Euphrates-Tigris basin (Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Göbeklitepe, Mardin,
Midyat, Diyarbakir), Mediterranean coast archaeological sites,
Planning and overall impression
We haven't so far travelled so much to Turkey, because to a certain
extent Turkey is a package / mass tourism destination and we usually
travel to lesser visited places. But this being a relatively short (two
weeks) winter trip and having been to lots destinations in southern
Europe and the Middle East, Turkey seemed like a suitable place to
visit over Xmas. Another factor was that the security situation in
Turkey had improved considerably compared to recent years and a trip
seemed sufficiently safe.
We focused on the Euphrates-Tigris basin (southeast Turkey) because of
its impressive cultural and historic heritage and because weatherwise
it still seemed doable in December-January (when the northern part of
Turkey is often covered with snow). We also planned to finish the trip
along the Mediterranean coast, visiting the ancient Greek and Roman
What surprised me was the lack of foreign tourists in southeast Turkey
(we saw very few non-Turkish travellers) and lack of foreign language
skills among the people living there.
We also discovered some impressive historical places (a 12000 years old
temple for instance), which are almost unknown here in Europe. The
entire Euphrates-Tigris basin seems to be full of these historical
The Mediterranean coast was what I was expecting it to be (temples,
ruins, beach resorts etc). But the mountain range before reaching
Antalya is interesting. You travel from the coast to Antalya and
suddenly you are in an alpine, snow-covered scenery. Seems like Antalya
is not just a beach destinations, but also a trekking/mountaineering
Costs, especially in eastern Turkey, were
quite moderate. For instance staying in a four star hotel for less than
40 Euro/night. Food was also quite inexpensive everywhere. Prices are
higher in the tourist hotspots along the Mediterranean coast in western
Turkey. I guess that the favourable exchange rate played a role in
keeping costs down.
Food is actually very good. It's not only kebab, there is a large
choice of dishes to choose from. There are also delicious desserts,
such as for instance the milk rice pudding or the Semolina Halva ice
cream dessert. Prices are moderate and everywhere there is this Turkish
hospitality culture, where the visitor is king and when you eat in a
restaurant you get a lot of side dishes and bread thrown in for free.
We spent between 16 and 53
Euro/night (usually in the 20-35 Euro range) for rooms of good
standard. In most places the A/C unit doubled as the heating. We booked
all places through the international booking portals. One thing I
noticed is that you can't use booking.com to book Turkish hotels in
Turkey (either do the bookings before going to Turkey or use other
Money / Exchange rate (December 2019 -
1 Euro = between 6.5 and 6.7 TRY
For current exchange rates check the Universal
Mobile phones and prepaid cards
cards with data are not inexpensive in Turkey, at least those which a
foreigner can buy. At the airport SIM cards of Turkcell with 20GB of
data are advertised for 149 Lira. And the procedure to buy one of these
is cumbersome, something like 20 minutes of paperwork. We end buying
SIM cards of Vodafone for 145 Lira each
(20GB of data, 750 minutes of national calls).
The weather was one of the key issues
during this trip, because December-January is not the best time to
visit Turkey. Along the Mediterranean coast the temperatures were mild
and it was sunny. In the Tigris-Euphrates basin the weather was mixed.
It was sunny and mild initially, but then when we left Sanliurfa on
Dec. 26th we experienced four days of rain. To a certain extent this
was due to the altitude (Mardin is on a mountain at 1083m), and for
instance further down the valley it was not raining.
We tried to reach the top of Nemrut Dagi, but had to turn back about
900m from the summit due to a very heavy snowstorm.
On December 30th and later the weather was good again.
Health / Vaccinations
To my knowledge nothing
special is required for Turkey. We were back in Munich on January 6th,
a couple of months before the Covid-19 outbreak started in Europe.
VISA / Entry requirements
No visa required for nationals of most European and other developed
Despite the proximity to the Syrian border, security was ok. However,
when travelling across east Turkey at most city entrance/exit roads
there were roadblocks of the police and the military. On December 30th
we passed a roadblock manned by police and heavily
armed military (with machine guns, troop transporters, bullet proof
We didn't experience any petty crime or pickpockets, but in April the
credit card I had used in Turkey started being billed for purchases by
somebody in Turkey. The money got refunded, but in the end I had to
cancel the credit card and get a new one. My guess is that somewhere in
Turkey somebody probably noted down the data of my card and forwarded
it to other people.
- The entire Euphrates-Tigris basin is full of very, very
impressive historical sites and museums. Even more impressive than what
you find in Italy or Greece. If you are interested in the earliest
civilisations, pre-pottery Neolithic, you have to visit this region.
- Along the Mediterranean coast there are the ruins of
many, many ancient Greek and Roman cities.
- The local food in Diyarbakir and elsewhere in eastern Turkey is
Things to avoid
- Winter is not the best time to visit the interior of Turkey.
We were unable to rent a large
(9-seater) car in southeast Turkey, so had to rent a van with driver.
This was a very convenient way to explore the area and allowed us to
travel around without having to backtrack.
Along the Mediterranean coast we rented a car and drove it from the
airport of Izmir to Antalya.
The other option would have been to have a travel operator arrange
everything, but if you are a larger group it's cheaper to do your own
22.12: Munich -> Gaziantep
Hotel Hampton by Hilton, Gaziantep. 238 Lira
for a nice big enough room of good standard (fridge, soft beds, table +
chair and smaller table and chairs, free WLAN with browser
registration, iron and ironing board, A/C and heating).
Weather: 3°C in Munich, overcast, no rain.
We leave home at 8:37am then manage to catch the train in Trudering
with no waiting time and again have almost no waiting time in the
Leuchtenbergring station (only 2 minutes) for the S8 train to the
airport. The S8 train is full of travellers.
We reach the airport at 9:40am, then proceed to the gate. We are lucky,
because there is a very short queue at the Pegasus airlines check-in
counter. By 10am we are checked in. Also at the security and passport
controls there are only short queues.
We are at the gate shortly after 11am. At 11:40am we pass through the
gate and then they make us wait an incredible 30 minutes in a cold bus
full of exhaust fumes, just to avoid making two or more trips to the
The Pegasus plane is an A320. Full of people, very narrow rows of
seats, little leg space.
We take off around 12:45pm with
some delay. Once we are in the sky they
serve us the meals we had booked (chicken steak with potato and fresh
salad). Freshly done, one of the best in-flight meals I've had
recently. Drinks (a coke for instance) cost 3 Euro.
We land in Istanbul at 5pm. By 5:30pm we have collected the boarding
passes to Gaziantep. Then there is a long queue at passport control.
Several travellers can't pass the passport control (perhaps some issue
with the visa).
