Friday, June 6, 2014

Turkey Part Two: Antalya

 We arrived in Antalya early evening of our second day in Turkey.  It's a beautiful city right on the Mediterranean coast.
We stayed 5 nights at Roza Apartments.  The apartments are really nice and spacious.  We had two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and two balconies.  We enjoyed ourselves there!  The only set back was there wasn't much around us within walking distance-- just a grocery store, a bakery and a couple of little cafes.  The beach is advertised as a "10-minute walk away," but it was at least a 20 minute walk in reality, and that's even with us carrying our little guy.  All-in-all, it was a nice place and I really enjoyed our time there.
 View from our balcony
 The little fellas eating some breakfast on the balcony
Pool time!  The water was freezing but we got used to it.
We had a grocery store a short walk from our apartment, so that's the first place we went after checking in.  We got some food to make some lunches and dinners at our place in order to save us some money and not eat out for every meal.  The views on the way to the grocery store were amazing! 
We headed out for a day on the beach.  Since the beach nearest to our apartment didn't have much of anything else around it, we got a free shuttle ride to a busier beach further down the road.  This beach had chairs, tables, and a bar/restaurant on it so we could have lunch and a few drinks there.
Most of the beaches in Turkey are pebble beaches.  I loved it because I hate getting sand stuck to me.  However, I think the boys were a little disappointed with the rocks.  They wanted to build sandcastles.  We still had a good time and spent 6 hours there!  It was a beautiful day!
 Views of the mountains on one side
 Views of the city on the other side

That night we headed to the Old City Kaleici.  We made the mistake of taking a bus going the wrong way and ended up sitting on the bus for a full hour and paying twice!  Grrr.  That was the only time we took a bus anywhere.  We chose to take a taxi every other time.
We didn't stay long in Kaleici.  We just looked around a little while and had some dinner.  It's a beautiful old town that's well-preserved.
 Hadrian's Gate--An entrance into Kaleici.  The gate was built in honor of Emperor Hadrianus who visited the city in 130 AD.
Day four was the lazy/relaxing day.  We played in the pool, watched movies, and enjoyed food and wine on the balcony.  No worries.  Ahhhh.
My favorite day of the trip.
We headed down to Kaleici again to check out the boats at the harbor.  We heard we could enjoy a nice boat ride down there too. 
Streets of Kaleici

The harbor

We made it on a great little boat for a 45 minute ride with gorgeous views!

Look, I caught some fish! 
Not really, but the guys on the boat were fishermen and they let me pose with their catch. :)

Sweet friend I made on the boat

After the boat ride, we took a 30-minute taxi ride to Duden waterfalls.  We saw a lot of cool, historical places on our trip, but there's something about waterfalls that just draw me in and mesmerize me.  Duden waterfalls was my favorite place in Turkey. I could've stayed there all day.
 There is a cave that leads behind the waterfalls.  It was so cool! 

Once we walked through the super cool cave, we got to view the waterfalls, up close and personal.  They were stunning. 

After a wonderful time at the falls, our taxi took us on another short ride to the ancient city of Perge.
Perge was founded by the Greeks sometime in the 11th century B.C.   The Romans overtook the city in the 2nd century B.C.  Most of the ruins there today come from the Romans.  Also, Paul the apostle visited the city of Perge on his first missionary journey through Asia Minor and Greece! 

One of the main streets in the city

Entrance into the stadium
 Roman stadium
I loved walking around these old ruins and imagining what the city used to be like.  It was all so amazing to see.
We spent most of the day swimming, relaxing, and recovering from our previous eventful day.
Late afternoon we headed over to the Ataturk amusement park.  It doesn't really get busy until later in the evening, so we almost had the whole place to ourselves.

 Matt and the boys went up in the ferris wheel, but my fear of heights kept me on the ground.

Our last day in Turkey (or so we thought).
The day started off very relaxing and chill.  Our plane leaving Antalya didn't leave until 7 pm, so we had all day to relax. 
We decided to spend the day back at Kaleici harbor since we all enjoyed it so much last time.
We had lunch at a nice restaurant that overlooked the harbor.  Then, we went on another boat ride and finished with some ice cream and tea.  It was a great afternoon.
 Our lunch view
Another fun boat ride!
He was so thrilled to get his very own apple tea.
We got to the Antalya airport in plenty of time to catch our flight.  We had a quick 1 hour trip to Istanbul and then a 3 1/2 hour flight back to Kuwait.   However, we made a mistake in booking our flights only 2 hours apart, especially because they were with different airlines.  We learned at the airport that because we were on two different airlines, we'd have to get our luggage and check them again.  I was worried we'd run out of time and miss our flight from Istanbul to Kuwait.  The lady we spoke with assured us that two hours was enough time to get our luggage and make it to check-in with our next flight.
Then our flight to Istanbul was delayed an hour. 
We arrived 15 minutes too late to check into our flight to Kuwait.  It was such an awful, sinking feeling.  We found out there were no more flights to Kuwait until the next day at 2:40 pm, and that was at the other Istanbul airport two hours away.  It was now about 11 pm at night and we were stuck in the Istanbul airport.  We ended up buying new tickets for the flight the next day and then got a taxi to find us a hotel for the night.  Unfortunately, our taxi driver spoke no English and we spoke no Turkish.  We couldn't really explain to him that we needed a cheap hotel since it was just for the night.  He ended up taking us to a Radisson Blu about an hour away.  It was way more than we wanted to spend on a hotel for the night.  But, we were tired and ready to crash. 
We got up the next morning, ate breakfast (Radisson Blu added on a free breakfast for us after learning of our plight), and headed to the airport.  We got there way early, mainly because we were so ready to go home. 
We made it home safely around 7 pm that night.  Turkey was a good trip; however, if we could go back and do it again, we'd definitely change a few things!

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