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2006 Autumn in Alanya

by Trudy (1/6/2009)

2006 Autumn in Alanya

October 26th 2006
After weeks of waiting and counting the days, today is the day: my sister and I leave for Alanya. Of course I am much too early on Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, I always am. Therefore, with cappuccino and a newspaper I wait for my sister and her husband, who is coming to say goodbye. They arrive some after six o’clock. While we are waiting in the row at the check-in desk, my mobile phone rings: Mum. She tells us that according to teletext we have a delay of two hours. We did not know that, the information sign of Corendon Airline Company does not say anything about it, but later it appears to be true. This means we have to wait much longer but it gives us also the opportunity to have dinner with the three of us. Around nine o’clock we pass customs, leaving my sister’s husband alone for eleven days. Some shopping and then we go to the gate. The security control is strict, we can see but there is no alarm when we pass it. Of course there is even more delay, in total two-and-a-half hours, that is one of the disadvantages with a cheap charter. We leave finally at 23.10 hours.

The flight itself goes without any problem and at 03.30 Turkish time, we land at the airport of Antalya. There we walk without thinking in a row behind other passengers; completely forgotten we have to get our visa first. However, we remember that as one of the first so we do not have to wait at that desk. For our luggage, we do have to wait, about twenty minutes. Meanwhile we smoke a cigarette and have a chat with a Dutch-Turkish man who tells us that when in Turkey a woman lit the cigarette of a man and he allows her to do so, he has to pay her a dinner. Hm, that means some perspectives…

Outside a staff member of Corendon Airline tells us which bus to go to. We have to wait again until all other passengers have arrived and we can leave for Alanya. The guide in the bus thinks it is necessary (like it is a tour instead of a transfer) to have a stop for coffee and a cigarette, even though it is only 05.30. We do not think so, we want to go to sleep! Our hotel is the last one on the route and around seven o’clock we arrive at hotel Horizon Apart in Oda where we after checking-in finally can go to sleep. We are exhausted. 

October 27th 2006
After a short ‘night’, we go into town. We can go by bus or walking and enthusiastic as we are, we chose the latter. Three quarters of an hour we walk on a path next to a busy street filled with cars blowing their gasses, so no clean air! While walking we see many signs in Dutch: menus, brokers in real estate, translators, etcetera. We are surprised that people going to a foreign country stick so much to their own habits. It might sound snobbish but we both try to feel and taste more culture and especially the real Turkey. To us no hamburgers, fried eggs and pancakes at ‘Jan and Joop’s’ Dutch café.

We both want to go to Kapadokia and go therefore to a few travel agencies to find out what they offer. It appears that the programs of the three we visit are similar. We take a three-day tour from Fam Tours because they let us the choice between hotels. We completely go for it and take the more expensive one because then we will stay for two nights in a hotel made of tuff. We also book here a hammam visit for Sunday. To me something to look forward to because I know how much pleasure that is, to my sister who does not have experienced that, a surprise she likes to have. We stop to sink far away in the cushions of Caldi Cay Bahçesi on the Damlatas Caddesi. For my sister it is her first nargileh. The shopkeeper is a very kind and friendly man who brings us new coals several times and tucks us in the large pillows.

We go back to the hotel over the boulevard with a dolmus. There we meet R., whom I know from chatting and a forum. With her and her girlfriend S. I talk a while and my sister is reading in the hotel room. Along the boulevard, we walk to restaurant Casper where we have some mezes for dinner. Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and not all of the açili ezme, sigara böregi, salads and grilled sausages we eat. We are very tired so the offer of a free drink we kindly refuse. Apparently, the waiting does not like this because when saying goodbye he shakes hands with left. Quite impolite, we think.

In the hotel, we drink coffee; my sister goes to sleep while I stay to talk with R. and S. They have told me that Fatih, a bar keeper I have chatted with a few times, would come by. I like to see him in real and decide to stay. I have to wait very long and when I am planning to go to my room, Fatih arrives. His English is very bad; a normal conversation is not possible. That is why I say good night to everyone and leave.


