Category Archives: Shopping

St. Nicholas Church, Demre (Myra)

During our week in Kaş, my husband and I set out on our own sightseeing adventure.  We drove to the neighboring town of Demre, formerly known as Myra.  It was about a 45 minute drive – beautiful greenery, mountains, and sea side.  Our first stop was the Church of St. Nick, THE St. Nick, Santa Claus!!  

An ancient Byzantine Church . . .  its usage is dated between 5th-12th centuries. It is most notable for being the burial place of St. Nicholas of Myra, who was the Eastern Orthodox bishop of the ancient city of Myra in the 4th century, and is an important religious figure for Eastern Orthodox Christians.

The visit doesn’t take long, maybe an hour.  There were many Orthodox making pilgrimages while we were there.  

Outside of the Church grounds, the town of Demre was kind of desolate for a tourist attraction town.  There were many places to shop for religious items and mementos in walking distance.  But not much else.

We stopped at one of the few restaurants in town.  Priced normally, not for tourists, and with normal kebab type fare.  We were happy and satisfied.   I wish I could remember the name to give it a plug.  I do remember the name of the restaurant across the street, Gazientep.  DON’T GO THERE!  They had a board outside with a short menu and no prices.  We had stopped there first.  We asked to see a menu, so we wouldn’t get gouged.  The man in the front yelled back to a woman sitting at a table with her friends.  He asked her to bring a menu.  Her response?  “They are looking at it.”  She didn’t even bother to get up, or say it nicely.  She barely turned her head over her shoulder as she sat with her back to us.  Her restaurant was empty.  We walked away as the man called after us.  Their loss – our gain.   

You can read more about the Church and the Center by clicking here to view its website.

If you are going:

  • Just follow the signs to Demre.  It’s hard to miss.
  • Stop by the Myra Ruins as well.  (Photos coming soon).  It’s easy to do both and have lunch in about 4 hours.
  • There are no regulations as to what to wear – but it is a Church.
  • The Turkish Muze Kart is accepted.

AIA goes on the road . . . and on the water: Our return to Kas

Kaş, Turkey.

Sometimes we come across things in life that words really can’t describe.  Kaş is one of them.  So please bear with me, my thoughts, my photos . . . 

As you know, my husband and I spent 3 days there a couple of years ago.  It was fabulous.  And there was just no way that we could take it all in during the extended weekend.  So this year we set out on another Kaş adventure.

In future posts, will go back and tell you about the road trip, the apartment, and the town. But today I want to share our real first day of adventure there, a boat trip guided by Xanthos Travel.

We signed up for a day trip to the sunken city of Kekova. It was really much more enjoyable than I expected.  Yes, I expected, history, ancient ruins, sun, and fun.  But somehow, they all seemed so much more exaggerated.

We met at the office at 10 a.m. where we met one of the tour guides, Ümral.  Once all was in order, she lead us to the Kaş marina where we boarded a bus.  It was a 45 minute drive to the boat. In between, we enjoyed the views of green valleys between the rocky hillsides, with tall mountains in the background.

By the time we arrived at the docks, another bus load of eager tourists had joined us.  There were actually two boats as well. We opted for the second boat, not knowing that the entire tour would be in Turkish.  But somehow, I enjoyed that.  I was “one of the Turks” for this trip – the foreigners taking the other boat.

Shortly after boarding the boat, we were served tea on the top deck.  I wish I had a photo.  If you have ever been on a small tour boat or a ferry boat, you know there are usually seats or benches on the top deck.  This boat had benches along the sides, but in the middle of the floor were long blue cushions with built-in headrests.  There were enough for each of us to lay out, either in the sun or under cover.  And that’s what we did.

Our boat had a young tour guide, Can (pronounced Jon).  He immediately introduced himself to the crowd and began telling us – in Turkish – what we would see on this trip.  Can was very observant as well; it didn’t take him long to realize that I didn’t understand.  Instead of boring everyone with the English translation, he visited me after each of his speeches and gave the English version.  It was like having my own personal guide.  He also followed each of these sessions by asking if I had any questions.  Can didn’t just ask, he waited, to be sure I had no questions.

Along the way, we stopped to visit the village of Simena, also known as Kaleköy, the castle village.  There we enjoyed homemade ice cream.  We traversed the village, buying trinkets from the locals.  We did not hike to the top of the hills this time to visit the castle.  (If you decide to do that, there is an entrance fee or bring your Museum Card.)

The boat stopped several times to show us the sites and to allow time for swimming and snorkeling.  A lovely lunch was served on the boat:  chicken shish kebab, rice, potatoes, salad, and a variety of vegetable dishes.  Later in the afternoon, we were served tea and cookies.

