• September 27, 2010 /  Turkey 2010

    Over-all it was a nice trip.  Having the couple of weeks away from work was the best part :) .  Not everything went as planned or to our expectations but it was all a great learning experience.

    A few of you left comments which I just cleared for posting.  I thought I had it set to automatically show the comments but I guess not.  For some reason as well, my iPhone app was not showing me any comments.  My apologies to those that left comments and thank you!!

    What I enjoyed………..It was particularly nice to return to Turkey and see places I had not seen the first time.  It was nice to meet Deniz’ cousin Buket and her husband Aydin.  They were fun to spend time with and before returning we stayed at their apartment in the city.  We really appreciated their hospitality.  We stayed on the Princess Island and visited another island, which were both great to experience.  I really enjoyed staying on the island and perusing around on the horse carriage.  The temperature was just right for me.  Nice and warm during the day and cool at night.  I also enjoyed the cistern in Istanbul.  The architecture is incredible considering the time of when it was constructed.  I’m glad it was not destroyed in the many earthquakes it saw.  I also enjoyed the village shops in Kalkan.  While I don’t particularly enjoy shopping, I do enjoy perusing little shops.  It’s nice to see the specific items they have.  I also enjoyed the ruins at Xantos and the tombs in Tlos.  In Xantos I was particularly fascinated by the plumbing work at the palace.  Concrete piping pieces that fitted together were incorporated into the stone walls that led up to 30kms away up to the top of the mountain.  The idea was that gravity would feed the water down towards the palace.  With the long distance, there would be decent pressure at the palace.  Totally fascinating!!

    Things that I did not enjoy as much or could have been better……..I guess it’s no secret now that I did not enjoy the hot humid temperatures in Kalkan at the resort :) .  I also found lazing around the beach or pool to be a boring activity.  So, now I know really hot places and those activities are not for me.  It was fine to spend an afternoon by the water but I could not do that for an entire day let alone a string of days.  We were also disappointed with the service at the Patara Prince.  We went down one afternoon to get towels before going for a swim only to find the attendant sleeping on the stack of mattresses.  We were appalled that the manager of the resort would join in with the guests at the buffet and sit by himself among the guests to eat.  Our waiter would also disappear for a while to grab his food from the buffet table and sit off to the side somewhere to eat his meal and then return to serve us.  Doesn’t sound like good practices to me.  There was one less than competent girl at the front desk who informed us that they did not arrange shuttles to and from the airport nor did they assist in arranging any tours.  Both were false.  She was cute though :) but as intelligent as a pencil eraser.  They are supposed to do both!  We dealt with the manager directly who arranged our airport shuttle.  I think we ended up paying a little more for the day tour because we booked it ourselves instead of the resort.

    All being said though, it was an enjoyable time and will be fond memories for years to come.

  • September 27, 2010 /  Turkey 2010

    We arrived back home safe, sound and tired.  We woke up 6am Istanbul time on Saturday morning (11pm Friday evening, Toronto time).  We were picked up by a friend of the Dino’s and driven to the airport.  We caught our 9:20am flight to Paris.  We then caught our 1:30pm (Paris time) flight home and arrived at Pearson at 3:35pm.  We got a nice surprise on both legs of the tour home as we were upgraded to Business class.  The second leg from Paris to Toronto was especially nice since it was a Boeing 747-800 and the Business section was really great with reclining leather seats and top notch service.  I had never sat in such luxury before and thoroughly enjoyed it!  I/we are very grateful to Mr. Dino and his colleagues at Air France for the treat home.

    Back to work today and was fine for the morning but the afternoon was tough.  I didn’t sleep that well last night so feeling pretty sluggish.

  • September 24, 2010 /  Turkey 2010

    Well, we just enjoyed a nice dinner with Deniz’ friend. We met at this canyon mall designed by a Japanese guy. The mall has a security check at the main doors!! Just like at the airports.

    We have packed our luggage and are preparing to head to bed shortly. We must get up early 6am to get to the airport for our 9:30am flight. I’m not looking forward to going through Paris again. Even for connecting flights we must go through security again and they are tough there. It’s a real pain in the you know what.

    Anyhow, I will do my usual trip summary once back home and I’ve had the chance to review the trip in my mind.

  • September 24, 2010 /  Turkey 2010

    We just returned from our little outing in Istanbul. I got my baklava!!! And it’s all mine…moohahahaha. Ok, maybe I’ll share :)

  • September 24, 2010 /  Turkey 2010

    We arrived back in Istanbul late last night, safe and sound. We took a shuttle cab, 55min flight, a bus and taxi to Deniz’ cousins house where we spent a short time telling about our trip and then retired for a good nights rest.

    The commute back all went well. Traffic moved well in Istanbul.

