Antalya... (I can't think of a witty title)

Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
Trip End Jan 10, 2008

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Friday (Oct 19)
After arriving in Antalya from Olympos I thought I would try my luck in catching public transport to my hotel, located in Kaleici or the "old town".  I did manage to get on the correct bus however I was so disorientated I ended up getting off about 4 stops too late, and ended up going further away from my hotel than when I first started. I had to shell out for a taxi which pissed me off quite a bit considering I could have got there for so much cheaper. Despite my bad mood caused by my bad decision making, I still liked Antalya from the start. The old town where I was staying was a warren of cobbled streets and restored old Ottoman houses which were enclosed within remnants of the old city wall with some parts dating back 2000 years ago.
I had a lazy afternoon which involved beers and chatting to other people. It turned out that there was an International Film Festival on that had just started - one of the girls in the dorm was a Bulgarian film critic! I will hopefully check some movies out over the next couple of days.
I arranged to meet the 2 Liz's (yes those Sydney girls again) for drinks and dinner out near where they were staying with their couchsurfing friend. Well once again I got us (me and an American guy) lost and I had to shell out another 10 or so dollars for another taxi. I was supporting the taxi industry big time through my lousy sense of direction.
For dinner 4 of us shared a mixed platter of kebabs which was sooo big and sooo good, once of the best meals I have had so far. It only cost 12.50 as well which was a bargain considering the quality and quantity of food. After dinner we went to a nice bar on the beach where the Liz's couchsurfing friend was playing guitar. He was really good and it was great just to chill and chat for the night.
Saturday (Oct 20)
Today was pretty much filled with seeing and photographing all the sights of Antalya. The old town was really cool as many of the buildings had been restored and it also contained a Roman harbour. I won't bore you with details of the history of Antalya - it is just much easier to check out the photos. One of the spruikers for one of the restaurants uses a very unique yet effective method to try and get people to come to the restaurant - he just yells out "Robbie Williams" and points to himself, then relies on his resemblance to Robbie Williams to get people interested. The funny thing is he really looks like a short Turkish version of Robbie Williams.
In the afternoon we (me and the American again) checked out the Antalya Museum, which is one of the better museums in all of Turkey. It was very well presented and the sheer number and age of its exhibits was quite incredible. I think it would contain the best collection of ancient statues I have seen thus far.
Night time involved heading to the harbour and just having a few quiet drinks with some guys from the hostel. Sorry about the lack of detail for today but nothing random or exciting really happened... I will try to get myself into more trouble for your amusement in the future.
Sunday (Oct 21)
I tried to have a much needed sleep in today (it was Sunday, my traditional day of rest) but got rudely awoken by the American guy. He not only woke me up but also the 2 other people in my dorm. The reason he woke me up was to show this middle age American woman the crappy little guide about the International Film Festival that I bought the day before. I was pretty pissed about being woken up for something that was sooo not important - If I was more awake (and more nasty also) I would have had very stern words with him.
Anyway I got talking to my 2 other dorm mates who ended up both being film fanatics are were only in Antalya due to the International Film Festival that was on. They gave me some recommendations as to what films they thought I may enjoy, so the plan was set for the day to pretty much watch movies all day. The weather was gloomy and raining so it seemed perfect to spend the whole day inside.
Most of the movies were showing at a huge shopping centre, very similar to the Westfield's back in Australia. The first movie we saw was an Egyptian movie (with English subtitles) named "The Band's Visit", which was basically about an Egyptian police band getting stuck in a small Israeli town for one day. It was quite different but I really enjoyed it.
For dinner we met with the 2 Liz's for the last time (they were flying on to Istanbul tomorrow). It was sad to say good bye to them and it had been fantastic hanging out with them the last week or so - I couldn't wish for 2 more amusing and fun girls to hang out with.
That night me and the American guy headed back to the shopping centre to try and catch another movie. We got talking to this Turkish guy who ended up being a director of one of the short films in the festival. He gave us a copy of his film on DVD and also paid for our tickets to a movie he recommended to us titled Yella, which was from Germany. Little did we know that the movie was in German (OK we knew that part) but the subtitles were in French and Turkish... no English! We decided to sit through the movie anyway to try and figure out what was happening but to be honest we had absolutely no idea what was going on! Oh well the seats were comfy and the popcorn tasted good so that made up for it.
We caught a taxi home from the cinemas and we had one of the most craziest taxi drivers ever. His taxi was pimped out with a very large sound system complete with subwoofer(s) and he had no shame in playing his Rap at the highest volume possible. He also enjoyed racing cars from the traffic lights and performing handbrake turns. He could not speak English but could get the message across to us that he was the "Turkish Schumacher".
Once back at the hostel we could hear protests happening not far from where we were so we decided to check them out and get in on the action. That day 12 Turkish soldiers were killed by the PKK so people were having loud but well behaved peace protests. The riot police were all there but they didn't see any action luckily. The protest finished with the singing of the Turkish national anthem which was sort of cool - you get the impression in this country that everyone is extremely proud to be Turkish.
Monday (Oct 22)
In the morning I booked my overnight ticket to Goreme in Cappadocia, which I was really looking forward to. My whole day involved a brief morning stroll around the old town and then hanging out with 2 British back at the hotel. We had a few drinks together and before I knew it, it was time to go to the bus station for my overnight bus - 10 hours in total.
When I look back at my time in Antalya it was largely unproductive. My reason for staying here was to visit the nearby sites of Termessos and Aspendos on day trips, but by doing this through tours (the only way of doing them) it was going to cost at least 150 dollars, which was too much for my backpacker budget. Oh well, despite this I did still enjoy my time in Antalya.

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