Karen and I had a fabulous trip down south. We flew into Antalya and my friend Esmeralda (from Holland) picked us up at the airport. We went to where she lives part time to Side about an hour east. That evening we went down to the sea to catch the sunset- beautiful. We sat at a bar- next to ruins on the beach- and had a drink as we watched the sun sink. After dinner we walked around a bit. Next day we got our rental car and headed off to Kaş one of my favorite places. Along the way we stopped off at Aspendos- to see an old Roman theater- books say it is the best example of ancient theaters in the world. It was built in the 2nd century AD. We got to Kaş later than we expected to and headed to our hotel. Caner had arranged a place for us to stay. We went out to dinner and to look around. The electricity kept going off- about 5 times. Dinner was ok- I had a visit from a cockroach which wasn't great
. Next day we took off for Fethiye. We went to Saklıkent on the way - a hidden valley. We walked along a narrow bridge and went to the water. There were fantastic restaurants. Next stop Fethiye- we got there about 1pm. Found our apartment- Esmeralda has connections there thru work- no rooms in the hotel so we had our own 2 bedroom apartment for the night. Relaxed by the pool before heading off to Ölu Deniz- known as the Dead Sea and went swimming at the beach. We saw tons of para gliders there sprinkling the sky and watched several land on the beach. That night we had a nice dinner in Ovacık. Day 4 we were off to Bodrum. Along the way we checked out the loggerhead turtles in Dalyan. Boat tours were expensive so we thought we would try our luck just sitting along the docks. We had tea at a spot where they fed the turtles and saw them. They were huge! Got some decent photos- they were hard to capture with the sun glistening on the water. Back in the car we got to Bodrum about 3pm. Dilara (my former student)and her family invited us to stay with them and we even had our own house to stay in. Went for a swim in the beautiful pool. Changed and went for tea with Dilara and Elif (another student) on top of a restaurant overlooking the marina. It was very windy and extremely unusual for Bodrum. Back to the house for Karen's first homecooked meal in Turkey. Leyla, Dilara's mom made İzmir meatballs, salad, and zucchini pancakes. We had dinner with Dilara's grandparents too- Yusuf and Bebe. Her grandfather is Turkish and grandmother is Swedish
. That night we went out to one of the oldest bars in Bodrum- Mavi Bar to listen to a group that Dilara knows. Kangroove- they were great. Walked home with Leyla leaving the girls behind. Didn't realize it was 3:30am. Up the next morning to see the Mausoleum- one of the seven wonders of the world- old list. It was a tomb built for King Mausolus. We checked out the Castle too- from 1402. Back to the pool and then we went to show Karen a pazaar- outside market- selling everything from food-clothes-pots and pans-gifts. Next we went to a small beach- water was very cold. Dinner was on the hillside with a terrific view of the harbor at night. Went to meet Leyla and Ender (Dilara's dad who had just arrived) at the Marina club to listen to music. Fun night and we didn't want it to end. Left early the next morning to go to Ephesus. We stopped in Kuşadası for breakfast. First stop there was Tomb of Virgin Mary- Virgin Mary spent her last few days there. It was a beautiful spot with flowers all around. Exploring Ephesus was amazing- to think that you can walk along these ruins is incredible. The library buılt in 110 AD was spectacular. It was extremely hot. We went to the Basilica of St. John and Isa Bey Mosque built in the 14th century. The last stop was in Şırıncı to see the old Greek village that makes wine. We shopped and had an early dinner and took off for the airport. Took an early flight home- bus to the city and Cengiz picked us up. Went for icecream and then home. Our trip was amazing and we felt so fortunate to be able to explore these areas. Karen's last day we explored the bead stores, went thru the Covered Bazaar again, went to the Basilica Cistern- dates back to the mıd 6th century, next stop Beyoğlu and then home. We had dinner on the Asian side with Caner and his wife Özlem- bbq at their outside area of their development where they live. Fun night out with them. Karen left Sunday to return home to Cincinnati- Cengiz and I took her to the airport.
All for now...will write again soon. My best to everyone!!!