A Travellerspoint blog

March 2013

Homework and a TV Brain Break

BY ABBY

sunny 17 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

Today we all woke up early and tired because of the blustering winds outside of our house. In my family, I'm the one who needs the most sleep, so the morning wasn't too great for me. I downed a cup of coffee and then started on my schoolwork.

For Hannah and me the day was quite productive, as we spent most of it doing schoolwork. I now have half of the fourth section in the fourth module of my Social Studies course left to be completed (sorry if that was a little confusing).

My dad spent a good chunk of his morning finishing a library ebook, as he was scared it would be returned without him finishing. My mom spent her morning, afternoon and evening looking at places for us to stay. Thanks Mom for making sure we aren't homeless.

But my dad did lots of work for our trip as well, and I think for both of them, a little too much. They could barely talk by dinner time because their brains were fried from the stress of planning. Speaking of fried things, that night my mom made some fabulous Chinese/Japanese/Turkish fried rice. I quite enjoyed it.

The evening was relaxing but very enjoyable as well. Hannah and Dad watched another episode of West Wing (their new favourite series), while I showed my mom the first episode of the Amazing Race, which I plan to keep up with this season. After this we all congregated together and watched two episodes of Modern Family followed by another two episodes of the Middle. I know, it sounds like all we do is go on our computers and watch TV, but we also read on our devices... so there.

But I'm grumpy because I need more sleep... so goodbye.

Posted by KZFamily 10:18 Archived in Turkey Tagged turkey kas Comments (1)

Patara: Taking a Break from Kaş

By Hannah

sunny 18 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

Patara

Patara

Since our previously planned outing didn't end up materialising, we chose today to try again. It ended up being a gorgeous day to go sightseeing, and we were all ready to get out of the house for a bit. I, for one, am starting to miss travelling and seeing new things every few days (the thought of the withdrawal I'll go through after we return is looming in the back of my mind as I type). This is not just because I've started doing regular schoolwork, either.

The highways here range from relatively new and smooth to gravelly and bone-rattling, and we had a good mix of both as we headed to Patara, an ancient site with some Lycian ruins, including an amphitheatre, and a long sandy beach to its name. Still, driving with the ochre cliffs on one side and the Mediterranean Sea on the other tends to be pleasant no matter how much you're bouncing around in your seat. We took a little video of our twists and turns, if you're interested.

We paid to enter the site, and then continued on, keeping our eyes out for anything interesting enough to stop at. The first ruins we came across looked a little like they had been tossed to the side as the road we were on was being constructed. We've noticed this a bit in Turkey, actually. When we got out of the car, we were greeted by a raucous and somewhat strange cacophony of animal noises. After listening for awhile, we identified the creatures as frogs. The chorus was such that they almost seemed to be laughing. If you'd like to hear them for yourselves, click here.

There were also quite a few bees. Personally, I found the frogs more interesting than the ruins, but they were still kind of cool, and my dad exercised a freedom he hadn't had in Greece or Italy and went climbing on them.

Sharing Patara with Farm Animals

Sharing Patara with Farm Animals

As we continued, we found more haphazard ruins and a few goats and cows keeping them company. We were actually able to get quite close to them, and they were tethered, so nothing to fear there (although Abby got a bit nervous when one of the goats started to approach Mom). There were also a number of shelters with plants being grown under them. Personally, I found a historical site an odd place to grow produce and such, but whatever works.

Patara: Lycian Ruins (6000 seat theater)

Patara: Lycian Ruins (6000 seat theater)

Moving on, we ended up finding a proper parking lot amidst a number of goats and cows, and went to see the amphitheatre. It was grand, as are all the others that we've seen. I wonder what our count is so far this trip. Mom and Dad's inner performers seem to emerge whenever they step into one, and they decided to use the stage and echoes to perform for us. There were some other ruins around the amphitheatre, such as engraved stone tablets and rows of pillars. There was some flooding in between the pillars, and a number of tadpoles had made their homes in the warm shallows. Unfortunately, there were also quite a few dead ones dotting the surrounding area. Other wildlife spotted included a large lizard sunning himself on a rock wall, who scampered away when I approached. No good pictures, I'm afraid.

We took a brief walk around the wetlands that were hosting the many perpetually croaking frogs, and then we were off to the beach. It was blustery, and the beach lacked slightly in the cleanliness department, but we entertained ourselves by running up and down the dunes and digging our toes into the powdery sand. It definitely didn't feel like February, to say the least.