It's almost 6pm when we have passed the passport check. I must say that
this airport is not exactly comfortable. Long queues, no small trolleys
where you can put your stuff. At the baggage retrieval you have to pay
for the luggage trolleys. And there is no free WLAN in the airport.
I get cash from an ATM (PTT bank). Max. amount is 800 Lira (= 122 Euro)
and I get 40 bills of 20 Lira each which is a joke. Each 20 Lira bill
has a value of just 3 Euro.
SIM cards of Turkcell with 20GB of data are advertised for 149 Lira.
Short stop at a KFC restaurant
around 6:50pm, then we walk to the gate
arriving at 7:05pm.
The plane takes off at 8:15pm with some 25 minutes of delay. This time
it's a newer A320neo aircraft with more seat and legs space. They only
serve cold snacks and meals (except for cups of instant noodles).
We land in Gaziantep at 9:30pm with just 5 minutes of delay. The
Gaziantep airport terminal is somehow old and relatively small. It
doesn't take long until we retrieve the luggage.
We get out of the terminal but cannot see shops, ATMs or places where
to buy a SIM card. There are taxis, but they seem to be a casually
arranged. The good thing however is that there are no touts
aggressively promoting overpriced taxi trips. Seems people here are
willing to use the meter.
After a couple of minutes, at 10pm, we are in a taxi on the way to the
hotel. The trip starts at 5 Lira (bill will be 78 Lira when we reach
the hotel). The driver drives quite fast, sometimes passing the traffic
light when it's red.
By 10:40pm we are in the hotel.
23.12: Gaziantep -> Sanliurfa
Hotel Manici, Sanliurfa. 24 Euro for a more
traditional style (not as shiny and modern as the Hilton hotel) room.
Kind of a caravanserai feeling. The room is very artistically set up.
There is a fridge, cupboard for clothes, soft bed, LCD TV, table +
chair, smaller table with two chairs, A/C unit which doubles as a
heater, balcony with nice view, phone, toilet with shower. Free WLAN
(password) which doesn't work so well.
Weather: overcast and a bit cold in the morning
in Gaziantep. Later in the morning the sun comes out, some blue sky.
Top temperatures around 11-12°C. Fresh but not cold in the evening in
In the morning we get cash from ATMs (we have to try out a few
find an ATM with no fees; the ING bank ATM offers the interbank
exchange rate but a steep 7% fee;
another ATM charges a fixed
commission; finally the ATM of the Halkbank charges no fees).
Then we enquire at a Turkcell shop for SIM cards. It's 135 Lira for one
SIM, so we skip it.
By 10 something AM the driver is here and around 10:50am we finally
leave the hotel.
On the way to the Zeugma
museum we spot a Vodafone
shop. We stop there and end up buying two SIM cards for 145 Lira each
(20GB of data, 750 minutes of national calls). Expensive, but it
doesn't look like we can find something cheaper.
But it takes forever to do these two SIM cards: we have to wait 40
minutes until we get these SIM cards. Probably the Vodafone shop is not
to blame: I'm guessing that the procedure to sell a SIM card is very
time consuming in Turkey.
Then we drive to the Zeugma mosaic museum, arriving there at 11:40am.
The entry ticket is 24 Lira per person. After getting in we are
immediately rewarded by a very scenic big hall with ancient mosaics,
pillars and other artifacts. Beautiful museum, very well set up. The
hall spreads over two floors and displays mostly Roman era mosaics and
There is also a 3D movie
about the artifacts in the
museum (to watch it you have to pay another 5 Lira).
At 12:40pm we are done with the museum and walk to the minibus. We lose
some time looking for the driver, then drive to the Halil Usta
restaurant (which probably was recommended by the Hilton hotel).
The Halil Usta restaurant is quite meat-centric. The focus of the
cuisine is grilled meat (we get grilled lamb and chicken meat).
is a fixed menu of 50 Lira which includes a drink, some Turkish salad
(not bad), meat and flat bread. Because we don't eat so much (how to
eat so much meat, and the chicken meat actually contains too much
pepper), the bill is reduced to 180 Lira for the six of us.
After lunch we drive to the archaeological
museum of Gaziantep,
arriving shortly after 2pm. The entry ticket is 7 Lira per person. Here
there are a number of exhibits from the Neolithic Age to the Bronze
Age, until the Roman period. The museum is interesting, but less
impressive than the Zeugma one.
It's about 2:45pm when we are done with this museum.
The driver then
brings us to the fortress (Kale) of Gaziantep. This is quite scenic
from certain angles. We slowly walk one time around the fortress. In a
fruit shop we buy some fresh fruits (clementines and other types of
small oranges and some pears). The clementines and small oranges turn
out to be very, very tasty, much more tasty than the same fruits sold
Around 3:30pm we meet the driver again.
We refuel the car and start
driving to Sanliurfa. The road quickly turns into a good motorway,
allowing to drive at speeds above 100 km/h.
At 5:21pm we reach the Piazza mall in Sanliurfa. This is a nice modern
mall with a food court on the upper floor and plenty of shops.
decorated and set up. The girls immediately discover a grocery selling
cosmetics and ladies products at prices lower than in Germany. We spend
about 10 minutes in this shop and get out with a bag full of stuff.
At 6pm we have a dinner in the food court. The food is not bad if you
choose the right dishes.
We reach the hotel around 7pm. Some discussion about the plans for
tomorrow in the lobby. They tell me it's possible to visit Nemrut Dagi.
I thought the place was full of snow. They tell me, the car can get up
to about 700m-1000m from the summit (about 10-15 minutes walk). So we
decide to drive to Nemrut Dagi tomorrow, starting at 10:30am.
24.12: Nemrut Dagi
Manici, Sanliurfa. Decent breakfast, although
not as good as the one in the Hilton hotel.
Weather: a mix of sunny and overcast, fresh. Very
strong and cold wind on the top of Mt Nemrut Dagi, very little
Around 10:30am we leave with
the driver towards Mt Nemrut Dagi. Once
out of Sanliurfa we are on a good motorway. Overall the roads are not
At 11:34am we briefly stop at the viewpoint of the Atatürk dam. Then we
continue driving towards Nemrut Dagi.
Around 1pm we are in Adiyaman.
Here out driver stops and we have to
change cars. For some unknown reason this driver won't continue until
Nemrut Dagi. The other car is of the same type, so it's not clear why
we have to pay 350 Lira for another car.
Then they tell us that we cannot go to Nemrut Dagi because of the snow.
