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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cappadocia Trip with Detur in 2017

4.11 Helsinki-Antalya 

On the first day we flew from Helsinki to Antalya. Our travel group included three people, me, Kaisa and Otto. Me and Otto bought the ticket together in March and Kaisa bought it in August. The first problem was that Detur had randomly put us in different groups, which meant that we would have had to be separated for the entire week. First we asked our tour guide in the bus if it's possible to get Kaisa to our group so she can be with us, but the tour guide just answered "I'm not a travel agency, call to them". At the hotel we asked another tour guide who told that it's not possible, then we asked our tour guide again and now he agreed to switch Kaisa to our group. Detur could have warned about this, but they didn't inform anything that people are put into different groups totally randomly. If we knew this we would have contacted Detur before the start of the trip already. The tour guides weren't particularly friendly on the first day.

5.11. Antalya-Cappadocia

After a really nice breakfast at our hotel at Antalya we started our trip towards Cappadocia. The hotel at Antalya was really nice and the food was just amazing there. We needed the tasty breakfast, because the drive to Cappadocia wasn't easy.

We had to cross the Taurus mountains and it started snowing heavily there. The snow storm was actually so bad that all the cars got stuck in the snow and we had to wait more than 3 hours, before we could continue driving. The view was beautiful though.

This is Otto returning from the "outdoor toilet" back to the bus. Just a second after this photo Otto slipped in the ground.

This is Otto squatting in Turkey. This was the first time for Otto, when he was outside of Europe in his entire life. Like you can see Otto was completely exhilarated about his accomplishment. 

The scenery during our bus ride after Taurus mountains. 

We were so happy to arrive to Cappadocia in the evening after the unexpected snow storm. The hotel in Cappadocia was also excellent, but the food wasn't as good as in Antalya.

6.11 Cappadocia 

The main attractions on the third day were the outdoor museum of Göreme, underground city or caves and many other beautiful nature locations along the way.  One of the problems was that we spent too little time in the nature and too much in some shops. Well I understand that Detur makes more money by taking customers to shops with which they have a deal and get provisions for bringing customers. Still I think there's a problem with the scheduling if we only have 15-20 minutes in the nature spots and 30 minutes in a shop that sells nuts. I felt like the main point was to bring us to as many shops as possible to spend our money and not to enjoy the amazing and unique nature in Cappadocia.

Göreme outdoor museum was really great. We couldn't go to that place where the Turkish guy stands, because they charged extra for that. Charging extra for everything seemed like a national sport in Turkey.

In the end of the third day we had a huge fight with Detur's tour guide. One guy from our group found a better hot air balloon deal and he informed us others. Our tour guide found us negotiating with the hot air balloon guy and started yelling at him and all of us, who wanted to get a cheaper flight. The flight through Detur cost 155 euros and there were almost 10 of us who wanted to get a cheaper flight. Anyway the hot air balloon ride was an additional activity, but still the tour guide got mad at us, because we were going to select some company from which they wouldn't get huge provisions. If you would have booked the flight directly from the hot air balloon company with which Detur had a contract you would have had to pay only 120 euros. Me and Kaisa found a good company for 75 euros. The way how the tour guide behaved in that situation wasn't professional at all. The hot air ballon guy with whom we negotiated actually left and he didn't have all permissions or something, but still the way how the Detur tour guide behaved was really outrageous. I hadn't been yelled at by a customer servant ever before.

7.11 Cappadocia 

The fourth day started with visits to the ceramic store and mat factory. It was interesting to see how ceramic objects are made and how silk worms produce the silk, but after the interesting information the visits were quite boring. We were mostly just walking around the stores, where the vendors tried to allure us to buy something. We didn't buy anything and we were a bit annoyed by the fact that we had so much time reserved for the visits in these places and so little time in the nature locations.

The Turkish mats were beautiful and we had a lot of time to look at them. The prices were really high, like some of them were worth tens of thousands of euros.

On the fourth day we should have had the show of the dancing dervishes, but for some reason our group left earlier than we had agreed. We were told that we would meet at 18.00 in front of the hotel and leave by bus. Otto checked at 17.50 if someone was there, but they had already left. We then started thinking that maybe it was at 19.00 and checked the meeting place at 18.30 and 19.00 again. Then we found out that they had left 17.45, which made me a bit disappointed. I wasn't angry at the guides, but I said in a frustrating tone to Otto and Kaisa that we should just go back to our hotel room. The Detur tour guide, with whom we had a fight the previous day thought I was mad at him and he came to me and started to argue in a way that I don't expect from customer servants, he started yelling again. At this point I decided that I would never choose Detur again in my life. The customer service was so horrible, but this wasn't actually a surprise. Many people had told about these things in some forums and unfortunately I saw it also with my own eyes now.

8.11 Cappadocia-Antalya 

On the fifth day we started the day by going to the hot air balloon flight. It was really amazing and not so frightening, because the hot air balloons moved so slowly.

