Last week, my boyfriend and I, finally were able to take our vacation. We didn’t even know if we were going to be able to go. This mostly had to do with him being able to get time off. You see, unlike back in America where most big person jobs allow you advanced notice of vacation time, here we don’t know until literally the last minute. So we were sitting in our apartment that we had just recently moved into and using up all the data on our phones to look for last minute hotel deals and buses to a vacation spot for the following Monday. It wasn’t easy, but we found a nice hotel and splurged a little more than we should have. The next problem was finding bus tickets as most seemed to all be sold out. Awhile later we were able to find some tickets (though more than likely we were overcharged as it was last minute). We were excited for our trip to Kaş, but not so much for our twelve or so hour upcoming bus ride.
After we packed up our vacation bags and dropped off our kitten with his sister, we headed to the bus station. As usual, we were early and check-in was easy enough. We waited upstairs for a bit using up all the free internet that we could get. We went downstairs to board our bus, but, after frantically looking all around the terminal, we could not find it. We soon found out that like nearly every other bus at this company’s terminal, the bus was delayed because it could not get in. Two hours of waiting later, we were finally able to board and were on our way. We kept stopping every fifteen minutes or so for about ten minutes at what I can only guess were mini bus stops. When we made our first actual pit stop on the road for the bathroom and food we realized that we were way behind schedule. Not only had the bus been late, but now it was going slower than it should have. To make matters worse, toward the last leg of the trip, the bus started to overheat, so instead of stopping for a few hours to let it cool down the bus driver just kept stopping at every gas station along the way to soak it. The last two hours of hour trip were hot, long, and smelly. Finally, we arrived in Fetihye and to rush to catch a minibus to Kaş. We ended up getting the last two seats on the bus (my seat wasn’t even a real seat! I had to sit in the hostess seat), and reached Kaş about two hours later. The next step was finding our hotel. It should have been easy enough, but we were hot, sweaty, exhausted…you get the picture. The bus station is only about ten minutes or so from the location we needed to walk to…but we walked up a giant hill, got told to go another way, walked back down, were called back and told to walk back up and keep going just a little further. Eventually, we reached our hotel, Sea View Otel. It was amazing. The service was wonderful. Everyone there was beyond nice and I would go back there in a heartbeat. They were so helpful and nice from he time that we booked the hotel to when we got there to when we left. A bit pricey for my age group but if you’re looking for a nice place to stay in Kaş that has a beautiful view of the sea (and the Greek island of Meis), very friendly and accommodating service, comfortable rooms, etc. this is your place!
After we showered and changed, we went back into town to stock up on a few items. Even though it was already at least six it was still scorching hot, so when we returned again we sat in the beautifully air-conditioned room a few more minutes. We decided to try out the hotel’s dinner since it had really good reviews all around. We were not let down. We had a stuffed calamari appetizer (not fried) that was delicious, crabbed stuffed chicken, and a shrimp risotto. Their food was wonderful as was the view. It was night time and the restaurant part of the hotel is situated on a deck overlooking the sea. Even at night we could see how clear the sea water was. My boyfriend was very eager for the next day to come so he could jump in. We went back to the room, had a few drinks that we had previously bought (because we all know how expensive it is to have even one drink when going out especially in a vacation area), and then passed out from sheer exhaustion.
The next morning, we had the hotel’s included breakfast. Let me tell you, if you like breakfast, Turkey is the place for you. The amount of food that Turks consume for breakfast is insane. The hotel had everything. I’ve never been to another hotel in Turkey, but I assume that hotels here are not allowed to have a weak breakfast considering how much they normally eat in the morning. This hotel’s food was just as great as the night before. When we finished, we went down to where we had eaten dinner the night before, except now it was an area for lounging in the sun with a sea view and sea access. We sat for awhile, roasting in the 90+ degree weather, and soon decided it was time for a swim. When we finally got into the water we were not expecting the random cold patches. The water was freezing when we first went in, warmer as we swam out, and random cold patches of water all over. Apparently, somewhere around the area there is a spring that empties into the sea. It was refreshing to say the least. The water was clear as glass and we could see straight down to the bottom (which I recently found out was anywhere from 10 – 25 meters; a fact which I am very glad I did not know at the time). We swam for a bit, sun bathed a bit more, ordered two delicious drinks (a watermelon mojito and a passion fruit margarita…my margarita was out of this world!), swam some more, sat some more, repeat, then showered and went into town in the sweltering heat.