Great, the entire point of this trip was to visit Nemrut Dagi and now
we cannot make it. Some discussion, finally they tell us that the
driver can bring us close to Nemrut Dagi, but we have to walk the last
So we start driving towards Mt Nemrut Dagi. Short break at 1:45pm at a
toilet along the way, then we continue driving.
Around 2:15pm we reach
a point where it is impossible to continue driving because the road is
completely covered with snow and the car has no suitable tyres.
We are still 2.2km from Mt Nemrut Dagi.
My brother and myself start
walking to the summit. Right now we must be at about 2000m of altitude.
The snow is hard, meaning that you can walk on it without sinking. The
problem is the extremely strong and cold wind.
I have no adequate
clothing. We manage to walk until 900m from the summit, then have to
turn back. All the time my sweet wife has been calling me on the phone,
telling me to come back.
After some time we reach the car. Then we drive back towards
on the way stopping in two places where there are some ruins.
is a place with a cave and some statues (Arsameia) and Greek
inscriptions on a rock wall, the second one is the Cendere bridge, an
ancient Roman bridge on a river.
We are back in Adiyaman shortly after 5pm. But it's not the parking
where we had changed the cars, this time we are in front of a
We'll end up losing over 20 minutes here, because our driver isn't here
and they insist that we eat in this restaurant. But I'm sceptical about
this place, because it's a Turkish tourist restaurant and it looks like
we can't get the food we want.
They even insist that we come in, quite pushy people.
Perhaps this is
an expensive restaurant and the driver gets a commission.
It takes some time until we are back in our car and drive to Sanliurfa.
The drive proceeds a bit faster than expected and around 7:15pm we
reach the hotel. There we deposit our stuff in the room, then get back
to the car and drive to the Piazza mall, where we have some food in the
In the evening I walk back from the mall to the hotel. Along the way we
spot a museum, the Kızılkoyun necropolis and the skyline of old Urfa,
all apparently in walking distance of the hotel.
25.12: Sanliurfa -> Göbeklitepe -> Harran -> Sanliurfa
Hotel Manici, Sanliurfa. Some party going on in the
hotel between 9pm and 11pm (very loud local music, perhaps some
Weather: sunny blue sky with a few clouds, but
cold and a strong wind in Göbeklitepe in the morning. Warmer later in
Harran and Sanliurfa later in the day. Some
very light rain in the
evening in Sanliurfa in the evening.
Shortly after 10:30am we leave for Göbeklitepe, arriving there at
11:03am. We park in the big parking, then walk to the visitors' centre.
There we purchase entry tickets (42 Lira; a 15 days museum pass for the
whole of Turkey costs 375 Lira; I ponder for some time if I should get
one, because we'll see more museums on this trip).
Then we walk into the
adjacent building where there is some small
museum with some exhibits and some movies and interactive multimedia
panels on the site.
Finally we get out
again and take a minibus to the
actual site (otherwise youx have to walk around 800m).
From there we walk past some stone walls which apparently are ancient
ruins to a site covered by a huge, circular plastic roof (probably some
kind of rain protection).
Inside there are some
stone structures of a
10000 years old temple. Highly interesting, it's just that the whole
thing is not terribly photogenic or artistic.
In fact, there is another site covered by a plastic tent, but it's not
accessible today. There are more stone structures, but you need a lot
of specific knowledge to understand what these represent. What I mean
is that this site is perhaps not too impressive for an average tourist,
although it must be very interesting for a scientist or archaeologist.
At 12:05pm we are done with Göbeklitepe (and all of us are freezing in
the cold wind anyway). We take the next minibus and get back to the
parking. There we get into the minivan and I tell the driver to bring
us to Harran.
It takes around an hour to get to Harran. At 1:15pm we arrive to some
kind of archaeological site. Immediately we get 'adopted' by some local
guide who for 100 Lira will show us around for an hour. So the tour
The guy explains that this is an active archaeological site with
ongoing excavations. This entire region seems to be a hotspot of
archaeological activity. He shows us the remnants of an ancient
university, explaining all the details.
The guide also tells us that the local people speak Arabic, not
Turkish. They are Turks, but the mother tongue is Arabic.
Then we get by car to the castle (we could have walked as it's only
200-300m). This castle is of the Hittite period, quite interesting.
More details follow, until the Mongol invasions.
Then we walk to the beehive houses and have a look inside them. The
ones we see are attached to some kind of cafe/restaurant. Inside there
are some kind of souvenir shops. The roof structures are quite
At 1:53pm we leave this place, then at 2pm we stop again in Harran at
some stone gate structure.
The issue is now the lunch. The guide told us that there is no decent
restaurant here in Harran (only some meat-heavy kebab places). So in
the end we tell the driver to bring us back to the Piazza mall in
Sanliurfa, which is the safest place where to have some food. Lots of
choices, low prices and you see what you order or buy.
It's around 3pm when we reach
the mall. We have some quick lunch, then
around 3:30pm we get back to the hotel.
Shortly after 4pm we get out again and this time walk to the nearby
Gölbashi park, where there is the Balikligöl pond. Very nice place,
with a mosque and other very photogenic structures.
We then walk up to the castle for some nice views of Sanliurfa. Then we
walk once around the castle. It's actually a quite ugly stone block.
Inside there are some Roman era columns, so the castle must contain
some ruins of a Roman era temple.
We are out until after 5pm. Around 5:20pm Shirley and the kids get back
to the hotel. I'll be out for another half an hour before getting back
to the hotel.
After 7:30pm I get out again, looking for a place where to have dinner.
Surprise, surprise in the entire old town area near the hotel I find no
decent place (it's all rather basic kebab/grilled meat places with no
heating). So I walk back to the Piazza mall and have a dinner there.
26.12: Sanliurfa -> Mardin
Hilton Garden Inn, Mardin. 36 Euro for a nice
room with the standard setup of a four star hotel. The only issue is
that (the free) WLAN in the room doesn't work so well, the shower is in
a bathtub and something is wrong with the heating because we have 26°C
in the room. Breakfast included and
for the first night also a free
dinner. The hotel has a small indoor pool and a small gym. The location
is not so good, because we are about 2-3km from the historical centre
Weather: rain the whole day. Light rain and cold
in the morning, stronger rain in the afternoon.
At 10:30am we are ready for checkout.
Then it takes a while
the bill and in addition, the driver is late, so that we end up
starting the day at 11am. We initially drive to the archaeological
museum in Sanliurfa (entry ticket: 14 Lira, audio kit: 20 Lira).
This is one of the most impressive museums I've seen so far seen in
It contains a series
of exhibits ranging from prehistoric times
(over 10000 years old prepottery artifacts, even before the major
civilisations started) to the Islamic period. Quite impressive stuff,
very nicely set up and explained. Very nice museum.
