I’d like to think my faithful readers were wondering why there was no I Never entry for February. Initially, I’d write something about how we only got back a few days earlier, but that was at least a week ago. Unfortunately, I fell pretty ill in the meantime, which delayed my posting. Plus, it was a pretty big post to write. But here it is anyway!
During the trip, I didn’t take many pictures, and most of the pictures I did take were with Lena’s phone. I did steal some pictures from her Facebook, so thanks bby <3
To provide a little background: back when Lena and I visited Melanie and Diederik to make sushi, we were also informed that Melanie was pregnant (and oddly enough with the same due date Lena had for Medley). While we were having dinner after playing in a Pokémon tournament, we discussed the holiday to Turkey they were planning (their last opportunity before their baby arrives), and possibilities for going with the four of us. Suffice to say, we concluded to join them on their trip and have some holiday time for ourselves too.
Day 0 – 1: Deventer – Opende – Antalya
Our journey started right after I was done working, on Tuesday February 22nd. After a quick meal and packing the final things, our family set off towards our first stops: dropping Medley off at her grandmother, and Lena and I staying the night at another grandmother.
The next morning, the real trip started. We received a ride to Schiphol, where we met up with Melanie and Diederik. This part started off hectic, with some difficulties scanning our tickets, long lines at the baggage check and more lines at the passport control. Lena and I got separated from Melanie and Diederik at the passport control, because we used our Dutch ID cards instead of passports, which prevented us from using the self-scan. Diederik ran ahead to our gate, while Melanie waited for us. As soon as we made it through, the three of us ran after Diederik. A check of the boarding information taught us that the plane was already boarding, but also that we were running to the wrong gate. So while trying to call Diederik, we turned around and made our way to the right gate. Fortunately, upon reaching the correct gate, we found that boarding hadn’t started yet and that we were even the first in line. We were soon joined by Diederik and we could finally fly off to Turkey!
Bye bye rain!
Fast-forward 7 hours and two time-zones, to landing in Antalya. After the usual exit-the-airport tasks, our translation troubles started. The bus that was supposed to quickly take us to a bus/tram terminal turned out to have a way longer route than we thought. And when we finally made it to the terminal, the trams turned out to have stopped driving at that hour. The good thing was that taxis in Turkey are very cheap, and a quick trip took us to our beds: a guesthouse in the old city of Antalya.
With all the rushing and traveling, we hadn’t had a chance for a proper dinner, so we headed off into the city. Antalya’s old city felt very much like what you’d expect from a Mediterranean city: heavy use of stucco, ornamental iron and many orange trees (thank you random website for teaching me the terms). This is where I took my first picture of the holiday:
It took some time, but a little after 3 am, we found a place to eat a hot meal. The journey had left Melanie confused, because she accidentally ordered meat. But we shuffled some food between us and it all turned out fine. Straight after, perhaps around 4 am, we finally got to bed after a long, long day.
Day 2: Antalya – Fethiye
The plan wasn’t to stay in Antalya for long. Melanie and Diederik had been here before, and they preferred to go to a new place. So after resting up, checking out some of the local bazaars (“kijken, kijken, niet kopen”) and eating delicious ice cream, we took a bus to Fethiye.
It was a long ride, over the top of some gorgeous mountains. You know you’re up high if you have to chew gum just to keep your ears popped. But the views were amazing. We made it to above the snow line and were served some beautiful scenery. It always reminds me how lucky we are not to have mountains in the Netherlands, because it makes these sights all the more special.
But time moved quickly and it was almost dinner time when we arrived. We quickly jumped into a guesthouse called Status, which was a grave mistake. It was extremely dirty, with stains everywhere and a wet spot covered with a spare patch of carpet on the floor in our bedroom. I didn’t even dare try the shower, fearing what I might find there.
Now, these first two days were very stressful, what with the rushed flights, long traveling and Turkey’s culture of loud “singing” early morning made us pretty weary. Add to that this dirty guesthouse, and our holiday spirit was quickly dwindling. We were getting pretty desperate, even considering our possibilities of flying home the next day.
But we decided on something else.
Day 3: Fethiye
Lena and I stayed in the guesthouse this morning, while Melanie and Diederik took a hike through some local mountains. After some extra sleep, we too got up and headed for the city. We had a McDonalds brunch and some pricey coffee and cake after. Using the coffeehouse’s wifi and despite already having paid for the second night at Status, we booked an apartment at Kilim Apart Hotel.
That was the best decision we could have made. We grabbed our things from the guesthouse and took a leisurely stroll to our next destination, where, to our surprise, we were greeted in Dutch. Turns out that the man checking us in originally came from Belgium. The hotel was also popular with Dutch and Belgian guests.
