Christmas in Turkey & Honeycomb Lycian Tombs

Trip Start Jun 16, 2012
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7
12
Trip End Jul 01, 2012


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Where I stayed
Sonne Hotel

Flag of Turkey  , Antalya,
Sunday, June 24, 2012

I was a little sad to leave Cirali & Hotel Canada behind, but I knew Kas would not disappoint! We left shortly after breakfast, and after about an hour drive, we stopped in Demre (Kale) and the ruins of Myra (both were formerly Lycian and then Roman). Demre was nothing special except for the fact that St. Nicholas was bishop here in the 4th century (aka Santa Claus). We stopped to take pictures of his church, where his remains were laid here upon his death in 343 CE (Italian merchants supposedly smashed open his tomb and took his bones in 1087). It's strange to think of "Santa Claus" living in the Mediterranean! We didn't go inside the church since it charged a fee (well, we can't do everything, right? ;-)), but we took pictures and bought some statues of St. Nicholas, which I'll display at Christmas time!

We also used Demre as a means to get to the ruins at Myra. Here, we saw cliff-side Lycian rock tombs (looks like a honeycomb of tombs) and a well-preserved Roman theatre. Very cool! And again, we were sweating buckets afterward. Since we parked in a "free otopark", we stopped at the cafe by our car to purchase some cokes and talk with the cafe/otopark owner - a very chatty, friendly guy! Of course, he was trying to sell us a boat trip...but at least he wasn't to pushy. You'll see the picture. :)

Finally, we made our way into our final destination for the next 2 days: Kas. (By the way, the scenic drive is spectacular! Too bad Dennis cannot enjoy it since he's driving white-knuckled!) Kas seems to be a mellow town that is nestled along the bottom of the mountains and terraced down to the sea. Our character hotel (Sonne Hotel) is cute, in Ottoman mansion style with an open-air rooftop bar overlooking the Mediterranean & a view of the Greek island of Meis. You can also see cliffside Lycian tombs, which are lit at night. It's so close that it's kind of weird that Meis is Greek instead of Turkish! We set out to explore the town. Kas is so charming! Cute winding alleyways, bougainvillia and lantanas overflowing many of the balconies, outdoors terraced restaurants specializing in seafood, and a harbor filled with boats. After taking pictures of a Lycian king's tomb (right in the middle of town! It's carved out of a single block!), we hiked uphill and up rock stairs to take a peek inside the Lycian cliffside tombs. There are SO many charming restaurants with shaded flowering terraces overlooking the sea that it is difficult to choose from. I wish I could try them all! We used Lonely Planet for a suggestion: the Sultan Garden Restaurant. We were the first ones to arrive, and we were drenched in sweat and fanning ourselves profusely...the waiter brought us not one but two fans that he kindly pointed right at us! A very nice gesture - but it made me wonder if perhaps we stank that bad and he didn't want us to turn away potential customers! Hahaa! The food was delicious! We had a mixed salad (you haven't had a REAL Mediterranean style salad until you've actually been), and Mom ordered sea bream (local fish) and Dennis and I had a traditional kebab with garlic yogurt and tomato sauce. Soooooo good!

We later returned to our hotel. Dennis and I drank a beer and watched the game...yes, we're following the Euro Cup here - it's on every TV, every night, of course! Italy v. England. We don't care for either team...but the winner of this game goes on to play Deutschland in the semi-finals - now THAT is important!
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