I gotta be honest, my first impression of Antalya was not good. After spending more than a week almost by myself in the isolated town of Olympos, coming back to such a big hub was simply striking.
Dozens of resorts along the coast line, millions of people all over the place and a traffic jam only comparable to the ones I witnessed back in Mexico City.
But, as I’ve learned from previous experiences, first impressions are almost never right.
Antalya’s Old City
Most of the tourist attractions of Antalya are located in the Kaleiçi—also known as the Old City—where the cobblestone streets lead to ancient buildings surrounded by trendy bars and fancy restaurants.
Walk along the cliff line that meets the ocean and you’ll come across the local Marina, where is possible to hop on a pirate-like ship that will take you around the bay, into a small cave and the beautiful finish line of the Düden Waterfalls—falling right on the sea.
Everything is pretty and nicely laid out. Tourist and locals alike, enjoying their time and frolicking around.
Out of the Kaleiçi
On my last day in Antalya, I decided to walk far away from the Old City in search of a good sunset spot.
Following the southern coast line, I came across parks with families spending their Sunday afternoon together, dogs running wild and a really nice view from the boats down the ocean.
There are plenty of cool and cozy spots down the cliffs, if you’re willing to face the climb down and the climb up.
It wasn’t long before I caught a glimpse of what seemed to be an abandoned restaurant and several fishermen—most of them trying their luck with makeshift fishing rods and bread as bait.
With the sun starting to set behind the mountains, it was the perfect opportunity to take some good pictures, so I walked down the stairs and, shyly at first, started snapping picture after picture, both from the landscape and the fishermen.
A smile is all it takes
Noticing their stares, I came closer to them and smiled. “Selam, arkadash! Ben Sergio, adun ne?”—Trying my best Survival Turkish with one of the guys.
Smiling back, he replied to me in Turkish, which of course I didn’t understand. Only his name, Mehmet.
“Pardon, hayur Turkçe. Mexika’da,” I mumbled. And everybody started laughing.
“Oooooh! Mexika! You look Turkish!”.
Tell me something I haven’t heard before, buddy.
Without asking for it, I was given my own line and a little bit of bread but after a while, the fish were not complacent enough, so I resorted to what I know better and kept taking photographs.
I like how we always find ways of communicating with each other and this situation was the perfect example.
From broken English, to broken Turkish and even some German, hand signs, funny faces and—my favorite of all—honest smiles. Everybody making an effort!
We evolved into being able of communicating with each other and, in the most basic sense, we just can’t keep our mouths(or whatever we use for communication) shut.
Sunset came and went faster than I thought and it was time to go back, no fish in my hand but a warm and fuzzy feeling inside me.