Antalya Sunset

This photo was taken yesterday evening from my balcony. Those things on top of the bulidings are solar-powered water heaters— we take advantage of our global warming here. I lived in Texas for 25 years and we never did anything that intelligent with our overabundance of sun. But that’s Texas and this is Turkey.

On days like this I think Antalya is the most beautiful city in the world. We’re directly on the Mediterranean, with a strip of gorgeous snowcovered mountains hugging us to the coast. We have friendly locals and fantastic food (even if it is all kind of same-y, better to have fantastic same-y food than mediocre same-y food, eh?). We have a rich culture stretching back more than two millennia. We have scenery that will take your breath away.

Living here is not always smooth sailing, though. Temperatures in July stay up in the mid-40s (113F), and sometimes reach the low 50s (122F). And this is the third-world— we don’t have anything in our home like your fancy-schmancy Western air conditioner. We just deal with the heat. It gives us something to talk about until October. People are starting to buy air conditioners for their homes, but as that happens, the grid gets frequently overloaded and the electricity goes out all over the city. Sometimes it stay out for hours, sometimes for days. These are things you just have to accept when you move here.

But the trade-off is that the winter is mild and pleasant, and the city is full of things to do. The restaurants here are amazing, though you won’t find countrythemed restaurants— nothing as specifically foreign as “Italian food” or “Japanese food” (I particularly miss sushi). 90% of the restaurants here serve generic Turkish food, kebaps and stuff. It sounds like it would get boring after a while, but somehow it doesn’t. There are enough different types of kebaps that you can change your diet quite a lot just by switching between them. And if you crave something else, you can just make it at home. If I could find sushi-grade fish here (or indeed any other east Asian ingredients), I’d probably make Japanese food at least once a week.

Antalya is a growing city of about 1.5 million, and though it doesn’t quite have all the European amenities of Istanbul (e.g. indoor heating and multiplex cinemas), I’m enjoying watching it grow and develop. We get in excess of 20 million tourists here every year, the second highest of any Mediterranean city. It’s a popular destination, and there’s a reason for that. Pristine beaches, majestic mountains, wonderful people, and a vibrant culture all combine to make a city that I am proud to call home.

Melissa, 34, Antalya