Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Side Trip to Side

Having slogged through the 9-hour trip to Cappadocia from Kas, we thought better of repeating the feat on our return to Kas. So we chose to stop overnight in Side, a popular resort on the coast east of Antalya and about 5 hours from Cappadocia. Our route took us back the way we had come--through North Dakota, Kansas, and Utah--and allowed us to figure out what those big pots steaming at the roadside stands actually were: sut misir, steamed sweet corn. Mystery solved!

Marble columns of the Temple of Apollo at Side

We pulled into Side in the late afternoon and turned on the GPS so we could locate our hotel, the Beach House Hotel, which we had reserved the night before. It got great reviews on Trip Advisor and had a superb location right on the water in the old section of town. Our balcony on the second floor had wonderful views of the sea and the pedestrian walkway along it. The rest of the hotel wasn't so great--kind of funky and worn out--but it was cheap ($60) and served a good Turkish breakfast as part of the deal.

Side, it turns out, is one of those coastal Turkish resorts with nice sandy beaches that's thronged by Europeans (mostly British and Germans) on two-week holidays. They come to the town and plop down for the duration. The hotel owner, an Australian ex-pat, seemed to think this produced a less attractive clientele than someplace like Kas, where she said people only spend a few days because Kas's beaches are mostly pebbles--thus their names, Small Pebble Beach and Big Pebble Beach. That's her theory, anyway. And she would be wrong, at least in our case.

Temple at sunset, with frothy bride

We were happy to be in Side overnight because it allowed us to see the photogenic Temple of Apollo at both sunset and sunrise. Well, I saw pictures of it at sunrise, thanks to John. You know where I was.

Temple at sunrise

Serving lamb in Paradise
Dinner was at Paradise, a seaside restaurant (the waiter loved saying "Welcome to Paradise!") where we watched the sun go down as we dined on huge grilled shrimp and a wonderful lamb shoulder that had been roasted with potatoes and vegetables in a delicious sauce for hours--one of the best meals we've had in Turkey.

On our way back to Kas the next morning we detoured just a few kilometers inland to the amazing Aspendos, the best-preserved Roman amphitheater we've ever seen. It was built about A.D. 160 during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (or so the sign said). After hanging around inside the amphitheater we hiked around it and up the hill for a view from above it. Worth the trip!

Aspendos Amphitheater
Amphitheater and the surrounding countryside

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