Take your time, this is Turkey
We intended to only spend a week or two in Alanya, but that idea quickly vanished. We ended up staying for a month. My cousin, Liz, lives in Alanya with her husband, Turgay, and their kids, Max and Lydia. Kate also lives there now, and it was so wonderful to spend a month with them all. We’re both feeling so refreshed from our ‘break’ from travelling, and also feeling very loved!
During our stay we got to experience Turkish culture. We arrived just before Bayram, which is a religious festival and holiday. I spent Friday cooking with Liz and her mother-in-law, while Odin went to help out at the beach.
All of the food we were preparing was vegetarian, when I asked why, Liz told me that part of Bayram was the sacrifice of lambs or goats. When I looked over the balcony the following day I saw animals being skinned by old ladies in their kitchens or on balconies, and also a goat running around. On the Saturday evening we went to Tolga’s house for dinner, where we ate the lamb.
Our next few weeks in Alanya mainly involved eating lots of Liz’s delicious cooking, relaxing on the beach, and drinking whiskey and efes. Despite our relaxation, we did do some activities; Liz took us up to Sydera, which was an amazing and relatively unexplored ruin. We also (finally) made it all the was up to the Alanya castle. We stopped for a beer halfway up (of course) as it was very hot.
We also got to experience a Turkish wedding, which was on the beach looking over towards the Alanya castle. Lots of turkish dancing and whiskey drinking was involved.
After our relaxing few weeks, we convinced Kate and Cango to come to Olympos with us for a few days. We arrived at our hostel and were greeted with a free dinner, which was delicious. Who would have thought a hostel dinner could be so good (dinner the next night was amazing too). We spent the next day exploring the ruins around Olympos, wandering along the beach, and then we walked up the mountain to Chimera. I felt rather magical standing on a mountain as the sun set, surrounded by natural flames rising from the ground.
As it was our last evening with Kate and Cango, we played some durak and stayed up late talking. We were all feeling a bit sad having to say good-bye the following morning, as Kate and Cango were back to Alanya and we were off to Kas.
We had a wonderful couple of days in Kas, exploring the Lycian rock-cut tombs, theatres, and delicious food. Our hotel was cheap, had delicious breakfast and the sublime view. I couldn’t believe our luck.
Our next stop was Fethiye, but we weren’t there for long before we went to Pamukkale.
Pamukkale was beautiful. No, that’s not snow or ice, but calcite! The travertines are formed by the minerals in the water flowing from the natural springs in the mountains.
Something else that really surprised us about Pamukkale was the ruins. We spent a good few hours wandering around them, exploring the tombs, and climbing up the side of the mountain. We had some delicious food in Pamukkale too, including our first Asian meal in god-knows how many months.
From Pamukkale we caught the train to Selçuk, which is the town near Ephesus. We arrived mid-morning and after a delicious lunch of an incredible toasted sandwich (Odin) and some veggies (me), we spent the rest of the day being awed by the sheer size and craftsmanship of Ephesus.
We’re now in Cesme after getting up at 6am to catch a bus here to then get the 9:30am ferry to Chios (which we missed by 15minutes), so we have a day in Cesme!