We end up spending 1:45 hours
in this museum and the kids would like to
because they have the audio
kits which explain each item.
At 1:05pm we get out of the museum and walk to the nearby mosaic
museum. This is a big ellyptic shaped hall, containing some Roman era
mosaics from Roman villas. Some of the mosaics are well preserved and
quite impressive (the Amazon mosaic and the Orpheus mosaic).
A bit after 1:30pm we get out of the museum and walk to the Piazza
mall, which is in walking distance. There we have a long lunch, do
again some shopping, then call the driver.
It's almost 3pm when we start driving towards Mardin. The road is
mostly a motorway, initially quite decent, later the surface is a bit
We reach the hotel in Mardin before 6pm and check in. Some confusion
with the driver who thought we had booked a room for him in the same
hotel. Some discussion with the travel agency. Then I hand the driver
300 Lira cash, because he apparently has no money with himself (his
food+accommodation costs 200 Lira/day).
In the evening we relax in the hotel (no point going out, as it's cold
and rainy) and have a dinner in the hotel.
Hotel Hilton Garden Inn, Mardin.
Weather: rain almost the whole day with a short
interruption around 3pm. It has been raining non-stop practically since
yesterday. I'm very surprised, because this area is actually very dry,
judging from the brown and dusty hills. If this was a high-rain area
everything would be much greener. And to make things worse, there is a
very dense fog with 50m of visibility (even less in some places) and
In the morning we drive into
town after 10:30am. Because it's raining
we drive to the Mardin museum (7 Lira for the ticket). This is in a
very nice characteristic building and houses a number of regional
artifacts from the neolithic to the Islamic period.
At 11:40am we drive to the next museum, the Sakip Sabanci city museum.
This (2 Lira entrance) is a museum about the city of Mardin and its
history. There are few artifacts, mostly old photos of the city.
We leave this place around 12:30pm. Since it's still raining we drive
to the Mardin AVM mall. This is a relatively small mall, which however
has a food court on the third floor. There we have a lunch (again quite
moderate prices for food - a complete meal costs about 25-27 Lira, i.e.
In the mall I try to get cash from some ATMs in the basement. The
problem is that all charge some fee (at least 60 Lira for a 2000 Lira
withdrawal) or offer some bad exchange rate.
After lunch it's still raining and the logical thing would be to get
back to the hotel and rest there. On the other hand, since it's only
about 2:10pm, I ask the driver to bring us into town to the Zinciriye
madrassa which looks photogenic in the pictures.
The driver then brings us first to the Kasimiye madrassa. It's
definitely an impressive building from an architectural and artistic
perspective, but the problem is the rain and this dense fog with 20m of
visibility. The madrassa is open, but inside the building there is not
much to see.
We then get back into the historic core on the main Birinci Caddesi
street. Suddenly I spot some ATMs on the street. Since we are close to
the Kasimiye madrassa and we are stuck in the traffic jam anyway, I
tell the driver to stop and we get out.
I try out these ATMs. All again charge some fee. We continue walking on
the street and have a brief look at the old town. With sunshine and
blue sky this would be a very photogenic place. Lots of interesting
architecture. I guess in the summer this place must be full of tourists.
The curious thing about this southeast Turkey region is that almost
nobody speaks English, or to put it differently finding somebody who
speaks some other language than the local one is really difficult.
Finally I find an ATM (the PTT bank one) which charges no fees, and I
After 4pm we get back to the hotel and spend the rest of the day there.
Mardin -> Dara -> Mardin
Hotel Hilton Garden Inn, Mardin
Weather: overcast in the morning, but at least it
doesn't rain and it looks as if the sky is opening up. After
starts raining until 11:40am. The rest of
the day it's overcast. In
Mardin it's a mix of fog (actually clouds passing through the city) and
better visibility. Lower in the plains
(Dara city) it's overcast, but
dry. Quite fresh (when it rains at 11am it's snow-rain.
Since at 10:30am the weather still looks promising I tell the driver to
bring us into town. He drops us off near the Surp Hovsep christian
orthodox church. We are lucky because the caretaker of the church is
there and lets us into the church. He explains a lot about the church,
that it is used both for orthodox and catholic services,
history, the local Christian community etc.
Shortly after 11am we leave the church and continue to walk a bit in
the old town. We are less lucky with the other churches in the area,
because they happen to be closed. So we walk back to the main road.
Then, because it just started raining, we call the driver and I tell
him to bring us to the Deyr-az-Zaferan monastery, hoping that this is
at a lower altitude and that there it doesn't rain.
Well. the monastery is at a slightly lower altitude, but still
900m. We are lucky because there it doesn't rain, i.e. it has stopped
raining. The entry ticket costs 10 Lira.
This is a well preserved or
restored 5th century Syrian orthodox
monastery, located on a slope in the mountains. There are some visitors
today besides us (probably local Turkish people).
We are in this place until
12:45pm, then decide to get into town to
We choose the Seyr-i-Merdin restaurant, in central Mardin, based on the
rating this place has in Google Maps. This turns out to be a good
choice, because the place is really nice.
Excellent location in the
centre of Mardin. There is even a terrace from which you have a nice
view of the whole city. The menu is in two languages (Turkish and
English) and the food is interesting. Lots of local dishes from which
to choose. The only problem is the lack of heating, but they solve that
with an electric heat radiator.
It's almost 3pm when we finally get out of this restaurant. We continue
walking a bit in the historic centre, then because it starts raining
again I call the car and tell the driver to bring us to Dara. We arrive
there after half an hour at 3:55pm.
Dara is an ancient Byzantine era city. There are the remains of a
large ancient necropolis, with lots of caves in the rock (I wonder if
these are man-made). The entrance is free. The entire setting is quite
At 4:15pm we get back to the car and the driver brings us to the
cistern. This is an ancient cistern capable of storing 2000 m³ of
water, which in the past was located under a church (which now is
destroyed). Very impressive structure with huge pillars, well
illuminated. Entrance free of charge.
Around 4:45pm we drive back to the hotel and spend the rest of the day
29.12: Mardin -> Anitli (Hah) -> Mor Gabriel monastery
Hotel GAP Midyat, Midyat. 28 Euro for a room with
some furniture (table+chair, cupboard for the clothes, fridge, phone,
LCD TV, heating, A/C, free WLAN, attached toilet with shower. Breakfast
included. Centrally located in
Midyat in the newer part of the city.
with short interruptions it rains the
whole day until the evening. At 7pm when we go out again it doesn't
rain anymore. Quite cold at the Mor Gabriel monastery.
check out and start driving towards Midyat after 10:30am.
