Friday, September 2, 2011

Turkey Part 3 - Cirali

Arriving at the Antalya airport on the Mediterranean only one word entered my mind...HOT. That was all that could break through the 100+ degree temperature. We took a van along the coast to the sleepy village of Cirali, where we spent the first day or two trying to make sure the kids (and us, too) didn't overheat. So we mixed it up between time at the pool and naps in our air-conditioned room. We found that the best time to visit the beach was after the sun sunk below the hills, but there was still plenty of light (and warmth) left.
During our leisurely week in Cirali we spent a day on a sailboat trip swimming and snorkeling in uninhabited coves; we traipsed through Greek mythology with visits to the ruins of ancient Olympus and the eternal flames of Chimaera where fire spills from the earth on one of the hillsides above the town; we dined on fresh seafood and consumed copious amounts of ice cream; and, of course, we spent many hours relaxing in and around the pool.
It was great to watch Amelia become totally enamored with the water. While we had done swimming lessons at home, she wasn't thrilled with the fact that she had to follow specific activities, and she hated it when the teacher put her underwater. So in Cirali we bought her a pair of water wings and a pool noodle and after we convinced her to try them out the only way to get her to take a break from the pool was to bribe her with an ice cream sundae.
Tristan made many friends everywhere we went, and in particular some special friends with a couple who was staying at our hotel. The young woman was completely in love with him and would shriek and come running over whenever we were coming or going. They spent a lot of time with him, and when it was time for them to leave we wanted to check their bags to make sure he wasn't packed in one of them! They definitely helped give Dan and I some extra time to relax, and they even bought him this fancy baby pool toy.
I also got to spend one very special morning watching WWF biologists assist in the hatching of the endangered caretta caretta turtles (loggerhead turtles). The turtles lay their eggs under the sand in June and July, and then around 50 days later the tiny hatchlings emerge and make their way to the sea under the cover of darkness. WWF tries to prevent people from going onto the beach at night, but at dawn the biologists can sometimes be found opening the nests that have recently hatched to help along any stragglers, giving us tourists a chance to witness. I got to see them take out 5 babies who then heroically started their 30-yard journey to the ocean. It was amazing to watch the little guys struggle through the sand, though it ended quite anticlimactically when the biologist strode over without a word and picked them each up and popped them into his backpack. He later explained that there were seagulls waiting for a baby turtle buffet, so they would all be released at night when it was safer.After our very pleasant week on the coast, it was time time to say good-bye to Turkey. We had a wonderful trip, and you can find some photos posted here.