April 1, 2015
Today we were leaving the Ottoman Palace Hotel and our walking holiday was finished. It was a beautiful morning and it seemed a shame to be leaving. The other guests were off to Olympos for Jon’s tour so once we had settled our bill with Sue we said our good-byes to the staff and got into the car. Our driver was the same man who had brought us here from the Antalya otogar, but for this trip he seemed to be driving a bit more slowly.
As we drove through the town we noticed that he seemed to be following the signs to the airport, so we had to remind him that we were actually staying at the White Garden Pansion in the old town. He phoned the pansion for directions, then turned back to go there. The old town had very narrow winding cobbled streets, so driving through them was interesting.
We checked in and got our room, up on the third floor. After putting our bags in the room we went out to explore the area. It was very pleasant as we walked through the narrow lanes, which were lined with numerous shops, restaurants, and boutique hotels. There were some ancient sites, too, like Hadrian’s Gate which was between the old town and the busy main street going past it.
With the help of a small map we wandered around, looking at the sights and shops. By now we were hungry so we went down to the old harbour, where we found a simit-seller. We bought a couple and sat on the seawall while we ate them. The day was warm and sunny so it was very pleasant sitting there enjoying the view and watching the tourist boats doing their day tours. (The general theme for these boats is that they are pirate ships.)
In the afternoon we thought of going to visit the museum, but decided it was too late in the afternoon. So we went back to the hotel and relaxed for a while, before going out later in the afternoon. This time our walk included looking for a place to eat. With all the restaurants in the area it was hard to choose, but we ended up at a restaurant whose main virtue was its great view over the bay. Its prices were reasonable too, so we sat there and watched the sun go down and the pirate ships return from their tours.
April 2, 2015
Breakfast was served in a lovely courtyard under citrus trees which were in bloom and smelled heavenly. We were served the usual mix of Turkish breakfast dishes. While eating we watched a large tortoise wandering around the patio; there was also a smaller tortoise, but he kept to the side garden and away from the cat who was taking an interest. Once done with our meal we packed up, checked out, and left our bags in the office. We had most of the day to explore before our late-afternoon flight to İstanbul.
Our plan was to visit the Antalya Archaeological Museum, which we were told was very good. It was a good day for a walk, sunny but not too hot, so we decided that we would walk the two or three kilometers rather than taking the tram.
The entrance fee for the museum was ₺20 each, and once inside we went through the displays in chronological order. The displays started with some token brachiopods but quickly skipped forwards to artifacts from cave dwellers. There was everything from pottery to weapons. Around Antalya there are a lot of ancient sites, so it’s not surprising that the museum is stuffed full of artifacts collected from those sites.
The most impressive displays were from a site named Perge, and almost all of them dated from the 2nd century AD. For the most part they were in remarkable condition. There was a whole room devoted to nothing but statues from Perge, including gods and goddesses, emperors and unidentified people. The room was painted a coral colour which highlighted the marble of the statues, and each statue was spotlighted while the rest of the room’s lighting was subdued. Quite a spectacular sight! And after that there was a whole room full of sarcophaguses, in nearly mint condition. That was just amazing.
There was more than that, too. Upstairs there was a room full of mostly ancient coins, and back downstairs we wandered through rooms which displayed more recent things like furnishings of Ottoman houses. There was also a display area outside, but it was like a storage area for extra stuff so we only spent a short time looking around it. We were surprised to find it was after noon when we were finished. It was still sunny so we walked back to the old town, where we bought simits and juice for lunch. We sat in the hotel courtyard to eat, and to watch the tortoises ambling around.
After a while we decided we might as well head for the airport. Our flight to İstanbul was supposed to leave at 5:10 pm, but it didn’t leave until after 5:30 pm. The flight was only about an hour, but in that time they managed to serve us a quick meal consisting of a chicken sandwich, beans in olive oil, and a nice piece of almond cake. After we landed our packs came out onto the baggage carousel almost immediately.
We had booked a hotel near the airport, and it had a free shuttle. Unfortunately we had over an hour to wait for it, but luckily the weather was fine so standing outside was not unpleasant. Our hotel was called “Elite World Business Hotel” and it was much posher than the places we usually stay at. The rack rate for our room was €175, but we weren’t paying even half of that. The room was spacious and the bed comfortable and we got a cup of tea in the room, so we were happy with it. We set the alarm for 7 am, so we could catch the 8 am shuttle back to the airport, and went to bed at 10 pm.