A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about relax

Coastal Comfort

Turkey - Antalya

semi-overcast 34 °C
View Turkey on kmmk17's travel map.

For the last few years we have had a relaxing holiday during September. However with the ongoing Brexit mess at home putting me off an EU bound trip at risk of cancelled connections, and having been invited to the wedding in Istanbul during this time anyway, we decided to have a big all encompassing holiday, visiting various different parts of Turkey, which would include a stop on the coast. So after doing a bit of research for the route we booked ourselves a nice hotel for a few days of relaxation in Antalya.

Having boarded a bus from Denizli, after four hours we arrived in Antalya which was noticeably more humid than anywhere else we'd been on this trip so far. After making our way from the bus station to the city centre, we walked past the Old City which we would explore again soon, before shortly arriving at our hotel for the next few days, which was shaped like a big pyramid.

The Hotel

The Hotel

Inside the lobby was also impressive, as the building narrowed as it got higher creating a pyramid effect.

Inside the lobby

Inside the lobby

We got the keys to our room and found we'd be upgrading to a suite with a sea view and huge balcony overlooking the Taurus Mountains on the other side of the bay. We had a sofa, a bath and shower, and even a walk in wardrobe.

View from the balcony

View from the balcony

After settling in, we took a quick look around the hotel complex, before heading down the restaurant for our first dinner, choosing from the big variety of food on offer.

After a long day we settled in for the night and the following morning, awaking for the second day in a row with no stomach ache (the longest period in months), we headed down for breakfast before our first day getting to chill by the sea - finding it already a pleasant temperature even at first thing in the morning.

We started by getting a sun lounger by the outside pool, and were surprised to find that the pool itself was quite warm, even this early. After a few hours of dipping in and out of the pool, we headed down to the sea. The hotel itself was built on a cliff, and so didn't have a beach of it's own, but still had access to the sea via several staircases that wrapped around the hill.

Platform

Platform

Just above the access point to the sea was a platform full of sunbeds. After finding some to settle on, we headed down to the sea. It was slightly colder than the outside pool, and the sea was a little bit rough, with waves crashing against the rocks, so it wasn't the most enjoyable experience. I headed out for a swim and made my way to the floating platform the hotel had just off the shore.

After a while at the sea, we decided to head to the indoor pool, but when we arrived, found it was actually the coldest! Not enjoying the experience very much, after a quick go in the sauna, we headed back to the outdoor pool.

By now having spent all day in and out of the pool we decided to head back to the room for a shower and rest before dinner. However I made the mistake of holding my hunger for dinner, which caused me to feel shattered and too exhausted to really eat very much by the time dinner arrived. Heading back to the room afterwards I took an early night to try and get my energy back, and the next morning I felt more refreshed.

For our second full day we decided to explore some of the city, and took a short walk from the hotel to the Old City. We started off by walking through the park adjacent to the hotel towards the Hıdırlık Tower, one of the towers on the edge of the former city walls that is sometimes used as a lighthouse for the port.

Hıdırlık Tower

Hıdırlık Tower

We then continued our journey walking through the well kept streets of the Old City, past restaurants, bars and a few mosques.

The Yivliminare Mosque

The Yivliminare Mosque

We then arrived at the port, with many fancy boats offering tours of the area, before heading back up walking past shops and arriving the city centre.

Antalya Port

Antalya Port

We took a look around the Old Bazaar, before walking back towards the hotel, where we spent the rest of the day relaxing around the pool.

Our the following day (our last full day in Antalya) felt much different. Although technically warmer, it was much less humid, and slightly cloudy - from the balcony we could see the Taurus Mountains in their full glory, rather than being covered in humid haze.

Fancying seeing something new, we headed out of the city centre to see the Düden Falls - a waterfall that ends at the cliffs on the coast and tumbles straight into the sea.

Düden Falls

Düden Falls

After catching a bus back, we spent the afternoon around the hotel once again, before our last dinner. After this we took an evening walk into the old city to see Hadrian's Gate by night, the only remaining gate along the city walls.

Hadrian's Gate

Hadrian's Gate

The weather had been pretty good for us up until now, but it was suddenly about to change. As we were nodding off to sleep, we suddenly started to hear thunder. Taking a look a look outside our worst fears were confirmed - fork lightning in the bay that was headed our way, whilst we were in the tallest building around. Luckily we weren't hit, and it passed after around half an hour.

