I didn’t sleep well last night, waking fairly often. I was finally awake about 10:30am. Mom had gone to have breakfast and brought me back a fruit plate. She is so delightfully wonderful :). Then, as I continued to wake up, she went to have some espresso at the coffee bar and get us a map of the city. We were at our second stop in Turkey – the city of Antalya. We did not have an excursion planned here.

It turns out the shuttle situation here in Antalya is even ‘worse’ than at Bodrum. There is a shuttle every half hour, and once again the shuttles stop running between 12:30 and 2pm. The challenge is that the shuttle ride is much longer – about forty-five minutes in one direction. So that means the taxi option would be more expensive, if we needed to find alternative travel for some reason.

We decided to have lunch at the speciality restaurant Chartreuse at noon, and then take the 2pm shuttle into Antalya. That way we aren’t “trapped” in the city over the long lunch break. We’d have plenty of time to explore the city a bit before taking a shuttle back to the boat again.

Lunch at Chartreuse was delicious and beautiful. This restaurant is well worth going to. I didn’t have any Chartreuse this time :). I have to say I absolutely adore the plateware here. The design of ‘raindrop edges’ is just so pretty to me. Then we headed back to the room to prepare for our afternoon in Antalya.

At the appointed time we walked down onto the dock. We got onto the bus. This was a full-sized bus rather than a small minivan. A sign let you know you could buy water, soda, and beer for various prices. Note there isn’t a bathroom on this. Off we went. Some of the trip was gentle green mountains, but then most was city. There were ‘city-typical’ skyscrapers and apartment buildings. One interesting thing is that most of the apartment buildings had on-their-side barrels on top of them. I researched what they were for. It turns out the buildings pump water up into those barrels so they heat with the sun. That becomes their hot water. If you live in the apartment building, your hot water usage depends on how hot the sun is that day and how many other people showered before you did.

We got into the city proper and the bus pulled up on the side of a busy road. This was our spot. It wasn’t an easy-to-find plaza like in Bodrum. It really did feel like just the side of the road. I took lots of photos to document where we were. Then I “placed a dot” in Google Maps to make sure we could find our way back here.

We began to explore.

There was an empty plaza nearby, and then a statue – the “Monument of National Rise” which featured a horse alongside a clothed man and a bare-breasted woman. It represented the liberation of Turkey in 1919. There was a bush with a few tiny kittens beneath it, curled up. In the Greece locations there were cats in quiet pathways which all seemed beloved and cared for. Here, I was worried about the little kittens alongside a busy road.

Then we reached what was for me sort of a “turning point” on the trip.

I’ve mentioned how on the previous Mediterranean cruise a few months ago, and on this one, I’ve joyfully worn my Ukrainian angel earrings, Ukrainian hair band, Ukrainian bracelet, and so on. I have tried to be an advocate for peace. As we planned this trip to Turkey, I put aside Turkey’s current political stances and focused on the beautiful historic locations like the castle dating back centuries. Our visit in Bodrum was focused on the castle.

At this current Turkish port, Antalya is a Russian resort city. We saw billboards in the Russian language encouraging Russian tourists to have bank accounts and protect their wealth and so on. It was ‘in my face’ that Turkey was supporting wealthy Russians in their attack on Ukraine. It was ‘in my face’ that Turkey was threatening to attack Greece. Even on the ship, passengers would half-joke, half-warn about not upsetting Turkish police, about behaving well, and how dangerous the Turkey laws are. Many comments were made about not getting anywhere near “Turkish Prisons”. And here I was looking at billboards praising the Russian wealthy and wanting to encourage them. There were banners everywhere praising Erdogan, in a cult of personality.

It upset me a lot. I now just wanted to get back on the ship. I didn’t want to support the Turkish government in any way.

Still, Turkey has an amazing historical legacy. We had just travelled 45 minutes to get here. We should at least see something of the culture.

We walked through the city streets to a local mosque. We asked permission to go inside, and removed our shoes. I draped my shawl over my head. It was a small mosque, but quite lovely. I did not take any photos here. I offered silent prayers for peace. An area outside the mosque provided seats to wash feet and legs.

Then we found our way back to the bus meeting point. We got on, and 45 minutes later we were back at the ship.

We decided to go to the Observation Lounge – the main one with the bank of windows – to listen to some music. There were not many people there, but we had some cocktails and nuts.

Then – incredibly strangely – an announcement came on the speakers that all non-European passport holders (which was nearly everyone on the ship) had to turn in their passports to the reception desk TONIGHT by 8pm. They were giving us maybe 2 hours notice. We went back to our room and only just now were the staff putting letters into everyone’s room with this requirement. It was very very strange. They would only give us our passports back in a few days. That meant at the next stops we would not have our passports.

I know that we could get on and off the ship with our key cards but I always carry my passport as an emergency safety net. This situation stressed me out a lot. It wasn’t exactly clear if the Greek or the Turkey government wanted our passports. I was feeling very uncomfortable about Turkey right now.

We dropped off our passports. I carry many copies in person and on my phone, but even so I felt unhappy about not having my passport in my control at this point.

We went to the Compass Rose for dinner. We talked with the sommelier how it is frustrating that they can’t just give us a wine list of included wines – or even a tablet of the current roster – meaning we have to play guessing games about what wines are available tonight to go with the various appetizers and main courses we want. We both have our own preferences and would rather choose for ourselves rather than having them guess what we might like. In any case we figured out a nice Chateauneuf du Pape for my main course.

The meal was lovely.

We headed to bed. Tomorrow we were back in Greece, in the city of Rhodes. It was our final Greece stop. I decided I would have a meal on the island of Rhodes, since it was our last time in Greece. We had no excursions planned. I adore Greek food :). I also wanted to do my final purchases there. I didn’t want to buy anything in our subsequent Turkey stops.

Rhodes is famous for the ‘Colossus of Rhodes’ as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – but of course that statue no longer exists. When we were in Bodrum Turkey at the castle, the castle had been built using stones of the collapsed Mausoleum at Halicarnassus – another one of the wonders which was destroyed. And the day after tomorrow when we visited Ephesus, Turkey, this was the location of the once-amazing Temple of Artemis, which was also long-since destroyed. So we were visiting the locations of three of the Seven Wonders and in each case that wonder was long, long gone. Should they make replicas so we could see what they looked like? With so many amazing existing locations in the world, is it strange to go where “long ago there once was a statue here”? Lots of questions went through our minds.

But mostly right now I was feeling upset about Turkey. The historical beauty of ancient castles was crashing in my mind with the current geopolitical issues of Turkey actively endorsing attacking Ukraine and Greece. My mind was having trouble sorting those things out.

Steps: 5,233

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