We came across chickens while going there. Lena insisted I be on a picture with them, so here you go
Anyway, once we were let into our apartment, we were so happy! The apartment was very large, with a two-person master bedroom and a main room functioning as a kitchen, dining room and bedroom with two extra beds. We had two balconies and the view on all sides was amazing. And this was the only place we stayed that had bed sheets like we’re used to (as opposed to the carpet-like covers we slept under in all other places). And the best part was that it was barely more expensive than the gross Status guesthouse.
You’d think three pictures is a bit much, but we were just so happy with this place!
For the night, we took it easy. We went shopping at a nearby supermarket, made pasta for the two of us and had Melanie and Diederik over for some board games.
Day 4: Fethiye
For our final full day in Fethiye, we went out of the city. Melanie and Diederik had rented a car and had already done some research on hiking possibilities. Our first stop: Tlos, an old ruin Melanie and Diederik had already visited the day before, but did not want us to miss out on. It was very cool to visit. We managed to get to the top of an amphitheater, which was a really impressive sight. When you look at it from the bottom, it doesn’t look so big, but from the top you can really appreciate the enormity of the structure.
The view from the top
I like this picture because we look derpy C:
All four travelers
We found actual ancient Greek inscriptions in a rock. I tried to translate it a bit, but it seems my Greek is as worn as the rock itself!
Lena and I also managed to get up on part of the structure and in Assassin’s Creed style make our way to the other end of it. Melanie made a video, which I’ll add if I get it.
From Tlos, we headed to Kadyanda, only stopping at a small ruin on our way. When we were near Kadyanda, we parked half-way to the top of a mountain and started hiking the final part. During the whole of the vacation, this was the most I Never-y part of them all. Not only had I never hiked 5 km up and down a mountain, we also took an off-road shortcut while climbing up and I drank water from a fountain getting its water straight from the source. It was refreshing and delicious.
Apparently, it’s a hiker thing to make little towers of rocks to show other hikers that you’re on the right track. Of course I had to join in. Not that it added much, since we only walked on paved roads. Oh well.
Once at the top of the mountain, we took the tour of Kadyanda, another old ruin. This one was left very much untouched and there were no other people there. We walked along the path, past the agora, the necropolis, a temple, an athletic court and all other kinds of ancient buildings. The most impressive place however was the amphitheater in this place. Because of the season and the altitude, there were no bugs and no birds. The thick foliage and long distance from civilization meant that at that place, there was absolute silence. It was the most majestic thing I’d ever experienced, a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Definitely one of the best highlights of the trip.
Enjoy the silence
Anyway, after the scenic tour and descent from the mountain, we had dinner at Kadyanda, a restaurant that was apparently popular with tourists. The main course was good, but most of all I remember the chicken soup, which was marvelous. Anyway, after dinner we drove home and got to bed. The next day would be traveling day again.
Day 5: Fethiye – Marmaris
On day 5 we went to our final city: Marmaris. Luckily, this journey was a lot shorter than the previous one and we arrived in Marmaris at a good hour. It was Sunday by now and Lena and I were still pretty tired from the long hike the day before. However, Lena was looking for new shirts, so we went into the nearby bazaar and walked all around it. Something that really stood out were the huge amounts of cats that were there. We had seen lots of cats everywhere thus far, but on this day we saw more cats than any other day. The best part was when a shopkeeper came out with a long stick with a sausage on the end and fed it to a Maine coon in a roof gutter. Nothing to make Lena happier.
Our little friends. You can’t see it in this picture, but there were shadows of cats walking on top of the roof.
Anyway, our dinner experience was pretty interesting. Our main course passed without strange incidents, but after ordering our desserts, we saw an employee run out of the restaurant and into the Sok market across the street. When he got back, we got our desserts, still in the plastic, served on a plate. After dinner we hopped into the same supermarket and got some extra ^^
After more board games at the hotel, this day came to an end.
Day 6: Marmaris
With two more days left, we decided to split up again this day. Melanie and Diederik went off hiking again, while Lena and I took to the city. Though the day started off grey, the sun came through shortly after we left for the city. Though we didn’t do anything spectacular, we had a very nice day around the harbor. We bought some super-legit Pokemon Go TCG cards, which we opened at a cafe. At the same cafe, Lena was very quick to make a friend:
This is how I found her when I came to the table with our coffee
We also visited the castle for some culture, checking out some ancient artifacts. Lena bought cat-food and quickly found a following of cats who kept begging her for more and more food. All in all, it was a very nice and relaxing day.