The following morning after breakfast we repacked our suitcases and left them at reception to spend a bit of time relaxing one last time. After a last few hours in the hotel we then made our way to the airport for our onward flight to our last destination in Turkey - Capadoccia.

Posted by kmmk17 06:15 Archived in Turkey Tagged waterfalls sea sun waterfall swim swimming relax turkey2019 Comments (1)

Pretty but Painful Pamukkale

Turkey - Pamukkale

sunny 24 °C
View Turkey on kmmk17's travel map.

After taking an internal flight from Istanbul we arrived at Denizli Airport for our transfer to Pamukkale. Pamukkale is an interesting village, thriving off tourism to it's two famous sites - the natural white travertine hillslopes caused by cooling salt water, which lead to ruins of an ancient spa city.

After an hour we arrived at our hotel, but by now it was already evening and so after a quick walk in the village to see it by night we settled in for the night.

We got up early the following morning to give us plenty of time to explore the sights, as we were only here one night. Heading down for breakfast, we were served a plethora of Turkish breakfast bites.

Hot Air Balloon

Hot Air Balloon

As we were eating, a hot air balloon landed in the fields behind us, whilst we were being being surrounded by all the stray cats of the neighbourhood.

One of the stray cats

One of the stray cats

Not long later we checked out, leaving our suitcase at the hotel before heading towards the travertines. Whilst researching I had wondered whether being white, the ground would be burning hot after being in the sun. This was concerning, as all visitors need to walk on it barefeet to protect it from erosion - however no one had complained about it at all! After putting my feet on it, I was surprised however to find that it was not hot at all, but was in fact quite a painful experience - as parts of the white salt floor were quite sharp! And yet not one had mentioned this anywhere I had read!? I was expecting to have my feet burned or catch a verruca, not have my feet stabbed.

Entering the Travertines

Entering the Travertines

Being early it was still quite quiet, as a lot of visitors arrive on day trips from the resorts on the coast. This meant we were able to explore the pools without too many people in the way. It was an interesting experience as this is quite a unique attraction.

The reflective pools

The reflective pools

Arriving at the top there were beautiful views of Pamukkale village and salt water pools down the hill slope.

Pools down the hill slope

Pools down the hill slope

We were now able to put our shoes back on and let our feet recover a little, as we moved to start exploring the historic Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis. It wasn't the best of ancient cities, but it was certainly one of the more interesting given its setting.

We headed up to the amphitheatre, where there were views over the entire area, although as it was built into the hill it turned out to be harder work than expected.

Amphitheatre

Amphitheatre

By now we had seen quite a lot, and yet it was not even 9:30am and so we were doing excellent for time. We headed back down towards the main thoroughfare and went in to see the hot pools.

The pool itself is quite unique as an earthquake in the 7th century caused a lot of the marble columns to fall into the pool itself which remain in situ to this day. Whilst this seemed really cool, it was somewhat impractical as you couldn't really see where they were as you moved around, causing you to knock your bare toes into them several times! Although sometimes they were useful to sit on!

The Pool

The Pool

After spending a little while in the pool feeling nice and relaxed we headed out and could already see just how busy it had become as there was now a queue back at the changing rooms. And as we headed back to the travertines it was difficult to get past all the people stood in the way whilst our feet were being stabbed again!

After getting back down to the bottom we headed back to our hotel to grab our bags and make our onward journey. We needed to get to the bus station in Denizli which was about a 15 minute drive away. Although having read there were buses, we hadn't seen one and with our suitcases in tow, we decided to just take a taxi and get there easier. After hailing one down we were on our way and upon arriving at the bus station and purchasing our tickets we boarded a bus headed for Antalya.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 03:37 Archived in Turkey Tagged landscapes architecture water hill old pool roman spa relax turkey2019 Comments (1)

Hungary for Budapest

sunny 29 °C
View Budapest on kmmk17's travel map.


The first time I visited Budapest, back in August 2013, I found the city to be beautiful, but under the highest temperatures in it's history - hitting almost 40˚C, it was a challenge to truly enjoy the city.