Midyat I realise that the Mor Gabriel monastery is closed already and
only reopens at 1pm. So I change plans and tell the driver to bring us
to the Anitli village.
It seems that the driver doesn't know this place. So I use Google Maps
to direct him. Anitli (also known as Hah) is 30km east of Midyat on a
barren plateau. The place we are going to visit is the Church of the
Mother of God (Virgin Mary monastery, Meryem Ana manastiri), a 5th
century Syrian Orthodox monastery.
We arrive there at 12:20pm. Initially we are in front of a closed gate,
but after knocking at the door the caretaker comes and opens the door
The guy speaks some German
and English. Inside the walls there
is a monastery with an inner court and a quite interesting church. Very
At 12:40pm we leave this
place and start driving towards the Mor
Gabriel monastery, which lies 23km southeast of Midyat (not far
actually from the border to Syria). We are there at 1:30pm.
Now the monastery is open (ticket costs 5 Lira). The outer wall is
quite big and encloses also some gardens and fields, besides the
monastery. This monastery seems to be well kept and organised.
towards the actual monastery,
which has its own wall. Inside
the monastery is even more beautiful than the Anitli monastery. Lots of
detailed carvings on the walls, very artistic setup. This monastery was
originally founded in 397 AD, but it's quite obvious that several
structures were added later.
At 2pm we leave the
monastery and drive to Midyat to a restaurant I
chose from Google Maps, the Shmayaa. I had chosen this one based on the
location, the pictures and its rating in Google Maps. Later I regret a
bit to have chosen this place, because the food is not really good and
we have to wait an hour for it. The only good thing about this place is
that it is in the old town, in walking distance to some interesting
At 4pm we are done with the lunch and walk briefly in the old town of
Also here there are some
interesting buildings, but far fewer
than in Mardin.
Within 20 minutes it starts raining, so we walk back to the restaurant
and I ask the driver to pick us up.
After 5 minutes the driver arrives and I tell him to bring me to
Mor Hobil-Mor Gabriel monastery, which I had spotted on Google Maps. In
reality there are more interesting Christian churches in Midyat,
although many are closed and you may not be able to get in.
While trying to reach this place we run into an interesting
This turns out to be the
Midyat guesthouse (Midyat Kinuk Evi)
which you can visit for a fee of 5 Lira. The building itself is
beautiful and from the top there is a nice view of Midyat. Adjacent to
this building there is a museum (Açık hava müzesi) which we can't visit
due to lack of time.
At 5pm we drive to the hotel. Later, at 6:40pm we walk into town for
dinner. Dinner is in the Cihan et Lokantasi restaurant and we spend an
incredibly low amount of 49 Lira for a dinner for three people (salad,
soup, chicken skewer, rice, drink, even a rice pudding dessert).
30.12: Midyat -> Hasankeyf
neolithic site, Hilar cave
castle -> Diyarbakir
Hotel Hilton Garden Inn, Diyarbakir. 53 Euro for a
standard Hilton Hotel room (see the description of the Mardin Hilton
a mix of sunny and cloudy, much warmer
than yesterday. Rain in the evening in Diyarbakir.
We leave the hotel at
10:30am and start driving towards Diyarbakir (via
Batman). At 11:20am we stop in Hasankeyf, a small town on the Tigris
This is an archaeological site, supposedly a must visit place, which
should already have been flooded and therefore inaccessible. But when
we arrive, Hasankeyf is still as in the pictures, i.e. the water levels
haven't risen significantly. The new settlement is to a large extent
complete, although construction is still ongoing.
Around 11:40am we continue
the trip, this time towards the Çayönü
neolithic site and the nearby Hilar cave. Both lie 60km northwest of
Diyarbakir, and can be accessed from Ergani.
The drive proceeds smoothly. There are no traffic jams and the road
often has two lanes per side. In some parts the road surface is not
good, especially the smaller roads.
What strikes is that at the
entrance of almost every city and also out
of the cities there are police roadblocks manned by police and heavily
armed military (machine guns, troop transporters, bullet proof vehicles
etc.). At one roadblock they even ask for our passports.
We cross Diyarbakir and
finally reach the Çayönü site at 2:38pm (BTW,
today we skip lunch, because there is no time).
There is a car parking and a trail, but otherwise the site seems pretty
much abandoned. We walk along the trail and end up in the middle of
nowhere along a small river.
Then I walk to the left towards the rocks to get on top of a rock and
get a better overview of the site. From a higher level you can see that
on the other side of the river there is something which might be an
archaeological site with excavations (perhaps this is the Çayönü
site?). There is even a bridge on the river, but it can't be used
because it is partially submerged.
We walk back to the parking and note that next to the parking there is
something else. Something which looks like a cave, but with chambers
cut into the rock. I wonder if this is the Hilar cave. There are other
structures on the ground, perhaps the ruins of houses.
The largest cave (or let's say cavity in the rock) has some pillars
inside and it looks as if it was man-made (the shapes are too
rectangular to be of natural origin). So perhaps we have found this
Hilar cave, but there is no table with information on this site.
Around 3:50pm we start
driving towards the next place, the Egil castle.
This is a prehistoric castle on the Tigris river, carved into the rock.
Built either in 5000 BC or 25000 BC. We reach this place one hour later
It's a quite interesting place. The Tigris river has carved its
riverbed in the rock and now flows in a canyon.
On a promontory there
is this castle which probably was meant to control the traffic on the
Down at the river level there is some kind of small harbour with boats.
Probably boat trips on the Tigris river are offered to tourists (now
it's 10-20 minutes before sunset, so there is no activity anymore).
In any case the location is quite interesting and it would be
worthwhile to take a boat tour or try to walk/trek to the castle in
order to have a closer look. It's a pity that we have so little time.
Shortly after 5pm we leave this place and drive to the hotel in
Diyarbakir. In the evening we have a dinner in the hotel.
31.12: Diyarbakir ->
Orty airport hotel, Izmir airport. 38 Euro
(breakfast included) for a not so big, but nice and stylish room with
attached toilet and some furniture. Good shower and good breakfast in
my opinion. The
only problem of this place is that you need to know
that they have a shuttle service to the hotel from the airport (see
booked this place because it looked as if it was in walking
distance of the airport. And in fact you can walk to this hotel, but it
is not as close as I had thought.
Weather: sunny, blue
sky in the morning. Later in
the afternoon the sky gets cloudy, but it doesn't rain. Dry and cold in
the evening in Izmir.
Around 10:45am we leave the hotel and start walking towards the
historic core of Diyarbakir. From the Hilton hotel it's a 1km walk to
the northern gate of the city walls.
The historic core of Diyarbakir is enclosed in city walls, of which
certain sections are still preserved.
