Showing posts from April, 2014

Antalya,Turkey: In the Shadow of the Mountains

Turkey:  A 2000-Mile Road Trip, Part 4 In the Shadow of the Mountains Our guidedescribed Antalya as an internationalresortcity that has become a primedestination in Turkey. Itoffersfantasticbeachesand world-class shoppingandruins in thesurroundingarea. Itwasfounded by King Attalos of Pergamum as “Heaven on Earth." It is a favoritedestinationforthe Europeans, especiallythe Brits sothatthe Euro is themorecommonform of payment than the Turkish Lira. Andforthefirsttime, thetopic of thedaychanged from religious to secular; our guidetalked about his experience as a tourguide to a nudist group.

Thedrive to Antalya was one of themostbeautiful in Turkey. Approaching Antalya, thepreviously tree-covered hillsturned to alternating greenandbare bedrock mountains, the razor-backed ridgesscreened in the mist of bluethatitarrivedlike a landscapewaitingfor my camera. Itwassprinkling on and off whenwearrived, butthefollowingday, sunlightshot across themountains, rapidlyerasingtheshadows from thela…

Lost in Smyrna

Turkey:  A 2000-Mile Road Trip, Part 3 Lost in Smyrna
“Izmir or Smyrna is very much like San Francisco, California,” our guide announced as we approached Izmir. Still reeling from a long ride and talk about politics, I thought that he was making a comparison in the context of politics, that being of a liberal city. The obvious similarity in topography did not register immediately until we arrived in the city where I saw homes and buildings on the hillsides, ships and an expanse of sea. Izmir is hilly and bounded by shoreline (forty miles of shoreline, according to our guide). I was excited when our guide mentioned that the boardwalk and pathways are within easy access from our hotel. I wanted to go for a long walk after sitting on the bus for hours.

After settling into my hotel, I headed down for a long walk. Two blocks later, I passed an elegant and charming café called Mado. Seduced by the display of ice cream, macaroons and pastries, I went inside and ordered ice cream. Since it…

The Road to Pergamum

Turkey:  A 2000-Mile Road Trip, Part 2 The Road to Pergamum

The Road to the City of Troy

Turkey:  A 2000-Mile Road Trip, Part 1 The Road to the City of Troy
A few minutes after crossing the bridge, we entered another continent: Asia, but we were still in the city of Istanbul. We then descended slowly through the layers of smog that enshroud the city, a site common to a sprawling and crowded metropolis. I noticed lines and stacks of apartment buildings. My tour mates noticed it too, but before we could ask a question or make any comments, our tour-guide was quick to comment, “They’re apartment homes or what you call condos, there are no yards or gardens. We don’t build single homes here.” He then made a snide remark, “Turkey's contribution to modern day architecture.” I guessed the beautifully manicured gardens on the side of the road and road dividers carpeted with flowers, mostly tulips, compensate for the absence of yard and gardens in a residential area.

As our busmade its way outside thecity, our tourguidestartedtalking about religionandpolitics. He would begin h…