Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday 31st July 2012…..a bus day!!!

Woke up to a knock on my door at 7.45am and there was the owner with a plate of French toast and fruit!!!

At 8.30am I went downstairs and paid my bill $50 dollars for two great nights and I shook the owners hand and he said no he would take me the 300 meters to the bus office on his scooter..so he put the big pack in front of his legs and I got on the back and off we went!

The first part was a mini bus to the main town 20 minutes away and a cost of 3 Lira…I had to wait 15 minutes for my bus to Antalya to arrive and this was a a big luxury bus….I went to the back seat which I had to myself and we left at 9.30am..this bus had two young men on board as attendants who brought round snacks and water….each seat had it’s own mini screen with movies and also a web cam at the front of the bus so you could see where we going!

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  The cost of this section of the journey was 27 Lira and nearly 4 hours.

So now I am on the bus and with some time it gives me a chance to catch my breath….I left Nanaimo on 1st June and Janet and Malc and I left England on 4th June and they left me 30th June in Slovenia..what a journey!!

I have never travelled in this fashion and it was a challenge and one I looked forward to….and I really must state that so far it has been very easy.  In two months no issues no problems and I have enjoyed every single day.  I have tried to break up my journey so I am not on the go everyday packing and unpacking and I think I have done that too.

The rooms I have had without exception have been very acceptable, clean and cheap….the most I have paid for a room so far is $40 dollars!!!

I have met so many friendly, helpful, kind and generous people and my one couch surfing stop with Ina in Greece was delightful!!

It seems like every day there was a WOW factor…so many beautiful and wonderful sights….sights that I shall never forget and I am glad I have the blog to go back to in days ahead to relive the journey all over again.

One of my big concerns was getting from Montenegro to Greece….turns out really easy….the next challenge is the town I am going to after Side is an overnight journey and from there another overnight to Istanbul..I may look at air travel for that one.

Being in different rooms I am lucky I have not lost or left anything behind…..Heather and Kirby…..the back pack has worked out so well..thanks.

Apart from Turkey I have had a fridge either in my room or a communal kitchen and this have been so great for me with my strange eating habits and also saved money on restaurant food which I am not a great fan of.

I did hours of research and in my humble opinion it has paid off I have diversified my trip between the ancient, the modern and the wonderful ocean and mountain peaks.  I have done what I set out to do and now as we approach the last day of this fantastic month my mind starts to turn towards the next stage of my journey in September when I make a big move and change my living status from Nanaimo to San Miguel.

This is also a challenge that I accept and I see no reason why this move will not be all that it can be…I have been in SMA for at least three months every Winter for the past 5 years so I look forward to seeing all the seasons.

Of course my girls factor in a huge way especially with the changes that are taking place in Paola’s life….I will wait and see what I can do to maintain a relationship with her and you know me I will do that.  I also look forward to watching Daniela grow and I cannot wait to see how she turns out with those eyes the world is there for her.

I have many friends already in SMA a wide circle of tennis partners, the poker club and hopefully Linda and Guy will return…..the weather is perfect and the people the best…so I have a smile in my heart when I think where I shall be in a few weeks.

I guess the main issue when I get back to Nanaimo on 1st September is to sell my baby and best friend Ramona….I am going to market her properly in two weeks and hope there is some interest Heather has kindly agreed to show her to interested parties…so I hope to have her sold and then I will purchase a small SUV or something similar load up and leave Nanaimo on 17th September and be in SMA around a week later……so lots to look forward to.

This bus journey is great lots of leg room and now I am going to read up about Side and see what mischief I can get into there…

Ok now it is 11.30pm so I need to go back to the bus trip….. this bus had three attendants on it and maybe 20 passengers and they brought small package snacks and drinks often.  One of the attendants a young man about 21 years of age who could speak a little English seemed to take me under his wing.  he asked me where I was going after Antalya and I told him a town called Side.  from my research I already knew that I had to get on another bus in Antalya and get off before the turn off to side and then take a mini bus into the town. So the kid asked me if I had a ticket and I tell him no so he asks me for 10 Lira…….at this point I was really confused but I think he was telling me he would get me a ticket on the next stage of the bus leg anyway I gave him 10 Lira and off he went to the front of the bus.

A while later he comes back and hands me a ticket and tells me to stay on the bus when we get to Antalya and that this bus would drop me off at the junction to Side.  Well this sounded too good to be true but when we got to the huge bus station in Antalya about half the people got off and the bus left right away I was watching the road signs and sure enough we were going in the right direction for Side.  Then the kid came back to me and gave me a Turkey key chain!!!!!!  Unfortunately the Canadian key chains I brought over for gifts were in my back pack underneath the bus.  That is not the end of the story he then asks me where I was staying and he pulls out his cell phone and starts talking.  When he was finished tells me there will be a taxi waiting for me when the bus drops me off.  So around 3pm the bus stops right at the turn off to Side and there is the taxi…I shook hands and thanked the kid!!!!

I knew from here to my hotel was about 3km and it involved taking a mini bus then a walk of about 500 meters and the bus would cost me 1.5 Lira…so I asked the taxi driver how much to my hotel and he tells me 20 Lira..I smiled and said no thanks and I walked across the road to the bus stop and within 5 minutes the bus came and by 3.30pm I was in my hotel room…does it get any easier??

For 27 dollars a night I get a third floor very small room but very clean, a balcony, a fan, separate bathroom and in the hall a fridge!!!