We had lunch in Kalkan (which was virtually deserted), and enjoyed our meals alongside a massive tub of bread. I'm not even exaggerating. We received a 10L container that was filled to the brim. Mom was thrilled. Our lunch was pretty good, a variety of Turkish fare that we'd pointed at because we thought it looked tasty. They offered rice pudding for dessert, which we accepted gladly. It was not at all like ours back home. It was thinner and colder and sweeter, and I loved it, even though I'm not a huge rice pudding fan. It made my recipes-to-research list. We were happy and full and, as it turns out, oh-so-easily taken advantage of. Our meal came to 74 Turkish lira (about 42 dollars), which we mightn't have questioned if we'd never been out to eat in Turkey before. This was double the cost of any meal we'd had in Kaş, and it wasn't exactly tourist season in Patara, either. So Dad confronted him, and got ten lira for his trouble. He lamented that it still wasn't adequate, but hey, everything's an educational experience. And the rice pudding was still delicious.

One of a half dozen mosques in the small town of Kinik

One of a half dozen mosques in the small town of Kinik

After going for a bit of mosque-spotting around town, we drove back home to our seaside villa (how I love being able to write that). Sights include some more ruins that we didn't want to pay to visit and a turtle that I spotted in the middle of the road. We did a 180 and took some pictures of the little guy, who was actually pretty darn fast for a turtle. Arriving at home, we spotted Guslev's scooter parked outside. This prompted a harried tidying frenzy. She turned up a little later with an update on how the patching up of the ceiling and reparation of the heater was going, and in turn my mom asked her about where to get a haircut. We've seen several barber shops, but salons seem to be few and far between, and it doesn't hurt to get a recommendation from a local. She said it'd be easier if my mom just followed her to the hairdresser's. I decided to tag along. The salon was down an alleyway and the windows were curtained, so it was probably a good thing that we had her help. Though small and sparse, the salon was clean and welcoming, and the hairdresser seemed kind and not opposed to tourists. What followed was a hair-cutting process rather similar to the Western one, except she washed my mom's hair after the cut, and did the washing in a back room roughly the size of a walk-in closet. It wasn't that expensive, either, just 45 lira. Mom wants Abby and I getting haircuts there, too. We're not so sure we want them, though.

We came back to a spotless home (thanks, Abby and Dad), and had a thoroughly average evening that isn't really worth writing about. If you've already read this far, then I'm sure you're not going to be interested in yet another excessively detailed paragraph on what we had for dinner or what show we watched (I'm certainly not). I'll just sum this entry up by saying that we are now a little more informed about the Turkey outside of Kaş, and are continuing to enjoy our travels. Hoşçakalın!

Posted by KZFamily 10:02 Archived in Turkey Tagged turkey kas patara guslev Comments (6)

Weather, Sea and Flowers

by Ben

sunny 20 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

Sunshine and no wind—that means hurry up and relax. Muriel and I went for our semi-regular morning walk around the peninsula and got pleasantly hot along the way. I am still nursing a bad back but am at the point that I can push it a bit and do our 5 kilometer circuit as long as I can find a place to sit down halfway around. With the beautiful views it is no hardship to sit on a rock and rest the back muscles for a while.

Muriel and Ben in the Sea

Muriel and Ben in the Sea

Half of the peninsula is covered with villas and a smattering of small hotels and apartments and the other half is still relatively untouched. In the natural areas that are covered in shrubs and some grass, the locals bring their sheep, goats and cows to graze for the day. We came across one woman sitting along the road watching her flock of sheep. It was wonderful see. We greeted her and she gave us a warm reply and rattled off some sentences in Turkish which we had no hope of understanding. Undeterred, she pointed to the sky and waved at the ocean and made us understand that she was saying what a beautiful day it was. It was nice to see that it is not just Canadians that resort to talking about the weather to get a conversation going. I just didn’t think Turks on the Mediterranean coast, where they see up to 300 days of sunshine a year, would be the ones with whom we would share this trait. It is amazing what kind of things you discover when you travel.

When we got home, we happily made our way down to our seaside patio. After less than an hour within a few metres of the water, the temptation became overwhelming. We just had to take a dip in the sea. It was nowhere as cold as our pool but it was not quite the 20 degrees plus that it is from April to November. Several minutes was all we needed to satisfy our yearnings. Abby chose to skip the sea water altogether and took a dip in our much chillier pool.

Salep: Winter Drink in Turkey

Salep: Winter Drink in Turkey

The kids did some more coursework later in the day while Muriel and I read. In the evening, perhaps as a result of my cold swim, I yearned for a warm winter drink. I had picked up a carton of salep from the store. It is a traditional winter drink made from the flour of tubers related to the orchid family. It is often served laced with cinnamon. I found the drink to be quite delicious and Abby was somewhat partial to it as well. Hannah and Muriel found the flowery taste (it does smell like orchids) difficult to take. They also had difficulty with rose flavored Turkish Delight. For some people a flower by any other way but smell just isn’t as sweet.

Just another great day in our Turkish paradise.

