Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 160 - Old Antalya and the Antalya Museum

Antalya is probably a popular destination to visit during the summer given its temperatures, location, and variety of sights to visit, with rocky cliffs next to the Mediterranean, high mountains in the vicinity, and numerous ancient historical sites and monuments. I took the opportunity to wander through the city today with the help of a tourist map. The main tourist spot was called the Kaleici Quarter, where you could get lost in the maze of small alleyways as you headed down towards the marina. You could easily find your way out by looking for the high clock tower tower at the top of the area, a reliable point of reference.

There were a ton of pensions, restaurants, and shops in the maze of alleys, all needing a little more business because of the time of year. There were plenty of people around, and the weather was tolerable even for the most demanding or picky tourist, but October wa still one of the slower months as Winter creeped closer.

I followed the tourist guide map foot route around the are, which didn't take too much time to complete since the area wasn't too large. I stopped by a couple museums (Kaleici and Ataturk), Hadrian's three-arched gate, the marina, and the Karaalioglu Park.

After the small tour, I went to the Antalya Museum, which was one of the larger archeological museums housing an impressive collection of Roman statues, sarcophagii, and other small ancient vestiges. Some of the statues were incomplete, with sections empty and up to the visitor to imagine on their own, like missing puzzle pieces. There was also hype over the return of one of the Hercules statues, where a part of it was stolen and somehow ended up in Boston, before finally being given back to Antalya.

After the museum, Ali and I headed to his parents house, where they cooked a delicious traditional Turkish meal. It was fun to be included in these events, as if I were a part of the family. I even witnessed some funny familial matters, things you probably wouldn't share with someone you just met if you were in the states. But Ali was a really cool guy and it was easy to converse and open up to him quickly. Most of the time, people spoke Turkish during and after dinner, and I found myself sitting there quietly, but I've been in that position numerous times during the trip, so it wasn't bothersome. If anything, I should learn more Turkish. I've learned enough food words...which has made me gain a little weight so far...

After dinner, we headed to old Antalya with some of his friends for some beers. The alleyways were dark and quiet in contrast to the day, which gave it a sort of peacefulness. It felt completely safe, whereas you'd feel a little weary and more alert if you were alone in NYC or LA.

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