October 28th 2006
We take a dolmus to Manavgat where we change for a bus heading for Antalya. On the highway at the Aspendos turn-off, we get off. Immediately there is a taxi driver offering us a tour. Some ‘Turkish negotiations’ later we get in and as first stop the driver brings us to the Aspendos (Belki) bridge. There we see a large sign in English: Length 225 meter, width 4,50-5,70 meter (changeable). It is over Köprüçay, which is known as Eurymedon in ancient times. It is built as a seven-eyed on the ruins of old Roman bridge legs by Anatolia Selçuk emperor Alaaddin Keykubat (1219-1236). Restored by Turkish 13. region Highway Administration between 1996-1998. The somewhat wild water under the bridge gives an extra dimension to the pieces of stone in the river. The next stop is at the remains of the aqueduct, the height makes it very impressive.

The Aspendos theatre is marvellous, the acoustic fabulous. Upstairs you can hear the sound of a ping-pong ball falling on the podium. Climbing up and descending costs me quite some sweat. Not that I have such a bad condition, but I do have an enormous fear of heights. Sometimes I panic, do not dare to move, afraid of falling. The theatre has been restored after a visit of Atatürk. A plaque near the entrance says that Atatürk ordered restoration and said the theatre should be used again for performances and sports.

Outside the theatre, we climb up the hill so we can also visit the basilica and the agora, Roman ruins from the second century. This places does exist even longer, from the Hittite times, but what we now see is all Roman. More than two hours we walk in this area, we take many pictures and enjoy the views very much. The beauty of the mountains far away makes us quiet, so beautiful, those eroded rocks, the power and the strength coming from it. As just ordinary people, we feel very small next to this nature beauty.

The taxi driver brings us back to the highway where we can catch the bus back to Manavgat. Suddenly, only ten meters away, somebody lit fire to a piece of land. The flames are high, the heat very near. We walk away a bit, too dangerous we think. Happily, it is only for a short time, half-burned trees and black grass is all what has left. We have no clue about the reason of this fire.

Dinnertime so we look for a not too touristy restaurant. Not so easy in Alanya that is. Nevertheless, we find one, meals of the day in show-windows, unadorned tables and a television screaming to all visitors. They serve Iskender kebab, for both of us a real treat! We drink coffee with künefe and an éclair at Mado on the Atatürk Caddesi. The waiter asks me if I know what künefe is. When I say that I have eaten that in Hatay before, he gets lyrical. “Hatay? There I was born”, he says. His homesickness we can see on his face. At eleven o’clock, we are back in the hotel. It was a busy day, tiring and full so we go to bed.


October 29th 2006
Our day starts with a visit of the Kuyularönü Camii. My legs should be covered and the caretaker gives me a long skirt I can put over my own skirt at knee length. My sister wears a headscarf for the first time in her life. This mosque is only seven years old. We both love it. Refined in blue, mosaics, carpet, michrab and mimber are decorated very precisely. Tiles, carved wood and many little sculptures. Gorgeous!

Walking towards the peninsula, we pass by several tourist shops. My sister feels cheated when she buys a Hugo Boss perfume and few shops later she sees the same for much less. I also see an interesting offer but later I find out it has been mixed with a lot of water. Ah, shouldn’t we be that greedy. We get both a tiny nazar-broche. The sales man says we are his first customers this day and he throws the money we give him to the floor. He says he does that for getting luck. It is similar to the habits of Dutch market traders who spit on the first coins they receive each day, also to get luck.

