After a 5 hour bus ride from Avanos to Mersin, and another 1.5 hours on the local bus, we arrived at Mesut Pansiyon, at Akkum Plaj. A lovely little spot at a tiny little sandy beach, just around the corner from the large tourist beach. At this time of year, though, all the beaches are pretty empty. The northern sun-seeking tourists have not yet arrived, and the Turkish tourists have all gone back to work after their summer holidays.
We FINALLY got warm! Our long hot day of walking the coast was nicely capped off by a tea at one of the many beach-side bars in the town.
The little town of Akkum boasts 3 castle-style fortresses, two of which are built right out on the water in the bay.
After our single day in the heat, the thunderstorms moved in, as they did all over Turkey. So we headed inland next morning to the hotsprings restort town of Kozakli. The town is tiny. Farming is definitely the major occupation in this flat, dryish region. Lots of wheat fields to supply the many flour mills down on the coast.
There are at least a dozen 3, 4, & 5 star hotels outside the town servicing the many visitors to the mineral hotsprings (which also supply heat for vegetable greenhouses nearby). Most of our hotel guests were Turkish, and, to my surprise, most women were in conservative Muslim dress. This made sense, however, when I learned that the owner of our particular hotel is a conservative Muslim man who lives in Mecca. So conservative folks seeking a place they'll feel comfortable are inclined to choose this hotel. I did feel a little out of place in my (even by western standards) unusual attire. I felt a little like the mealtime entertainment.
Luxuriously appointed, we actually found the service in our 5 star hotel to be only average. Although breakfast, dinner, and pool use are covered in the overnight fee, we were disappointed to discover extra charges for things like the tea and water that usually accompany any Turkish meal. The rooms were very luxe, but our jaccuzi tub, though very fancy, didn't even have one of those little bars of soap with it! Over the years, though, I've discovered that the Turkish view of 'service' is not the same as the North American view.
And speaking of views, although the lands around Kozakli are very flat, and (to one from the Coast of BC) pretty uninspiring, the sunset view from our 5th floor room was superb.
Three days of lounging, swimming, eating, and soaking our aches away in the mineral springs proved to be just what we needed. And we returned the 80 kilometres to Avanos in a tiny local bus.
The day after we returned to Cappadocia was André's 54th birthday. So, of course, we had to celebrate. What better start to the day than a hotair balloon ride at dawn over the stunning Cappadocian countryside?
Sunrise was less than impressive, and it rained a little. But that did nothing to dampen either our spirits or the breathtaking experience. The soft, quiet wash of the breeze is broken only by the periodic whoosh of the hot gas flame. Our 2 hour flight was controlled by our expert pilot as we soared close to the treetops and dipped deep into the colourful valleys of this amazing landscape.
And, at the end of the trip, a champagne & cherry juice spritzer, chocolate cake, and a toast to the Birthday Boy!
A little Turkish dancing in the studio,
And, of course, the cake -- a delicious hazelnut torte decorated with caramel sauce. After the one special piece was cut for André, the cake was devoured 'a la Turque', which simply means that everyone grabs a fork and digs in. We managed to destroy this work of art in very short order. & there is something very friendly and warm about everyone eating from the same plate. I think kids at home would LOVE this way of eating birthday cake! And cleanup is a breeze, since the whole table is covered with newspaper beforehand. One simply rolls up the remnants of the meal in the paper and makes it disappear! In this case, there were not many remnants; and the newspaper went straight into the woodstove. I think I like this style of housecleaning!
All for today. Back to a little clay work this afternoon. So, who knows what pix will show up here in the nst few days?