Walking slowly, we reach the city walls around 11am. It's a beautiful
day and the city is full of life. We cross the city walls and enter the
We'll be in the old town until after
sunset, i.e. after 5pm.
road which intersects the old town from north to south is beautifully
set up with lots of shops selling interesting stuff and food.
stalls selling food and drinks on the street. There are even a number
of fashionable stores on this street.
Every now and then there is some interesting historic building (which
seems to be in medieval Islamic architecture). These are mostly well
preserved. In addition there are lots of renovation/restoration
activities ongoing in the city.
We buy freshly squeezed orange and pomegranate juices for 5 Lira. There
is a gold bazaar or to put it differently, a place with many shops
selling gold items and jewellery.
When we reach the centre of the old town, we turn to the right and
Then we get north
again and have a look at the area.
Lots of cats everywhere.
Walking somehow randomly, we discover a
of interesting places (mosques, enclosed gardens etc.).
At 1:30pm we walk to a restaurant I
spotted with Google Maps, Firin-ci
Sur. This is on the main street and is beautifully set up in something
which looks like an ancient building. This is a very characteristic
restaurant selling local food. The service is very good. After ordering
the meals, the waiters cover the table with salads and other starters.
We spend a long time
in this restaurant (and the bill is surprisingly
hen at 3pm we walk out and continue
exploring the old town.
We try to walk to an
old Christian church,
but it seems impossible to
get there because there are restoration works ongoing.
So we walk to the northeastern part of the old town, to the Diyarbakir
castle compound. This is a large castle with walls (but it's not
allowed to get on top of the walls, as they are fenced in). Inside the
compound there are a number of museums (or maybe it's just one museum
with several buildings).
Shortly after 5pm we walk out of the castle and look for a taxi. With
that we drive to the Forum Diyarbakir shopping mall, a modern mall
about 7-8km north of the old town. We arrive there at 5:30pm.
This mall contains
many shops selling clothes, shoes and other elegant
or interesting stuff.
There is a food court
on the highest floor (the
2nd floor). There is also a Migros supermarket.
Around 6:30pm we walk out and take a taxi
to the Hilton hotel, because
our luggage is there. At the hotel we retrieve the luggage and take a
taxi to the airport (50 Lira).
Since it's a bit early (7:45pm) the check-in counter isn't open yet, we
wait for a while. At 8:10pm the counter opens and we queue up for
checking in for the flight to Izmir.
Surprise, surprise, even if our luggage weighs more than the 15kg
allowed on this ticket, they don't charge us excess baggage fees. I
wonder why, because this is a low-cost airline which depends on these
We then walk to the gate and wait for the flight.
The plane, a modern B737-800, is about 90% full. It takes off
punctually at 10:10pm and lands in Izmir airport a few minutes before
midnight. By about 12:25am we retrieve the luggage (1 Lira fee
for the baggage trolley), then we start looking for the hotel.
We walk out of the
terminal initially and a bit along the terminal to
where the hotel should be. But I can't see the hotel. A check with
Google Maps shows that we are further away from the hotel than I had
thought initially. Seems we are in front of the domestic terminal, but
the hotel is next to the international terminal.
So we walk back into the terminal. Complete security scanning of all
bags needed when we get in. Then we go one floor up, walk to the end of
the international terminal and get out of the terminal.
Using Google Maps we walk towards the hotel. Looks like there is no
direct path to the hotel, i.e. we have to walk along the road. In the
end we reach the hotel after 1am (must have been 1:10am). There we
learn that we could have called the hotel and the hotel shuttle would
have picked us up. But in the hotel reservation I made, nothing is
written about a hotel shuttle which picks you up at the terminal. It's
almost 2am when we sleep.
1.1: Izmir airport ->
Ephesos -> Pamukkale
Hal-Tur hotel, Pamukkale. 38 Euro for a small room
with attached bathroom (shower). Breakfast included. There is a bed,
cupboard for the clothes, fridge, table+chair, LCD TV, free WLAN, A/C
unit doubling as a heater, also a heating radiator. Free parking for
the car. The hotel has an attached restaurant. It's all ok, but the
room could be a bit bigger.
Weather: sunny and blue sky in the morning.
Gradual cloud cover build-up over the day, but no rain. Surprisingly
cold (was expecting higher temperatures because we are close to the
sea), but it's possible to stay outdoors the whole day. A little bit of
rain around 6pm when we drive to Pamukkale.
At 10:45am we
take the shuttle to the airport. International terminal,
because in my reservation it says international terminal. In reality
the Enterprise car rental office is in the domestic terminal.
way, now getting a baggage trolley costs 6 Lira - when we arrived we
paid 1 Lira.
We do the formalities and around 11:20am we are ready to leave
car. The car is a Ford Tourneo and it's smaller than I had imagined. I
was expecting something in the size of a Peugeot Tepee Partner (the car
we had for the trip to Algeria).
So we start driving towards Ephesos.
It's about one hour of driving, to
a large extent on motorways (max. speed 120km/h). The motorways are not
toll-free. Automated toll payment system: you pass by checkpoints and
the system scans your licence plate and bills you (HGS system). The car
rental tells me the trip to Ephesos costs only a few Lira.
We arrive in Ephesos,
the famous ancient Greek city and UNESCO world
heritage site, at 12:30pm (15 Lira for the parking). Immediately we are
approached by some guy who suggests that we should take his shuttle to
go to the top of the site (long and tiring 2km walk to get up, and then
we have to walk down). The shuttle is free, but we have to make a stop
at a shop...
We ignore this guy and walk towards the ticket counter.
driver suggests he can bring us to the top entrance for 30 Lira, 2km to
walk up and 2km back down again, no way we can do that, too tiring,
i.e. same story. At this point I check the distance to the top entrance
in Google Maps. It turns out it's just 1.3km, something easily
manageable even if you are 80 years old.
Before we manage to buy the ticket we'll have to pass more people
trying to sell something (mostly overpriced). Seems we are in a mass
At the ticket counter - wow - I see that the entry ticket costs 72
What a contrast to southeast Turkey,
where most tickets cost in
the 5-10 Lira range
often the entrance was even free. Another
thing, here the 15 days
Turkey museum pass
costs 450 Lira, while in
east Turkey the same pass cost 375 Lira.
So we get into the compound. Wow, what
a site! Huge site, these are the
ruins of a complete city spread over a large area. Most buildings are
but some structures are still standing and
HUGE amphitheatre, one of the biggest I have
seen so far.
Lots of Chinese tourists today. I even see
some Japanese and Korean
groups. Relatively few European tourists. And BTW, lots of cats
everywhere. Well nourished cats. Seems that they have enough food.