Kizilkule is our next stop, the five storeys high Red Tower from 1226. There we meet Muhammed, a friend of R. I say hello to him by calling his name. Muhammed is very surprised, how do I know who he is? When I tell him I am a friend of R., he immeditely pushes away my hand with the money in it, buying a ticket is not necessary anymore. This tower is build by a Syrian architect during the reign of Seljuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad I. The tower is beautiful, coarse stones and at the first floor there is an exhibition with many pictures from all over Turkey. These pictures have an explanation in English. We see things I have seen before during my trip to East Turkey so I can point my sister at a picture of the Grand Mosque in Divrigi. Eighty seven steps up, at the upper floors, we enjoy a marvellous scenery, views over the sea, the harbour and the hill.

Lunch today is gözleme peynir with (of course) ayran at a small terrace next to the harbour. After that, we visit another mosque (I forgot the name of it). We both think this one is not beautiful but boring. The michrab is white in a white wall so therefore hardly noticeable. The common red block pattern on the carpet makes this small space look even smaller. Two little girls outside are very interested in us and ask if we speak Turkish. Using the few Turkish words I know I can ask them how they are doing. A lot of giggling follows. Maybe my accent is terrible?

To get some more information about tours in the area we go to Pacho Tours. The employee there is quite proud of himself. He points us at large pictures on the wall: he danced at a performance at Aspendos. He shows us some picture books, completely convinced we will buy a tour at this office. The first tour (to Myra / Demre) he says is good. We do not like it that much because of the departure time: 03.00 in the morning! The second one is a tour with Aspendos in its program; we just have been there yesterday. Therefore, we say we leave and thank him for the information. Then this man gets furious. He says he has never seen ‘such Dutch people’ before. When we ask what he means with ‘such Dutch’ he only says ‘you know what I mean’. Yeah, we can guess, but we play to be innocent. The man does not explain anything anymore though. He closes the picture books, returns to his pc and does not say a word anymore. When we say goodbye he remains silent as well.

Then we go to Harem Hammam in Konakli, about fifteen kilometres west of Alanya. A taxi from Fam Tours brings us there. We are shown to the dressing room and receive a peshtemal. Next is the sauna. When we ask if we do not need to take a shower before entering the answer is negative, no need to do that. Uhm…? After twenty minutes of sweating, it is time for a very short stay in the shock pool (ice-cold water!) and an also very cold jacuzzi. Then the real stuff: the hot stone in the hammam itself. That this hammam is a touristy one is clear from two things: the masseurs are both female and male and they skip the ritual of cleaning yourself at the small basins on the walls. Both my sister and I want a female masseur. To me it means longer waiting because there is only one female staff member present. The scrub is not soft but the shampooing makes it good afterwards. Then an oil massage of thirty minutes. Again no soft touching but a quite hard approach. The masseur knows where the sensitive parts on our bodies are – ouch! My sister is a bit confused; it all goes that quickly, what is happening to her? The taxi brings us back to Alanya, where we drink coffee at Mado’s, too early for dinner yet.

Streets and alleys, in and out, looking for a restaurant with a nice menu. We end up at Arif Kebab where we eat çupra balik folyo (bass in foil). Delicious grilled fish with a nice lemon sauce. During dinner, it starts to rain like cats and dogs. That promises something for the upcoming days, the weather forecast is not too good.

Because we do not want to get soaked, we take a taxi back to the hotel. There I chat with Ramazan, one of the waiters. He speaks well and almost without an accent Dutch, he never had lessons, just learned it from the many Dutch guests that stay in this hotel. He can be a role model to my own students! When I say his Dutch is very good he blushes a bit, but he certainly likes to hear those compliments. 

October 30th 2006
Again a new course today for my sister: kadayif at Hananden Pastane. She likes it very much but thinks it is quite rich. After some searching we find the tourist information office where a kind woman gives us information about trips outside the city by dolmus. Maybe we can use those ideas for Friday. Next to this office are the Damlatas Magarasi – the dripping stone caves with stalagmites and stalactites. These caves have an air humidity level of 95% and a constant, quite high temperature. When we enter, we both say ‘Wow’ – completely impressed by the beauty of this nature phenomenon. In the cave, it is sultry and humid; the cave has the name having healing powers for asthma. We take a lot of pictures, if they are not to dark I cannot see on the tiny screen of my digital camera. No problem, I will look when I am home again.

