Three days in Kemer

Trip Start Oct 30, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Meder Resort

Flag of Turkey  , Antalya,
Thursday, June 4, 2009

According to several websites the rooms at this 5-star all-inclusive Meder Resort in Kemer Turkey are around $150 a night. I have no clue how this was possible but I did manage to get a package deal that included a round trip flight from Tel Aviv to Turkey plus three nights stay here for only $250. 

It seems like this all-inclusive deals draw mostly Russian and Israeli tourists who look for nonstop drinking, eating, and smoking. Food is served most of the day and the choices are great, even for non-meat eaters. Most visitors here seem to cycle through the beautifully appointed rooms, the bar, the huge swimming pool, the in-house Hammam, and of course, the dining room. There’s a tourist laden beach only six minutes walk from the hotel but the guests who go there usually take the free shuttle bus, that gets them to the beach in three minutes. The surrounding mountains are lovely but so far I have not seen a single tourist heading to hike in that direction.

Last night, wandering around town, I met a few guys who were drinking coffee outside of a hair dresser parlor belonging to one of them. The owner, a young man named Çan, finding out I was a yoga teacher, was fascinated with me and showed me a couple of Buddha statues in the store and a surprising number of pamphlets with the teachings of Yogananda. After a lovely evening together he invited me to join him for a hike on the mountains.
Of course, I accepted, and boy was I happy to accept it!

We hiked through very narrow trails that I assumed, judging by the droppings everywhere, must have been created by the goats (but I’m only guessing here...). Slowly going up the mountains we stopped at different levels to check out the stunning scenery. The further we went away from civilization the more beautiful it became. Among the beautiful trees and shrubs Çan introduced me to several herbs, including what I recognized as Za’atar. I love this spice but never saw it in nature. It is a glorious plant, with beautiful little pink flowers and a delightful aroma. There were at least five different types of Sage as well as other herbs that I do not know their names. When we reached the top of a huge rock sitting on top of a mountain we sat and simply observed the stunning scenery. Sadly, I did not bring my camera with me, but I doubt I’ll forget the sights. Wherever I looked, it was stunning. Gorgeous sea water in many shades of blue and turquoise kissing mountain feet, some covered in green and others made of arid landscapes. Absolutely stunning.

As if this was not enough, Çan continued to guide me through the other side of the mountain where we rested in a shady area on a cliff overlooking a turquoise beach. I felt very blessed to have this amazing opportunity. “I show you my life” he said in his limited English, as he was sitting at the edge of the cliff, nothing separating him from the huge drop below him, and I felt very honored to be his guest.

On the way back he collected a huge bouquet of Za’atar flowers and I collected the few plastic bottles left there by previous hikers. To my surprise, I found out the mountain we were on used to be populated in ancient times. He showed me a huge hole paved with stones that was used to collect grapes and turn them into wine. Very cool!

When I got back to the resort, my body full of oxygen and forest prana, it dawned on me that this resort, as well as the shiploads of resorts that cover this area, was created because of these mountains and gorgeous beaches. Alas, the nature quickly becomes the forgotten backdrop here as the bars and the dining rooms take center stage in Kemer. Most people who come here, in fact, never bother to step out of the resort.
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