Okay. So before I disappear again for another week (this time to Belgrade, Serbia for a trade fair), I'll make good on my promise and tell you about my holiday in Alanya, Turkey and show you some pictures. As half the time I was too busy coping with an ear infection and a stomach infection, I don't really have that many, but hopefully they'll still give you an idea of what it was like there. (They're also not the best, but I didn't have time to fiddle with manual settings, so I just used automatic...)
Don't get me wrong though: sure, I was ill for more than 3 days out of the 7, but I still think of Alanya with fondness as I pretty much enjoyed (almost) every minute of my stay.
Okay, who wouldn't at a place like this?
You can probably see a bit of our hotel's beach and then the peninsula and the fortress on top. You might even be able to spot the entrance to the Damlatas Cave if your eyes are sharp. ;-)
Some of you might remember me mentioning that this was the first time I would travel by plane, and that I had been terrified of the prospect of hovering 10 km above ground with pretty much no chance of survival if anything went wrong. Well, it's always nice to have one less thing to be afraid of. ;-) My colleagues were awesome: held my hand (yes, I admit to needing some serious hand-holding during take-off), distracted me so that I wasn't able to focus that much on my surroundings (weird noises, jittery motions of the plane, changes in cabin pressure, etc...), and poured all their confidence into me during the flight. I don't think I'll ever get used to (much less like) the moment when the plane takes off the ground, but I really enjoyed my second flight (the one back home), and look forward to doing it again sometime.
Only... Could families with really annoying crybabies spare me and book another flight? 'Cause having to deal with my first time jitters and having to listen to a 2-year-old baby girl bawl hear head off at full volume for the entire length of the flight (=2 hours and 5 minutes)... And then having that same spawn of the devil (a.k.a.: Inez) sit in the row right behind me on the flight back and wailing for another two hours... Heck, that's definitely something I do not have the nerves for. *
Aaaaaanyway, onto the next topic: the SEA.
Yeah, the SEA. Like that. With capital letters.
Sure, I'd seen the sea before: first the Adriatic Sea when my Mum and I stayed in Rome for a week (it was cold, stormy and absolutely unwelcoming), and then the North Sea which was during our trip to the Netherlands (again, ice-cold and windy).
Now this, this was something entirely different. Sure, we didn't get off on a very good start, the sea and I. You should know that I've always been sort of afraid of the water and although there have been several attempts to teach me how to swim, I've never really manged to. Still, that didn't stop me from walking into the waves as if they belonged to some tranquil lake. My colleagues told me to just jump up a bit when a wave was coming my way so that it would lift me up, and yeah, it seemed to work for them. Now, it was full moon at the time, so next thing I knew there was this enormous wave heading my way, and I'm like: "Ohboyohboyohboy, there's no way I'm gonna stay on top of that, no matter how high I jump." Yup, the wave munched on me for a while, and when it deduced we're just not compatible, it spit me out onto the shore. Hence little ol' me crawling on the beach, holding onto the sand (!) for support, trying to wipe the poison (=salt water) out of my eyes, spitting, hissing and swearing I would never ever even go near the damn thing again.
Now my colleague (and boss, sort of: I'm his personal assistant after all) heard about my first encounter with the sea at lunch and told me he'd teach me how to swim in 30 minutes and make sure I'd get to love the sea by the end of our stay. I did wonder for a while about how exactly he would manage that, but then I just decided to go with the flow and humor him. :-)))
He taught me the basics in the hotel's swimming pool and then an ear-infection, a stomach-infection and 3 days later he showed me how to properly go into the sea (and I did use a swimming belt this time). He was always holding onto me so I felt safe, and although the way the waves kept flinging me up and dropping me down was very scary at first, I soon got used to it and learned to love the sea immensely. (It was also excellent training for my flight back home. :-D) The water was always around 28°C (82 °F) and floating in that wonderful salty water was heaven on earth. (It was also the best natural cosmetic product I've ever come across: got rid of my pimples completely.)
Sand, pebbles, sunbeds and parasols as far as the eye could see... :)
As it was usually 42°C (108 °F) during the day, 30 °C (86°F) at night with a humidity constantly above 85% we never ventured into town before 10 PM. By that time we had usually had dinner and were ready to roam around in the bazaar, or visit the marina on the other side of the peninsula. There were two guys in our group and they always accompanied us to the town: one of the reasons for that is that they wanted to keep us girls safe, and the other was that they really enjoyed boasting to the shopkeepers that all eight of us girls are their wives. ;-D The shopkeepers and sales staff called them Pasha and grinned ear-to-ear.
We also had a lot of fun haggling in the shops: I'm the kind of person who likes to be given a fix price and pays it without complaint, but I really did laugh my head off at the antics of some of my colleagues. :D
We were also really surprised to have one of the locals introduce himself as Attila, but when another four or five of them called themselves by this very same name (after hearing we're from Hungary), it was starting to become hilarious. :-D I also got more marriage proposals during these seven days that my 5 aunts must have in their lives altogether. ^_^
On the other side of the peninsula the night-life was at full swing by 10 PM: discos everywhere (not my kinda thing, but it was an interesting sight nonetheless), people sometimes dancing on the streets, policemen in pairs (thank God for that!), and the marina of course.
... and the song that kept playing wherever we went. (In the TV in our hotel room, on the streets, in the discos, in the pool-bar of our hotel, everywhere!). It's not really my taste in music, but it has forever ensconced itself in a little corner of my head and this post wouldn't be complete without it. :-)
Alanya by night.
We also went to see a dolphin show with a few of my colleagues. It was the first time I'd seen dolphins and seals anywhere else but on TV, and it was definitely "the experience of a lifetime". :)
A beautiful parrot we saw outside the dolphinarium.
That's it for today guys (I really should go get some sleep now), but I think I'll post some more pictures and write more when I get back from Belgrade. (I'll be there from 28 September to 4 October.) Got any questions? Wanna know how I cured my stomach infection? Heading to Alanya and don't know what to expect? Leave a comment or drop me a line and ask. ;-)
* Please don't take me seriously: I understand that she may have been bored, her ears (or stomach) may have hurt or she may have had any number of additional problems. (Then again she was fine all through the check-in procedure and only threw a fit when she was forced to stay still, like during the flight.) In any case, I do sympathize with her and her family (and the other 164 passengers...), and wish her the very best.