Then it is time for today’s challenge: climbing up to Iç Kale, the inner fortress of Alanya. The long, windy and sometimes steep road is a bit a problem for me. I did not expect to walk so much today so I do not wear my walking boots but I am wearing pumps. Not so smart. Not so comfortable as well, the road exists of stone chippings and coarse asphalt. My soles are thin and I can feel every little stone through them. My feet beg for rest. After some kilometres, we hear a dolmus coming up the hill behind us, so for the final part we do not have to walk. Up at the hill we visit the castle with its cisterns, walls, battlements and the ruins of a Byzantine church. The view at the bay is marvellous, the view at the cramped coastline of Alanya a lot less. Going back, we want to visit Süleymaniye Camii, but that one is closed. The way back we almost all walk again and not far from the city, we have a late lunch with köfte at Deniz Café. Overall, we walk about six kilometres up and down hill. The weather changes and it starts to rain hard and there is thunder and lightning. My sister feels a cold coming up and because we do not want to worsen that (and just both want to stay dry); we take a taxi to the hotel.

Dinner nearby the hotel today: across the street at Ali Baba’s. Looking for a restaurant down town in this weather is not what we call fun. The fresh bread with cheese, garlic and seasoned butter as a meze and the delicious but spicy Adana kebab make our menu complete today. Back in the hotel, I chat some time with R. and S. because when they go home we will still be in Cappadocia. Time to say goodbye. 

October 31st 2006
The minibus for our tour to Cappadocia picks us up at the hotel at 05.15. The other passengers and guide Eveline are picked up a bit later and some after seven it is breakfast time in Akseki. At the highest point of the Taurus Mountains (Alacabel, 1825 meter), there is a picture stop (or, for the addicted ones: time to smoke). After another coffee stop we arrive in Konya about eleven o’clock. There we visit the Mevlana Museum with tombs of Mevlana, family members and followers. Beside the tombs, there are more memories of Mevlana to see: pictures, his poems in Farsi, paintings and a closed box in which they say hairs of Mohammed’s beard are kept. Mevlana’s original name is Celaleddin Rumi, later he got the name Mevlana that means ‘Our guide’. We like to visit the nearby mosque but when we look around the corner, we see about forty men praying. Oops, salaat time. No disturbing it means to us even some bystanders say we are allowed to go in.

Lunch is at restaurant Çiltas, outside of Konya. Luckily, I do not eat everyday this much or this delicious, I would gain a lot of kilo’s! Tavuk, köfte, lahmacun, salads, my plate is loaded. Then all the deserts: puddings, kadayif, cakes and to my surprise also Kemal Pasa Tatli. A real treat. During lunch, we talk with Swedish Annet and her son Peter. Annet now lives for six years in Alanya, her son is with her for six months to write his thesis. They give us good tips about restaurants and teach us some Turkish expressions.

Next part of the route is called the sleeping part by Eveline, so boring. Few passengers find it hard to follow that advice, we too doze of. Again a coffee stop, this time with sütlaç… (oh, those kilo’s). Eveline explains what we see, telling anecdotes, giving historical and geographical facts.

The underground city of Saratli in Aksaray is smaller but better accessible than the one in Kaymakli. I was afraid I would be a bit disappointed because of its smaller size but that is not true. We both enjoy the carved rooms, the intelligent architecture with ‘feeling holes’ in the wall in case of complete darkness, the amazing large stones they used as entrance doors. How did they get those stones, more than 1000 kilo each, down?