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View from my balcony

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and the other way

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The front of the hotel

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This is a most unusual town when I walked through the old gates to the town there are literally ruins everywhere but get into the center of town amid ruins there are these very tacky tourists shops…hundreds of them with tacky English and German tourists everywhere…it reminds me of a sea side town in England….not my cup of tea at all BUT other things to see.

A new friend on a forum Angela has been so helpful to me in arranging things here and she has put me in touch with a tour guide named Abdullah who she tells me I can trust implicitly!!!

So I called him and arranged for him to come to the hotel at 6pm.

before he came I walked around a bit and checked other tour agencies it seems they are all governed by one corporation and charge the same prices!!

Abdullah was on time and I liked him and one of my main concern was when I leave here on Friday I have a long journey about 500km to the next place I want to visit and getting there involves a few buses and an overnight trip….but one of Abdullah’s trips is to the same town so to make a long story short I have signed up with him for his 3 day trip to that town and it will cost me 130 Lira which includes transportation, tours and two nights hotel and I will just stay in the town and not come back with the tour…this is a great deal especially when the two other tour agents I checked quoted me 170 Lira!!! when you figure apart from the hassle of getting there it would be at least 45 Lira on the bus, then 2 nights in a hotel plus all the hotels…so a happy camper.

Other things Abdullah is doing for me was to show me where to get an authentic Turkish shave and a haircut and tomorrow morning I have booked a three hours full Turkish bath/massage/whatever  for 40 Lira and on Thursday I will rent a scooter for the day…..so that worked out great thanks Angela!!!

So off I went for my haircut!!!

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All this time I have been missing my tea and here they offer me the famous Turkish tea and I say yes and it is lovely!!!!

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DSCF3730Ali, my barber, was a great kid spoke English and even knew about my soccer team Sheffield United!!!

The haircut was really good..next up….

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Never had a straight razor shave before…he was good…next…

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This was hard to explain..he had like dental floss which he wrapped around his fingers then put the other end in his mouth and like flicked it over my eyebrows and nose and it was just a little ouchie!!!!

Next up the open flame!!!!!!

DSCF3736The ceremonial burning of the ear, nose and eyebrow hair!!!!

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Finally a good shampoo and conditioner, a face wash and I was done!!!!!

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I really enjoyed everything and Ali was a good guy..the cost 25 Lira…worth every penny.

Went to another kebab place for supper…

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Then walked around town..

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Two blocks away..

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DSCF3754Almost a full moon!!!

Came back to the hotel stocked up the fridge with drinks and ready for bed.

This is the journey I took today..

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From X to Y

Then on Friday

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From X to Y

So again I have been impressed with how easy it has all been and again my only negative comment about it all is the smoking!!!!!!  Every one smokes everywhere!!!!!

Yashi Kochi..

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday 30th July 2012….muddy and marvelous!!!

The hotel provides breakfast and I had some fruit, yogurt, different yogurt here and some very tasty French/Turkey toast..I retrieved my frozen drink bottles from their freezer and packed up and ready for a day of whatever!!!!!

My research shows a little village about 8km away where they have red travertine's and mud baths and that sounded appealing so I got on the local mini bus for 2 Lira and off I went.  I was dropped in the center and there was a nice hotel offering spa and mud baths so I checked it out…they wanted 30 Lira for me to go in and I would have access to the mud bath and thermal pool I went in for a look around and it just didn’t seem right for me so walked further into town and saw another sign for another hotel 400 meters up a hill and I went there and this was much nicer and I enquired there and asked if I could look around first it took only a few seconds to decide this was the place..paid 25 Lira which included a towel and a swim hat…just wait till you see how cute I look in a swim hat!!!

There was no one else around at all except a maid who took the photos for me…that is what I like a place to myself!!!

 

WARNING!!!!!!

Some photos from here till the end of the post contains scenes of partial nudity and are not fit for any female readers under the age 55 years!!!!

Remember you have been warned!!!!

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You see I ditched the hat!!!!

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I stayed here over three hours alternating between the hot mud and the thermal pool it was very relaxing indeed!!

On the walk back to the center saw these interesting sights…

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Like in SMA the church bells go off all hours and eventually you get used to it well it is the same here with the Mosques….5 times a day the call to prayer resonates through out the whole town and I like it!!!

I do not know where all these women were going!!

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This could solve my tea withdrawal symptoms!!!

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I caught another mini bus back to my place where I had a little afternoon snooze in the air conditioned room.

4pm and I was ready to go to the ruins and the pools….I figure by this time a lot of the tour buses will have left.

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DSCF3574Remember you were WARNED!!!!

As I read in my guide book and mentioned yesterday a lot of the pools were closed from damage and have to be restored but these first pools you see are actually man made..but still interesting!!!

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I have NO IDEA how this photo got in…… the sun must have been in my eyes!!!  Don’t forget it is my blog and I can do what I want!!!!

OK here is the last photo and this was so funny this lady asked me to take some photos of her and I did and she asked me if I wanted a photo and I said yes and as I got down and posed this mutt just walked into the picture…cute…..yes I mean the dog!!

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So now it was time to see the ruins they stretch a long way and obviously they do not match Ephesus in grandeur and history but by the same token these ruins are very impressive!!!

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It was a special feeling to have this whole arena to myself and I sat a while and thought yet again how lucky I am!!!!

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Time to head back to the pools as the sun was setting I spent two hours just watching and marveling at the beauty of it all!!!!

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My final shot!!!

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I have never been to a place like this before and I am so glad I made the choice to put it on my list…..magical day!!!

Tomorrow is a long travel day…3 buses and about 7 hours which will put me back on the coast again in a town that sounds neat called Side!!!!!