Thursday, April 11, 2019

We (Finally!) Make it to Kemer

An incredibly gorgeous day! From above the Antalya harbor.

After a day of drizzly rain, Sunday dawned clear and beautiful. It seemed there was slightly less snow on the distant peaks, so no snowstorm in the mountains. The spring is progressing, after all (last day in March, in fact!). We were up early because today was the day we would take the boat bus to Kemer, an hour across the water. If the boat was running today…

We worked our short way down to the docks, pausing before descending the step stairs to admire the clear view. A magnificent day for a boat ride!

Paula makes a call on the seagull phone in the Antalya harbor with the Venetian Steps in the background. (I don't know who she's talking to, but calls here are cheep.)

The fellow who sells the tickets recognized us as we arrived—it was, after all, our third (fourth?) time there. He was pleased to announce the boat would be going out today, and did we have ID? (The Turks really are a lot of fun, very friendly and accommodating.) Fortunately this time we remembered our passports so things went quickly.

We were joined on this adventure by a British woman, Anna, whom we’d met at a concert a few days earlier. She’s a long-term Turkish resident and owns a shop not far from where we’re staying, and she’d never been to Kemer either.

The enclosed ferry made a steady 20 knots on its arrow-straight route. It was a pleasant trip, smooth and fast, with the perspective of the mountains constantly shifting, and in an hour we were walking the docks of Kemer’s tiny harbor. It’s clear that Kemer was once a simple fishing village; now it seems to be given over to pleasant, modern residential areas. And shopping, of course! Being Sunday morning, and Election Day, not much was happening as we strolled the streets. A few merchants had their clothing racks out on the wide pedestrian walk: prices were in US dollars and Euros, which says something about the expected clients.

Police patrol the nearly-deserted streets of Kemer (it was Election Day, nobody was out!)
Before long we found a nice restaurant and spent a very pleasant hour or so in breakfast conversation. Anna has considerable experience with Turkey, of course, and is no slouch as a traveler, so there was plenty to talk about. The time passed quickly, and after what turned out to be a long lingering meal we made our way up to the bus station for the trip back to Antalya. We snagged the last three seats on a very crowded bus, and a half-hour later pried ourselves loose to enjoy the relative freedom of the familiar streets of Antalya.

The modern bus station in Kemer. Yes, after a glorious start, the day clouded over and rained a bit!
Our trip to Kemer fully met our expectations: get out on the water, see another town, have breakfast, ride the bus back. Aside from that, there really wasn’t much to Kemer. But our conversations with Anna made it a very fine Sunday outing.

          Back to the Waterfall!

Regular readers of this blog will remember (?) that last time we wanted to take the boat to Kemer we ended up at the Duden Waterfall instead, just a bit down the coast from us but still in Antalya. (You can find that blog post here.) While we were there we noticed the solar lights on the cliffs; ah, must be nice at night! We'll have to come back... and so we did!

We arrived just after sunset as the sky was darkening, and watched the lights brighten as the sky dimmed. Seeing all that water crashing into the sea left me terrified. Glad I'm far away, behind this barrier, I thought.
The Edge! It's not a cutting edge, but watch that first step...

The waterfall at night, illuminated, with the twinkly cliffside lights.
We wandered back and forth, amazed (again!) at the thunderous cascade and the effect of the many lights. I got a number of good photos, then off we went to dinner at a nearby fish restaurant. We'd found it on our earlier visit, and were told it was as government-run restaurant. Our language skills were inadequate to learn much more, but it's a simple cafeteria-style place with very good prices. Good, low-cost meals for the people, and a guaranteed market for the fishermen!

Our "dining consultant" greeted us in excellent English and helped us chose a fish from the case (many restaurants here present the day's catch in an iced display case--choose what you want, and pay by weight). We were seated with our salads, and before long the the star of the show appeared, gloriously grilled. It was delicious, and even though neither of us was particularly hungry, we had no trouble eating every bite! Total cost for the salads and fish? 40 Lira (less than $8USD)!

Daytime photo, from a few weeks earlier.
Another half-hour on the bus and we were back walking the narrow streets of Kaleiҫi, home again.


I like to wear leather shoes. Leather shoes require a certain maintenance. It's difficult while we are traveling to give them the attention they deserve. So it is with some pleasure that I find that shining shoes is a traditional craft in Turkey. First in Istanbul, and now in Antalya, I've found it a pleasure to sit before an expert and watch him practice his craft, cleaning, blackening, and polishing with a thoroughness I can only aspire to. Both my pairs of shoes now look better than new. The cost? Going rate is 10 Lira each pair, a bit less than $2USD! 

If I lived in Antalya, I'd visit this guy regularly!
But beware of imitations! We were approached by a youngish fellow with a plain wood box who smeared some kind of cleaner on our shoes, then demanded 50 Lira! I gave him 20--although he deserved less--and we left quickly. A REAL shoe shiner has one of these colorful traditional kits with the brass bottle tops. And they all seem to be older. A dying profession, perhaps...

He's here every day, keeping the shoes of Antalya clean and shiny.

Another master practices his craft.

Time to move on again—much to our dismay, we will be leaving Antalya soon. By the time you read this we will have left Turkey, on our way to Paris for a few days for a concert (not that any reason is needed to go to Paris!), then we’re off to Croatia for a couple of weeks. We are very sad to leave Turkey. It really is a wonderful place with wonderful people.  And, we still have tales to tell of our time here. We visited two amazing but quite different ancient sites, and we’ll get around to writing about them Real Soon Now. For the moment, I’m still sorting through the hundreds of photos we took.

And we'll end with another panorama, this one from Anna's window, looking out across the Kaleici.

Next up: Croatia, and--sooner or later--the ancient Turkish cities of Perge and Termessoss.

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