The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
The Road to Belek

The Route There's usually not to much to show you on a travel day. If we move by air, taking pictures in airports can get you a long "interview" in the security office and riding in the car only leaves it to the passenger to take blurry photos through a bug-splattered windshield. So our usual visiual feast (hey, they're only pixels) is rather a patchwork today.

The run from Kalkan to Belek (about 40 minutes southeast of Antalya on the map) took less time than I was lead to believe -- less than four hours -- but not very picturesque. As I mentioned, we had the option of following the coast on a winding two-lane road with a rough surface or taking the inland route. Having driven a bit of the coast road a few days ago, we figured our butts couldn't take four or five hours of that hammering so we went the longer (but faster) way.

This involved some rather serious mountain climbing through generally rugged and inhospitable-looking terrain. There were still patches of show on the tops of the mountains and I gather Turkey even has a few ski areas. Who knew? There seems to be lots of road construction going on here ... and serious stuff involving blasting out a few passes to add two more lanes and moving LOTS of rock. When it is all done, I suspect Turkey's infrastructure will be in much better shape than ours in the US.

Our apartment is located in Augustus Village, a sprawling development rather in the middle of nowhere between Antalya and Alanya on the Mediterranean coast. It is an incredibly impressive operation, though. If we were into golf, I suspect we would be in heaven since there are dozens of golf courses in this area.

Shots through a bug-splattered windshield. The horse cart was dodging traffic as we passed through the big city of Antalya (population 1.1 million). The roadside stand was typical although we have yet to learn what they have cooking in the large pots on the stoves.

Augustus Village consists of 61 apartments and 59 villas. The village has been built in the style of many of the old local houses and villages, with cobbled streets, courtyards and water features. The communal gardens offer beautiful tropical trees, shrubs and flowers. The gardeners work extremely hard to ensure the gardens are always looking magnificent. There are nine swimming pools including a large central pool and a poolside bar serving meals in season.

We hadn't eaten all day, so after dropping our bags, we headed about twenty minutes down the road to the town of Side (pronounces see-day). The core of the town is ancient but in the outskirts along the coast, there are some massive neo-moorish resorts being built. We will get into the old town in the next few days and I suspect the contrast will be staggering.

But Job One was to get some food before we hit the supermarket to stock up for our short stay. I checked out TripAdvisor and chose their #3 rated restaurant, Umut Pide & Kebab. The rave reviews always help ... and being outside the old town, it seemed to be less formal (and less pricey) than the rest. I was expecting something along the lines of Hunkar Ocasbasi but instead found a clean, modern facility. The beer was cold, the portions generous, the staff was friendly and the price was right. All in all, a good choice.

The meze included a huge piece of freshly-baked lavosh, right out of the oven. Lovely! Margene continued her research into kalmar tava (fried calamari). Korfez in Bodrum is still the best we found. I opted for the lamb shish. Shish means a skewer of only meat although the plate came with an array of side dishes. The meat was lightly seasoned and quite tender. I am increasingly impressed with Turkish food.

[Itinerary Page]

© 2013 Restaurant Doctor