May 2010


Three Travel Notes on Antalya

I can sadly report that I am back home in Weimar after a 3 and a half hour flight from Antalya.

Here are three quick thoughts about my trip.

First up, I flew Sky Airlines; an airline I’d never heard of before. I found the airline after Michele commented that I should take a flight from the Erfurt Airport to somewhere warm—and so I did, although for pricing and timing reasons, I took the train to Leipzig and flew south from there, returning to Erfurt.

Overall I was pleased with the flights—for a low cost, charter, airline, they included a snack (inside a neat drawstring bag) and free non-alcoholic beverages. The beverages were microscopically small (the cups read 7 ounces), but they gave refills with several beverage services throughout the 3 and a half hour flight.

Smile in the Sky!

Sky Airline’s slogan, of sorts, is “Smile in the Sky”, a slogan they attach to their airsickness bags and I promptly kept for the next time I want to smile in the sky.

They also offered duty free sales, although from my observation, these were far more popular going south than going north—and this being Germany, the number one item being purchased were cigarettes. In fact, heading south the odor around me made me think people were sneaking cigarettes—until I realized that people in front, behind, and besides me all bought cartons of cigarettes, and then it was clear that these people just plain smelled.

The inflight magazine was interesting—including an article about a dentist who would happily fix your teeth while you were on vacation – his office in the morning, the beach in the afternoon, all at a very reasonable price—less expensive than at home.

Nothing says vacation like getting a root canal.

I was one of only a few people, if not the only person, who bought a ticket directly from Sky; it’s clear that most people buy package tours from other sources that include hotel and transfer; things I arranged independently. When I was checking in on my way back, the agent looked at my passport and asked me what I was doing here; clearly not that many Americans visit Antalya.

Secondly, I stayed at the White Garden Pansion, which is located right in the heart of the Kaleiçi, the city’s historic core. For 22€ a night, including breakfast, I have no serious complaints.

For this price and this location, I will throw only a couple of cautionary notes: First, if you need silence at night, this is not the hotel for you—there is a nightclub somewhere nearby that plays tunes until past 3am. Any hotel or pansiyon in the area without air conditioning (like this one) and tightly closing windows will suffer from this noise problem. Secondly, if you’re not a fan of the Dutch concept of “water closet” where taking a shower results in your toilet getting soaked, then you should probably stay somewhere else.

Assuming you can look beyond these two points, there’s a lot to recommend the White Garden: the location is right in the heart of the old city center, it’s a short walk away from a number of interesting places, and it’s near tram stops to take you to places further out. Further the breakfast is excellent and consistent with the breakfast I’ve had at other Turkish hotels—which is to say, some aspects are rather salty—but the olives and feta are excellent and there is sufficient fruit, cereal, and other options to fill you right up. The staff is incredibly hard working and helpful, even arranging the tour to Side, Perge, and Aspendos for me.

Finally, the food in Turkey is excellent—and although I never really strayed from the tourist trap areas, inexpensive. I can only assume that if I’d bothered to find places that locals eat the prices would have been even lower and the quality even higher.

I did eat dinner at my hotel my first evening in Antalya, but only because I was exhausted and the thought of venturing further afield did not appeal to me. The dinner at the hotel was fine, but basic. My last two nights in Antalya I found myself at the Berlin Ocakbaşi (Kılıç Arslan, Mh. Fırın SkNo: 36 in Kaleiçi/Antalya) restaurant, a small street café located about 3 minutes, on foot, from my hotel. I went there the first time because the charming waiter pulled me in as I was looking at a display case full of kebabs reading for grilling; I returned because my meal the first night was so excellent, tasty, and inexpensive that I wanted more.

7 comments to Three Travel Notes on Antalya

  • Pseudo Wife

    Darling, I’ve so enjoyed your Antalya photos and posts! It really has gotten me in the mood for Turkey. I just found out that I have a host family in Izmir so will be getting my ticket soon enough. Question: when you bought your tourist visa at the Turkish airport, how long was it good for? I am getting mixed responses (between 1 month and 3 months).

    It looks like you achieved your goal: a relaxing beach holiday!
    Glad it all worked out.

    • The first time I went to Turkey my visa was for 90 days.

      This time it said 60 days, but then the guy stamped something over it that I believe made it 90 days (like they’d run out of 90 stamps). The stamp over said: “90 GÜN İKAMET SÜRELİ MÜTEADDİT” — given the construction of the information on the stamp, I’m pretty sure that means something like “multiple entries for 90 days”.

      90 days would be consistent with everything that I’ve read about US passport holders and visa upon arrival in Turkey.

  • “Nothing says vacation like a root canal.” — LOL! I nearly spit my soda on the keyboard, then I realized I had a dentist appointment the day before I leave for Ireland.

  • That root canal vacation? If you’ve seen the prices for complicated dental work in Germany, and don’t have the insurance coverage, dental tourism makes a lot of sense.

    About the food in Turkey – we love it too. We call it simple, honest fare.

  • Pseudo Wife

    Thanks Adam! Your info helps and has been confirmed by US State Department and Turkish Consolata in CHI. 90 visa can be purchased at airport.

  • “Smile in the sky” on the air sickness bags. I suppose that’s one way to put it.

    Vacation root canals? I know many people living near the southern border here in the US that go to Mexico for dental work because it’s so much cheaper. I guess if you like arsenic and/or mercury in your fillings it’s a good option.

  • Michele J

    I guess the law has changed now, but when we flew Air Berlin to Tenerife in ca. 2005, people totally lit up, legally. I couldn’t believe it. The flight attendants were obsessed with not allowing newspaper, magazines, etc. to fall on the floor, for fear of fire. I kind of wondered if it wasn’t an East (German) thing. If Sky Air is a Turkish company, maybe people actually can smoke on their flights?