Alanya from above // Do All Things With Love

Date: 9 September 14
Local Time: 9:00pm
Location: Side, Turkey
Hours of sleep in last 24: 8

I woke up early in Anamur when some garbage trucks were emptying bins loudly, it was probably 6am and the sun was just about to rise so instead of going back to bed I grabbed my camera and left the hotel (past the snoring inn-keeper by the front door) and walked to the beach to watch the sunrise.

Beach awnings // Do All Things With LoveAnamur sunrise// Do All Things With Love

Just as I was walking back to the hotel the rest of my group was walking down to the beach with swimming gear to take a morning dip in the sea. There is something incredibly refreshing about starting the day swimming in the Mediterranean before breakfast.

Morning swim // Do All Things With Love

The hotel room included an authentic Turkish breakfast: haşlanmış yumurta (hard-boiled eggs), ekmek (bread), salatalık (cucumbers), domates (tomatoes), zeytin (olives), beyaz peynir (white cheese), reçel (jelly), and of course çay (tea).

Turkish breakfast // Do All Things With Love

After breakfast we packed up and headed west to Side (pronounced like ‘city’) with a stop in Alanya. The roads along the coast line are being improved at a rapid pace, lots of long tunnels through the mountains rather than along the cliffs above the ocean. However, much of the improved highways are not yet complete so most of the time it was narrow roads above the ocean. It is a harrowing experience – if you have ever driven up or down Highway 1 in the US you can imagine what this road is like, except that the highway is about one lane wide and it’s a major shipping route for semi-trucks. Oh, and because Turks are crazy drivers this all happens at like 70 mph and with honking and passing on blind corners. Also this is a country that does not have any laws requiring the use of seatbelts, and will laugh at you for using them.

Alanya + Side // Do All Things With Love

I was surprised to learn that the area between Anamur and Alanya produces massive quantities of bananas! Most of the countryside is covered either in greenhouses or banana plantations. Secondary crops include pistachios, pomegranates and berries. There are a great many roadside stands selling freshly harvested bananas, blackberry preserves, produce and hot tea.

Roadside farm stand

Roadside farm stand

Muz (bananas) from a roadside stand

Muz (bananas) from a roadside stand

Muz (banana) farms

Muz (banana) farms

Alanya is a sprawling ocean-side resort town that has more tourists than turks. In fact there is such a huge population of Russian tourists that none of the signs are in Turkish, they are all in Russian and English. The prices are in euros and US dollars, not turkish lira. The cool part of the town was Alanya Kalesi (castle) that sits high atop a hill overlooking the town. It was remarkable!

Door in Alanya Kalesi // Do All Things With Love

Alanya Kalesi (castle)

Alanya Kalesi (castle)

Alanya // Do All Things With Love Cruise boats // Do All Things With Love

DSC_5650 Alanya // Do All Things With Love

Alanya beach // Do All Things With Love

We got back in the car after lunch and went to Side where we would spend the night. It was another tourist-heavy town but once again, my turk hosts managed to negotiate a good room for us, a suite with a kitchen that sleeps five. So for 120 TL ($54 USD) we had a place to stay about two blocks from the beach and were able to cook dinner and breakfast for ourselves in the room for five people for 20 TL ($9 USD). My host mom made us köfte which is bulgur kneaded with salça (tomato paste), olive oil and some fresh herbs.

Side beach // Do All Things With Love

Side beach

köfte // Do All Things With Love

köfte // Do All Things With Love

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