Alanya and Antalya
After a very (very) long busride from Cappadocia, it was nearly 8 pm by the time we were settled into our apartment in Alanya. In a welcome contrast from the other cities we visited, the weather was beautiful in Alanya, even at night. For sake of convenience (and nostalgia), I ordered Domino’s pizza – I swear, it’s 100 times better in Turkey. Linguistic difficulties aside, the pizza made it with few speed bumps. Although I had no idea what I ordered, it turned out to be pretty darn good.
In the morning, we finally got to see the view from our balcony. Mom was very glad to be so close to the ocean, and spent most of the morning wandering on the beach collecting rocks. After a lazy morning and small breakfast, we made our way into the city. I was so happy to see Neşe, the program director from my time abroad, and it was wonderful to introduce her to mom and Emily. We ate kahvaltı – Turkish breakfast, which has way too much food for a table to consume and sipped on tea while chatting and reminiscing. Afterward, we wandered around a bit more before heading back to the apartment to relax and read.
The next day, we were a bit more adventurous in our outings: a trip to the ancient castle, a look inside a mosque that was destroyed by lightning in the 1700’s and rebuilt by the community later, a busride into the village/suburbs of Alanya to see Dim Cayi. We didn’t go inside a cave, but instead ate fresh oranges – literally pulled off the tree – and I tried to make jokes with the man who brought us tea straight from a samovar. After a while of sitting and enjoying the sun, we made our way back downtown, where we ate at the legendary Eski Ev (Old House, also known as Gourmet Restaurant). I was thrilled to show mom and Emily my favorite restaurant in Alanya. We were greeted happily by Yamyam, a very fat dog who wanders around the restaurant looking for loving and scraps of food. His name happens to mean “Cannibal,” but we love him for it anyway. The restaurant is owned by a Turkish man and his German wife, and it’s seriously the tastiest food you’ll ever eat. The meal is pre fixe, and we had several rounds of food, including salads, cheesy bread, “cigarette pastries,” which look like rolled cigarettes and are filled with cheese, stew, and dolma (which translates as “stuffed,” and basically involves rice and meat stuffed inside peppers and eggplants). Stuffed to the brim, we made our way back to the apartment.
Another lazy morning, more walking on the beach. We took our time to get to Antalya, which is two hours west of Alanya. There, we wandered through Old Town, bought souvenirs, and ate delicious kebap. Each of us tried a different version – each city in Turkey has their recipe, and all are delicious. After some more wandering by the harbor and admiring the sunset, we ate künefe (kunahfeh) for dessert. It’s a cheesy dessert made with long noodles – and it’s delicious. After a few servings of this, it was time for bed, as our flight to Istanbul left fairly early.