It is getting dark soon and we drive to the hotels in Urgüp. A short stop at Devrent Valley to taste the atmosphere but it is really to dark to see very well. In Urgüp, the other eight passengers are dropped off at the Merit Inn Hotel and we at Otel Kral. That is a bit more luxury, build of tuff, arched rooms, very artistic and authentic decorated. Hanging at the walls there are some Ottoman dresses, a lot of ornaments, and many kinds of carpets on the floors. The manager does speak a bit English and a bit French and comes over to talk with us. Then dinner buffet with Iskender köfte, manti, salads and again delicious deserts. We go to sleep early, this morning we had to wake up before dawn and tomorrow again, it will be dark as we will get our wake-up call.


November 1st 2006
The day start a bit depressed with clouds but they soon fade away. In Devrent Valley, we are looking breathless to the caves and fairy chimneys. We walk over small paths full with stones and climb towards the chimneys. Then we visit Özgur pottery in Avanos. Not that we are that interested in pottery but this and other visits are compulsory to the program because those factories sponsor this trip. A price of 59 Euro for a three-day half board trip cannot be enough for all the costs. In the pottery, we get an explanation about the different techniques they use and a demonstration by Cemil, a ceramist. Then one of us can give it a try. My sister likes to do so. However, thirty years ago, she was a ceramist herself once. Cemil says he can see she has experience, her vase is stable and formed well. Applause from the group is her reward.

In Çavusin we visit and old and abandoned Greek village. Until the sixties people lived there but when part of the village collapsed the government forbids living there. The rooms – empty as can be – are easily to fantasize full with people. A bit further in Göreme is Yusufkos, a small cave church with fresco’s. Most of the fresco’s are peeled off and destroyed but some parts are very recognizable. Pity there is so much graffiti, this historical place deserves more respect.

On the program there is a picture stop but because of the rain, Eveline takes us to an underground house where a Turkish family lives. After ten minutes we get kicked out, a larger group is coming. Eveline is mad about this, that was not the deal!

Next stop is at a typical Turkish cave house in Göreme. Owner and resident Ismail has a small souvenir shop in it. He has changed one of the rooms into a hotel room with private bathroom. For 60 Euro two people can stay here for the night including breakfast from the partly hidden, partly carved out terrace with its spectacular and breath taking views. The idea to stay here someday is quite attractive to my sister.

In Pasabagi, we climb to the monastery of St. Simon, a saint from the fifth century. This man has carved his convent himself and lived for years on the top of a chimney because he was not happy with the environment and the people around him. A couple of hundred meters away we see many chimneys, amongst a three-headed one.

Bazaar 54 is a carpet factory annex showroom with a stock of more than 17.000 carpets. Prices vary enormously: the cheapest are about 300 Euro, the expensive ones up to 50.000 Euro. Size does not say anything about prices. Silk carpets are more expensive than kilims and the amount of knots per centimetre determinates the time needed to make one. These carpets have 9 to more than 100 knots per centimetre. Manufacturing a carpet takes between two months and two years. We both do not like these carpets and the designs (besides I already have two in my living room) so the smooth talk of Turkish-American salesperson Oktay does not have any effect to us. After his official talk Oktay approaches us, he wants to know where I get my American accent. I tell him it probably is caused by many soaps on television. Oktay now lives for 14 years in the States, in Texas – but is not a Bush-lover, that becomes clear very soon.

Back to the hotel, to freshen up and have dinner quickly because the bus to bring us to Karakus for a Turkish night is already waiting. They start with a dervish dance, gorgeous to see. Even it is not the real dance – that you can only see in Konya in the week of December 19th – but meant for tourists, it is beautiful. Filming and taking pictures are during the first dance not allowed, they tell us. The spiritual character may not be disturbed. Of course, there are people filming and taking pictures with flash. Stupid, respectless idiots! Then several traditional Turkish dances from different areas, the performance of a belly dancer and a fire dancer. In between the dances, I talk with Annet, who tells me how to call names in Turkish. Can be useful at a next holiday….

