November 15th (cont’d): After watching the hot-air balloons take off in Göreme, we hustled to the bus station and hopped on a bus to Mersin on Turkey’s south coast. In Mersin, we caught another bus to Silifke. From Silifke, we caught a bus to the port town of Taşucu. It all worked out very smoothly, with hardly any wait times. We checked in to Holmi Hotel, right across from the waterfront, and then went out for künefe 🙂
November 16th: We walked around Taşucu, fed cats, and appreciated being by the Mediterranean in the sunshine. This was the first time Les saw the Mediterranean!
November 17th: We bused to Silifke and took a look at the ancient cistern. It is now an unofficial bottle dump. The Byzantine fortress above was closed for restoration so we carried on down the road to Kizkalesi.
In Kizkalesi, we walked along the waterfront and the beach. Kizkalesi has two castles! Kizkalesi Castle is 300m offshore and was closed for the winter. Corycus Castle is on the shore. Apparently the two castles were connected at one point by a causeway. Corycus Castle was still open so we were able to crawl all over it.
We then had künefe before leaving Silifke 🙂
November 18th: We had a quiet day around Taşucu. We walked out to the pier. We watched a cat eat a fish. We used the internet at the hotel to make plans for Christmas (Berlin!) We read our books at a cafe and ended up having tea with the couple at the table next to us.
November 19th: We packed up and bused westward to Anamur. We definitely noticed that we missed the busy season here! We only saw one other foreigner (a friendly Belgian at our hotel). The beaches were littered with debris from beach cafes and an arcade that are shut down for the winter.
November 20th: About 9km to the west lies Anemurium, the sprawling Roman/Byzantine ruined city. We thought we would take two buses and walk the 2km from the highway down to the site. While waiting for the first bus, we asked the only other person there how much for the bus. He told us they only take a tap card (like Vancouver’s Compass Card), but that he would tap us on. He wouldn’t accept our money. After about ten minutes of waiting, he told us that his daughter would come pick us up and she could drive us. She soon swung by and picked us all up. Her English was much better than her father’s so we were able to have a bit of a conversation. She is a architect, just like her father, and went to university on Cyprus. After a while we noticed that we were heading out of town…. she drove us all the way to the turn off! So nice!
We spent hours out there. When we arrived, we heard some voices but didn’t come across anyone else. As we were leaving, we passed by a couple walking in. It was amazing having the place essentially to ourselves.
As we headed back towards the highway, the couple that we had walked passed earlier drove up beside us. After some confusion that was cleared up by Google Translate, they offered us a ride back into town! It was hot, we were out of water, and it would be a long, dusty, walk on the side of a busy highway. We happily accepted 🙂 They were a friendly couple that didn’t let a lack of English (or in our case, Turkish) get in the way of communicating.
We were floored with how friendly people were. It left us feeling warm and fuzzy inside 🙂
November 21st: We left Anamur and bused west to the port city of Alanya. We were instantly struck with how tourist-y the city is, at least by the waterfront, castle, and port. This was the first city we visited where tourists seemed to outnumber locals. The cafes were full of white-haired, white couples wearing shorts, resting from all the shopping.
People weren’t as friendly as in other places, but the cat population made up for it. There was a cat-area park, a place for kittens to be fed and receive medication, and even a vending machine where you deposit your plastic bottle garbage and it dispenses cat food below.
November 22nd: After going to the cat park to feed kittens, we walked up the hill to Alanya Castle. We didn’t pay to go in to the fortress because it seemed to be a glorified view point – a view that we got by walking up instead of driving. It was a sunny day and the views were beautiful.
That night, we walked along the water and stopped in to visit the kittens at the cat park. That little guy that stole my heart, crawled on my shoe and then, when I bent down, crawled on my knee. So I held him for a bit. It was cold and he was tiny. What could I do?
It rained all night with lots of thunder and lightening in the late evening. We were worried about the kittens but we needn’t have been – they have shelter.
Our next stop is Antalya, further west along the coast.