This morning, while we (being me and the Singaporean journalist I met on the tour yesterday) were walking to the tram station to get to the otogar (central bus station), I heard a thick Jersey accent behind me yell “Hey! Hey! Where ya from??” Turns out one of the local shopkeepers used to live there. Totally took me off guard when I realized it was one of the old Turkish guys sitting there. He helped us find the tram station– the people here are super nice. Side note: buy your ticket for the tram before you get on. Oops. The guard was nice enough to let us get a free ride.
I paid 18TL (~12USD) for the bus from Antalya to Patara, with the bus company that my hotel recommended, Bati Antalya. With all the stops, it took about 5 hours. What a beautiful 5 hours!! The road lines the coast (the other option is the inland road which requires transfer in Fethiye, pronounced FEH-tee-yeh). The first part of the drive is at altitude, slowly winding through the hills that sometimes give way to huge, rocky, snow-capped mountains on the inland side. It’s a sheer drop-off on the coast side, with mist trailing in and around the coves down at the water some 50, 100 feet below. It’s unbelievably beautiful! The last part of the drive is more like the “coastal” scene you’d expect to see. Only it’s more spectacular than you’d expect! There are still cliffs, but now they’re dotted with large, round, sun-bleached stones. The pattern continues on into the water, with the deep blue Mediterranean turning into a bright turquoise on the shallow shores where the white stones glow through. Occasionally, you can see people that have snuck their way over the fences to fish. The only thing I’d warn about is that the shoreline is very jagged, which means the road is too. Those that know me know I DO NOT get motion sickness. But I did. Totally worth it though!
For Patara, the bus drops you off on the highway. It’s kind of alarming because it’s in the middle of nowhere and you haven’t (or at least I didn’t) seen any taxis around since the last town, a 50 minute drive back. There’s one sign that says Patara is 16 km down. No choice but to hoof it with my pack. I thought ok, it’s not too bad– not humid, it’s 4pm so the sun isn’t murderous, plus it’s slightly downhill. But people driving by often stopped to stare and/or laugh. Hmph! Three cars full of men stopped to offer rides. Seriously?? I’m not an idiot. But I WAS getting tired.. and just then, some man stopped and I decided to hop in. The only other time I’ve hitchhiked was with Sara and Teresa in Belize. Anyway, we started chatting and it turns out that he’s the father of the guy who owns the hotel I’m staying at now! Akay Pension is owned by a family headed by Kazim and his super welcoming wife. The room is great; I know I’d stay here again. And free wifi is always a plus!
Random note: for some reason, I just cannot get the Turkish “thank you” in my head. I kept on having to stop myself from saying “gracias” the past couple days and today I accidentally blurted it out in Arabic. WTF? Anyone else ever have that happen??
No pics on my iPhone today, sorry.