My last stop in Turkey, Antalya, is a popular local vacation destination along the country's southern coast. I knew next to nothing about the city prior to my arrival, but Antalya came highly recommended by my fellow travelers and all it took was Google image search to sell me on this idyllic paradise. The pictures reminded me of the ever-intoxicating Croatian coastline, but I assumed the pictures online were either heavily photoshopped or taken at the most beautiful time of the year. It is the middle of December and so far Konya (my previous city) was depressingly rainy, Göreme was insanely cold, and Istanbul was both! I spent hours trying to lower my expectations of Antalya, but much to my surprise it is a spectacular city with easily the best weather I’ve experienced in so far in Turkey!
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Since arriving in Croatia, I've actively pushed myself to not hold expectations for any upcoming cities. So far it hasn't been an issue, but I never want to arrive in a beautiful place and be disappointed that it isn't as gorgeous as the city I just came from. When I boarded my ferry from Bol to Hvar, I went through the motions of trying to remove my expectations and prepared myself mentally for Hvar. I figured by now I was well overdue for a disappointment since every single city I've visited so far is nothing short of extraordinary. Surely every city I visit in Croatia can’t be incredible, there must be a "dud" somewhere. Fortunately, this is not the case for Hvar. It is an absolutely beautiful gem of a city that completely blew me away - Croatia is still bowling a perfect game in my book.
My god how I've missed the southern coast of Europe and the fantastic Mediterranean weather! While I'm technically on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, I feel I've returned home to the beautiful havens of Lagos, Ibiza and Marseille from the first part of my trip. Over the last few months I've traveled through many northern European countries and I'd forgotten how much I longed for this kind of weather until I arrived in Zadar. This city is a remarkable breath of sensational, salty-sweet fresh air and if my first few hours in Zadar are any indication, my time in Croatia is going to be absolutely spectacular!