Museum, coffee and a carpet seller in Antalya

(written by Dave)

If you think visiting a museum can be a little boring, then reading about us visiting a museum can’t be at the top of your list of things to read about.  If you’ve made it this far in the post, and are still reading them you must be a dedicated reader (thanks).

We started the day with brekkie in the pension garden.  This was pretty much like every other Turkish brekkie but today we managed to get fried eggs instead of hard-boiled, toast, and a full carafe of French press coffee – it’s the little things that bring us joy.

After brekkie we walked to the Antalya Museum, about 45 minutes from the pension.  The museum is billed in our Lonely Planet guide as one to absolutely not miss.  And we were not disappointed.  They had some nice history presentations starting with the Stone Age and running through to Bronze and Bysantium ages.  The best part of the museum however had to be what seemed like room after room of original marble statues and sarcophagus.

First in Greece and now Turkey, we’ve seen quite a few of the old temples outside in various states of restoration.  We’ve also read many stories about how the ornate exterior marble carvings were removed by British, German or other explorers in the 1800s.  In other words, if you want to see the fancy stuff, then you won’t find much in Turkey.  Well, this museum is trying to turn that around.  They have a great display of these statues and carvings and even presented a few pieces that they have repatriated from famous western museums, which was nice to see.  One can only imagine the beauty of the temples in their prime.

We walked to the museum but took the tram back.  The tram is not a cable car but it reminded us of the cable cars in San Francisco and was worth the .70 cents it cost to ride.   We had lunch at a “Miami Kebab”, followed by our first proper Turkish coffee just down the road.  I can report that a Turkish coffee is very much like the Greek coffee – that is, thick coffee with a bit of a chocolate taste with a bottom quarter inch that only a real manly man could drink.  We enjoyed the coffee but passed on that last bit.

We wandered a bit after coffee, swinging by Hadrianus Gate.  This gate was built-in specifically for a visit by a Roman emperor.  This is a proper stone, three-arched gate that must have taken months, if not years to build, much more than the bandstand and bunting that you might get today when a foreign dignitary visits.

The last stop of the day was probably the most entertaining.  We were walking through old-town on our way back to the pension and we got sucked in by a carpet seller.  We know their game now and generally pass by without stopping.  All shop owners here know how to ask “where are you from” in many languages, it’s the standard opening call.  I’m not sure why we stopped but we did.  Before even entering the shop, we told the owner that we were on bicycles and had no home – meaning we were not buying anything.  To the Turkish carpet seller, this is a minor sales speed bump and too big a challenge to pass on.  Before we could say Ali Baba, we were seated inside having a cup of tea.  As the fellow told us, it would hurt his feelings if we didn’t allow him to extend this Turkish hospitality.

Conversation was light and friendly chitchat that slowly worked into a few carpets being brought out for us to “just look at”.  More and more carpets were shown.  We received a good lesson on carpet quality, construction techniques and learned that the seller needed money for his children (just joking, he said).  “No” is simply not a word in their vocabulary.  It was all very good-natured.  Eventually the seller moved in on Nancy as the softer target but even though tempted, she held firm.  He even tried to show us how light one of the carpets would be, folding it up in a little square – “not even a kilo,” he said.  When Nancy said she already had 50 kilos on her bike, he said, “Fifty, fifty-one, what’s the difference?”  In due course the seller tired, we took a photo and made our exit.  On the way out, we showed limited interest in a few pillows he quickly piped up that they also sold pillow covers – “just saying, mam” he added as we laughed and kept walking.  It was fun and educational.  I hate to waste their time but we were pretty clear upfront and they always say that it is their obligation to serve us as we are travelers.  And, I think they were a bit bored anyway.

No manti for dinner tonight.  The call to prayers has just kicked off and I’m just about to head out for some form of takeaway.  We’ll have dinner tonight on the deck – it’s too nice up here not to take advantage.  Last night there were fireworks across the harbor – we’ll see what’s on offer tonight.

We have another day off here tomorrow – I know, it seems like quite a few days off lately but this is supposed to be a holiday, you know.    It will be awhile before we are in a big city again so we want to take advantage of it while we can.

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5 thoughts on “Museum, coffee and a carpet seller in Antalya

    • It has to be felt to be a fez (I think) – I don’t know how plastic covered velvet measures up – but that’s what you get at a cheap tourist shop…


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