Cultural travel in Turkey is as near as the closest museum or historic building, but some museums stand out more than others.Antalya offers historic sites, yacht tours, and rock festivals.
Holidays in Turkey can be the dream of a lifetime.
The Antalya Museum is a masterpiece. It was another of those strange winter situations where I was just about alone as I strolled through the museum’s displays. Well, almost alone.
To get to the museum, I just walked along the seashore past the strange abandoned amusement park, past the young couples making out on park benches, and past the single guys (who are probably the same age as me but look older because they are Turkish, single, and drunk at 10 am on a Sunday morning) who were drinking beers on park walls and creating the odor of piss at scenic viewpoints. Given the choices, the company in the museum was just fine.
The museum is reached by going down Cumhuriyet Caddesi or you can take the cute little tram that goes down to the edge of Konyaalti Plaji which is a beautiful beach with no sand but lovely stones all over the place. At first I thought I should ask someone to turn on the lights but it wasn’t necessary because there are motion detectors so as I walked through the empty halls with my shoes echoing as they hit the floor, suddenly an eerie light would switch on illuminating Eros, Zeus, Apollo, Artemis, or Athena. In addition to the statuary there was also an interesting display of coins, stone age tools, and even a few mosaics. The coins were particularly cool because they were displayed in ‘hoards’, that is the treasure troves that had been found. Thousands of gold coins? No. But hundreds of gold, silver, or electrum.
While I had a great time in Antalya, there were a number of things that I didn’t do that I would like to. The rafting trips in the mountains nearby are supposed to be pretty spectacular and in particular the area around Olympos and Phaselis, Kemer, and Kas are reputed to be among the best rafting in this part of the world. The mountains are also reputed to be great for rock climbing and hiking. Since I was there in December and January, I missed out on this stuff.
Antalya has a reputation as becoming one of the great cultural hubs of Turkey with Ballet, Symphonies, and even a Yoga School. Each year Antalya is also host to the Golden Orange Film Festival in the Autumn and in mid summer a big Rock Festival. music is obviously important in Antalya as you walk around you find statues of musicians in bronze. Not ancient musicians, guys playing electric guitar! In fact, one night after drinking beers with my new Turkish rock star friend Ozzy, I was very surprised to be walking home and find a statue of him!
In terms of other things to do, I met with one friend who told me that Duden Falls was a complete waste of time. Another friend told me that the most spectacular thing to see in the region is the ruined ancient city of Termessos. I can only go on that recommendation, but as with boobs the adage might apply that you’ve seen one and you’ve seen them both. However, apparently the beautiful thing was the setting and the fact that there weren’t busloads of visitors there as at Efes or Pergammon.
Overall, I have to admit that I enjoyed Antalya a lot. Filled with nice people, a lively expat community, plenty to see and do, a couple of great Jazz bars, and more than a little bit of beautiful stuff to see. I hope to go back again.
And you? What did you think of Antalya?