On the waterfront

I’m on vacation. I know that sounds weird coming from someone who’s been traveling almost continuously since 2011. But travel is hard work, whether it’s a road trip by car or campervan, cruising on a sailboat, or land travel via planes, trains and buses. Where are we going? How do we get there? Where should we stay? Do we need a visa? How do we get around? How much will it cost? Where can we eat? Every day there’s research, decisions, reservations. It can be exhausting.

This six month journey is a new kind of travel for us, essentially low-budget backpacking but with rolling luggage. The first month and a half getting Jack’s knee replaced was largely proscribed. We knew where we needed to go and for how long. Since then we’ve been making it up as we go along, discovering places on our own and getting tips and advice from fellow travelers. We’ve learned a lot about what we really need with us, what kind of places we like to stay in, how to balance “touring” with “living.”

Looking back at our six months in the campervan, that was often exhausting, too. Every day meant decisions on where to go, where to park overnight, where to swap our propane tank, which supermarket car park is campervan friendly, where to dump our black and gray waste and fill up with fresh water. That was also a learning experience, and once again we were helped by fellow vanlifers.

Right now, after months of continuous travel, and with a few weeks to go before we return to our campervan and hit the road again, I need a break. I told Jack I want to stay in one place for a few weeks, do nothing but catch up on reading and writing, maybe do some family history research, my favorite pursuit but which takes a backseat if I don’t have a solid block of time to focus.

Antalya is my vacation time. I envisioned a comfortable hotel room (check) with a good breakfast buffet (check) near cafés and restaurants (check) where I can do yoga with a long-distance sea view (check). It has fit the bill perfectly. We haven’t done much but explore the Old City and make daily forays looking for cheap local food.

As always, we gravitate toward the waterfront.

Now after a few weeks we’re ready to venture beyond our immediate surroundings. We consulted a Ten Things to Do In Antalya list and hiked a few miles along the coast to the Antalya Museum of Archaeology. It’s a beautiful walk.

We get the impression that most of Türkiye is an archaeological site, and we recognize many of the location names from Bible stories and other tales of classical history, plus various antiquities we’ve seen in museums in America, England and Germany. In fact, we were amused to see these plaques on a few displays here in Antalya. There were more pieces reclaimed from Germany.

The museum is an eye-popping collection of classical sculpture. The audio tour is a mixed bag, good in identifying the pieces and the period they were created in, but not much on how and when they were found. The works are well presented with no attempt to fill in where pieces are missing. I prefer that to reconstructions.

One room houses floor mosaics, another shows various means of burial, particularly elaborate sarcophagi, most of which had been broken into and robbed in the second or third centuries.

One of our favorite galleries displays statuary and friezes rescued from the Roman Theatre in the ancient city of Perge, ten miles east of Antalya. We mentally put a visit to Perge on our must do list if we can figure out how to get there.

We warmed ourselves in the sunshine at the museum café before walking back to Antalya.

After seeing the treasures in the museum we became more mindful of the antiquities on display all over the Antalya. The entire Old City is an open air museum. With a never ending gift shop. And cats.

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