Posted by KZFamily 13:08 Archived in Turkey Tagged turkey kas Comments (2)

A Day Trip Attempt: Police, Nausea, and Dogs

by Ben

sunny 18 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

Our plan today was to make a day trip an hour northeast of Kas to check out some of the ancient ruins close to tourist town Kalkan. The weather although breezy was well suited to such an outing. This is the first time in a little over two weeks that we have done any day-tripping or true rubbernecking. The break has done a lot to re-ignite our enthusiasm for seeing new things as was evidenced by our very upbeat mood when we all piled into the car with high hopes for the day. We could also tell we were in real holiday mode by how laxidasical we were about getting on the road since we left more than an hour later than we had originally planned-a very unKZFamily thing to do and a postive development in the eyes of Hannah and Abby.

The highway to Kalkan hugs a very rugged coastline. The road, although fairly wide and well-engineered, has quite a rough road surface. A comfortable speed along this highway is usually no more than 70 kilometers an hour. This in many ways is a blessing since it allows you plenty of time to soak in the scenery. The light road traffic consists mostly of small delivery trucks, small buses and large passenger vans that connect the small communities.

Stopped by the Police

Stopped by the Police

Just before we got to Kalkan we got our first surprise of the day as we were flagged down at a temporary police checkpoint. Upon later research I found this a fairly common occurrence. As a newbie to driving in Turkey it was not on my top ten list of things to see on a daytrip. The police had set some pylons on the road and were flagging down cars at random. You need to produce your license and car registration and insurance. In our situation we were among six cars pulled over so I could at least get the gist of what to do by observing what the other drivers were doing. You hand the police your documentation and they walk off with it; which is a little off-putting when you don't know where they are going. After a minute or so I saw all the other drivers start to get out of their cars and form a cue by a police car tucked away in a parking lot a little bit away from the road block. The police use their trunk as a desk and you just wait patiently to see if you get yours documents back with or without a ticket. It appeared they were just looking for expired documents so it all went pretty quick and they seemed to be quite uninterested in nervous tourists. I was quite pleased that my first experience of being pulled over in Turkey was so uneventful and that the police officers were fairly friendly and polite. I guess I must have some sort of guilty conscience. Muriel says I would make a terrible criminal as I seem to break out in a sweat whenever I need to talk to a police officer or border guard. I am not sure what Muriel is saying about herself but I will leave it for her to account for her own activities.

We rolled into the seaside town of Kalkan a few minutes later. The town is bigger and a bit newer than Kas with very wide streets so it was easy to find parking. Unfortunately, within minutes of getting out of the car Hannah became extremely ill. We had just walked a hundred meters down the street and nausea suddenly overtook her. Until this moment, I did not think it possible for someone to handle getting sick in public with grace and poise. Hannah spied a public garbage can and had her very difficult moment and then just turned on her heels and headed back to our car leaving the local population none the wiser of her plight. Of all of us Hannah has the cast iron stomach so we were taken by complete surprise and were in no doubt that she was a pretty sick puppy. We found a bench in a small park where Hannah could rest and recover. We were going to head back to Kas as soon as Hannah gave us the green light.

Kalkan: Stray Dogs

Kalkan: Stray Dogs

Abby and I scouted around a bit while we waited. In our off season travels we have found most tourist towns to be quite sleepy but Kalkan is far past napping this time of year it is in a deep coma. We found the tourist section of Kalkan to be a complete ghost town with all the shops and restaurants closed and things in pretty rough shape after all the winter storms. The only life forms we encountered were large stray dogs, much to Abby’s discomfort. Most of the dogs we encountered felt compelled to follow us around. If we sat down they would find a place to lie down right next to us and would get up and follow as soon as we moved. After 15 minutes we felt we were part of some animal parade. Abby couldn’t wait to get back on the road.

After this short exploration of Kalkan we got into the car and made a beeline back home so Hannah could rest. We dropped Hannah off and went into town to do a little grocery shopping and got a quick bite to eat at our favourite restaurant so as not to have Hannah encounter the smell of food at home. We now have learned to just walk by the kitchen area and look at the food in the pots and order accordingly, rather than just look at the menu. As a result, I had a delicious beef and potato soup and Muriel and Abby had a chicken stew which was also very tasty along with rice and a large serving of flat bread. With a lunch such as this we pretty much can skip supper. With our lunch we tried a new beverage. We ordered Aryan, which is the brand of a popular yoghurt drink. It is plain unsweetened yoghurt, mixed with water with some salt added. I think we don`t need to say much more on that subject.

On our return we found Hannah resting comfortably but still pretty much out for the count. Apparently we are not quite ready for life back on the road. Hannah is still pretty positive that she will be ready to try again in a day or two. Perhaps we will be able to avoid the police and stray dogs and find some more lively sights to visit on our next foray.

Posted by KZFamily 12:15 Archived in Turkey Tagged turkey kas kalkan Comments (4)

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