    I believe one of the agenda items for today is to find some baclava to bring back :) .

  • September 23, 2010 /  Turkey 2010

    It’s strange and unusual to be looking forward to leaving a vacation spot but I am looking forward to getting back to Istanbul where it’s much cooler. Today is probably one of the more humid days since we arrived. I’m sitting in the lobby by a window to catch an occasional breeze but have sweat streams flowing.

    It’s almost 1pm here (6am home time) and we have checked out and left our luggage by the front desk. Our taxi shuttle has been arranged for 6pm. It’s about 130kms to the Dalaman airport. It’s only an hour flight back to Istanbul.

    We then return back home Saturday afternoon.

    For today we may take one more swim before we leave. It’s so hot and humid out though that it kills enthausiasm.

    Maybe we’ll play some pool.

  • September 22, 2010 /  Turkey 2010

    Today we enjoyed a tour of the area. We saw the ruins at Xantos. Was amazing to see the water system they had even during those times. The had constructed concrete pipes that connected together and extended for about 25 kms up the mountain. The water flowed all way the down and with the gravity created water pressure by the time it reached the palace.

    We then walked into the gorge and got quite wet. I don’t think any similar walks would be done in Canada with all the lawsuits that could happen. We traversed over lots of slippery rocks. It was quite the adventure.

    We then headed towards a place to eat and enjoyed a nice meal of buffet items and a trout. Very fresh fish!!

    We made a short stop by TLOS before stopping off at the beach in Patara. We didn’t have any towels so I passed on going in but Deniz loved the idea too much and went ahead.

    The ruins were very neat. I wish we could have spent more time exploring them. The got a little lazy too. But all in all, it was a great day.

    Here’s some pics from the gorge and ruins.

  • September 21, 2010 /  Turkey 2010

    After a hot and sweaty day, it has ended up being a nice breezy evening. We took the sea taxi ( denizbot’u ) across to Patara. We walked around and perused the shops. After returning via sea taxi again we got changed and enjoyed a nice pre-dinner swim. Dinners are late here…8:00-10:30pm. Tonights dinner was not as good as last nights. Some little beef burgers with mushrooms, some pastry, chicken and on a skewer.

    It’s a strange evening. It’s only 10:30pm and there’s hardly anyone out. The restaurant closed early and the yard lights have been shut off early.

    Tomorrow, we have our tour.

  • September 21, 2010 /  Turkey 2010

    As all of you know, Deniz loves cats and in Turkey there are lots of wild cats and dogs. At the resort here, there are many cats, most of them kittens within a years of age. One little guy followed us back to our room. Yup, up two flights of stairs and all. Deniz let him into our room where he quickly got comfy on the rug, couch and bed. He also liked to rub his head on my feet and then take little playful nibbles at my big toe :) . Deniz safely let him out and we saw him again down by the pool. Fortunately, he was sitting in Deniz’ lap when a mother cat was clearing the area for her own. She would lunge and scream at the other kittens to scare them away. The kittens are cute though. A couple of them were playing with something in the grass putting on a nice show for the guests. Everyone seems to enjoy their presence and even though the hotel has asked everyone to not feed the cats, many do. But the rules are pretty slack here. Even if you feed them in front of hotel staff they won’t say anything.

    There is one mother cat around that is a neat set if colorful patterns. She has two kittens that we have seen. There is also two rusty colored kittens and one grey tiger-striped kitten (this is Deniz’ buddy).

  • September 21, 2010 /  Turkey 2010

    We had a lazy day yesterday. After breakfast, we inquired on what’s available here to do. We have set up a day tour for tomorrow. There are ruins and tombs to see. A bus will come and pick us up after breakfast and return us just before dinner.

    We then went to swim and laze around down at the sea, and then afterwards up at the pool. The pool is chlorinated salt water.

    Last nights dinner was Italian. There was a cook here making each pasta plate. It was a bit of a show too as when he’d cook the sauce, the mushrooms would flare up in the pan. He was good though. Cooked a good meal and was nice and polite.

    After dinner we went down by the poolside so I could take more night pictures. Just I was taking the last few, the power cut out in the entire area. The beautiful display of lights became darkness. After a few seconds though, the sound of generators kicked in and some lights were restored. The area was on backup power though until sometime during the night. The timeshare portion was all in darkness though. People from there were coming down to the hotel to hang out.

    The a/c did not work very well last night so it was a hot one. We tried opening up the patio doors but that didn’t help. I think my body is too Canadian. I seem to be the only one suffering from the heat. But then again I’m like that back home too :) . It’s exhausting because I’m constantly sweating. I can’t wear any cotton shirts since they become soaked within minutes. The swim was refreshing but within minutes of getting out the fountain begins again. Two days down, two and a bit to go….