Day 30 - Yankilar to Fethiye to Antalya
We check out of the Yonca Lodge. The nice lady asks if we're having breakfast and we say unanimously, "No." We are still revolting against cold cucumber and tomatoes for breakfast. I provide some feedback about the shower which has two settings; boiling hot or ice cold. In fact, my first night there, I got a mild burn on my hand testing the water. I was peeling skin off it two days later. The lady gives a very complex explanation in her breathless English about hot and cold water pumps. Something about pumps. I take pictures of the brilliant kilim rug in the room because I can't afford the real thing to take home.
Back in Fethiye, there's a place called Cafe Cafe by umbrella alley. It's open early-ish in the morning when most everything in Paspatur is still closed or barely open. Rob gives the scrambled eggs a good review. I'm all thumbs up for my latte and my Cafe Cafe Tost. It's basically a toastie with cheese, sundried tomatoes, mystery luncheon meat and pickles. Thank you thank you to Cafe Cafe.
The 3 hour-ish drive to Antalya is unremarkable. The highway is pretty straight. Not sure what else to say. You drive up the mountain, the mountains are very big, the cliff faces are cliff-y, and there's goats running around. I think we pass steppes but the geographical explanation of a steppe on Wikipedia is pretty complicated so I'll stick with flat, brown, grassy area with mountains behind it.
The drive into Antalya city centre looks intense. Rob turns down the radio and sits forward. There's narrow roads, tons of cars, spaghetti junctions and confusing directions. We pass a barrier to get into Kaleici, the old city, where our Castle Hotel is in. The roads are teeny, tiny and cobbled. The car is like a bull in a china shop. There are three different addresses for Castle Hotel, depending on where you look (Google Maps, Expedia, Booking.com). This is pretty stressy but we finally find it. Castle Hotel looks flash. We're super excited. That excitement drops when the guy executes the classic, Come with me. Your room is in another building. This happened to us in Luang Prabang, Laos and to me in Prague.
The results are always mixed and always infuriating. We bite our tongues and our rants about consumer guarantees. We follow the guy. I plan my negative Expedia review. We end up in the not-as-flash Konukzada Pansiyon. The rooms are an aggressive mix of patterns and you can't flush the toilet paper down the loos. We're only staying for one night though so that makes things better. The husband and wife team who run it and the restaurant are also smiley and sweet.
I can see a carpet and kilim place from our bedroom window. This is bad news. I've got a Turkish rug itch that I just can't scratch.
We explore just outside the Old Town, past Hadrian's Arch to find a place for lunch. We find a place with a balcony overlooking the street and eat cheese pide and chicken iskender. The cheese pide is oily deliciousness. The very casual waiter is so happy with my choice that he gives me a high five.
As the sun goes down, we're back in the Old Town, wandering the streets, taking pictures of the pastel houses, and pretty flowers. The Old Town is creepily quiet and creepily put-together. There's not so much restoration going on but more building new to look old. It lacks the heart, soul and bustle of the old cities in places like Jerusalem, Dubrovnik, Split, or other similar cities. It is still very pretty and very tidy. It's a Truman Show old city, perfectly lit, perfectly placed, and just shabby enough in certain pockets to make you think it's real.
We end up wandering the broad, tidy avenues of Karaalioglu Park, overlooking the old city harbour and the sea. I try to nap on the grass but it is itchy and there's flies so that attempt ends quickly. Night falls and we're back in the restaurant of Konukzada eating apple pie and calamari, drinking Efes and Turkish tea.