If you told me in January of this year that I’d get to immerse myself in the warm, sparkling clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea this summer, I would have laughed that off as a pipe dream. But alas, it appears that sometimes, yes, dreams do come true.
Given the many sights to see and explore around Antalya and how extremely expensive it is to hire a driver, Chris decided that we would rent a car for more flexibility and to do things as we pleased without being constrained by taxis or tour schedules. Today, we drove outside of Antalya proper and did a short hike up Mount Chimera to see the natural fires up there, and when we came down, we found a local spot for gozleme, which are super flaky and stuffed Turkish flatbreads with many layers and are oftentimes filled with cheese, minced vegetables, or minced meat. It was a short walk from the beach and open-air. The people who worked there seemed like a family, and despite our language barrier, they were super friendly and kind. They made us fresh-squeezed juice, and the older woman painstakingly rolled out gozleme dough and hand stuffed our spinach and minced meat gozlemes, frying them out in the open air work space she had in front of their home. I recorded her rolling out the paper-thin layers of dough; it was definitely an art like most incredibly delicious foods in the world. She seemed amused that I wanted to record her. I’m sure they get a lot tourists, but maybe not a lot who look like us.
After the gozleme lunch, which was far more in quantity and fullness than I’d initially imagined, we spent a couple hours just steps away on Cirali Beach, which is known to be one of the most pristine and beautiful beaches in Turkey. It truly was quite spectacular, with mountains flanking the turquoise clear waters. Although the beach was a mix of pebbles and sand, it was extremely picturesque and stunning. The waves were teeny tiny, so even for someone who has a fear of deep water, it was manageable to stay in the water and not feel like it was going to take you in; in fact, if anything, the water would likely push you further onto the shore. As soon as we got into our bathers and I felt the water on my skin, I couldn’t believe how good it felt to have this warm, clear, clean salt water on me and the sun beaming down on us. It really did feel surreal that we were so lucky to have this experience in the midst of a global pandemic. I almost didn’t want to get out of the water because of how warm and comforting it felt. This definitely felt like living the dream. I couldn’t have felt happier or calmer in this beauty along the Turquoise Coast. And the other funny thought I had in the water was that my little baby, in her little water sac inside me, was in water within water, experiencing the beach for the very first time in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
The beach was lined with beach chairs and umbrellas for lounging, and the American in me immediately wondered how much it would cost to rent these loungers. But as I saw a handful of people claim them, I didn’t see any signs for rental or payment, nor did I see any proprietor confront anyone who sat down.
A friend of ours originally from Turkey told us a long time ago that Turkey has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. And now, I can say that I know from experience that he was 100 percent accurate.