Monday, March 21, 2016

Alanya, Turkey ~ On the Turkish Riviera

It appeared we were docking below a medieval fortress and that pirate ships – the tourist variety -were plying the waters around our Oceania Nautica as we approached Alanya, Turkey.

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Approaching Alanya, Turkey aboard Oceania's Nautica
These first scenes from the ship - when you aren’t quite sure what you are seeing are what we think keeps cruising exciting and will bring us back time and time again to the sea.

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Nothing like fortress walls to spark the imagination - Alanya, Turkey

It was day 33 of this cruise that had begun in Bangkok, Thailand and taken us on a Magic Carpet Ride to new and exotic places in the Far and Middle East. We were headed to Istanbul, Turkey where most of the passengers would be leaving the ship.  We had made arrangements to disembark a day early* while the ship was in Rhodes, Greece, so this was our last full day of the cruise.

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Ships of every shape and size - Alanya, Turkey
After the rushed and people-intense whirlwind tour of Israel the day before in Israel, we were looking forward to exploring this town on Turkey’s Riviera on our own. The ship was docked so that it was an easy walk into the heart of this tourist city. No metal detectors to walk through as we disembarked as we’d had in Haifa, Israel, no taxi drivers to negotiate with as we’d had in Oman, or tuk-tuks to climb aboard as we’d done in Phuket, Thailand and Cochin, India.

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Oceania Nautica docked at Alanya, Turkey
Alanya, a very popular seaside resort town, according to legend was given to Cleopatra by Mark Antony back in 44 B.C.  It was during the Middle Ages that it rose to prominence under the Seljuks, who built the castle with its more than 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) of walls, 93 towers, 140 battlements and 400 cisterns. The Seljuks were a Sunni Muslim Turkish confederation that ruled much of Central Asia and Anatolia between 1071 and 1194.

The walls which once encircled numerous villages now have some spectacular homes within them.

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Numerous homes are found within the old fortress walls - Alanya, Turkey
Not ones to shop for souvenirs, we had weakened our resolve a bit and set off to buy some Turkish rugs, as our Stone House on the Hill in Greece, was in need of floor coverings and it was our destination after the cruise. And when in Turkey, why not? Right?

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Tourist town - no doubt about it - Alanya, Turkey
Located on beautiful gulf and  framed by the pine-forested Taurus Mountains, white sand beaches, caves and sea grottos are easily accessed from this town on the Mediterranean Sea.  Its location in the Mediterranean basin means rain comes mainly in the winter and summers are hot and dry. It’s Tourism Board uses a slogan, “Where the Sun Smiles” and that was certainly the case on our springtime visit.

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The day and our cruise comes to an end - Alanya, Turkey
On board the ship, a pool party – “Sheik, Rattle and Roll” – the final event of the cruise, began at the same time as our 9 p.m. departure from Alanya. As we watched the lights fade into the distance it was time to start saying goodbyes friends we’d made among both staff and fellow cruisers. 

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Our bags were packed - we were ready to go - Alanya, Turkey
As for those Turkish rugs, three of them were folded up inside that bag on the lower left in the photo above.  The large suitcase was filled with items for the house – many of which had been purchased along the way.

* Note: It was possible to disembark a day early but arrangements to do so were made before we before we started the cruise. Port authorities and cruise folks had to approve it. When they send the authorization, they remind you that you don’t get refunds for unused nights.

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The route of our Magic Carpet Ride - Oceania's Nautica
Thanks for joining us on our Tales of the Magic Carpet Ride of a cruise. We’ve enjoyed your comments and the conversation our posts generated.  The cruise was an excellent way to see many countries that would have otherwise been difficult and costly to visit. We often use cruises as introductions to areas and then return later as was the case with Egypt. The cruise was our introduction and we returned for more last December.

So now -- like at the end of this cruise last spring -- we are off to The Stone House on the Hill.  We hope you’ll be back again next week as we have a lot to tell you about our little slice of Greece.

Happy and safe travels to you ~

Linking this week with:
Mosaic Monday – 
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration

38 comments:

  1. We were in Istanbul last fall. Looking forward to your thoughts! Enjoying your adventures!!

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    1. We 'jumped ship' in Rhodes to head home to our place in Greece so we didn't get to Istanbul this trip. We've been there and love that city but with the recent wave of bombings I am not sure I am wanting to go back for an extended stay right away.

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  2. What a trip! Hard to imagine all of the history and sites you have absorbed. Loved the pictures. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. This was by far my favorite of all the trips we've taken, as even a year later the memories are striking and the awareness of the Middle East intensified.

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  3. Hello Jackie and Joel
    Welcome home. It must take some time to adjust following 33 days at sea.
    Looking forward to hearing about Greece
    Have a glorious week
    Helen xx

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    1. Thanks Helen - I'll have those Greek tales up and running soon! Happy Easter. xxx

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  4. The fortress walls are so amazing... So interesting, to know that Alanya was given to Cleopatra by Marc Anthony back in 44 B.C.
    Many thanks for sharing these beautiful tales from your lovely travel, the "Magic Carpet Ride" of 33 days, ....
    Through your lens "I've seen" places of great interest for tourism, culture and I guess that, like you've said the cruise it's for sure an excellent way to see and admire them...
    Greetings and a good week to you!