It really was a lovely and enjoyable day.  Who wouldn’t like a history lesson mixed with fun in the sun?  Can was full of information and he definitely knew his history of the area.  I finally had to tell him that there was no way I would remember it all, and that you, my dear readers, would just have to look it up for yourselves (links are above).  Better yet, visit Xanthos and take a boat tour!  But be prepared for a long day.  We returned back to town around 6 p.m.  

ABOUT CAN 

I can’t wait to tell you about our guide, Can.  He was the first truly interesting person I met in Kas.  At only 23, he has been in the tourist industry for 7 years.  That means he started working at 17.  This was the first thing that made him stand out to me.  I find it unusual in Turkey for a young person to work while attending university, especially one whose parents are a doctor and a lawyer!  Good for you, Can!

His degree is in agriculture and he plans to get a master’s degree in business.  Can had no doubt about what his future holds.  he wasn’t to own a manufacturing company, one that manufacturers seeds. Apparently Israel and the United States head that market currently.  News to me . . . 

Can also wants to combine is knowledge of agriculture with what he has learned in the tourism business, and of course, with the MBA he hopes to earn.  Can wants to create is own Eco-Tourism business.  I look forward to seeing what he will do with that!

And Can doesn’t stop there.  He also wants to focus on tourism for homosexuals.  No, he is not gay.  But he knows a business opportunity when he sees it!  It’s clear there is a need for places where ALL feel welcome in Turkey.

He has lived in Los Angeles and London.  He hopes to travel soon to Asia and South America.  His love of travel is predominantly the reason he likes to work, so that he can earn his way.

Can is going to do all of this and retire by the time he is 55.  I have no doubt.  He is definitely someone I don’t want to lose touch with!

Can told me several times that he wanted to select which of his photos I could use.  We never got around to that, mostly because I can be sneaky, so here are all of them!

If you are going:

Xanthos Travel
Ibrahim Serin Sokak No: 5/A
Kas, Turkey
+90 242 836 32 92
www.xanthostravel.com

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What to bring:

  • hat
  • sun glasses
  • sun cream – protection
  • towel
  • swim clothes

Note:  Drinks are available on the boat and in the village of Kalekoy.

 A Long Day:  Umral & Can

A Long Day: Umral & Can

Do you want to see more?  Check out this video on our YouTube channel:

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Middle
Wow, what a week I had!  Tomorrow I will start blogging the “good” of it.  A week spent in the lovely town of Kaş, on the Turkish Mediterranean.  It was awesome!  We rented a lovely little apartment on the peninsula, right at the sea. We met a lot of interesting and great people. And we spent the week going on fantastic adventures with Xanthos Travel.

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The Beginning
But, the week started out ugly.  We were about three hours into the journey from Ankara when I got a message that a friend had passed away.  Fulya was part of the English conversation group that “adopted” me early on.  She was my Abla.  Always kind.  Never a negative word to say.  Down-to-earth and yet, worldly.  A real lady.  Her photo hangs on my refrigerator next  to one of all the girls.  She is greatly missed.

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The End
We enjoyed the drive back to Ankara, stopping along the way.  We ate corn and drank tea with goats!  We bought fruits, vegetables, and capers from a roadside stand.  We stopped in Afyon to buy Kaymak Şekeri.  I almost always do the inter-city driving once it is dark and this time was no different.  As the Sunday night summer traffic got a little more crazy, I remember my husband even thanking me for driving so safely.  When we got home, the first thing we realized was a traffic citation was waiting.  (Yes, I drive safely, but have issues with red lights.)  And then it turned bad.

Our home had been burglarized.  It wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  Our television was gone.  Brand new watches, gone.  Bottles of wine and liquor.  Most of my jewelry was gone.  

The worst of it was not a feeling of violation, as one might expect.  I’m getting quite used to being violated in Turkey.  This is, in fact, the third time for me!  The worst is the loss of those things that can’t be replaced.  The gold and pearl earrings from India – the ones my sister gave me because I admired them on her so much – one of the few things I had from her, the sister who died last December.

The emerald and diamond ring from my other sister.  The one she got from her boyfriend when she was 21, 40 some years ago, and gave to me several years back when she married.

The ruby ring my mother gave me in grade school.  

The crucifix on a chain from my grandfather, given to me for my First Holy Communion.

The first pieces my husband gave me.

I could go on, but these things are gone.  They are good memories now and believe it or not, I had actually photographed most of my things a couple of years ago.  

So I have photos and memories, just as I do of Fulya and Eileen.  Chin up.

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Photos of the Day – Kas Pazar

The Kaş Pazarı is held every Friday.  It’s located on Ataturk Blv, just way the peninsula meets the town.  There are a lot of good deals to be had and new things to try (like the fruit of a cactus)!  Look for local olive oil, cheeses, and of course, the vegetables of the season!