10.02.2013 - 10.02.2013 15 °C
As Ben and I were up earlier than the girls, we went for a walk in the old city of Antalya, skirting the cats stretching in the alleyways, and allowing ourselves to get lost among the the plethora of pensions, hotels and closed up restaurants. We made it to the beach, relishing the tremendous view of the snow-capped mountains in the distance. Looking over the harbour, we noted how much like Vancouver it seemed with both the mountains and the sea in view. When we arrived back at the pension, we all went down for breakfast. It's not often we have a place that has breakfast included so we're always curious as to what we will receive. It was well presented and colourful, with cut tomatoes, cucumbers, oranges, olives and cheeses. Alongside that, we were served fresh Turkish bread with preserves and the requisite Nutella-like chocolate hazelnut spread (the Turkish version this time). The owner also provided a large omelette with ricotta cheese for us all to share. It would suffice for several hours which was good as this day would involve driving a few hours to our next home.
We hugged the coastline most of the way, enjoying the uneventful and beautiful drive. We could see the cities becoming more rustic as we edged away from Antalya and further southwest. At times, passing through small towns, we observed some unique sights: women in long skirts and head scarves riding side saddle behind their husbands on motorcycles; a one-armed motorcyclist; dumptruck-sized loads of oranges; and scatterings of goats grazing on the rocky hillsides.
Given that we have been travelling at a fair pace, and knowing we need more downtime as a family, we did some research a couple of weeks back while in Malta regarding our stay in Turkey. We were able to rent a villa on the ocean in the small town of Kas (pronounced 'cash'). The owner is Danish and we Skyped him to discuss the possibilities. Fortunately, in off season, they do not have much business so he was willing to let it to us for a price we could afford (we could never stay here in season). He seemed quite pleasant and authentic and suggested we pay only when we arrived, so we felt we weren't assuming much risk if the place was not as it showed in the pictures.
We arranged to meet his agent, Guslev, a Turkish woman that provides property management services for a number of places in Kas, outside one of the grocery stores on the main street of the small town. Picking up what we needed for the evening, we were surprised at the prices in Turkey. They weren't as low as we had expected; in many cases, the prices equalled Canadian amounts and we don't know how the local people do it (the average net wage is about $635 monthly, as compared to $2845 for France and $2670 for the Netherlands). However, when we stick to the Turkish favourites, like lentils, tomatoes, oranges, cucumbers, bread and yoghurt, we find the prices better.
We had some trepidation as we were escorted to the villa. As we plan on staying put for the next four weeks, it was important to us that we chose well and didn't repeat our Barcelona experience. As Guslev showed us around the place, we were amply reassurred. The place is very spacious, with three bedrooms upstairs and a large kitchen and open living space/dining room downstairs. There is a laundry room and three full bathrooms, one an ensuite in the master bedroom. She indicated there was also a full one-bedroom suite downstairs for us. The villa comes with several amenities including a dishwasher and a fireplace, and even an extra fridge should our drinking habits become severe (or should some friends visit - hint, hint). There are three levels of decks, each with lawn chairs and other outside furniture. On the lowest deck, we found the pools, one a jacuzzi and the other, a larger one with the edge facing the sea. From every vantage point from the decks, one can see a beauitful view and we are looking forward to seeing what it looks like in sunshine. The girls quickly explored the place and organized themselves into bedrooms. Abby opted for a room on the top floor, while Hannah selected the ground floor suite.
After Guslev left, we settled in and checked out the various contraptions and appliances to ensure they worked. In these off-season Mediterranean haunts, there are always things to be seen to, heaters to coddle into working order, bulbs to replace, etc. Abby and Hannah toodled off to their various rooms, planning on unpacking. Ben and I were unpacking ourselves when we suddenly heard a loud crash from the suite. Ben rushed down there to check on the situation and was a bit aghast at what he saw. While Hannah was on the outside of the suite closing the sliding glass door, it came off its mechanism and fell inward onto the tile floor. She tried to hold it up but the weight was too much and the double paned-glass unit fell, twisting the frame and shattering both panes instantly. We were stunned and I have to admit I was quite shaken, even once we confirmed Hannah was not hurt. It was just such an awful sight and I could only wonder what the owner was going to think of us now. We wanted to clean it up but there wasn't the necessary equipment so we called Guslev with the discouraging news. She came over and assessed the situaiton and said she'd contact the owner and get people over to fix the door. Still nervous about what this would mean for our stay and the possible costs, I was unhinged a bit further when the breaker went and the main floor lights were extinguished. Ben ferretted out the electrical box and got us all set again. However, soon after that, we lost power once again, only this time, the whole house was blanketed in darkness. None of the breakers appeared thrown and with some nosing about outside, we determined that this was actually a general power failure. What next, I thought? Well, then the rains came. We put a dish under the leak in the living room and while we worried about the suite downstairs being open to the elements, there was nothing to be done. I went to sleep a bit jittery and wondered what the next day might hold, comparing this to a demise-laden weekend vacation we once shared with the Aalders.