due to the Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha . While we missed out on the autumn glory and cool rushing streams of the mountains, we nevertheless reveled in the quietness of Kaleici’s streets. Making our way to one of Kaleici’s private rock “beaches”, we staked our claim on two beach beds and an umbrella before plunging into the crystal clear waters once more, taking our time to savour the silky smoothness of the Mediterranean. After sharing a large kebab dish and an Ayran drink each for lunch at one of the local eateries, we grabbed a tram in front of Kaleici’s Clocktower and got off 15 minutes later, at the Antalya Museum. The Antalya Museum or Antalya Archeological Museum is one of Turkey’s largest museums. While it may seem small and unassuming from the outside, it includes 13 exhibition halls, an open air gallery, covers an area of 7,000 m 2 (75,000 sq ft) and has 5000 exhibited works of art. In addition a further 25,000–30,000 artifacts which cannot be displayed are in storage. As a museum exhibiting examples of works, which illuminate the history of the Mediterranean and Pamphylia regions in Anatolia, Antalya Museum is one of the most important of Turkey's museums and was well worth the visit.  

While we felt no sentimental attachment to the Tuvana Hotel - being short sheeted every night despite the request for larger and longer bed sheets had played havoc with our sleep quality for the duration of our stay - we’d left a piece of our hearts in Antalya, and especially, the old town of Kaleici. We’d miss its quaint streets, al fresco dining and sparkling harbour. Picking a quaint eatery called Pupa Cafe for our evening meal, we dined on fresh grilled sea bass and a Mediterranean salad before taking to the streets and meandering aimlessly about as we soaked up Kaleici’s vibe. And the following morning, as our driver picked us up to take us to the airport, we felt a little heavy hearted, knowing that we'd left a piece of ourselves behind in this fascinating and charming town.

Posted by Victoria Ugarte on 4th October, 2014 | Trackbacks
Categories: Turkey
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