Travel

Spring Break: Turkey (Day 2 – Istanbul -> Antalya -> Olympos)

Walking towards the Blue Mosque
Walking towards the Blue Mosque

We awoke early  on Day 2 to take advantage of the few hours before our flight by trying to visit the Blue Mosque. Unfortunately our timing was a bit off and we ran right into a prayer time, doh! We were able to see the outside, but that was about it. We shouldn’t have had that extended breakfast on the roof terrace of our hotel, but we were all still a bit sleepy. Of course, even if you can’t go inside there are local trying to be your tour guide around the city.

After a few hours of wandering we were set to go to the airport for our flights to Antalya. Silly us, we didn’t realize that we booked flights from two different airports and had to split up on the way over. (Travel note: make sure that when you book an airport shuttle through you hostel they actually book the cheaper shuttle you want and do not just call a private taxi for you which will be more expensive.) The three of us going via Turkish Airways split a “taxi” (read smelly, old van with worn out shocks and no seat belts) and top the short trip to Antalya.

Sheep crossing...
Sheep crossing…

In Antalya we rent a 9 passenger mini-van, the start of an amazing and comical road trip. The van was a lovely outdated vehicle with grey curtained windows and a door that had a tendency to stick (and therefore need to be slammed). It wasn’t your typical off road vehicle, but it would be after we were done with it. The trip to Olympos was very scenic with mountains and lush landscape along the entire route. At one point we were stopped by a heard of sheep crossing with their owner. Ah! We were in nature, a world away from the sprawling, modern city that we left earlier in the day.

Mountains and natural beauty everywhere!
Mountains and natural beauty everywhere!

Bayrams Tree Houses was the next stop in the journey. I don’t know what I was expecting when CD recommended we stay in tree houses for a few days, but it was not this. As we ambled down the road, we got an ominous feeling like we stepped into a ghost town. The town where you see the carefree teen in horror moving driving into with a care in the world. I felt a wave of dread the further we got in and my sense of adventure left me. But, once we arrived and got into the swing of things I realize that I was sorely mistaken.

Tree house...more like house made out of trees...
#17 – Our tree house for the next 5 nights

The tree houses themselves are more like wood cabins with a strong scent of being outdoors that unfortunately my allergies could not handle. A bonfire burned every night until the wee hours of the morning and made for a great place to have after dinner drinks. Breakfast and dinner were included and included of the same consistently good meats, rice or noodles, veggies, soups, and tea. It was a backpacker paradise. Because of these extremely laid back and minimal atmosphere we were in bed early each night and enjoying the freedom of not having to read another case study.

MM by the campfire we enjoyed every night...glad I brought those marshmellows
MM by the campfire we enjoyed every night…glad I brought those marshmallows

 

GP master of the smoke circle
GP master of the smoke circle

The downside was the room was cold, heater worked sparsely and require cuddling to maintain the right sleeping temperature. AG’s body temperate could only go so far. The first day we made it just in time for dinner and essentially opened the bar next door for the first time of the season by smoking some hookahs. (Later we learned that Bayrams was much better at getting the hookahs ready to go and were able to stay on the property all night.) Later we roasted marshmallows by the bonfire. This peaceful place in the middle of nowhere, full of majestic natural beauty was definitely the perfect vacation spot.

 

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