I bet this was Lena’s favorite moment
After Melanie and Diederik came back from their hiking, we joined them as they had dinner at the place we had dinner before earlier that day, after which the four of us went for a cocktail. Because we wanted to have some more fun on the final day, we called it a night after that.
Day 7: Marmaris
For our final day in Turkey, we tried to rent a boat. The day before, Lena and I had talked to a man who offered boat tours, so we went back to him to arrange everything. After everything was set though, he had a little surprise for us: we would be getting a sixty-person boat, with a beautiful sun-deck where we could lounge throughout the trip. The boat took us past a fish farm, beaches, a cave and across the bay. The weather was again beautiful. We could see far enough to notice the curvature of the earth on the horizon. It really was an excellent activity to end the journey on.
But it wasn’t completely over. Instead of going back to our starting point, we requested to be dropped off at the final sight of the boat tour: a tourist town called Icmeler. We wanted to check the town, but it turned out that because the tourist season hadn’t started yet, there wasn’t anything open yet. We did find some orange trees and I shook some oranges out, which was oddly satisfying. Unfortunately, I threw it away after a single bite: it was the sourest thing I’d ever tasted! Later Melanie told us that the town of Icmeler was apparently known for its sour oranges. Still, it was fun.
From Icmeler, we walked a bit into the mountains, towards an old abandoned hotel that we saw from the boat. The captain told us that construction of the hotel had started in the 90s, but it was never finished. It looked very spooky from afar and we wanted to walk around in the haunted hotel.
On the way there we walked past a set of abandoned apartments, just a bit off the road. From what we could tell, they had once been completed and they probably have seen use, but by now they were a hangout for the local youth. One of the apartments looked better maintained than the rest, complete with a usable bed, which we assume was used by a hobo some time ago. It’s a shame the apartments were abandoned though, the view from the building was gorgeous.
A piece of the mountain had fallen off during a storm behind the apartments. Perhaps it’s for the best that there’s nobody staying there.
Anyway, we made our way to the big hotel, but were stopped by a small guardhouse with a dog. Apparently the local authorities didn’t want strangers snooping around those parts. We settled on sitting on the rocks to enjoy the view for a while, before going back for our final dinner.
For dinner, we sat down at one of the restaurants near the harbor, where Lena, Melanie and Diederik ate a big, freshly-caught fish. The local cats were begging us for food, so we took the head of the fish with us and fed it to some cats later on.
It’s this cat’s lucky day!
But it was the final day, and we had quite a trip planned for the next day, so we went to bed early.
Day 8: Marmaris – Opende
Unfortunately, our trip back wasn’t the easiest one. I was starting to feel a bit sick, probably having caught a cold during the big mountain hike, and the trip just seemed to take forever.
The first part still went pretty smooth. Melanie and Diederik had again rented a car, which they used to drive us to Dalamar Airport. However, once we got passed security, there appeared to have been a mix-up in the flights. Our tickets said we should take flight PC4279 at 14:55. The signs however said that flight was supposed to have left at 8:20, but had a delay until 17:20. There was another flight scheduled to leave at 14:55 with a delay until 15:20, but we weren’t allowed on that one, because it was the wrong flight number. Luckily a stewardess overheard our conversation with the information people and told us to go the booth of our airline company to have it re-booked. While the man there was setting that up for us, the amount of people there kept growing, but we did eventually get a ticket for the earlier flight (with extra legroom, so silver lining!).
Unfortunately, our quick arrival in Istanbul didn’t really amount to anything, because our next flight was delayed by an hour and a half, on top of the two-and-a-half hours we already would have had to wait. We spent our time getting some dinner, walking around, grabbing Turkish fruit samples and eventually settling near a power outlet to play Phoenix Wright vs Professor Layton.
After a very long wait, we could finally fly home. It must’ve been past 12 am when we landed. Lena’s mother picked us up, so we didn’t have to drive home, which was good, because neither of us were in a state to drive. When we finally got back, around 2:30 am (which to us felt like 4:30), we fell asleep in no time.
So much happened in our week abroad. We had highs and we had lows. In the end, we liked it a lot, but we think we would prefer to go back at a later time. The weather was better than back home, but it wasn’t my ideal temperature (my ideal being hot enough to wear a t-shirt all day, but not melting hot). Also, because we were there during low season, a lot of the fun things weren’t open yet, though that did mean it was more quiet. Except for the mosques’ early singing. That’s never quiet.
Anyway, if we were to go again, it’ll probably be more around March or early April. But there’s plenty of other destinations we want to visit first and I’m sure all about those travels will be on here again. Until the next time, good night!