Saturday, June 19, 2010

Turkey: Antalya

June 9-12, 2010

Antalya is located on Turkey's Mediterranean south coast on the Bay of Antalya. There are mountains behind the city which has a coastline of both beaches and high cliffs. It is a ancient city dating back to 300 BC, but the Greeks and Romans of that era would could never have imagined the explosive growth the city has had to become a major international resort. Since 2000 the population has grown from 600,000 to 1,100,000 with no signs of a let up. The population grows to over 2,000,000 during the summer tourist season. This city which we visited in 2001 is almost unrecognisable to us today. This is the city of Gulden Alp, the exchange student we have come to see get married.

In many ways, Antalya reminds me of Cancun, Mexico, with hotels massed along the shoreline; instead of Americans inhabiting the resorts, it is Russians. They come by the thousands for all-inclusive vacations in the sun. The women are thin, almost anorexic, in their thong bathing suits. There is somewhat of a love-hate relationship, with the Turks taking their money and the Russian women wanting the Turkish men to marry, or so the Turkish single ladies think. It is a wonderful place to visit with historical sites everywhere, shops galore, McDonald's, Starbucks, expressway built through the center of town. What is missing is the Turkey we remembered during our last visit. We could find only one place that served home-made Turkish food.

Our hotel, the Adonis, was new, complete with Greek Gods and Goddesses. Built on the cliff's of Antalya, stairs/elevator took you down to the sea and into a different setting. The nice thing about a Muslim country is you don't have to contend with drunken vacationers. Certainly alcohol is available, but not emphasized. Mostly everyone was polite and well behaved, although you would have to get up very early to grab a deck chair.

View from our Adonis Hotel Balcony.

One of the many tour boats cruising the beautiful cliffs.
Russian ladies doing water aerobics.
Poolside lit at night.

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