I most certainly didn’t plan my travels to Turkey in thought of a beach holiday. But there I was on a large dock at the edge of a cliff floating above the Mediterranean Sea. A Southern city called Antalya, an unexpected and pleasant little utopia. Landscaped gardens bordered the cliffs edge overlooking the city, an amazing waterfall concealed amongst the cliffs, wide walking paths along bike paths lined the main roads. Fancy restaurants, not so fancy restaurants and basically everything in-between. It was in short, everything the media doesn’t show us about the Middle East, for the beauty it truly holds.
5 days wasn’t nearly enough, but then again I’m not sure that any amount of time would have been satisfactory when in such a beautiful place. How can you possibly get sick of sitting around doing almost nothing except perhaps a jog here and there along manicured paths and a refreshing swim in the cool Mediterranean?
We took a flight to Istanbul, big cities are never on the top of my priority list, but when a major airline hub means huge savings on my next flight, I just suck it up and try to see some less crowded sites. Without complaint I found Istanbul wasn’t quite as hectic as I had assumed it would be.
We walked for miles, admiring ruins of once grand, protective walls. We visited the Bazaar – Obviously not the least crowded place, but people didn’t hassle, customers didn’t push through the crowd, it was all very well balanced and seemed to have a type of secret system to maintain order.
As usual we ate and ate and ate till we rolled back to our hotel – literally. Turkish food is not only good, but it’s filing and it comes in ridiculous portions. A meal could feed me and 3 friends, but it doesn’t seem “the norm” to share a plate so off we went buying one full meal each and taking home enough leftovers to last us for the week. The coffee is strong, like a tasty, thick and muddy shot of redbull on coke. 1 coffee can keep you up for a whole night and give you enough energy to feel like you could run a marathon and go about your day like it was a warm up run.
My favorite part of my Turkish-over-indulgence of anything I could eat or drink has to be their teas. I’m actually not sure that many of their teas even count as teas, perhaps more “infusions” for all you sticklers already correcting me as you read along. But these Teas or Infusions, whatever you want to call them, come in every taste and color you could dream of. They are handed out around every market or shop, and I never refused one for 2 simple reasons – 1. It would be incredibly rude to turn down a tea or coffee and 2. They are seriously good, why would I even think of turning one down?
So off we went from shop to shop being invited almost everywhere we went to sit down with the shop owners or shop keepers to sip on some tea and chat for a bit. No one is in a rush and in reality I’m not sure that the words hurry, rush, not enough time or I’m late even register to anyone. There is always time in Turkey so sit down and sip on some tea.