Before the trip I thought we would do Ephesos
in 1-2 hours.
we are in the compound
until 3pm and could
easily have stayed one more
And we skip the temple of Artemis and other
sights in Selcuk.
Seems I totally underestimated this place.
I guess you could spend three days in Selcuk
without running out of
places to see (if you visit everything there is to see).
But then, if
you do so,
perhaps after 2-3
days you end up being "templed out" (=when
you are in Thailand and see too many Thai temples at once).
Around 3:30pm we are in central Selcuk looking for a place where to eat
something. We are getting used to having very late lunches (3pm or so)
and skipping dinners.
We end up eating in the Nur restaurant. Very small restaurant, but the
guy who works there is very customer oriented and friendly.
We have a
number of interesting dishes, and a big free, freshly baked bread.
Including the drinks the bill is just 125 Lira for the five of us.
We leave Selcuk for Pamukkale at 4:45pm. The road to Pamukkale
initially is a motorway, then turns into some kind of highway with two
lanes per side. Good road, but the speed limits are a bit strange.
50km/h speed limit on a straight road out of urban areas for instance.
Clearly marked speed limit, but if you slow down to follow this speed
limit the car behind you uses the spotlight and then overtakes you.
A couple of times I miss the highway exit and have to make an
additional piece of road. We reach the hotel at 7:25pm. In the evening
we have a light dinner in the Asian restaurant near the hotel.
2.1: Pamukkale ->
Aphrodisias -> Didim
Hotel Ella, Didim. 110 Lira
(= 16 Euro) for a nice,
clean room with attached bathroom (shower). There is an A/C unit which
doubles as a heater, a cupboard for the clothes and a LCD TV. No other
furniture besides that (you could say that the room is quite basic).
Free WLAN and breakfast included in the room price. In our room the A/C
unit is not strong enough to properly heat the room.
Weather: overcast and cold in the morning in
Pamukkale. Later in the day some sunshine in Aphrodisias. A little rain
between Söke and Didim after 6pm, otherwise
it is dry the whole day.
Quite cold (colder than I was expecting).
We leave the hotel around 10:50am and drive to the southern entrance of
the Pamukkale (=Hierapolis site).
Shortly before 11am we park the car
in the parking (10 Lira parking fee).
There are again some Asian (probably Chinese)
travel groups this
morning. Walking towards the ticket counter we pass by some souvenir
stalls and food/drink shops. The ticket is a steep 60 Lira per person
(even more if you add some options). Inside the compound you can use
some transportation for a fee (I'm told the compound is quite big).
It seems Pamukkale is not only about
the white rock terraces with the
It's actually an
archaeological site with lots of ruins.
it was an ancient Roman city.
After some walking past the ruins we reach the rocks/white pools area.
It's really an impressive view,
but at the same time
I'm a bit
disappointed because in the Internet I had seen all those pictures with
immaculate while rocks with pools of turquoise water. In reality the
white rocks and pools are there, but are not as immaculate (lots grey
and brown, yellow colour) and the water pools are few and not
There is a hot water spring and despite the cold air you can take
your shoes and walk into the pools where there is warm water. In some
parts the rocks are slippery so you have to be careful when walking.
The water temperature varies - in some part it's nicely warm, in others
it's cold already. Lots of people are walking on the slopes.
While there we see some people (two) paragliding above us.
Around 12:45pm we leave Pamukkale and drive towards the next place,
Aphrodisias. This is another archaeological site, about 1:40 hours by
car from Pamukkale. When driving we cross a mountain range. The highest
point we reach is about 1100m above sea level and there is some snow.
Around 2:20pm we arrive in Aphrodisias. Here there are very few
visitors today (besides us only a few more people). We park the car in
the parking (10 Lira parking fee) and buy tickets (24 Lira per person).
Then we walk in.
Aphrodisias is a nice big site with ruins of an amphitheatre, temples,
a large pool, an agoda and more. Some structures in a reasonably good
preservation status. There is also a museum.
The kids find a cat,
a cute one, one which likes
to be hugged and
They probably spend the next
30-40 minutes carrying this cat
around and caressing it.
It's about 4pm when we start driving towards Didim, where we'll spend
the night. On the way we stop at the Novada Outlet shopping mall near
Söke for dinner (actually the first warm meal of the day). Everybody is
quite hungry because we have skipped lunch. We reach the hotel in Didim
3.1: Didim -> Miletos
-> Priene ->
Hotel Akkent Garden, Fethiye.
18 Euro for a room
with attached bathroom (shower), soft bed, some furniture (table+chair,
LCD TV, cupboard for the clothes, fridge), phone, free WLAN. A/C unit
which doubles as heater. Breakfast included. Well
located in a street
with restaurants, nearby supermarkets. Very cold breakfast room in the
morning (I have to wear the winter jacket when having breakfast).
Weather: sunny, spotless blue sky (the first time
since we are in Turkey), but cold wind. Quite strong wind which keeps
on blowing every day.
It's almost 11am when we leave the hotel and start driving to the
Dydima archaeological site (18 Lira ticket). This is located at the
outskirts of Didim and essentially consists of one big temple. There
are a total of three still intact columns, and several other columns of
which only the base is left. Lots of column parts and temple parts
We are the only visitors this morning. We spend a bit over half an hour
at this site,
then at 11:50am get
back into the car and drive into
I'm almost out of cash and need to get some
In town I try out a few ATMs. All are of the tourist rip-off type. One
offers to give me 1000 Lira and bill me 173 Euro on my account. But at
the exchange rate of 6.66 the amount is 150 Euro, not 173. The others
either offer bad conversion rates or charge transaction fees ranging
from 3% to 10%.
Finally I remember the Halkbank and indeed in walking distance (less
than 100m) there is a branch office of the Halkbank. There finally I
get some Turkish cash without transaction fees.
Then I join the ladies who
have been shopping in a supermarket. While
we walk on the street back to the car, we run into a pastry shop. We'll
end up buying 40 Lira of pastries and cookies, having some freshly
squeezed fruit juice and some rice pudding.
After that we drive by car to the next place, the ruins of Miletos
(ticket: 14 Lira).
This is supposed to be a
complete city, but the only
relevant structure left is the one of the theatre. A pretty impressive
theatre by the way. All other structures are not as impressive as this
We spend 40 minutes in Miletos, then get back to the car and drive to
Priene. Priene (10 Lira ticket) are ruins of a Greek city on a hill
below a rock mountain. These ruins are original ancient Greek, without
Roman or Byzantine period additions.
To get to the ruins you have to walk up a path for 200-300m. The ruins
are in the forest and the most interesting parts are the theatre and
the Athena temple (five columns left standing).
