Saturday I left Ali Bey midday to go to the Antalya airport. I changed my flight to an earlier one…and the travel agency working for the tournament said I could get an earlier transport…but that message didn’t reach the transport company and despite having room for me (and I had a voucher)…left without me. There is a taxi stand right outside AliBey though so I got a taxi to the airport. It was dark when I arrived at AliBey so I couldn’t see how much more construction had taken place in the last eight years…farmland has given way to buildings and there’s a stoplight every couple of miles the entire way. There was also a lot of snow in the nearby mountains.
My flight was to Istanbul from Antalya on Turkish Airlines, a nice airline even in economy. In both Antalya and Istanbul I had to put my bags though x-ray..and walk through the x-ray machine myself. Anyone entering the airport, passenger or not has to do that.
After arriving at the gate we were put on buses and driven a long way to the plane, quickly boarded and off on the hour or so flight north to the new Istanbul Airport.
When I arrived and checked to see how long it would take to reach my hotel I realized I had booked an airport hotel for the wrong airport, and it was an hour away. I called to see if I could change it to the one near the airport I was sitting in…and I think confused the desk person but called Hilton directly and was rebooked, my other stay refunded (I hope…in 3-5 days!). I stayed in a pretty new Hampton Inn less than 10 minutes away.
FYI, I would recommend either negotiating the fare in advance or having Turkish Lira to pay the fare, as the driver on the return did attempt a big price gouge and said the credit card machine was not working.
In Istanbul, the airport is beautiful…I was able to use the star alliance lounge which is great, lots of different food stations, from salads to omelets to a coffee bar to drink stations to pastries. I wasn’t there very long as my flight was called an hour before it was to leave and it was quite a ways to the gate. This time though we boarded directly onto the plane from the gate.
The three-hour flight to Nice, France was smooth. Uber works in France, at least in Nice it does and I got a ride to Beausoleil, about 45 minutes away. The traffic, on Easter Sunday morning was really heavy, as there’s only a 2-lane road between the cities. We drove along the coast on the south and on the north I could see the Alps covered with snow.
After dropping off my bags at the apartment I rented, I found a nearby small grocery store, picked up lunch (carrot salad and more..yum!) and went off to find the way the Monte Carlo Open (next post). And it wasn’t even noon yet!