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    1. Alexa, thank you for such a beautiful comment. Glad you enjoyed the cruise and hope you'll come back for tales from Greece! Happy Easter to you ~

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  5. What an incredible view to welcome you to Turkey. :-) How gorgeous and inspiring. xo

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    1. It was amazing - and reminded me why no destination should be 'discounted'. I had thought, "Alanya? Who ever heard of that!" Silly me, obviously a lot of people had and now I know why! xx

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  6. I have only recently discovered your blog and what a treat it is. Your travel stories are so interesting and informative, but I am likewise looking forward to learning about your place in Greece. Thanks so much for blogging.

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    1. Welcome to TravelnWrite and I am so glad you've not only discovered our blog, but enjoy it as well! Hope you'll be a regular here and comment often!

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  7. I'm sorry to see your cruise and the exotic destinations you've explored come to an end, Jackie and Joel. However it looks like Alanya, Turkey was a great place to set off from with those very picturesque (and intimidating!) fortress walls snaking down the hill. And when you mentioned it was a gift from Mark Antony to Cleopatra it reminded me how fun it is when history and travel merge - all the facts and myths, sights, sounds and tastes to explore! Looking forward to seeing your souvenirs displayed in the "Stone House" in a future post. Anita

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    1. Anita, You were reading my mind! We were 'trapped' in the Stone House for a couple of days while wind and rain raised havoc outside and I had said to Joel that I should do a post on the souvenirs - he rolled his eyes. Then I saw your comment and said, "Ah ha! I have one person that would read it!". Thanks for the visit~

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  8. ahhh...what an absolute exciting life you live...this is all so interesting and so pretty. I want to see all the souvenirs, too...you have those and all the memories you and Joel are gathering....I've missed a lot of your blogging info and am wondering now if you have children...

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    1. I'll just have to give some thought to a blog post on decorating with souvenirs! No, we don't have kids or grandkids which helps with being vagabonds - it might be too tough to be away from them all if we did have ties.

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  9. What a beautiful city. I think I would have been much happier with Turkey overall if we'd ventured outside Istanbul to seaside cities (either Mediterranean or Black). This cruise offered you so many fabulous experiences. It's been a treat to read each and every one of your posts.

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    1. Thanks Betsy - glad you enjoyed the reports. Writing them has made me ready to embark on another sailing adventure somewhere - so much to see and do and so little time! Right?

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  10. Oh my goodness - what an amazing itinerary! I've always wanted to go to Alanya, and now you've tempted me to even more. Thanks for sharing. Do you think it's safe to visit now?

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    1. I suppose 'safe' is best defined by each individual's comfort level. While I am a little hesitant to visit Istanbul for any length of time right now, I wouldn't hesitate to spend a few days in Alana -- but then we've just arrived back in Greece via Cairo and some would never think of going there. Hope you get there someday!

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  11. I've never heard of Alanya but it looks stunning. Wonderfully lush and full of history. BTW I purchased a few Turkish carpets on a trip to Turkey 14 years ago and when I sent one of them to be cleaned this week, the shop owner told me it was a quite rare design of very fine workmanship. I bought it because I loved it but it seems they can be good investments too! Looking forward to reading about your house in Greece.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your Turkish rug tale! I think every visitor to Turkey should experience shopping for a rug - whether or not they buy one in the end. It is a memorable experience!

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  12. What an amazing trip so welcome home. Shots are wonderful

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    1. Thanks so much Margaret for the good wishes - we are glad to be back in Greece!

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  13. Beautiful shots of the place. I like that fort.

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    1. Thanks Rajesh for stopping by - you would love photographing that fort, I can imagine you doing some of those fabulous close up shots of it. Hope you visit it someday!

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  14. What an impressive fortress and history, I would love to visit this seaport some day. I'm surprised at the gimmicky tourist locations though.

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    1. Just think Waikiki Noel and you'll understand the gimmicky tourist locations. I think you'd find the city, the history and surrounding countryside fascinating and can imagine you doing some spectacular photography there!

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  15. I look at the fortress with the wall weaving up the hill and wonder about when it was made. How many workers and how long did it take them way back then?
    Canada is such a young country (1867), we have no ancient ruins or castles to boast of.

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    1. Judith, I chuckle when in the US and we talk of historic sites as we, like Canada, are just in our infancy in comparison to some places in the world. And I, too, think of the manpower and time required to build such structures.

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  16. The fort does look mighty!
    I don't know when Turkey will happen for me. I am dreaming of a TUrkey rug now!

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    1. I have to admit I am pretty taken with my Turkish rugs. Thanks so much for the visit!

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  17. This takes me back to a great 3 week independent trip my sister and I did in 2002. I chartered a crewed sailboat for 5 days and we loved the coast of Turkey. And I bought three carpets that I still love to this day!

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    1. Oh that sounds so Mediterranean-ly romantic! Love that you also fell for the Turkish rugs!

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  18. What a beutiful place and those miles and miles of walls. I'm looking forward to seeing your new rugs. They also have a huge market in Aivalik that sells tons of great stuff at bargain prices.

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    1. Thanks so much for the tip Mary. I am always in the market (no pun intended) for great stuff at bargain prices!

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  19. Have never been to Turkey, but your post sure makes me want to go there. I love the fact that it is the portal between Europe and Asia, sharing aspects of both cultures.

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    1. They are suffering right now in Turkey with the recent unrest but I suspect the villages like Alanya would still be safe and wonderful! Hope you make it there one day Doreen.

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