A Tale of Two Beaches

Most of my beach time has been spent at Kleopatra Beach, with a view of the castle and the sunset. I’m joined there by topless Germans, Russians who have mini-photoshoots in the waves, and Dutch who play volleyball for hours. I’ve seen a few Turkish families, and more than a few creepy men have sat down to talk to me – but the beach is largely populated by tourists.

The other day, I made the trek down to the hidden beach near the Red Tower, a place I used to go often two years ago. I took an alternate path, and on the way I found a lovely café in a big open green space. (Note to self: take this path again, order gözleme and çay, relax, repeat.) Once you climb out of the stone walls and reach the beach, you have to trek through water to reach the actual beach part. The beach here is more pebbly and rocky than Kleopatra, which is made up of fine white sand, but the water is infinitely clearer. There are no waves to shake up the ocean floor, and you can see schools of tiny fish flit around children who splash in the water.

I sat for two hours at this beach, reading and people-watching. It was amazing to see how different this beach was from Kleopatra – a spot for locals to relax and bring their children, away from the noise and neon bikinis of foreigners. Many covered women waded through the water to reach the beach, and some even dipped into the water – fully clothed.

My favorite group was made up of two men and four children, three little girls and a boy. The oldest daughter, about 10, ran from the space where towels were laid out as soon as possible, diving into the water. She popped her head out of the water and shouted, “Baba! Burdayım! Dad, I’m here!” every few minutes. One father slowly made his way into the water with two children, throwing the little boy into the water. The second man sat on the towel with the youngest child, a little girl with a high ponytail and bright pink underwear. He blew up floaties to push over her chubby arms. As he worked, she stood patiently holding his shorts and staring at me. Later in the afternoon, she carried heavy rocks over to her father, who helped her collect them into a sand castle of sorts.

I hope to make it back to this beach over the next few weeks, as the oppressive heat in Alanya fades.

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