November 2nd 2006
Today we go back to Alanya with for a start a visit to Sayan onyx factory in Avanos. Their explanation is disappointing, they only want to sell. The staff is quite aggressive so no one of our group wants to buy. Then we have two stops at karvanserais. The first we see is the restored Agzikarahan from 1231 and the second is Sultanhani, the largest of its kind in Turkey with a floor space of 4500 square meters. Karvanserais are a kind of hotels from the times of Marco Polo and the Silk Route on the way to China. Tradesmen were looking for protection for themselves, their camels and their goods against robberies. Camels can, if they are packed, walk about 30 kilometres a day, so the karvanserais are not far from each other. The taxes the tradesmen paid over their transactions were used as insurance for the next karvanserai. Behind Sultanhani is a beautiful blue-green lake with a depth of 150 meters.

Lunch is again at Çiltas in Konya and again delicious. On the way to Alanya Eveline tells us a lot about Turkey: about weddings, funerals with mevlut (remembrance days after 40 days and a year), circumcision and the ceremony for the boys who are joining the army. The day before they leave, they will drive – loudly using the horn - in a pickup truck through their hometown; at the back someone is then showing the Turkish flag. This information is nice but not always up-to-date, we learn later at Alanya museum. Around six o’clock we are back at the hotel, we drink coffee and try to talk to Ramazan but he is not in a talkative mood today, he is very quiet.

Walking towards to boulevard but still in a side street a dolmus stops for us. The driver is patiently waiting for us. What a service, we can use that in Holland as well. Following the advice of Swedish Peter, we have dinner at Ak Deniz, an authentic Turkish restaurant in a street next to the post office on Atatürk Caddesi. The köfte and spinach are delicious. 


November 3rd 2006
Just arrived in town I hear someone calling my name. I turn around and see a Turkish man. It takes a few seconds before I recognize him: Fatih, the barkeeper from last Friday with whom I chatted a few times. We are invited to come to the restaurant he works now. With some efforts, we can brush him off with the very vague promise of maybe later: belki sonra. These words also work with too pushy waiters at restaurants we find out. Mado has good coffee again and then it starts raining, it will not stop all day. Quickly we buy an umbrella and continue shopping. Results during the day: 6 CD’s, a pair of Nazar earrings as a gift from my sister for me and a prepaid telephone card for a friend. The CD’s I buy are: Yurtseven Kardeslar (2), Nazanöncel, Gülshen and Attila Tas, my sister sticks to one from Neslihan.

Lunch is at Ottoman House on the Damlatas Caddesi where we have delicious meze. Their lunch speciality gives us twelve different kinds. At Fam Tours we book another Hammam visit.

During the next downpour we just pass Floyd, a very, very Dutch cafe with Douwe Egbert’s coffee, Dutch speaking staff and Dutch television channels. Giggling and a bit ashamed we go inside. We always said we do not want to go to places like this and now we are, just because of the rain! My sister tells me not to make a picture of her here, but of course, I do not listen to my abla, I take it anyway.

In addition, my Turkish friend and student Abdullah from Rotterdam calls me. He wants to know how I am doing. I have sent him a sms in Turkish, apparently without mistakes because he is giving me compliments for it.

Dinner is simple tonight at Gözde Çesnici, a small lokanta near Atatürk Caddesi. The rest of the evening we spent in the hotel bar, what else can we do in this horrible weather? Talking about the hotel: it is absolutely minimal. We did not expect much because of the cheapness but there is a lot not working or missing. The toilet does not flush (they fix it though), no lights on the corridors, no sheets but (too short) flannels on the bed. No hot water in the shower for four days and we do not get clean towels – we have to ask again every day. Simply said: more budget than this hotel is hardly possible, not really a recommendation. 

November 4th 2006
Today we go to the local museum. The exhibition and pictures are beautiful but we are a bit disappointed by its size. According to the Lonely Planet, there are many carpets, jewellery and beautiful illustrated religious books to see. Obviously it was during an earlier exhibition. This text is a bit misleading.

We walk towards the beach, to see the slightly wild sea, the waves white-headed. A beautiful view, especially because there are no tourists in bikini to spoil it! My sister gets in touch with a Turkish woman from Istanbul, now living in Alanya about what to see and do around here. In an internet café, we check our flight time for tomorrow, nothing has changed.