If you take the Cappadocia trip with Detur, book your hot air balloon ride directly online. Otto paid 155 euros and we paid 75 euros for hot air balloon flights, that were entirely the same. The tour guide tried to trick us all to pick the flight through them. He told that it's so cheap and that he paid for a hot air balloon flight in Finland 600 euros and that in many places around the world it can be even more. He just tried to make us feel like the 155 euros was a really great deal, but in reality it was just his b&#s&#t to get extra money for himself as much as possible.

The hot air balloon ride lasted about an hour and I think it was a perfect time to spend in the hot air balloon. We ascended to almost 1000 meters. In the end we had to rush a bit when we landed, because the Detur bus heading back to Antalya would have left us to Cappadocia, if we wouldn't have been in time at 9.00 o'clock in front of the hotel, because we had chosen a different hot air balloon company.

On the way back to Antalya we stopped at two interesting spots. The first one was this Kervansaray, which was back in the Silk Road days a place where people could stop for a couple of days for free. The travellers could keep their camels and other animals in the yard and have a place to sleep inside the buildings. There were kervansarays along the whole Silk Road.

This is the mausoleum of the famous poet Rumi. His poems have been quoted in several websites nowadays so it was really interesting to visit Rumi's mausoleum. The Islamistic art inside the monument was just amazing like you can see.

Here we were crossing the Taurus mountains again. This time the snow had melted from most of the places and the scenery was completely different than the last time.

Higher in the mountains there still was snow in Taurus mountains.

We arrived in Antalya in the evening and stayed the night in the same hotel as on the first day. The hotel was quite far from the center of Antalya and there wasn't much around.

9.11 Antalya 

The sixth day in Cappadocia was the most frustrating. First we visited a leather shop, then a gold shop, then an aquarium and finally after all of these we had a couple of hours free time in the city center of Antalya.

One of the walls inside the leather shops. I think this was the most interesting thing I saw there. We saw fashion show there and then we were guided to the shop. They weren't that interested if someone was against leather industry. All of us had to be there, because it was in the contract. Well actually they made an exception with a group of four girls, because one of them was Turkish or at least spoke Turkish. I don't blame the girls, but I was just annoyed by the fact that the Detur guides treated all people differently. I even heard that the guide in the other group ignored people who didn't buy these extra packages, that for instance me, Kaisa and Otto bought. The rules weren't same for everyone nor was the service.

The most interesting picture during our visit in the gold shop. The prices were really high, because I heard that after bargaining the final price could be 90% lower than the price in the beginning. Also we didn't want to support the gem and gold industry, which definitely doesn't pay enough for the people who dig them in third world countries.

The fish in the aquarium were cool, although I really think that the fish should be released back to the sea rather than keep them in a small box their entire life.

I don't understand why this cleaner looked so mad at us. Now he understood how it felt being inside the aquarium like the fish.

The old town in Antalya was magical. I really liked the sceneries there and I had a lot to photograph there. Also it felt good to have a little bit of free time. This trip with Detur was like a badly organized school trip.

There were so many Turkish flags there. Turkey definitely had a bit of a patriotic atmosphere, especially here.

10.11 Antalya 

Our seventh day was a free day, after the whole week we were finally free to do anything we wanted during the whole day. Unfortunately our hotel was so far from everything that there wasn't much to see besides the beach and the huge mall called "Land of Legends", which actually was really nice.

Land of Legends during the day. There weren't much people, but we heard that there would be a show in the evening.

This was the gate closing ceremony, which was actually one of the most epic shows that I have ever seen. I didn't even expect to experience something like this. There weren't surprisingly even that much people watching this show that is held every evening.

In the end of the Venice-like canals there was a Disney castle.

Here is the gate, which was closed in the end of the show. The atmosphere was so magical that I felt like I was part of a fairytale, because the actors walked from place to place and the audience had to follow them. There were water bubbles, lights and ferries everywhere.

11.11 Antalya-Helsinki 

On the last day we ate our last breakfast and took the bus to the airport. Our 8-day trip in Turkey had ended. The sceneries were definitely amazing, but the customer service was really the worst ever. Also the hotels and food was mostly good. Because of the terrible customer service I decided to boycott Detur for the rest of my life. Here are some tips if you want take this trip with Detur.

Tips and info: 
139 euros was my ticket (flight + accommodation + transportation)
179 euros additional package (meals and activities)
104 euros VIP package, a surprise payment for things that we thought that we paid already (179e payment), but which apparently didn't include after all despite the fact that the website never mentioned about this package
5 euros water package, unlimited water in the bus (many of us suspected that this was an additional cost going directly to the pockets of the tour guides)
155 euros hot air balloon flight through Detur, or you can just google hot air balloon cappadocia and get like many companies offering the exact same experience for under 100 euros. I paid 75 euros.

The tour guides will try to talk about the schedule and activities in a way that you feel like everything would be really hard to arrange if you don't pay extra, but actually there were many people who only paid the 139 euros and had no problems solving out the other things.