For lunch we went to Meydan Pizza & Kebap and had some pide, hummus, and calamari pizza. It was all pretty decent. Not too amazing, but I wouldn’t mind eating there again. We then explored the town, trying to walk in the shade as much as possible. There must be hundreds of little shops lining the streets, all of them selling interesting souvenirs, rugs, nazars (the eye), mosaic / tiles, etc. Many of the stores were copy-cats of one another, but it didn’t make them any less interesting. I picked up a nazar keychain and magnet because we didn’t have any in the new apartment yet and here that’s bad luck. After we got a feel of the town and picked up some more things from Migros (one of the main chains of grocery stores in Turkey), we headed back to the hotel so Burak could swim a little bit more. A bit later we headed out again, this time for dinner.
Before going to dinner, I had decided to check out reviews and ratings of the restaurants in the area on Tripadvisor and I’m glad that I did. We ended up going to Turkuaz Meyhane which was rated number one and we weren’t let down. We arrived just in time because there was live music (some traditional Turkish music) and we ended up getting one of the last tables. For an appetizer, we had some fried mussels and some little dip to go along with it that was great. Then we had a shrimp casserole / stew/ soup thing that tasted very yummy though it was a bit small. Then came the swordfish (kılıç). I have never had a fish cooked so perfectly before. It was absolutely amazing. Grilled on the outside, juicy on the inside, amazing flavor. Wow. And, of course, we accompanied our meals with a little bottle of rakı.
After freshening up and changing, we went back out after dinner to see how the night light was. Again, we were not disappointed. The first stop was Red Point Bar (it reminded me a bit of a mix between Murphy’s and P&G’s bars back in New Paltz). It seemed empty at first but quickly filled up with twenty-somethings and a few random older people. We didn’t stay too long there simply because we wanted to see some other places. The next stop was Hi-Jazz Bar. We loved it. The drinks were great (though expensive, but that’s to be expected) and there was a live band. This bar reminded me very much of Oasis Cafe plus a little bit of Snugg’s thrown in there back in New Paltz. We ended up staying here the rest of the night because of the atmosphere.
The next morning we somehow ended up getting up early (probably because we had to since we booked a boat trip). We packed up our sunscreens, but on our bathing suits, and headed to breakfast before heading into to town for the boat trip. We decided to take the longer boat trip so that we could see more of the coast which meant we had to be driven to a certain area (Üçağız Village) and then get on the boat from there. Once we boarded the boat, the journey around Kekova Island started. About ten or fifteen minutes into the ride, we made our first stop at what I think was the Aquarium Bay. The water was, again, blue blue blue and crystal clear, but this time it was warm and so salty I barely had to do anything to stay above the water. We made a few stops like this visiting different gorgeous bays around the area, seeing a sunken city in the water and above, we saw an old castle on top of a giant hill that we ended up hiking up…the view was breathtaking, having some homemade ice cream, enjoying a BBQ on the boat, swimming a lot, being caked in salt because of how much of it was in the seawater, seeing two sea turtles, and just enjoying the sun, sea, and beautiful sights around us. When we finally returned to the hotel around six that evening we were exhausted and ended up taking a quick nap before going back out into town to find some dinner.
When we did find dinner though at Zeytin Restaurant, we weren’t all the impressed. I’m sure it didn’t help that the power went out for awhile before we received our food (apparently the first power outage of the summer…lucky us), but the food just didn’t have the amazing taste that we had experienced at the other restaurant. Burak made the mistake of ordering swordfish again (I had told him not to since there was never going to be anything like the one we had eaten the night before) and I had a steak in an apple cream sauce. My steak and sauce wasn’t actually all that bad, but there was just something a bit off about it. The potatoes that came with the meals though were very nice though, so at least there was that. We didn’t end up going out that night because we were so tired from the day’s activities, so we stayed in and relaxed.
