I reached Antalya at 4pm. Antalya’s Otogar or bus station was probably bigger than Benazir Bhutto Airport. I asked a couple of people at the bus station regarding how I could go to my hotel. None of them knew. After around 20 mins I finally bumped into a guy who told me which bus to take. Soon I was checking in my hotel. Below the hotel was a doner kebab place. I have fallen in love with Doner. Back in Istanbul, I found this shop at kadikoy that gave the best doner kebabs. I would go there every day sometimes twice a day.
On the first day, I took a walk around the old city and ended up in the middle of a protest. That’s the thing with traveling solo, you have no idea about anything. So there was this mob on my one side and the police on the other and I was stuck in the middle. At that time the only comforting fact for me was that this was Turkish Police not Punjab Police. No Gullu butts, in other words. So I carefully approached a policeman, you have to be careful especially when you have a desi complexion and a beard. I told him that I wanted to get out of this protest and that I was just a tourist stuck at a wrong place at the wrong time. The police man angrily said something in Turkish, no idea what he said but 5mins later he guided me out of the protest into an open space.
Antalya is a Turkish resort city with a yacht-filled Old Harbor and beaches flanked by large hotels. It’s a gateway to Turkey’s southern Mediterranean region, known as the Turquoise Coast for its blue waters. Remnants remain from Antalya’s time as a major Roman port. These include Hadrian’s Gate, built to honor the Roman emperor’s visit in 130 A.D and 2nd-century Hidirlik Tower, with harbor views.
The walk through the old city was beautiful, there were beautiful houses, stoned alleys that sloped down the beach, narrow streets and a lot of fancy cafes.
All the streets converged to a tower at the end. The tower overlooked the sea and was used in ancient times to keep an eye on enemy ships.
Soon it was dark and I walked back to my hotel, it was very easy to get lost in the old city and I did a couple of times. But I have come to the conclusion that you never get lost, you just discover and explore more places.
At Antalya I had a whole room to myself, which was very good. Got a good night sleep. I didn’t have a lot of time and I planned that I would leave for Konya the coming day. I had just five days to get back to Istanbul and catch my flight to Pakistan.
The following day I took a bus to the Antalya sand land. International Antalya Sand Sculpture Festival (SANDLAND) is a mega exhibition of sand sculptures that is organized by Global Design Art Works. International Antalya Sand Sculpture Festival is considered one of the largest sand event in the world, by the size of its sculptures and the area they occupy. The sand sculptures were beautiful.
Later, I headed to Ata Turk residence museum. After spending sometime in Turkey I have realised how Much Turkish people respect Ata Turk. All countries respect their founders. We Respect Jinnah in Pakistan. But nothing is compared to the love that Turks have for their founding father. And by now I had also developed an admiration for the great leader and so it was obvious that I would visit his residence museum. It was a lot like Quaid-e-Azam residency in Ziarat near Quetta that I visited in my childhood.
It had preserved letters, documents and all the things that were in use by Ata Turk. It was very special. There was a guest book and visitors were writing notes on it so I decided to write one as well. I planned to write in Turkish, so I google translated. But google translate has sort of lost my trust so I texted my friend Sevval back in Istanbul to check for any errors. She made a few corrections and I wrote the text. Sevval took my internship interview and she selected me. So that fact that I am in Antalya right now is due to Sevval in one way or the other.
I stopped at a hotel for lunch. Meanwhile I got in contact with Siraj bhai, he would be hosting me in Konya. Siraj bhai was from India, he was Cousin of one of my fellow interns (Elianora) back in Istanbul. I was happy that finally I would be able to speak Urdu with someone. I was done with google translate and English.
I got back to my hotel, picked up my stuff. Got the bus to the Bus station. But it was the wrong bus, in all the hurry I got on the wrong bus and ended on the opposite side of the city. Life can be very funny at times. This meant that I had missed my 6pm bus to Konya. I got off the bus, bough Pringles and sat under a tree. Throughout my road trip through Turkey I have made all my life decisions while eating Pringles. I don’t know they sort of help, i guess. I decided that I would get the 7pm bus to Konya and leave the same day. Once again I boarded the bus to the Otogar. This time it was the right bus. 40mins later I was at the Otogar, checking into my bus to Konya.