Mobile phones
Getting around

Euphrates-Tigris basin (Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Göbeklitepe, Mardin, Midyat, Diyarbakir), Mediterranean coast archaeological sites, Pamukkale, Antalya

22.12: Munich -> Gaziantep
23.12: Gaziantep -> Sanliurfa
24.12: Nemrut Dagi trip
25.12: Sanliurfa -> Göbeklitepe -> Harran -> Sanliurfa
26.12: Sanliurfa -> Mardin
27.12: Mardin
28.12: Mardin -> Dara -> Mardin
29.12: Mardin -> Anitli (Hah) -> Mor Gabriel monastery -> Midyat

30.12: Midyat -> Hasankeyf -> Cayönü neolithic site, Hilar cave -> Egil castle -> Diyarbakir
31.12: Diyarbakir -> Izmir (airport)
1.1: Izmir airport -> Ephesos -> Pamukkale
2.1: Pamukkale -> Aphrodisias -> Didim
3.1: Didim -> Miletos -> Priene -> Fethiye
4.1: Fethiye -> Xanthos -> Tlos -> Antalya
5.1: Antalya
6.1: Antalya -> Munich

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 sites.
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 sites.
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 place.


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 booking portals).

Money  / Exchange rate (December 2019 - January 2020)

1 Euro = between 6.5 and 6.7 TRY
For current exchange rates check the Universal Currency Converter.

Mobile phones and prepaid cards

Prepaid SIM 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 countries.


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 vehicles etc.).
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.

Recommended things

Things to avoid

Getting around

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 arrangements.

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 plane.

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 Sanliurfa.

 In the morning we get cash from ATMs (we have to try out a few until we 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 43 Lira 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 other exhibits. 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). There 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 in Germany.

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. Nicely 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 trip
Hotel 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 visibility.

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 bad.

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 part.

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 Adiyaman, on the way stopping in two places where there are some ruins.

The first 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 restaurant.

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 food court.

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 traditional wedding?).
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 starts.

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 interesting.

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
Hotel 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 of Mardin.
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 to settle 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 Turkey. 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 stay longer, 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 damaged.

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.

27.12: Mardin
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 it's cold.

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. 4 Euro).

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 get cash.

After 4pm we get back to the hotel and spend the rest of the day there.

28.12: 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 11am it 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, the church 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 above 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 have lunch.

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 very 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 impressive.

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 there.

29.12: Mardin -> Anitli (Hah) -> Mor Gabriel monastery -> Midyat
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.
Weather: 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.

We check out and start driving towards Midyat after 10:30am. Once in 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 for us. The guy speaks some German and English. Inside the walls there is a monastery with an inner court and a quite interesting church. Very old structures.

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.

 We walk 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 buildings.

At 4pm we are done with the lunch and walk briefly in the old town of Midyat. 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 the 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 building.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 -> Cayönü neolithic site, Hilar cave -> Egil castle -> Diyarbakir
Hotel Hilton Garden Inn, Diyarbakir. 53 Euro for a standard Hilton Hotel room (see the description of the Mardin Hilton hotel).
Weather: 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 river.

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 at 4:50pm.

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 Tigris river.

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 -> Izmir (airport)
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 below). I 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 old town.

We'll be in the old town until after sunset, i.e. after 5pm. The main road which intersects the old town from north to south is beautifully set up with lots of shops selling interesting stuff and food. Lots of 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 proceed westwards. Then we get north again and have a look at the area. Lots of cats everywhere. Walking somehow randomly, we discover a number 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 moderate), then 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 surcharges.

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. By the 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 with the 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. Some taxi 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 tourism area.

At the ticket counter - wow - I see that the entry ticket costs 72 Lira. What a contrast to southeast Turkey, where most tickets cost in the 5-10 Lira range and 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 totally demolished, but some structures are still standing and are impressive. 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. In practice we are in the compound until 3pm and could easily have stayed one more hour. 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 pools. It's actually an archaeological site with lots of ruins. Seems 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 turquoise).

 There is a hot water spring and despite the cold air you can take off 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 caressed. 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 around 8:20pm.

3.1: Didim -> Miletos -> Priene -> Fethiye
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 scattered around.

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 town. I'm almost out of cash and need to get some Turkish Lira.

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 theatre.

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 Fethiye.

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 whole day.

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 sun.

Around 12:50pm we leave this place and drive to the next archaeological site, Tlos. 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 pleasant.

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.

5.1: Antalya
Hotel Antroyal, Antalya.
Weather: 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 along 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 below it. 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 been renovated.

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 really old buildings/structures of Antalya. Adjacent to it there are city walls.

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 the 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 average 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 mall.

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 afternoon.

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 around 12:20pm.

Copyright 2020 Alfred Molon