Thursday, November 5, 2015

Antalya, Turkey Day 8

11-4 Day 8
After breakfast at the hotel we headed south toward the Mediterranean.  We crossed through the Taurus  mountains and spotted goats along the way.

Antalya is set on a wide bay with mountain views all around.  Once an old fishing village, it is now a popular resort.  We stayed in the Old walled City which has a 2000 year history.  Before going to our hotel we toured the Antalya Muzesi, an archaeological museum that houses an extensive collection of artifacts from the Stone Age to the present.  Most impressive is their display of Roman statues.

We are staying at Tuvana Hotel in the old city.  The streets are cobblestone and very narrow.  Surprisingly, there is auto and scooter traffic on these narrow streets.  I am so glad we are not driving.

Stopping to get Turkish ice cream - this kid put on quite a show when he delivered the cones from this long stick.  

Narrow crowded streets:

Above - restaurant of hotel which was very good.

Day 9 - Nov. 5
We did a tour of the a Roman ruins of Perge and Aspendos.
Perge is an ancient city where St.Paul is said to have preached his first sermon in AD 46.  This area has just recently been excavated, within the last 30 years.  Most impressive is the Agora (market place), the Roman baths, the stadium, and the Hellenistic gates.

The market:

Parts of the old gates:

The baths:

The stadium:  (can you see me?)

The Nymphaeum was a huge fountain.

Towers of the old gates:

More of the baths:

Nearby we visited Aspendos, a Roman city with an impressive theatre and Roman aqueducts.  The theater is considered to be one of the best preserved and finest in the world.  Built in the 2nd century AD, this 15,000-seat theater is still in use for large concerts and events today.

The aqueduct:

We had a delightful lunchin Gozleme, local flatbread with cheese and spinach, cooked outside by these ladies.

After returning to the hotel, three of us ladies went for a Turkish bath (Haman).  It was a wonderful experience!  First you lay on a hot marble slab in a very hot room for about 15 minutes, then you lay on a table and your attendant scrubs and washes you all over.  Next was a mud facial, drying while you sipped your tea.  Lastly was a wonderful massage.  Sorry, no photos were taken.
That night we had a wonderful dinner at the Mermerli restaurant overlooking the harbor.  During dinner Lynn got a scare when a gecko dropped from the ceiling on to her arm.  So sorry we must leave this city tomorrow.

Konya, Turkey Day 7

Day 7
On Nov. 3, we left Cappadocia and drove to the city of Konya, driving through open farmland.  Along the way we stopped to talk to some Kurdish farmers harvesting their sugar beet crop.  They have a tough life since they are not accepted by the local people.  They can not build their houses and they are definitely looked down upon.  They were so gracious and sweet.  Some of our group tried their hand at pulling the beets from the ground.

That is what I like so much about OAT trips - you get to interact with the local people in their environment.
Next we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant in the town of Sille.  In this town is the oldest church in Asia Minor dating back to 327 AD. It is named after Helena, mother of Constantine (4 AD).  It is beautifully restored.

We drove into Konya which is a very Muslem-conservative, large city.  We visited the Mevlana Mouseloum ( Ottoman Empire 13 AD) from the mystical order of the Mevlevi.  This sect, known as the "Whirling Dervishes" for their ritual dance, was founded by Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi - a 13th century lyrical poet who preached of tolerance, forgiveness, and enlightenment.  We saw the tombs of Rumi, and many artifacts of this sect.  The Mevlevi Dervish mystics are still held in high regard by many Turks.

Tomb of Rumi:

On the grounds of the museum we visited a felt craft shop where women were making beautiful scarfs, shawls, and other pieces using felt.

Tonight we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn and had a pretty dismal meal in their restaurant.  The best meals have been out of the hotels in the local villages.

Tomorrow we drive to the coastal town of Antalya on the Mediterranean.