What I Like About Today

We are off for a 7 day break to nr.İçmeler on Monday together ...am so excited...we have a bungalow nr the sea in all incl hotel and (so far) weather forecast seems fab...we don't spend much time together or have many breaks away so thrilled....exchange rate is gr8 so we count our blessings living here in Turkey every day!!!
Enjoy every minute Kas - hope you have a fabulous time!
We are off for a 7 day break to nr.İçmeler on Monday together ...am so excited...we have a bungalow nr the sea in all incl hotel and (so far) weather forecast seems fab...we don't spend much time together or have many breaks away so thrilled....exchange rate is gr8 so we count our blessings living here in Turkey every day!!!
Enjoy K..
Antalya- what can I say? Plenty! We passed through it many years ago on the way to Alanya- a source of annoyance as we were very delayed because of missing baggage- not ours - we were on a Thompson package. So Antalya always spelt a few hours in an overcrowded over heated bus waiting on other people's luggage to us!
Fast forward 15 or so years. The airport is small - at least on the domestic side and no problem with luggage. A turkish friend had told us that taxi fares from the airport to our hotel in Kaleci would be exorbitant- so we took the Havas bus to the Migros Mall- an around Antalya trip for 11 to each followed by a taxi journey for 25 where the taxi driver threw us out, baggage and all, and pointing right said there's Kaleci - find the hotel yourselves - traffic is bad and I dont want to go there!
Well, after much huffing and puffing and excellent help from so many people and a two mile trek we found our hotel. Bliss! Old ottoman style complete with interior courtyard and pool which was small but perfectly formed. Checked in, sorted the luggage, hung the clothes and then went on a bit of a gander.
Kaleci in Antalya is small and very hilly but has been, for the most part, beautifully restored. The parts that haven't are projects in waiting - Kusadasi Belediye could usefully take lessons in regeneration from Antalya- and make a spectacular project of Kaleci in Kusadasi.
The atmosphere was electric - and so different to any other big city in Turkey that we've been to. Very Mediterranean- in the style of Spain or Italy rather than Turkey is how I'd describe it. Like a very much more relaxed Izmir - and Izmir is quite relaxed. There is a huge buzz and hype around Kaleci anyway - we weren't far outside it,particularly in the evening, after all our sightseeing expeditions.
We found a restaurant and set about ordering- I'd had no food in four days other than a bowl of chickpea and meatball stew in Izmir airport and was a bit hungry but still with a sore mouth and throat- so I was being picky. I settled on a Mexican salad and mussels Uraquayan style. Well not only were my tastebuds tickled but my senses were assaulted - in all of the best ways ! Sensational - himself had the Mexican salad and sea bass on a bed of cauliflower purée with lightly steamed courgette rolls and a balsamic glaze- he thought he'd died and gone to heaven! All washed down with a bottle of Leona cab sav. Bliss - I'm hungry just thinking about it! What a great culinary start to our little holiday.
I'll get to our subsequent days later - duty, a mop and plenty of scrubbing await me for the next few hours!
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Antalya - Kaleci is well restored and so atmospheric. The bazaar is close by and is reminiscent of an old fashioned souk or a mini version of the grand bazaar in Istanbul. I found a row of shoemakers and one of them rebuilt my favourite sandals (which were looking very decrepit- but oh so comfortable) for 50tl- they're as good as new and the new leather lining is so soft and comfortable. I have another few pairs that could do with the same treatment - a great excuse ( if one were needed) for a return trip to Antalya !
On our second night the rain which had been coming down in fits and starts all day turned into a tremendous downpour so we retreated to the same restaurant as the first night- it was closest and we knew we'd find something in the menu to intrigue us. We weren't disappointed-mixed salad with braised veal on arapenas with three sauces for me and grilled giant prawns with green bean purée and a spicy for himself - sublime - and while the wine was expensive the food was not.
The next day we visited Antalya Museum and spent four hours wandering around- it is extremely well laid out and very informative. They even had a picture show which was in English but was somewhat ruined for us by some Germans ,Russians Chinese and Turks talking loudly over the commentary - if they couldn't understand they could just have watched in silence - the film was well shot and informative even without the commentary. Talking about rude tourists - there were literally hundreds of Chinese tourists congregation g in large groups everywhere we went and I have to say the vast bulk of them that we saw were the rudest bunch of people bar none I've ever in my whole life come across. They would literally push and elbow you out of their way - no mean feat, as by and large they were small and skinny , where I'm tall and on the large size - and no easy pushover! Swarms of them would descend on whatever monument you'd be admiring - and suddenly you'd find yourself stumbling as they literally ganged up and shoved you out of the way! And the noise of them - some of them would nearly climb up on your back to get a better photo angle. And it was all rushrush rush!
