(written by Nancy)
We made tracks early this morning, trying to give ourselves a head start so we would have a chance of getting into Antalya early in the afternoon, hopefully before any rain started to fall. It had rained overnight so the road was wet but there were only clouds when we left. We had a climb first thing back up to the highway. It was a pretty steep climb and both of us felt the tires slip a bit on the wet roads on some of the steep turns. Dave says that we hit 13% a few times going up.
Once we rejoined the highway we had a nice relatively flat section for a bit and then had a very long downhill into the town of Kemer. The temps were cool as we rode back down to the sea, along huge rock walls. Dave kept saying it looked like Canada, with the rock walls and the pine trees. We stopped at a service station just outside of Kemer to get something to drink and eat, and helped ours elves to the free tea that always seems to be brewing at petrol stations in Turkey. Hits the spot, especially when the temperatures are cool.
From Kemer we had just about 50k left to ride to get into Antalya, most of which was along the sea. There were only gentle rollers so it was not too difficult. About 30k from Antalya the traffic seemed to noticeably pick up and that, coupled with lots of road construction that reduced the number of lanes to one each way, made the ride into the city a bit less comfortable than we liked. There were a couple tunnels, one created by the one-way road. We rode in the middle of the lane blocking traffic as it was just too dangerous for passing.
Just on the outskirts of town we ran into another touring cyclist – our first in quite a long time and first in Turkey. Harry from Holland was just starting out and was planning to work his way from Antalya back up to the Netherlands. We made it into Kaleici, the ‘old town’ area of Antalya, about 1pm – our earliest arrival in some time.
We stopped at a coffee shop along the way to eat something before we began the accommodation search. We had a few spots picked up and once we got into the old town section you could see signs for pensions and hotels every way you turned. Dave navigated very well to our first choice, the Villa Tulipan. It was his turn to check out the rooms, and after a few back-and-forth with the Dutch owner/manager about the price we took the room at the top of the building.
This place seems nice – our room has access right to the rooftop terrace, which isn’t really being used yet this season so it should be pretty quiet.lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll. Oops, that is me, falling asleep trying to write this blog so I will make it short before I drop the computer! We will try to get some pictures of the room as it is funky. It is also on the third floor with very steep steps so we got an extra workout getting our bags up here.
We got cleaned up in our funky little bathroom, watched the news a bit (BBC channel even!) and headed out for a look around and some dinner. We didn’t’ make it too far before running into a little café with a woman out front making what is called manti (like ravioli) in between cooking gozleme (Turkish pancakes). We were convinced to try it so each had a plate – a huge plate, as it turned out. The ravioli was meat and was served with a kind of yogurt sauce with a bit of chili pepper and oil. It was very tasty and quite different than the ‘usual’ ravioli. And being handmade right in front of us, of course made it twice the fun.
After dinner we wandered down to the harbour, stopping in along the way at a shop for some Turkish delight and a bakery for a few biscuits for dessert. We made our way back to the pension and sat with a cup of tea on the terrace. Nice end to the day. Tomorrow we are planning to go to the Antalya Museum and see some of the other sites in town. Now I must sign off before I really fall asleep.
(junior editors note: in the old days, Nancy would fall asleep while hand-writing our journal in a notebook. I could never read what she wrote when looking at the notes after the trip. Now, at least with the computer, we can delete the illegible parts – if we want to…)