This time, Chris and I were much luckier. Despite threats of showers longing all week it was a beautifully sunny weekend in the high 20s. However with much of our luck being used on the weather, the travel there and back was our downfall.

Foxy & Kevin Bear joining us too

Foxy & Kevin Bear joining us too

With an early evening flight from Luton I took the afternoon off and we made our way to the airport with plenty of time to spare. With Luton Airport security being highly shambolic it took us a long time to finally get through - tonnes of bags being sidelined for further inspection but without anyone actually carrying it out. Waiting an age for our bags to finally be looked at, after solving the problem - a non-resealable bag being used for liquids, the stupid man resent the entire basket back through the scanner to end up back of the queue again.

Eventually getting our bags through we made our way into the departure lounge to find our flight had suddenly been given a two hour delay. Great - now we would arrive so late that the shops would all be shut by the time we arrived to grab some drinks. Next thing, it was back on time again.

After the usual delays caused by allocated seating we were finally on the plane ready to take off when, oh - we had missed our slot and would have to wait an hour to actually take off. In the meantime, the trolley service came around and low and behold an hour after schedule we finally made it into the air. Eventually arriving late in Budapest we made our way to the hotel finally arriving and finally getting to sleep just before midnight.

With just a day and a half to actually see the city, we wasted no time the following morning grabbing breakfast and making our way into the city. Already by 10am it was in the high twenties and with two large hills to climb it was going to be a busy and sweaty day.

Parliament

Parliament

We began by visiting the Gothic Parliament building, where recently renovations to the square outside had taken place, before proceeding to walk down the east bank of the Danube, past the monument to the Jews shot during WWII, to the Lion flanked Chain Bridge.

Chain Bridge

Chain Bridge

Trying unsuccessfully to get Chris to show me his Lion impression, we crossed the bridge and made our way up Fisherman's Bastion, where there are fabulous views over the Parliament on the other side of the city.

Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman's Bastion

Carrying on towards Buda Castle, we made our way back down the riverside and eventually to Gellert Hill, where after missing the correct turning we ended up scaling a rockface to make our way to the Liberty Monument at the top and gain stunning views over the whole city.

Budapest

Budapest


Central Market Hall

Central Market Hall

After making our way back down, having done the hardest parts of our walk around it was still early afternoon and so after stopping off at the Central Market to buy some tat we decided to head back to the hotel and spend the afternoon at the Thermal Baths.

Széchenyi Thermal Baths

Széchenyi Thermal Baths

The Széchenyi Baths are truly historic in the city and make up the largest complex in Europe. Whilst the inside baths were small and had numerous pools ranging up to 40˚C, there were also three large outside pools, including one with a rapid pool, that reached up to 38˚C. There was also a large screen up to show the Euro 2016 matches, which today also included Hungary vs Iceland, creating a wonderful atmosphere in the sun and heat of the Hungarian summer.

Returning back the the hotel after a few hours relaxing at the baths, we dropped off our swim clothes and made our way back into the city for dinner, before walking back up the main street to Chain Bridge for night time views of the Bridge and Buda Castle across the Danube.

Budapest by night

Budapest by night

The following morning we checked out and left our bags at the hotel before heading back to the Baths in the city park, walking down to Heroes's Square, before continuing down the tree lined Andrassy Avenue.

Heroes Square

Heroes Square

Stopping at the House of Terror, where the KGB Headquarters in Hungary were located, we had a history lesson in the Cold War era of the country which concluded our weekend break.

House of Terror

House of Terror

We then headed back the hotel to grab our bits and eventually make our way back to the airport for a delayed flight back to the UK.

A thoroughly enjoyable weekend in the beautiful Hungarian capital.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Hungary Tagged bridges architecture history city relax torture macabre Comments (0)

Dead Sea

Holy Land - Dead Sea

sunny 25 °C
View The Holy Land on kmmk17's travel map.


The second part of my trip to the Holy Land took me outside of Jerusalem to explore the rest of the country. Leaving Jerusalem as another terrorist incident occurred, I boarded my bus that drove eastwards towards the Dead Sea.

