Besides Istanbul, Mersin is my favorite city in Turkey. So I was glad to hear we had a week long tournament there for part of pre season. The weather there is perfect, the food is so good and it’s a sea-side city, which I love. I’ve never played on a team in Mersin, but a couple of years ago I played in a really small city a little over an hour away and spent a lot of time hanging there with with my college teammate who played in Mersin at the time.
Last Friday my team and I set out on a 6 hour bus ride from Ankara to Mersin. Yes, 6 hours!! Normally in this league teams take flights but being in the center of the country in Ankara, this team chooses to bus to games.
Once getting there, we had 4 games in 5 days. In the first game our team didn’t play well. We played a team that came out really aggressive and as a team, we weren’t ready for it at all. I also think we were tired from an early practice the day before, the long bus ride, and a morning practice earlier that same day as the game. But the next two games we bounced back, made it to the championship game and ended up beating the team that beat us in the first game.
During our time in Mersin we had some off time off so we were able to enjoy the city a little bit. Our hotel was literally across the street from the Mersin Marina, so my teammates and I got out the hotel and hit the Marina. (By the way, I love my teammates this year. My team is a little older and mature, with our oldest teammate being 39, but everyone is so cool. The Turkish players and foreigners included).
At the Marina, there are a bunch of good restaurants where you can sit outside and eat next to the water and it’s also a mini mall, with nice stores you can do some shopping at.
On our day off, a few of the girls and I took a trip to a Nike outlet at a nearby city by the name of Tarsus too. Over the years I’ve heard different teammates talk about how good and inexpensive it is so I was glad to finally be able to get there. And they were right, the prices there were so low, it was ridiculous. The outlet was good, but I was surprised by city it was in. A lot of the surrounding buildings were run down, the cars were really old and to me it was almost like a whole different world. Especially because Mersin, such a nice and advanced city was just down the highway.
Overall, I enjoyed the week in Mersin. As a team we got off to great start by winning our first tournament and just being in the Mersin atmosphere was lovely. I’m looking forward to our upcoming games there during the regular season.