The next day we decided should be a relaxing day. We woke up, had another lovely breakfast, and went down to the beach area. We sat and swam until the early afternoon sipping on another peach margarita, yummy but not quite as delicious as the previous passion fruit one. We took a break from the sitting and swimming to go get lunch in town. We found a place called Sarpedon’s Burger (Sarpedon was a Lycian Prince and son of Zeus, hero during the Trojan war until he was slain by Patroclus…just a little bit of extra information for y’all) and sat down to look at their interesting selection of burgers. All the burgers looked tempting, but I settled on the Speedy Gonzalez Burger and Burak got the Hangover Buger. Both were cooked really well and had great tastes. We had also order cheddar fries and were a bit confused when they first came out as they weren’t what we were expecting. Instead of cheese on the fries as we had thought, they were regular fries but with a delicious cheddar dip (made from real cheese I think!) We then order some frozen yogurt to try and beat the heat and headed back to the beach for a little longer.
The next dinner we ate was at another restaurant that I had seen on Tripadvisor: Natur-el. We were seated near the fan which was great. I had wanted to try a certain dish that I read about but was torn between it and another dish that I ended up getting instead. I got the home made stuffed ravioli, filled with goat cheese and a tomato cream sauce. Burak got the homemade stuffed ravioli filled with sauteed lamb and mushroom and a mushroom cream sauce. Both dishes were amazing and we both agreed that this place and Turkuaz were the best restaurants in Kaş. This restaurant even served us bread and dips with our meal (common place in America but not in Turkey), so it was a nice added gesture.
The next morning was out last in Kaş. We packed up all of our stuff and checked-out. The hotel was nice enough to let us leave our stuff there throughout the day though since our bus trip back home wasn’t until 730 that evening. We sunscreened up and walked all through the town that day, exploring as many shops as I could. There were so many things that I wanted to get but obviously couldn’t. For one, I wanted one of the Kaş cats. They’re huge, practically dogs and have amazing patterns on their coats. My favorite cat looked like a cow. Obviously I couldn’t bring home one of the famous Kaş cats, so I settled on a dark turquoise cute kitten statue. I added a nice Kaş spoon rest and turtle nazar magnet to my collection of things. We had some nice pide for lunch and then a little later we stopped at the Kaş Bio Tea House and some frozen drinks. We stayed there for a bit, out of the sun before continuing to venture around the town. Again, trying to avoid the sun, we sat in an area shaded by trees and ordered some tea. A bit later we tried go to Turkuaz one last time for the amazing swordfish. Sadly, they weren’t open yet, but they told us to come back in an hour and they’d have the stuff ready for us. So, we went back to the hotel, got our stuff, and went back to the restaurant. To our surprise (and the bartender’s) there was no one there when we returned. We were annoyed to say the least but didn’t let this disappointment spoil our day. We ended up going back to Natur-el since we had such a nice time there the night before. This time I got the pomegranate walnut chicken that I had wanted to get the previous night and Burak got some sort of fresh fish (sea-bass I think) which they de-boned in front of us. We accompanied our last meal with a last drink of Efes (Turkish beer) each.
We then made our way to the bus station. On the way to the bus station I somehow made a friend in a stray dog (looked like a black lab) who wouldn’t stop following us and kept barking at people to get out of our way. It was quite interesting and a bit funny. We were not expecting that. The bus ride back to Istanbul was much smoother than the one to Kaş especially since there were no transfers. The bus did not overheat and we made it back just in time for Burak to catch his class that he’s taking.
The whole trip happened so fast and we want to be back there now. It was amazing and definitely a place to revisit. The only things that make me believe that the trip actually happened are my pictures and my bank account plus my little trinkets that I picked up. If you want to visit Turkey, but huge crowds and city life is not for you, go to Kaş. I loved it and cannot wait to return.