Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Side - Turkey

So I have just arrived back from Turkey after a lovely weeks break in the glaring sunshine. Back to the cold and back to reality. I really don't enjoy coming back to the UK any more. It's just not the same when you get older - the excitement is no longer there. I suppose it's the realisation of what awaits you at home. A much deserved break nevertheless with the family, Turkey is a place I have been longing to visit for a while. My parents were lucky enough to visit a different part of Turkey earlier this year and loved it and many of my friends have been and given their praises. I must say I was very impressed with what awaited me when I stepped off the plane. Turkey is such an interesting country with a shed load of history which I find truly fascinating. I never knew quite how much history this place had in fact. 

We stayed just outside of Side's town centre in Antayla, a ten minute taxi ride which was ideal when we wanted to explore Turkey further. I fell in love with this Turkish town which was covered in Roman ruins and hundreds of little back street shops selling all the latest fakes and Turkish goods. I am not one for walking around countless shops all selling the same sorts of things which is often the case when you go to a tourist destination. However, I managed to pick up some lovely things in Side and brush up on my bartering skills in the process. They had some wonderful gifts including an array of different styled Turkish lamps and candle holders, along with some gorgeous Moroccan style dishes. I am particularly fond of my handmade Turkish bag which cost me just 4 euros and will be perfect for when I next go on my travels.

Besides the impressive amount of shops, the town boasted a lovely little harbour which looked out to the green Mediterranean sea, lots of wonderful restaurants and bars, and of course the Roman town which you are free to explore at your own leisure. If I were to come back I would definitely stay in the town centre itself as there is so much to see and do there, it really is wonderful. 

Here's me on the plane
So peaceful 
The gorgeous little harbour
I love a good cup of tea wherever I am in the world

Just one of the amazing shops selling an array of dried fruits and spices
Exploring the ruins
Along with exploring Side, we also visited Manavgat market one morning which was an experience to say the least. If you are a lover of fake goods, this ones for you. I had to get out of there as quickly as possible. It was far too busy and the heat was overwhelming. A walk along the green canyon river later in the day was definitely more to my liking. I wish we could have stayed there longer as it was such a pretty little Turkish town but it was definitely too hot to be walking around all day even for the sun lovers out there like me. 

However, my best day out by far was yet to come. A traditional Turkish bath just outside of town made my holiday complete. I have always wanted to experience this traditional cleansing routine and I wasn't leaving Turkey without checking this off my list. I certainly wasn't disappointed either. For just £23 I received a sauna, a scrub and peel, a foaming cleanse and a 20 minute all over  body oil massage. The whole thing lasted for over two hours in total and was extremely enjoyable. I did want to take some photos specifically for my blog but unfortunately we were told to leave all our belongings in the lockers beforehand. Not only does my skin feel amazing, my tan looks even better than usual. Well known to remove any dead skin, I would recommend this to anyone visiting Turkey. It really does work and it's no wonder why the tradition is still going strong today.

Before I ramble on too much, I am just going to mention our resort which was amazing and had everything you could imagine, from tennis and football courts to a luxury spa and indoor pool to four buzzing restaurants, three of which were al a carte. We really were spoilt from the offset after being upgraded to a deluxe suite shortly after check-in. You know you've done well when you get your own matching dressing gown and slippers awaiting your arrival, along with a fridge full of alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages. The hotel grounds were spotless, the staff extremely friendly and the night-time entertainment surprisingly good. Everyone was so enthusiastic about making our stay as enjoyable as possible which I loved. A four plus hotel, it certainly lived up to its name and we are even talking about going back next year!

On our pier
Just one of the pools
The staff were so lovely - we couldn't have asked for better people
Time to say our goodbyes
Waved off in true style
Have you ever visited Turkey? What was your favourite part?


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