We rolled into Antalya two days ago. After so much go go go the group gets two whole nights in one place to get some wash done and catch up on sleep (must mornings start at 6am, hell there are times at home I don't go to bed until 3 or 4am).
The city is huge. It wasn't always so though. 12 years ago it was a small town with a charming old city (something rare in a country with so many earthquakes and a national obsession with modernization). Apparently the city has a kind of unspoken segregation. Russian and Eastern European tourists stay in the West part of the city, Everyone else uses the Eastern half. After hearing some horror stories of Russian tourists I am all to happy to let them have half the town.
We visit the old city, which is quaint with winding streets and some nice architecture. I would love to stay here at one of the small hotels. But the quiet days give way to raucus nights with loud bars, fights and prostitutes making it unbearable for anyone hoping to actually sleep at 3am. Too bad.
We visit the Perge museum which contains some amazing artifacts from Turkey's long history including some of the finest statues I've ever seen.
This morning we went to Aspendos, home of the most complete Roman theater in the world and it was truly a sight. Usually the elaborate backdrops are destroyed by time and material scavengers but not here. It's still in use today for operas and other large scale events.
We push on through the Taurus mountains heading inland along the ancient spice and silk trails. We stop at the grave of Rumi, the founder of the Sufi. In two days we'll get a chance to see actual dervishes (as opposed to the faux hotel shows). We shall see.
I took this picture during a brief roadside rest. It seemed to encapsulate three strong elements of Turkey. It's natural beauty, it's drive for progress in the form of the aluminum smelter and its ancient past.