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The day we left Antalya, the sky was cloudless as you can see from these pictures taken from the plane.  The white rectangles are greenhouses for fruits and vegetables.  Antalya is the fruit basket of Turkey.  The mountains on the far side of Antalya are impressive as they go right out to the Meditteranean.  Kemer is hidden somewhere behind them.

Click on the picture to get a bigger hi-res image.

I found a match between my picture taken from the plane with Google’s satellite map.

This is Gemlick, a small city on the edge of the Sea of Mamara, the waterway that connects the Black Sea to the Mediteranrean Sea.

All-inclusive resort buffet food à la Club Med- nothing special but it was fresh, healthy, well-presented and plentiful.  The fruits are exceptional – we had so much watermelon !  I also liked the make-it-yourself salad bar – basically baskets of vegetables and herbs, chopping board and knives … fresh parsley and dill with juicy tomatoes, lettuce, in garlic-infused olive oil and charcoal-grilled meats … that was my lunch for several days.

Other notable items:  freshly handmade pasta, tuna steaks, BBQ chicken, assortment of colorful meze, …

We spent a week at Club Med Kemer located in the southern mediterranean coast of Turkey.  One thing we did not find out until after we booked the trip is that this village is known for its party atmosphere.  Apparently, there was one every night, by the pool, near the bar, in the amphitheatre or at the nightclub.  It is definitely not a family vacation destination.  The clientele are mostly in their 20-30’s, many singles from France, Belgium and quite a few from Russia.  The day after we arrived, they hosted a foam party in the afternoon.

Club Med staff are called “GOs”, or Gentils Organisateurs. Guests are “GMs”, or Gentils Membres. The resort is known as a village. The resort manager is called the chef de village (Village Chief).  The GOs mingle with the crowd at dinner, hang by the bar to break the ice, and lead some group dances.  On certain days of the week, the guests are asked to all dress in a certain color, in support of some theme, e.g., all white, or red and white – colors of Turkey’s flag.  Although most of the GO’s can speak English, the DJ/MC used mostly French – “Allez Kemer, ALLEZ!” or “On ne va pas fatigue”.  They throw in a few catchy phrases in English – “Are You READY ? – Yes yes YES !”.  The nightly entertainment shows were kitschy with some funny moments and quite a bit of audience participation.  We made some friends during the week.

White night, poolside dinner.

Overall, it was fun.  We wished that we were 20 again.

We had a really busy summer – first, moving from Neuchâtel to Lausanne, then a string of business trips, and then a big 3-month project which was due in the middle of September.  We did not have a summer vacation and just managed to take a few day trips when IT was visiting.   I really needed a break.  So we decided to go for a beach vacation before the weather gets cold.

We had neither time nor energy to put a trip together ourselves.  Club Med offers all-inclusive packages, food and board plus transportation, in warm locations only a few hours of flight away.  So it was easy to decide.  This Club Med village is located in Kemer, Turkey which is comparable to Cancun in many respects except that it is smaller and less developed.  As a destination, Turkey is, to Europe, very much like what Mexico is to the US.  The nearest big city to Kemer is Antalya (40 miles away) which was where we landed.  The area (aka Turkish riviera) claims 300+ days of sunshine per year.

Kemer is surrounded by pine forests which lead up towards the Taurus mountains (see first 2 photos).  The resort is located just outside of Kemer on a private stretch of the coast line (very tight security).  There are four beaches, three platforms for launching waterskis and wakeboards, an open air amphitheatre, 2 restaurants and a big and a small swimming pool.   We had the sun, sea, sand (or more accurately pebbles), and the smell of pine, the entire week.  Every day was at least 34°C and mostly cloudless.  The seawater is notable for its color which was deep blue, and its buoyancy, presumably due to high salinity.  We found it effortless to stay afloat and can swim in deeper water for much longer periods.

Poolside dinner in preparation (above) and buffet area (below)