Turkey Swimtrek travel diary: Day 3 – From Istanbul to Kas (Swimtrek arrival)

So I’m getting closer to the more exciting part of my Turkey holiday – the bit where I swimtrek – but this post isn’t going to be so interesting…well, maybe a little interesting. More interesting than today’s horoscope I reckon. Monday – was the long travelling day. A tram:

From Trip to Antalya

A train:

From Trip to Antalya

A plane:

From Trip to Antalya

A bus

From Trip to Antalya

Another bus:

From Trip to Antalya

And a taxi later, I FINALLY arrived in Kaş (pronounced ‘Kash’) – the meeting point and base point for the week-long swimtrek. So I got myself from Istanbul via tram and train back to Istanbul airport. I had a 9:30am flight departure, so again was up early. Clearly, holidays are not meant for sleeping! Grabbed myself breakfast at the airport and a Turkish tea – I love the Turkish glass tea cups!

From Trip to Antalya
From Trip to Antalya

I had a flight from Istanbul to Antalya. Look at all the planes at my disposal. Pick a plane, any plane…

From Trip to Antalya

The flight was only 75 minutes but they still served us meals and drinks which was super impressive for such a brief flight.

From Trip to Antalya

I flew Turkish Airways. I love their company slogan: “Globally Yours”. What an awesome sign-off.

From Trip to Antalya

The flight from Istanbul to Antalya was rather scenic.

From Trip to Antalya
From Trip to Antalya
From Trip to Antalya
From Trip to Antalya
From Trip to Antalya
From Trip to Antalya

Scenic joy flight over Turkey. Check. Basically, I was heading for the Mediterranean west coast of Turkey, for the Lycian Way. Kaş is not the most convenient place to get to. Your choice of the two closest airports are either Dalaman – still 2.5 hours away to Kas by bus OR Antalya 3.5 hours by bus. I went with Antalya because flights there from Istanbul were cheaper. Check out the views as we approached the Mediterranean coast – some dramatic cliff coasts.

From Trip to Antalya
From Trip to Antalya
From Trip to Antalya

Landed at Antalya airport and picked up my gun (as you do!!??). No, seriously, rest assured I had no weapons on my possession, apart from my sharp wit. lol. I love that the gun delivery and the ATMs are in the same direction. Great! Memo to self: don’t withdraw cash at that airport. Based on the sign below, I see a foolproof plan: Pick up gun. Rob ATM. Hire getaway car at the Rent-a-car desk.

From Trip to Antalya

And if a tram, train and plane wasn’t enough modes of transport for a day (and it was only 10:30am), I still had another two buses to go. I got an airport shuttle bus from the airport into Antalya Otogar (bus station). One thing I observed about Turkey are their rather giant/massive extravagant roundabouts. Every major town and city had a major roundabout that was like a mini park adorned with statues, fountains, and bells and whistles. Here was one such roundabout in Antalya:

From Trip to Antalya
From Trip to Antalya

As for Antalya’s bus station – I was in for a rude surprise. I was expecting to be dropped off at a building, a proper bus terminal. Instead, we pulled over on a highway onto the side of the road and I was ushered into a mini van that was waiting there. I was bundled onto the mini-van that only seated about 16 people. This was my ride for the 3.5 hour journey to Kaş.

From Trip to Antalya

It was long, winding, journey along the coast of Turkey. We made a few stops along the way for toilets, food, and dropping people off. Everything was quite rural and coastal. Random trees along the side of the road constituted as bus stops. It’s also a very mountainous region as we crossed into the Lyican Way.

From Trip to Antalya

The winding roads were so dangerously close to the water.

From Trip to Antalya
From Trip to Antalya
From Trip to Antalya
From Trip to Antalya

A drive around Turkey isn’t complete with some goats alongside the road:

From Trip to Antalya

And then we approached Kaş.

From Trip to Antalya
From Trip to Antalya

Destination: Kaş. One word: Idlyllic.