Our last lunch this vacation: tomato soup and pide with goat cheese. Then we are looking around a bit. We try to find a bookshop, visit a very ugly mosque (we even do not see a mimber and michrab though that for mosques so special carpet is there) and finally return with just a box of lokum. Once more we go to a pastane for coffee with dolma kadayif. We surely are going to miss all those delicious things.

The Atatürk house is at the ground floor nice to see although the pictures of this great man do not mean much to us. He stayed the night here at February 18th 1935 and the owner left the house as a memorial. On the second floor, there is an exhibition of the life of wealthy families during the thirties. The rooms have gorgeous couches, beds and heating places. Separate rooms for men and women. This little museum is out of the touristy part of town. The atmosphere here is so much nicer, calmer. Turkish all-day life, which I have seen a bit of during my travel through the east, we like so much better than the hectic and fake touristy things.

Then again we go to Harem Hammam in Konakli. Today we have no choice: we are being scrubbed and shampooed by a man or we are not. The only female member of staff is not here today. My remarks that the travel agency did not tell us this are immediately punished: the masseur takes revenge of my disapproving him by not long and less good scrubbing. Much too soon I am rinsed. After that we get a very nice oil massage by the same woman as Sunday. This time she is not so rough in touching.

Again to Ottoman House, the mezes from yesterday were so good; we like to try their dishes once more. Except for eight different mezes, we order a lamskebab and an Ottoman chicken- and lamb dish from the oven. The waiters, Cemil and Suat, are trying to make us feel comfortable, in which they succeed.

Arriving at the hotel around nine o’clock there is still no fax from Corendon Airlines with the pick-up time tomorrow. We call, Ramazan calls, a colleague calls and only at 23.00 hours we know: 05.10! That is some shock! A picture from Ramazan, saying goodbye and thanking him for taking so good care of us and I go to bed. This will be the last, short night in Alanya. 

November 5th 2006
It is 04.15 when the alarm goes off. Grumbling we get up, not awake completely. Waking up is not difficult: again there is only ice-cold water in the shower… Packing the last things, closing the suitcase and backpack and at five o’clock we are in a dark lobby waiting. The receptionist does not want to put on the lights – then he cannot sleep anymore – and only after asking several times we get some dimly lights. The bus is exactly on time. Picking up other passengers at several hotels – and not all the passengers are on time – and a coffee stop at 06.45 we drive in two-and-a-half hour to the airport of Antalya. Checking in does not take much time so plenty left for another coffee. Prices of that make the last lira’s disappear like snow for the sun: a simple cup of coffee costs 8 YTL.

Waiting for customs I look at my visa: it appears to be one for just a month instead of the three-month visa I got during earlier trips. Should I decide to go back to Turkey during Christmas holidays, I have to get a new one. Just a custom mistake or ……?

The plane leaves right on time. During the flight there is some turbulence, we are asked several times to go back to our seats and fasten our seat belts. At Schiphol Amsterdam Airport my sister’s husband is waiting. Coffee, telling the first stories and then home. I go by train to Rotterdam and at four o’clock, I am home again. It was a very good holiday with reasonable weather, delicious food, beautiful things to see, nice people we have met and travelling with my sister – for the first time in my life – was very much more than just okay but we both know: Alanya and places like that are not really on the top of our vacation list.


Hammam – bath house
Nargileh – water pipe
Dolmus – little bus
Meze – appetizer
Açili ezme – pepper/tomato appetizer
Sigara böregi – deep fried cheese in dough
Iskender kebab – meat with bread in yogurt sauce
Künefe – sweet pastry with honey and pistachio
Camii – mosque
Michrab – pulpit
Mimber – place towards the east where Muslims pray
Köfte – meat balls
Pide – kind of sandwich
Dolma Kadayif – pastry

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