(written by Nancy)
Both of us agreed this morning that the bed at last night’s hotel (Otel Olba) was the best bed we have had for several weeks. I suspect it was a brand new mattress, and that coupled with the sound of the waves made for a good night’s sleep. Breakfast was okay – the usual Turkish breakfast with a hard-boiled egg. Nice view from the breakfast room looking out on the beach and the water, and we watched a ferry come in as we ate.
The ride today was short and only had a couple of hills – rises really, compared to the last couple of days. We rode along the coast for a bit and then headed inland a bit as we crossed another headland. Today was the day for strawberries – we passed many fields of strawberries with folks bent over picking ripe berries. Unlike the last couple of days these fields were all open – not covered by greenhouses as we have seen. We went by several trucks parked along the highway next to the fields that were filled with boxes of berries – the smell of strawberries was very strong.
We also passed by lots of ladies who had set up stalls along the road to sell boxes of strawberries. We finally stopped at one to see if we could buy some. They seem to sell them in flats or half-flats, both of which are too much and too bulky for us to carry on the bike. At the first stop the lady did not have any other type of containers so all we could do is smile and continue riding. We finally stopped again and found a stall that had some bags and bought 2TL worth of strawberries, which turned out to be quite a lot. We got a taste test too – mmm mmm good.
We rode through the larger town of Silifke on our way back to the coast. There is a large castle at the top of the hill overlooking the city but unfortunately Dave did not stop to take a picture. It’s only about 11k or so from Silifke to Kizkaleski so in no time we were rolling into town to start looking for a hotel. We saw quite a few hotel signs and pulled over at a patisserie to have a cup of tea and a snack while we figured out what to do. After our tasty refreshments we headed down toward the beach to check out what our options were.
We looked at several hotels – it was my turn to do the reviews/inspections. We finally ended up at the Hotel Hantur right on the beach with a view from our balcony and windows straight out to the Maiden’s Castle, which sits just offshore, seeming to float in the sea. We will visit it tomorrow and give more info in tomorrow’s post.
After eating our fresh strawberries with some yogurt that Dave went out to get we spent most of the afternoon lounging about on our balcony and in our room, just watching all of the people hanging out on the beach. Well, okay, I admit I took a nap but Dave did too, I just didn’t take a picture of him. The beach is one of the nicest we’ve seen so far in Turkey – wide and sandy with shallow waters that go out quite a ways. We could see people standing up in the water for some ways out so perhaps I can even get Dave to go in the water tomorrow, seeing as he can keep his feet on the ground…
We finally roused ourselves to go get some dinner at the Café Rain, a restaurant around the corner. It’s actually owned by the same folks who run one of the hotels we looked at, the Hotel Rain. According to our guidebook the café is supposed to be well-known for their borek, which are pastries filled with meat and/or cheese. So, of course we had to try them. We both had salads and then shared plates of the meat, chicken and cheese borek. And yes, they were very good. I am not sure we are qualified enough to declare them the best on the eastern Mediterranean but they were very good. We splurged on a fresh juice smoothies – Dave had a strawberry milkshake with fresh strawberries and I had a mixed fruit smoothie. All in all a very nice spot and I expect we will frequent that establishment again before we leave here.
As we were drinking our tea after eating another fellow came in and we could hear his Australian accent as he spoke with the restaurant manager. We struck up a conversation and he sat down to join us. Alan is from Canberra, is retired and is travelling for about 6 months for a break from the yacht he is building in his backyard. He was quite a character and we talked for an hour or so about all kinds of things, including old western TV shows that he loved to watch like Bonanza (dun dudun duh dunduden dah.. or something like that – you Ponderosa Pine fans will know the tune), Gunsmoke and the like. Anyway, it was funny and we finally worked our way out of the restaurant our ears were ringing as we had not talked so much to someone other than each other for quite some time.
Back in our room now, listening to the live music at the hotel next door, which hopefully will not go on too long as it sounds a bit like bad karaoke. Tomorrow is a bit of sightseeing and a bit of route planning for our journey northward in just a few days.