Whilst Jerusalem and the area around was very hilly, eventually you get to a huge valley, marking the border with Jordan, which at the bottom is the Dead Sea. As you then wind down the hill side there are some plaques denoting the elevation. And it is not long before you reach the "0m - Sea Level" sign. Fair enough, except when you look out to your left, you see the valley continues even further. Then it goes down "-200m", and you're still barely half of the way down.

Ein Bokek

Ein Bokek

Passing by the Masada, I eventually arrived at the spa resort of Ein Bokek, lying 426 metres below the sea level, the lowest dry point on the planet. It is a scary thought that you are so low, but luckily the nearest sea is around a three hour drive away, and I wasn't there for too long.

Dead Sea

Dead Sea

Getting out in a lovely 27˚C, I took a short walk to the public beach, and then took a dip in the Dead Sea itself. The feeling is quite sensational, as even in my tiny frame you start to float immediately, and in any position you fancy - arms spread out, arms crossed on your chest, arms crossed behind your chest. Swimming backstroke there is a beautiful view whichever side you lay. On one side you look at the resort town itself with the large beach front hotels with their palm trees and a backdrop of the stunning mountains, whilst on the other side you the Jordanian mountains reflecting in the very water you are lying.

The Beach & Resort

The Beach & Resort

After having a float for around an hour, I then took a shower, got back changed and took a little walk to the Petra Shopping Centre - the lowest place to shop in the world, before waiting at the bus stop for my onward bus to Eilat.

The Lowest Place to Shop in the World!

The Lowest Place to Shop in the World!

Eilat is the southernmost city in Israel and is separated from the rest of the country by the huge Negev desert. From Ein Bokek at the edge of the Negev it took around three hours of almost emptiness to reach the resort on the Red Sea.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Israel Tagged sea beach relax holyland Comments (0)

Quake City & The Springs

RTW - New Zealand, South Island

all seasons in one day 13 °C
View Round The World Trip on kmmk17's travel map.


The two weeks I had planned in New Zealand were almost exactly as that of Australia - arriving in the coldest part, staying for about 10 days with relatives, followed by a few days in a warmer part.

Having left Sydney for New Zealand, I was met at the airport by my Aunty and her family, spending a week and a half taking a break from hectic sightseeing again and giving me time to catch up on sleep (and washing), which was just as well, as the weather in Christchurch was very much as it was in Mount Gambier - being generally cold but mostly fine.

Beginning by taking a rest day, on the second full day I went into Christchurch to explore what remains following the earthquake damage two years previously. Although it meant that much of the centre had been destroyed, being a Geography student, the aftermath was still very interesting.

Re:START Mall

Re:START Mall

I took a visit to the recently opened Quake City exhibition, with many relics from the quake. There were also fascinating videos of CCTV footage, and interviews with locals.

Christchurch Cathedral

Christchurch Cathedral

Luckily a few weeks previously, the city centre had finally been reopened, and I was therefore able to get up close to the damaged cathedral. Witnessing the half damaged shell of the historic building, I then walked towards the temporary Cardboard Cathedral, before going back towards the city centre and the portacabins that were being used as shops.

Cardboard Cathedral

Cardboard Cathedral

One of the most enjoyable parts of my trip was the visit up to Hanmer Springs, which the eight of us in this extended family took for three days.

Despite the miserable weather on the first day - being around 7 days and foggy with light rain, we spent the day in the Spa, where there were a variety of thermal pools reaching up as high as 42˚C.

Family photo in the Thermal Pools

Family photo in the Thermal Pools

Amazingly, on the second day of the trip the weather had completely cleared up and we were treated to spectacular views of the surrounding mountains in the blazing sun, which we later climbed as a group.

NZ Mountains

NZ Mountains

Being able to spend the trip with a youthful group also meant there were a lot of laughs that would simply not have happened had I gone alone.

These included beating the cousins at Uno whilst laughing at some of the misfortunate confusions in conversation that come with the New Zealand accents ("Yes, I had someone sitting on my deck" for instance); and going on "Pussy Patrol" looking for cats after finding free WiFi outside the village library.

After much relaxation, I then spent the last days with my cousins, who by now were on school holidays, and visited the beach at Sumner, marking my furthest journey south yet, before enjoying a last family meal, where I discovered I could in fact enjoy Pizza!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged hills city family relax rtw Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 5) Page [1]