8th January 2017
We are finally back in Gocek after one of the most eventful journeys we have ever experienced.
It started off well. We took the National Express coach from Wellington to Gatwick. This is only the second time we have used this coach service and we found it extremely efficient. On time and warm and comfortable. We spent the night at the Premier Inn North Terminal – we found it one of the best Premier Inns we have ever used – warm, comfortable and friendly….and only a few minutes walk from the terminal itself.
We happily boarded the plane, took off and settled down for the flight to Antalya (no direct flights available to Dalaman). 3 hours into the flight the captain announced that due to a technical fault, the plane was being diverted to Athens!
That’s where the shambles started. Apparently one of the engines was overheating so we had to wait for another plane to come out from Gatwick to take us the one hour flight to Antalya. However, we were assured that Thomas Cook would take good care of us….ha ha. We were dumped in a holding area (not even enough seats for everyone to sit down), no refreshments and no loos. Eventually a box of rather nasty pizza slices was produced but no drinks. Luckily we had a bottle of water with us. After about an hour and a half we were told that the replacement plane would arrive at 10pm (it was then about 3.30) but we would have to go through the rigmarole of passport control and check in as the flight number had altered! We were bussed into the main terminal, went through passport control (technically into Greece) and then left – 180 of us – with no idea where to go or what to do. Eventually we found a helpful airport worker who directed us to the Departures hall where we had to queue for check in. Here we were given a standard apology letter from Thomas Cook (wow) plus a voucher for 7 euros each for refreshments at MacDonalds (double wow).
At this point we took to drink as we still had two and a half hours to wait for the plane. I must say that they have improved Athens Airport considerably since I last used it about twenty years ago.
Eventually the plane arrived, we boarded and finally arrived at Antalya Airport and about 12.30a.m Turkish time (having left Gatwick at 8.15a.m.)
From then on all went smoothly. Our friendly taxi driver from Gocek was waiting for us, the drive through the snowy mountains was attractive and we arrived home at 5a.m. Turkish time (2a.m. UK) 21 hours after we left our hotel only to find there was a power cut so no electricity”
As you can imagine, our first day back in Turkey went by in a haze but today is market day, we shall be meeting our friends for a catch-up at lunchtime and we are HOME.
Back to normal next week……maybe…..