Turkey Summer Trip 2016
ps: Every time I intend to post in this blog, something bad happens in Turkey or somewhere else in the world. It became heart-breaking not being able to share anything `happy` in my lonely beautiful country. On a summer day, Istanbul lost 46 innocent people in one of the biggest airports of Europe, Ataturk Airport. Again terror, again lack of intelligence info, again innocent people. We suffer a lot from terror but we should never be getting used to it. On the other hand, I became a paranoid, worried guy with full of anxiety. All these happenings changed our psychology, life style, life perspective, etc. for good.
However, we should not stop the life. We should remain straight.
Summertime is always precious. So is summer holiday. This time, we take the opportunity to spend our two weeks totally in Turkey, traveling around. It was our first summer holiday as a couple in Turkey, indeed
Starting and ending in Istanbul (3 days), our trip had many stops and we made over 2,000 kilometers visiting Erdek (3 days), Inegol – Kofteci Orhan (2 hours), Eskisehir (2 hours), Ankara (3 days), Afyon – Ikbal (2 hours), Burdur – Burdur Lake (2 hours), Kemer/Tekirova (4 days), Antalya – Olympos, Cirali (1 day), Manavgat/Side (3 days).
So it was half visiting families and half seaside time in Antalya and in between we had chance to visit cities that are on our root.
Inegol was our first stop after Erdek family visit. Actually, our only purpose was to enjoy kofte at Kofteci Orhan. But you can have more options to enjoy the town that is famous for its furniture manufacturing. Therefore if you are close, stop by Orhan and taste the kofte with piyaz.
Second stop was Eskisehir. This city is simply surprising. I think I first visited Eskisehir 10 years ago and afterwards a couple of times more. Eskisehir is always a live, fresh city, unlike its name (eskisehir means old town in Turkish), thanks to hundreds of thousands of university students. Big and long standing universities brighten the city life. It is what happened in Eskisehir, simply surprising.
You can have a boat trip on Porsuk river like Venice style, visit one of the best theme story parks in Europe (Sazova), enjoy summer holidays in artificial beach, appreciate stylish architecture of Odunpazari houses and taste the famous cigborek in Papagan. Well, we did only the last one 🙂
We finally reached our destination, Ankara, for another family visit. It had been 4-5 months since our last visit. This is the fate of expatriate couples. You wait for your summer holiday. You also miss your parents, siblings, friends. So when time comes, you try to do all of them – little little in the middle style.
After 3 days in Ankara, we started the engine at 5 a.m. to a new destination, Kemer. I am 31 years old and it was my first time visiting Antalya, shame on me. So it was Deren* who was the guide for our Antalya trip. (*I should admit I got bored of myself naming her Mrs Trippie in my posts. What the heck. No more nicknames here.)
When you are going south from Ankara, you have two options. If you want to reach east Antalya, then you keep on Konya direction. If you want to reach west Antalya, i.e. Kemer, then you stop and have a great breakfast in Ikbal, Afyon. Here comes the tip: 1. Afyon Ikbal sucugu (sausages) and 2. Kaymakli ekmek kadayifi – mandatory to try.
As you continue driving to south, your next stop will be Burdur. So far, I had no idea what to do in Burdur as it was a city only linked to paid military service. What is paid military service? Let me explain. In Turkey, military service is mandatory. If you are university graduated, you have chance of 6 months short term service or 12 months professional service. If you are not university graduated, your military service lasts 18 months. There is a third option that is paid military service. If you work abroad for more than 3 years, then you are granted for a paid military service. It was 10K EUR + 21 days active service in Burdur until 2 years ago. This is why Burdur based its economy mostly on these 21 days soldiers. Then it was converted to 6K EUR only which I benefited as well. Now it is only 1K EUR and that`s it.
So Burdur lost a significant income because of cancelled active service. City does not propose anything interesting, that`s why we wanted to have a relaxing time by the Burdur Lake.
Finally we reached Antalya. As you might know Antalya hosts EXPO 2016 this year. Despite the whole year event, Antalya is passing through the worst times ever. Why? Because Antalya was hosting 3-4 million Russian tourists in summer and now there is no Russian because of the conflict between Russia and Turkey. But actually, nowadays Russia and Turkey are starting to improve the relationship. Hopefully it will effect summer tourism next year. It was my first time in Antalya and first time in an all-inclusive summer resort.
Our first hotel was Phaselis Rose in Tekirova, Kemer. Our second hotel was Voyage Sorgun in Side, Manavgat. I fully recommend both hotels if you are thinking of same holiday type. Both hotels are family friendly with great service, helpful personnel, comfortable rooms.
Once again, I should admit that, there is no other country in the world which can have better service quality than Turkey. The customer satisfaction is beyond the limits.
While enjoying our limitless holiday, we gave a one-day break to wander around. We made our simple plan to discover Olympos, Cirali, Antalya Kaleici and Duden fall. All was impressive. First stop was Cirali. Instead of watching out sea turtles and jumping into the sea, we chose to climb up to Chimaera – burning stones. Read the mythology about burning stones in Cirali, Lycia. Simply, you climb up 1 km on a stony hill and you see rocks burning naturally and continuously. On a 55 celcius degrees weather, climbing up on the rocks in 18 minutes is my record, dear friend. Well, to some people, the hidden dragon is just exploring the fire outside and this is the source of olympics fire in ancient Greek. But to some people, it`s a great opportunity for a free grill. You choose your side 🙂
Our second stop was Olympos (Lycia). It was my secret dream to go camping in bohemian Olympos. Well, it was a bit late to discover it at my 31, hence Olympos did not seem to be that bohemian, anymore. It`s an ancient site and a very important place in Greek myth. Read more here. Lying on the pebbles under the shadow of a giant rock, watching the beautiful scene was a privilege for us. Unfortunately, just after our visit, part of the forest was under fire.
Our third stop was Antalya Kaleici. It`s the old town of Antalya where you keep on within the walls of Byzantines, Romans, Ottomans architecture. It was Ramadan, Russians were not in the town, weather was over 50 celcius degrees, that`s why we were one of the few people walking around. God helps the poor locals – one salesman was telling us that they had never seen Kaleici that empty even on December.
Our final stop was Duden fall. It is a wonder of nature. We kept on shooting the enormous amount of water falling from 40 meters. That`s the point where you appreciate the Mother Nature.
Sad part of holidays is the return. And our return was 10 hours of driving, from Antalya to Istanbul and flying from Istanbul to Bucharest and in between celebrating the first age of our little one.
Let the terror away from this beautiful country.