We walked the legs of ourselves and saw every monument there was to be seen and there were some unexpected little gorges and rivers dotted throughout the city - as well as the rather unexpected kedi hotels - colourful little huts and feeding stations for the city's cats - a rather novel idea. And boy is Antalya full of cats - thousands of them! A bunch of them would arrive at our hotel at breakfast time and sit and meow until somebody fed them - and somebody always did- sujuk cake bread dipped in milk - the cats were utterly spoiled. One of the other guests was unimpressed and gave the black cat a 45*rise one morning- an Arab gentleman pointed out that the only way to deal with a cat like that was to put him in a box and drive a 100 kms away before freeing it!
The hotel itself was beautiful - restored ottoman style around a central courtyard, with loads of nooks and niches and seating areas - quaint and well looked after. We'd certainly go back to that hotel!
And we remember all those who have gone before us- why is it that that phrase reverberates in my head in the month of November? Maybe because it’s the month of the holy souls- I don’t really know. I used to think it was because the November of my youth always seemed to be dark , cold and dank. So far this year it is cold but not dreadfully so and it’s bright and as yet no dankness that I’ve noticed.
I had to drive through the city on All Souls’ Day - through the area in which I was born and lived for my first decade and then on to where I lived before I married. As I drove, all I could see around me was not what was there, but rather the way it had been as I grew up. Although it was a relatively bright day, to me it seemed like the murky November days of old with chimneys belching smoggy yellowish sulphurous fumes into the low hanging sky. People scurried along like the falling leaves skittering hither and yon haphazardly. In my minds eye I could see my mam dragging five of us out into the cold because she had to get medicine in the chemist and some shopping in- no supermarkets in those days let alone an internet shop! I could nearly see her pushing the pram with the seat on top for the toddler and the rest of us holding the side of the handles as she urged us on. It wasn’t far, but by god it was horrible. No way however was she leaving us alone so that she could run the errands on her own - she knew what we were capable of doing when she was in the room with us - no way could we be left.
As I drove further I remembered the November I ran away because my mother wouldn’t allow me to go to the swimming baths with some pals - I was seven and quite the drama queen. I remember telling her she didn’t love me and didn’t care about me - she agreed with me as she washed the dishes. I told her I was so unhappy I was going to hang myself - off you go said she don’t let me stop you! She didn’t realise I had a big heavy rope of my fathers in my room and off I went and tried it - but all that happened was that I burned my neck with the bloody rope. Back down I came and said I’d run away instead - off you go she said- so I did - with clothes and books and a torch all packed up in a cardboard suitcase! I walked as far as the train station only to find that my sixpence wasn’t going to get me anywhere - let alone far away - defeated again. I was trundling home carrying my now frighteningly heavy suitcase and who did I meet but my mam- cycling on a neighbouring msn’s bike ( her own had a puncture). She had been paying no attention to my little rants until she went to my bedroom and saw the rope and no me and no shoes or coat - frantic with sorry she portioned out my siblings on the neighbours and borrowed the bike to go look for me. Oh yes I was a proper drama queen.
In the olden days, it seemed to get darker earlier and was also misty in the evening- that is when it wasn’t raining. And oh my the frosts we had them - in the inside of the windows. And no such things as electric blankets or duvets - you’d be lucky to have an eiderdown and a stone jar or a rubber hot water bottle. My dad used to portion out his duffle cost , donkey jacket and old great coat amongst us kids when it got really cold. Back then it seemed that November was the coldest bleakest month of the year and so depressing. Two of my grandparents died in November and it seemed to me that it was the saddest time of the year - trees in the graveyard without leave looking as dead as the ones we were burying, very few birds to be heard, cold, dreary days where everyone seemed to be sniffling and blowing noses. When my grandad died I didn’t really understand that he was gone for ever. At 6 I thought being dead was what happened when you played cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers - bang bang you’re dead 40 bullets in your head- and you were dead for the rest of the game but you lay down dead and got up to play in the next game! That innocence made me a fair few bob- older cousins and uncles gave me money to stop asking when grandad was going to get up and bring me out for chocolate!
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