The village of Ducaj near Boge, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Tirana Airport, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Porto, Portugal on June 25th!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

First impressions of Turkey

As I write this, we have been in Turkey (country #39 for us!) for a total of about 7 hours.

And our first impressions are that we are really going to like Turkey!

Let's back up a little bit to our overnight stay at London's Gatwick airport. We had booked a cheaper and better than expected room at the Premier Inn Hotel located right across the street from the airport terminal.

The room itself cost us a total of £35 ($60 CAD, $45 USD) for what turned out to be a very worthwhile expenditure.

Not that we watched it much, but the TV was a bit small for the room.

Certainly suitable enough facilities for the money.

The view from the top (10th) floor.

Can you see that it's raining? Yes, welcome to London!

When we checked in, we were told that because we had just arrived from Canada that we would have to quarantine in our room until we departed in the morning. We knew this in advance, but it made no sense that we were allowed to sit in their coffee shop for lunch without any quarantine necessary until we actually checked in. There is no logic to some of this stuff. Also, it doesn't seem to make sense to us that Canada is still on the quarantine list for arrivals in the UK when Canada's numbers are less than the UK numbers. 

But whatever... those are the rules so we follow them to the best of our ability.

Because of our short term quarantine, we had to order room service for our dinner. We each ordered exactly the same thing... chicken curry, a shrimp (prawn) cocktail salad, and a glass of red wine. The total bill for the food cost almost the same as the room.

But, the curry really was delicious... we thoroughly enjoyed the meal, even if we had to eat it out of a cardboard box!

Dinner is served.

After dinner, we had a really nice phone call with Ruth's cousin Helen and her husband Tony. They live only a couple of hundred kms (125 miles?) from Gatwick and we were really hoping to see them again on this trip, but Covid meant it was not going to happen. Still, we look forward to the next time we see them!

We actually had a pretty good sleep. Considering the time change and the fact that we had to get up at 4:30am, we slept not bad.

We got up on time and made our way to the terminal and though security. There were 10 different easyJet flights all leaving between 7am and 8am, and we were on one of them. So the bag dropoff area was pretty busy, but the terminal itself was not bad.

Canadians require a visa to enter Turkey. It costs $60 USD ($79 CAD) and the fee is billed and charged in U.S. dollars. 

I had read on the Turkish government website that Canadians could purchase it on the Turkish Government eVisa website, or you could purchase it upon arrival in Turkey. I had also read that some people had been charged a cheaper price upon arrival, so that was our plan. easyJet disagreed with me on that, and forced us to buy it online just as the plane was boarding. I didn't argue with them, but it did cut things a little close. Fortunately the internet was quick and the website was working properly... or so we thought.

The flight was uneventful, and perhaps 70% full. Other than some entertainment watching some of the people deal with the mask issue. Whether you agree with the rules or not, it's such a simple thing to just follow them. Or don't fly. That's your choice right now. Some people want to fly and not follow the rules. We felt sorry for the flight crew. You could tell they were getting frustrated with some people.

Our flight route.

You can see that our route took us right over Switzerland. And as we passed that area, we had clear skies and a beautiful view of the Swiss alps.

Our view of Switzerland.

One of the Greek islands.


We arrived at 1:40pm, with another two hour time change compared to London. We are now 7 hours ahead of eastern time in North America.

We made our way through border and customs into Turkey, and Ruth's eVisa went through fine. But mine was a problem. Despite the PDF file that I showed the guard with the proper authorization number, it would not come up in his system. 

It took us a half an hour to get it sorted out, to which the guard replied "system problem" in his broken English which is many words better than our pretty much non existent Turkish! 

We found a row of ATMs and took out some Turkish lira cash.

Then we found the bus to town and paid the 23 liras ($3.81 CAD, $2.90 USD) each fare for the 45 minute bus ride to the Fethiye bus terminal.

The bus was less than half full.

Scenery along the way.

As we were getting close to the terminal, we saw a TurkCell customer service center and once we got off the bus we walked back there to get a Turkish SIM card for the phone. The place was pretty busy, but we were fortunate to get a friendly guy who answered "yes" when I asked if he spoke any English!

We bought a one month prepaid SIM card package with a minutes, texts, and a 20GB internet package for 120 lira ($19.90 CAD, $15.5 USD). Cheaper than Mexico!

Then we walked the 3 kms (1.8 miles) mostly uphill to our Airbnb apartment rental. The temperature was a beautiful 27C (81F) so we were dripping with sweat by the time we made it up there... but we needed some exercise!

The master bathroom.

The master bedroom.

The 2nd bathroom.

The living room.

The living room.

Ruth, checking out the kitchen.
It even has a dish washer!

Looking down on our shared swimming pool from the apartment.

Our balcony.

Washing machine.

All of this, for only 170 lira ($28 CAD, $21 USD, £16.50, €18) per night. That's probably fairly high by Turkish standards, but we were in a rush and this looked good to us. 

We are QUITE happy and may extend our stay at this location to two weeks instead of one!

We relaxed for an hour and then set out to put some stuff in the fridge. I found a grocery store 700 meters (almost half a mile) away and we walked down to get enough supplies for a night, including a bottle of wine and a couple of beers. We needed them! 

The view from our balcony at dusk.

We have more to tell you, but it will have to wait until tomorrow! But based on first impressions, we are really going to like Turkey!

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  1. Wow! I love your big and beautiful apartment. The right place to relax and get acquainted to the Turkish way of life. Enjoy!

