FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Antalya to London

Posted in Antalya, Turkey by folkestonejack on October 20, 2014

An impressive sunrise over Antalya greeted me on waking, providing a stunning final vista ahead of my homeward journey. The taxi rank outside the hotel was deserted so I wandered around the neighbourhood hoping to find a taxi, luckily finding one parked up in a side street. The driver started bargaining me down in price before I had barely uttered a word, which made a pleasant but somewhat odd change!

Antalya sunrise

Antalya sunrise

The domestic flight from Antalya to Istanbul was perfectly smooth and Turkish Airlines once again served up surprisingly good fare for such a short flight. After landing in Istanbul I had half an hour to clear Passport control and security, making it to the gate bang on the scheduled boarding time. Time to take my seat on the Turkish Airlines 737-900ER that would get me home.

I have to admit that my trip to Turkey has challenged many of the preconceptions I held, in much the same way that my first trip to China helped me to see how limited my understanding of the country really was. As ever, nothing is quite as simple as you imagine it to be! I have been really impressed by the transport system in Turkey, the friendliness of the people, the stunning historic sights and the beauty of the countryside.

I hadn’t really ever expected to visit Turkey and probably would never have the trip had it not been for the lure of a steam photo-charter, but I am mightily glad that I did. At the start of the trip I was sure that it would be my only trip to the country, but now I am thinking that it won’t be long at all before I am back. Roll on the next adventure!

Chilling in Antalya

Posted in Antalya, Turkey by folkestonejack on October 19, 2014

It was a pleasure to wind down today after the tour, heading out into Antalya for a leisurely wander around the main tourist sights. The blue skies, sun and steadily climbing temperature all combined to give sufficient discouragement from any thought of tackling the city at anything more than a relaxed, chilled pace!

Antalya in the afternoon

The clock tower and the Tekeli Mehmet Paşa Mosque

My walk began at the Clock Tower and took in Hadrian’s Gate, the Hirdirlik Tower (a Roman mausoleum), the marina, Yivli minaret and Cumhuriyet Square. I ended the walk with a wander through the bazaars, trying to avoid falling into the clutches of the enthusiastic shop owners! Antalya struck me as a fascinating place – a city steeped in culture, history and religion but providing an equally strong draw to a beach-going and partying crowd. In all probability I would never have visited the city if it had not been for the steam tour and that would have been a pity.

Along the way I came across the fascinating remains of the Korkut (Kesik Minare) Cami which makes a striking sight with its truncated minaret. The building was originally constructed as a Byzantine church in the 5th-6th century, standing on the foundations of a 2nd century Roman temple. However, it was subsequently converted to a mosque, back into a church, then into a mosque again. Quite an astonishing history that gives some idea of the shifting powers in the region. It continued to be used as a place of worship until 1896, when it was badly damaged by fire.

Statue of Apollo found at Perge in 1971

Statue of Apollo found at Perge in 1971

After completing my walk I decided to walk out to Antalya Archaeological Museum. I am ashamed to say that I had my doubts about making the trip, but the array of exhibits was quite astonishing and all superbly displayed. It made quite a contrast to the dusty archaeological museum in Istanbul which had proven to be such a disappointment. The panels in the museum made fascinating reading – from the tales of the recovery of illegally exported treasures to the remarkable sites discovered in the region. If the finds looked stunning in this setting, how much more incredible they must have looked in situ to their discoverers.

On my return to sunlight, after a few hours inside, I headed down to Konyalti beach and chilled out properly for a little while before heading back into the city centre. It felt like the perfect way to end the trip, though I still couldn’t resist taking one or two photographs looking out to the beautifully blue waters and the mountains beyond.

Konyalti Beach

Konyalti Beach

As evening fell I found a peaceful haven at Restaurant Hasanaga, located within a restored Ottoman house in the old town. The friendly waiters served up a superb meal, a sizzling Ottoman beef stew served in the pan, whilst the cats wandering around the tables were a delightful bonus. A really lovely and unexpected find. I returned to my hotel well fed and watered, ready for my homeward journey tomorrow.