Hi everyone -
Now you didn't think I was going to take you along for my trip without describing teh valleys as well as the peaks, did you? So here's the only set of speed bumps - - all on day 5.....
OK – every trip needs at least one solid speed bump to let a person know how grateful they must be for all the other incredible blessings that come along the way, and I’ve always believed that you can only recognize the peaks by walking through the valleys. The morning of day 5 was most definitely our valley, but still with highlights along the way......like how many things you get to learn (see all the tips below!)
We arrived in Antalya bleary eyed, with me feeing that internal shaky speediness that always comes to me with the cocktail of lack of sleep mixed with the need to function in high alert (and arriving in the Antalya bus station for the first time was confusing enough to merit high alert!).
- Lesson #1: find out in advance from the forums where busses come in and what bus to transfer to and where it can be found (get a mental visual – or better yet ask someone to make a hand drawn map, scan it in and send to you!!!!).
Thinking – ah, nothing to fear, I’ll just call Carrie I took out my shiny new internationally enabled cell phone (had re-upped contract just for the purpose of getting it, and made sure everything was enabled and good to go) - - and found it would not get service – as it didn’t ANYWHERE in Turkey – even though Sprint had assured me it did......
- Lesson #2: make sure your cell phone company doesn’t just dabble in international calls (later found Sprint was known for problems overseas) - - or rent a phone in Turkey when you get there.....cheaper than per minute coasts and more reliable!
So, in my usual intrepid manner (the unsinkable Molly Brown has nothing on me!) I went searching for someone with a phone who would let me call our rental car company to let them know we’d be late to our meeting point – and found NO ONE who spoke English, German or French, so through gestures and pointing at my reservation paper, and by drawing picture os cars and question marks, a snack bar owner let me use his phone (bet that wouldn’t work in New York City - thanks be for the seemingly overall humor and kindness of the Turks!).....and THEN – the rental car company phone was perpetually busy, so I couldn’t get through......and we had to be in the okd part of Antalya and it was getting late and I was afraid I’d miss the meet-up at the Argos hotel (in the Kalieci area) to get our car and things were getting pretty anxious and.........
- Tip that’s never failed me in times like these: When in doubt and totally lost, take a taxi - - might be expensive but at least you get to where you need to go!
And so we did – but the car wasn’t there for our 8:30 meet up (and we were to meet Carrie at Mini-City at 9:00), but at least we were able to call Carrie from the front desk to tell her we’d be late......so good to hear a friendly unstressed voice!
But then the car still wasn’t there at 9:30 and I was getting very worried.....and once again we were rescued by a total stranger, who noticed me trying to communicate the need to use the phone to call the car company to a very young man at the front desk. This man was in from England (Turkish, but he had moved away some years before) to buy a vacation apartment on the Antalyan coast, and offered us the use of his computer to find the car rental company, his cell phone to straighten things out, and his hospitality to join him for breakfast. After his speaking briefly to the front desk manager, he took us to his table on the patio and I watched my very overstresses and tired husband and son relax into going with the flow (instead of being horribly grumpy) as they finally got to eat breakfast.
Meanwhile I called Carrie, she made a phone call to the no-show car rental company and in a half hour they got there making many excuses - - a million thanks to her for bailing us out of a tough situation!!!!! Meanwhile (making lemonade out of lemons) – the Argos hotel in Kalieci looked very nice, and once everything was resolved we enjoyed our time in the courtyard patio there, eating our usual delicious Turkish breakfast
- Lesson #3: I will probably not work through www.economycarrentals again, as they are only a booking agent and cannot control their partners. The original company they had placed me with (Thrify) apparent went out of business in early April and they rebooked me at a higher rate ($88 more) through Budget and emailed me the new voucher - - I was stuck as I’d already given a deposit. It was just lucky that I happened to be up early to check my e-mail while at the Kelebeck hotel in Goreme, or I wouldn’t have even known! Now they’re not answering my calls (only have a message machine on) to resolve the monetary difference.....
Next time I’ll reserve through Carrie’s connections or through Fatma (the tour guide
I’ll tell you about in the Ephesus installment)
So we finally got to Mini City at 11:00 – how great to meet her after all our time talking on the form! Though she wouldn’t admit it, she was a delightful tour guide for our time there, and it was a sweet stop to learn about (and get hungry for) all the places we wouldn’t get to visit this time. I would recommend it for anyone with children tired by all the ‘big people’ stuff and eager to stretch their legs amidst attractions their own size....After a delightful lunch along the water together, we were finally off to Cirali....sorry that Carrie and the kids had to stay in Antalya instead of coming with us but glad we had had the time to spend...
- Lesson #4: The main reason NOT to over-plan is that when the unexpected happens that cost a few hours, it’s no big deal. For us the hours lost waiting for our car meant there was something we would have to miss along our way.....for anyone out there planning as frenetically as I did - - remember nothing EVER goes completely as planned, and it is much less stressful to roll with the punches when you have time to stop and smell the flowers
Next installments Cirali/Pammukkale/Ephesus – stay tuned for more lovely times....:>)