It was our last full day in Turkey, and the bad and cold weather from Ankara had finally caught up with us.
On leaving the hotel to go to Serinçe, we saw a few snow flakes. The day was grey and very cold, and we wondered how cold it would be up in the mountains.
Selçuk & Sirinçe
However, first we were to visit the Isa Bey mosque in Selçuk. When we arrived, we found that another travel group had beaten us, so we stayed in the cold and were given some information there before the other group left and we could enter the mosque. It was being renovated, which is why there was only a small spot near the entrance where we could stand. The rest of the mosque couldn't be entered, but then there wasn't really anything much to see anyway, because it was empty due to the ongoing renovation. We learned a few interesting things about Imams, wedding ceremonies etc in Turkey. It is quite different from what the Turks do in my country.
Afterwards, we went to Sirinçe, a former Greek village in the mountains. They live from growing olives and wine and selling them to tourists. It has an interesting history, and the buildings are old and under preservation order. The way up there was interesting, to say the least. It was all serpentine, and I had a marvellous view down the abyss with nothing to stop us should the bus fail to stay on the road but a few olive trees.
Our first port of call on arrival, was, as usual, the public toilet. Well... the least said about this dirty hole, the better. I think if you take money for the privilege of us using your toilet you should at least keep it tidy...
We didn't really go to explore the village much due to the bitter cold. We went up and down the 'shopping mall' which consisted of many stalls and most of it was covered with some sort of woven wicker mesh roof which at least gave some protection from the elements. However, it was so cold that we were soon frozen, so we went into a tiny teashop advertising heating1 and had several glasses of tea there until it was time to get on the bus again.
From there we went to some service area not unlike the Autobahnraststätten here where we had lunch. They had a store, too, so we browsed some clothes and I bought a lovely pashmira. Afterwards we went back to the hotel for resting and packing.
Our flight back was scheduled at 4pm, and the bus was to take us to the airport at noon, which left us with enough time for a relaxed breakfast, a last check that we had packed everything, and a walk down to the private hotel beach. We walked out on the landing stage (not that I think any boat ever moors there), and we made sure to have a good grasp of each other so as not to be blown away by the fierce wind.
At about 11.30am we all assembled in the hotel lobby and waited for the bus. The journey to the airport was eventless and we arrived well in time before our flight was due.
Like with all big airports, there were large queues at passport control. There was staff telling you which queue to join, so I was separated from my husband and his mother. I didn't think about it, then realised that I needed to join their queue because our three names were on the ticket, which we needed to show at the desk. I changed the queue. It was my husband and his mum's turn already, and the official had started stamping their documents. I gave him mine; he checked them, finished stamping the documents, and off we went.
Yekta had told us that we could take liquids through security, and it proved to be no problem at the first check. I had taken a half litre bottle of water for each of us, so we would have something to drink while waiting for boarding. However, at the second security check, we were told that we couldn't take the liquids. We were offered to drink our water there and then, otherwise we'd have to bin it. It wasn't a problem, as at that point there was only one bottle of water left anyway. We passed security without further problems, but a man from our group started to make a huge fuss! He got loud and was incredibly rude, which resulted in his having to empty his hand luggage for a thorough check. We watched it not without a considerable amount of Schadenfreude. He would never have made such a fuss in Germany!
We didn't have to wait for very long until we were asked to board our plane. And then something unexpected happened: the official had failed to put a stamp on my document, so wasn't allowed to board! I had to wait until everybody else had been checked. Then followed some hectic phone calls to passport control, and in the end somebody put a stamp on my document and I was allowed to get on the plane at last. Phew, that was a little scary.
The flight back was in bright daylight and we arrived at about 6pm German time, which was nice. Nothing further occurred, although I had seen on TV that customs often check tourists coming from Turkey for jewels, leatherware and other goods Germans are wont to buy in Turkey and should declare but don't. It was the first time I had actually seen officials at customs, but they looked rather bored and let me pass without stopping me.
While we were in the queue for passport control, some staff noticed that my mother in law had a cane, so they escorted us and we passed as 'priority', which was cool. That was totally unexpected, but the friendly men insisted that we should pass before everybody else, so we didn't object any longer.
I think we arrived at home about an hour later. Neither of our sons was at home, and the youngest had taken the car, too, which meant that my husband had to carry his mum's heavy luggage for another half kilometre. He wasn't impressed, but it couldn't be helped. Thus ended my wonderful holiday.