    1. We are loving it too! Definitely a great place to relax and sort ourselves out for the coming month or so. We are certainly going to love Turkey! :-)

  2. Home Sweet Home - looks like you hit the Jackpot!!!!!💖

  3. That looks like a swell base to explore the area....
    Oh boy, now I get to see Turkey!

    1. It is only our base for a week and a day then we will move on to another spot and stay for a week or two. This way we will get to see a lot more of Turkey but at a leisurely pace. :-)

  4. My father-in-law was in cut and see apparel and at one point, he could only find work overseas. He was from South Georgia and had only traveled to the Caribbean, which was fine as He spoke enough English to get by. He was hired by an American company working in Turkey and at 63, he flew to Turkey. He was extremely nervous, but thoroughly enjoyed his month there. He said the Turkish people were the kindest he had ever known and was treated wonderfully everywhere he went. I hope the same can be said by y'all before long.

    1. Wow, what a great time it sounds like your father-in-law had. I am so glad to hear that he really enjoyed his month here. We agree, so far the Turkish people that we have met have been extremely friendly and helpful. We just know we are going to love our time here. :-)

  5. Enjoy your time in Turkey. We’ll be there in March for a couple of months to visit family ... COVID willing.

    1. As we were sitting on the bus from Dalaman to Fethiye, I mentioned to Kevin about you and wondered it you were still reading our blog because I remembered that you or your husband have family here and that you visit regularly. I don't remember what area you normally go to or if you travel throughout the country though. I hope that you will be able to come and visit in March.

    2. My family is in İzmir, on the Aegean Coast. Mui’s sister is north and inland from where you are ... in Eskişehir... he grew up in Ankara. Yes, fingers crossed for our visit in March. I hope it works out.

      Looks like you’re having a grand time. Keep on exploring.

    3. We will be near Izmir but I don't think we will actually head into the city. We are doing our best to stay away from the bigger cities as much as possible because unfortunately it is these cities that seem to harder hit with COVID-19, :-(

      We will be going inland but not quite as far north as either Eskişehir or Ankara. Hopefully we will come back sometime in the next couple of years to visit more of the northern parts of Turkey when we have our motorhome.

      We are having a wonderful time and so far the weather has been wonderful. Fingers crossed you will make it here next March too.

  6. In like Flynn! Looks like you are not suffering at all, very nice accommodations in both England and Turkey. Enjoy your time there.

    1. Nope we certainly aren't! We have a great place to stay with a beautiful view from our balcony. I know that we are going to enjoy Turkey tremendously. :-)

  7. Everything looks fantastic. Would love to sit out on that balcony .

    1. So far we agree with you, it certainly has met our expectations. We are sitting out on our balcony right now enjoying our beautiful view and thinking how lucky we are. :-)

  8. Replies
    1. Unfortunately the apartment is rented out for the week after us, we do get to have one extra day but that is it. I have no doubt that Kevin will find another great place for us in another town along our way. :-)

  9. Oh, we're looking forward to this segment of your blog. We LOVE Turkey and know you will enjoy yourselves. The tourist sales people are so aggressive, though, so be prepared.

    1. We can understand why you love Turkey, we are certain that we will too. The sales people here are nothing like the sales people in Marrakesh, Morocco. We are not going to have a problem at all with them. :-)

  10. I've only spent one day in Turkey off a cruise ship 20 years ago but loved it. The people, the food, the history, archeology. And your room looks fabulous! Enjoy your time there, I think you might even have a slightly better time than Germany since the weather is still nice there

    1. Nice that you got to have even one day in Turkey. I am sure it was quite a bit different 20 years ago than it is now, having said that maybe it hasn't changed all that much when you go inland to the more rural areas.

      We are agree the people, history and archaeology are great. The food is going to be a bit of an issue for us as most of it is flour based which makes things more difficult when you have to eat gluten free, nevertheless we just won't be eating out much and making our own meals, which is what we tend to do most of the time anyways.

      Yes, the weather is going to be so much better than what it would have been in Germany. We will still be visiting Germany but it won't be until around the middle of March next year.

  11. Has the blood pressure finally came down? You guys are catalysts

    Just curious, I’ve noticed additional advertising on your site and at times sliding advertisements.

    Are you compensated more for additional and the sliding advertisements?

    Just wondering, I’m considering my own blog like yourselves.

    1. Lol, yeah it sure has. It was a bit stressful trying to quickly fill out the forms on-line for our tourist visas as they had everyone boarding the plane. We were the last ones to board.

      We are compensated for the advertisements according to the readership. We have no control over how the ads are presented or what the ads are for as the ads are different for everyone. You have to have certain amount of readership before you can even apply to ezoic. It takes a lot of time and effort on your part to make a blog work and to make it profitable.

  12. Haven't been to Turkey for 50 years. Spent 2 days in jail in instanbul after I was caught changing money on the black market. Then spent 3 days standing on a freezing cold train trying to get to erzerum during Ramadan. The train was so full I had to stand in the vestible outside the washroom with about 10 turks. I was trying to get to Tehran, which I eventually did.

    1. I would bet that many things have changed over those 50 years here!

    2. I am sure they have. My cousin (Kate Clow) lives in Atalya. If you can contact her she is an expert on hiking in Turkey and has written books on it. Tell her you know me, she may give you some tips. I dont have her email offhand. I am in contact with her son, Mark, who lives in Atlanta so I could find it out if you are interested

    3. Thanks for the info it is very helpful to us. If we need to contact her we will let you know. :-)


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