Shortly before 4pm we leave this place and start driving towards
After over four hours of non-stop driving we reach Fethiye at 8pm. We
have a meal in a restaurant and then check in the hotel.
4.1: Fethiye -> Xanthos
-> Tlos -> Antalya
Hotel Antroyal, Antalya. 22 Euro for a room with an
a bit old look (walls covered with brown wood-pattern wallpaper),
attached toilet with shower, table+chair, cupboard for the clothes, LCD
TV, fridge, A/C unit which doubles as a heater.
Weather: again another day of sunshine and
spotless blue sky. Warmer than yesterday, but still fresh. No rain the
We check out and at 11am start driving to the Xanthos archaeological
site (14 Lira ticket).
This is located about an
hour's drive southwest
of Fethiye on a small hill overlooking the plains at 80m of altitude.
Due to the fresh air and surrounding mountains this place feels as if
it was higher up in the mountains.
The main thing of this site is the amphitheatre. Right in front and
behind it are other structures (temples, houses) of the ancient city.
Then there is some paved long structure right of the theatre and more
ruins spread further away. Everything very photogenic in this January
Around 12:50pm we leave this place and drive to the next archaeological
This is another Lycian city
and is located on a mountain at
500m of altitude (narrow and winding road to get there; overall today
the surface of the roads we drive on is not very good).
We arrive in Tlos at 1:30pm and park the car near the ruins of the
amphitheatre. This is a few hundred metres away from the ticket
counter. In fact it is possible to visit the entire site without a
ticket, because the site is not fenced in.
The ruins of the amphitheatre are very picturesque, because in the
background there are the snowy mountains. The amphitheatre is actually
closed for visitors (perhaps due to safety reasons?), although I see
some local kids easily getting in and out of the fence.
Further down the street,
near the ticket counter are the ruins of what
must be an Ottoman fortress. In between are more ruins of the ancient
city of Tlos. Nice light and fresh air make the stay in Tlos very
After 2:40pm we start driving towards Antalya. I've keyed in the Migros
Antalya shopping mall, hoping that it will be a nice and large mall
where to have some food and spend some time.
The road will now cross the
mountains, climbing up to almost 1500m
above sea level at its highest point. We cross snow covered landscapes,
beautiful Xmas scenery. The only contrast is that instead of churches
here there are mosques.
In fact these landscapes surprise me a bit, because I wasn't expecting
this kind of winter alpine scenery. Somehow these high plains with snow
remind a bit of Scandinavia. Near Antalya the road crosses steep gorges
and impressive rock formations and mountains. Looks like in the
hinterland of Antalya mountaineering is a serious option.
With some stops along the way (by the way, mostly the road has a quite
rough and not so good surface; very little traffic until we reach
Antalya) we reach the mall shortly before 6pm.
The Migros mall in Antalya is cute, but I was hoping for something
larger and more elegant. Basically there is the ground floor and two
floors above it. Many nice shops, a food court on the second floor and
a Migros supermarket in the ground floor.
We have a dinner in the food court, then go to the Migros supermarket
to buy some food and drinks. Finally we check in the hotel.
slightly overcast (milky blue sky) the
whole day, with the sun coming out every now and then in the afternoon.
We get out of the hotel around 10:15am and start walking south
Anafartalar street towards the waterfront. We are staying in a
relatively clean and fashionable part of Antalya. Along the street
there are lots of shoes and clothes shops.
Until the waterfront it's just 700m. With some stops along the way we
reach the waterfront at 10:45am. It's a long promenade with a park
Lots of cats in the park. No
hungry cats, they are being fed
by somebody with cat food.
The girls manage to find some
particularly sociable cats, who are
willing to take a nap on their laps and enjoy being petted.
We spend a while in that park while the girls are busy with their cats,
and finally manage to move on.
Soon we reach the old town. Among the old buildings there are some
mosques, tombs, Islamic schools and city walls and gates. Otherwise the
old town is not terribly historic and in fact it contains lots of
modern buildings. I also guess that large parts of the old town have
There are also lots of cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops. The level
of harassment is quite moderate. Only every now and then somebody
somebody will ask you to come to his shop or restaurant.
At 12:43pm we reach the Hadrian's gate,
probably one of the few
old buildings/structures of Antalya. Adjacent to it there are city
Hadrian's gate is on Atatürk street, a fashionable street in Antalya
with many restaurants and cafes.
We walk south until we reach the Luna Garden Bistro Cafe, some kind of
restaurant with a pretty good Google Maps rating. This restaurant has a
lot of tables outside but also a reasonably big heated hall. There we
stop for lunch around 1:25pm.
The food quality in this place is so-so
(my chicken is very dry and
dish doesn't come with salad), but the service and the way they present
the food is good.
At 2:20pm we leave the restaurant and walk on Atatürk street towards
the north, essentially having a look at this shops area. Every now and
then we stop in a shop. Lots of goods, some very competitively priced,
but I cannot find something I would be willing to buy. The quality of
these items is not good enough.
Perhaps I have too high expectations. But it's likely that the
tourist who comes to Antalya on a package might be happy to spend
little money and not care too much about the product quality. By the
way, there are also shops selling counterfeited goods such as watches
and handbags for instance.
Until about 3:45pm we slowly walk
back towards the hotel. Then I drop
off the ladies at the place where the girls earlier today played with
the cats and walk back to the hotel. I take the car, drive to where I
left the others, pick them up and together we drive to the Terracity
Terracity is a medium-sized mall at the outskirts of Antalya (about 7km
southeast of the city centre; free car parking). Quite elegant and
modern mall. When we visit it, inside there are lots of Xmas
decorations and even a floating Xmas tree. Lots of shops selling
clothes and shoes. There is a food court on the third floor.
After some shopping we have a dinner around 6:30pm. Shortly after 7pm
we drive back to the hotel. Tomorrow we have to get up early for the
8:25am flight to Munich.
6.1: Antalya -> Munich
Home, sweet home.
Weather: heavy rain in the morning in Antalya.
According to the weather forecast it is going to rain for two days. In
Munich the sun is shining (spotless blue sky) and when we land the
temperature is around 0°C (no snow) and climbs to about 5°C in the
We leave the hotel at 6am and drive to the airport. There we return the
car, check in and proceed to the gate. Very expensive drinks in the
gate area. For instance a 0.33l bottle of Fanta for 4 Euro.
Boarding on the SunExpress flight starts a bit late (bus to the plane)
and in the end the plane (a B737-800) takes off shortly before 9am,
with over half an hour of delay),
The plane is almost completely full. The flight proceeds without
problems and we reach Munich airport at 10am local time. We are home
Copyright 2020 Alfred Molon