From Trip to Antalya

Arrived at the bus terminal in the little town centre, but I still had to get to my accommodation. Kaş is one bitch of a hilly town, and I didn’t know the area so I hopped into a taxi for the 5-minute trip to my hotel. A long day on all sorts of transport from one length of Turkey to the other. A – Istanbul B – Antalya C – Kaş It was nice to check in to our digs for the week. A seaside hotel along the Turkish mediterranean coast with water views. Gorgeous weather – around 29 degrees. I arrived here sometime just before 4pm, and had a couple of hours to refresh before our swim briefing at 6pm. Check out the hotel we stayed in for the week!

From Swimtrek arrival

And check out the views!

From Swimtrek arrival

That island you see in the photo above – is a Greek island, which is only 20 minutes away by boat!

From Swimtrek arrival
From Swimtrek arrival
From Swimtrek arrival

A pool too, not that we ever swam in that. We are open water swimmers!

From Swimtrek arrival
From Swimtrek arrival

Kash – love at first sight. What an amazing location! Watched the sunset, ahhh bliss:

From Swimtrek arrival
From Swimtrek arrival

Water views from the dining terraces!

From Swimtrek arrival

Sundecks right over the water!

From Swimtrek arrival

I was in heaven. Surrounded by water. Watching the sun go down. Are you jealous, yet?

From Swimtrek arrival
From Swimtrek arrival
From Swimtrek arrival

Our swimtrek group was meeting at 6pm for drinks and dinner.

From Swimtrek arrival
From Swimtrek arrival

Pomegranate mojito. Yes, please.

From Swimtrek arrival
From Swimtrek arrival

The whole point of coming to Turkey was to do this swimtrek. It’s a tour company that runs open water swimming holidays around the world. I was booked on the Lycian Way, Turkey swim and was going to be swimming 5km a day, for a week, with a bunch of like-minded people – other randoms that had also booked themselves on the tour. Breakfast, lunch and accommodation is all included, as well as boat transport and local skipper/captain, escort safety boats, and two swim guides. Just turn up and swim. You’ll need to ensure you have special insurance though that covers open water swimming (it’s considered a dangerous sport along with bungee jumping and sky diving and the like), so you’ll need a Sports Rider insurance option. Then company provides you with recommended insurance, so it’s no problem, and they provide you with a basic 3-month swim training program. Pretty much everything is all provided. BYO swimmers, goggles and towel for a week of swimming and relaxation. We were all meeting for introductory drinks and dinner and the pre-trip safety briefing. We sat down to a meal, a glass of wine, and did all the introductions. There were 13 of us in total and our two guides. Most of the people were British – the swimtrek company is a UK group. There was an older American couple, a Belgium man, two English men, seven English women, and my-Australian-self. About half of us had come alone. Three of the women had come together as friends and colleagues (they were nurses), another two women had come as friends, and the American couple had obviously come together as well. The other half of us, had just come on our own. This was the second swimtrek for one of the guys. And for one other guy, this was his 8th swimtrek!!! Impressive. Clearly, he was addicted! He did one swimtrek at least once a year, and had already done most of the destinations available. Everyone seemed really friendly and nice, and down to earth. There were only three men and 10 of us girls. Ages ranged from 28-57 (I thought I was the youngest one there all week, but found out that one of the girls was younger) and we came in all shapes and sizes. It wasn’t so intimidating. I was little worried that everyone would be super hardcore swimmers and triathletes – because really, what kind of people sign up for a holiday where all you do is swim in the rough, wild ocean! That didn’t stop me from feeling as though I was still a little underprepared. I barely clock up 5km in a week, let alone a single day, and repeat that for a whole week. But I had nothing to fear (except perhaps jellyfish). Our swim guides were cool too – a young Aussie guy (around my age) and a UK guy (somewhat a little older, although by no means old). Both very fit looking. And good-looking too! (More on that later…lol) We went through safety, procedural stuff – about the hazards we could expect – sun protection, chafing, jellyfish stings etc.

From Swimtrek arrival
From Swimtrek arrival

It was gonna be a great week! I was so excited and buzzing and ready to swim in paradise. The next 6 days of blog posts are going to be awesome, so clear your reading calendar. You can read Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ later. Prepare to Get Jealous!

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