Youth Exchange in Antalya
The trip: I took the plane Budapest-Istanbul on Sunday morning; the trip only took around 1.4 hours. We spent all the afternoon in Istanbul but I didn’t see any of the city monuments only people in the streets showing their support to the attack of Turkish army to PKK positions on the east of the country. It was also interesting to see so many big flags everywhere. At night we took the 12 hours bus to Antalya; we crossed the entire Anatolian peninsula from near the Black Sea till near the Mediterranean Sea. Before we took the final bus to Olympus, our final destination, we stayed all the afternoon in Antalya; we did a little bit of sightseeing, admiring the old town, the beautiful landscape of mountains combined with the very beautiful sea. Here we also saw people demonstrating the support to the Turkish government. We arrived in Olympus in the middle of the night and with no notion where I was because I had slept the entire trip.
Olympus is a tourist resort; some years ago a backpackers' paradise, nowadays everybody comes, and it's very famous between climbers, while we were there, there was a climbing festival. There are no people living there besides the pensions and restaurants, known by the houses made of wood. Olympus is the name of an old Lycian city where now there are only ruins. We had to cross this ruins in order to reach the stony beach in a very nice bay. The place where we were was in a valley surround by big mountains that were covered by forest.
The group: The youth exchange was between Hungarians, Polish and Turkish. The Hungarian group, our Messzelato group, was the most international group because of the EVS volunteers from Italy, Estonia and Portugal, me. The Polish group was coming from the south of the country, 8 people just like us and ages from 15 till 28 years old, very nice people. I had to share my room with one of them, a crazy, beer, wine, vodka fan and very nice young human rights lawyer. The Turkish group was smaller but still very nice. My working group was constituted by one Estonian girl, me, my secret friend (a Polish girl of 16 years old and very nice), by my other secret friend to who I gave a lot of stones, our veteran Turkish guy that took us to visit Antalya in the day before the exchange and Zoli.
The work: We had to prepare some presentations at home about endangered species in our countries in order to present to the other groups. We presented viper, imperial eagle and beaver, Poland chose the bear, the wild cat, the wolf, the hedgehog, the beaver (just like us), the mink and Turkey chose the turtles because in the summer they come to put eggs in the beaches of Olympus.
We had multinational working groups, the first task was to create 2 posters about one or more endangered animal and make publicity of our theater, and each group also had to create a short play. Our group chose the eagle while the other two picked bear and turtles and beaver. Our play was a typical short act, we pretended that we were filming a movie about an eagle that is shot by a hunter and rescued by an environmentalist, we repeated this story five times, one fast, one slow, one happy, one sad, and finally good. The other groups made about ninja turtles and a drunken bear.
Leisure: We made several games, some of them to wake us up, other to let us meet better each others. One of the games was made so we could recognize where we were, going to the ruins, to the beach, the story of Olympus. Every night we had the secret friend game, I had to give a present or message to a person but she didn’t know who I was and I also received from someone I didn’t know of. I received very nice presents but like I said I almost only gave stones.
The first trip was to Myra, another Lycian city known for the well preserved amphitheater and necropolis and also where the Saint Nicolas church is, the famous Santa Claus.
On another day we trekked in the mountains till Chimera, a place where there are small fires coming from the interior of the earth. This happens because of gases that enter in combustion when they reach the surface of the earth. In the ancient times this was a religious site. On the last day we were supposed to see the national celebrations but when we arrived to the place it was over, so we spent the morning at the beach. Before we left Antalya we visited the museum of archaeology.
The free time: Besides the trips we also had great fun interacting in parties especially in the Bull bar, going to the beach or just enjoying the place. There was time to listen to a traditional Turkish instrument around the fire and have the international night where each country showed a little bit more about their own culture.
It was a very nice experience. It's a pity I'm not young forever.