Antalya: An exotic Turkish detour

[pullquote-left]Fifteen minutes before scheduled landing, Turkish Airlines flight TK721 took a detour to Antalya instead of landing in Istanbul.[/pullquote-left]

This may sound like a thriller movie, but the cause was a snowstorm which had rendered the entire Istanbul airport unusable for 30+ hours.

After 10 harrowing hours of waiting & confusion, we were escorted to a luxurious resort in the quaint beach town of Antalya, cradled by the Mediterranean Sea!

This was cutting into my Finland itinerary, but i decided to enjoy the experience anyway – especially since it helped me discover a beautiful new destination i would have probably not heard of otherwise.

[pullquote-right]When you think of the Mediterranean, the first things that come to mind are Greek islands, Southern Slovenia and Croatia – but Antalya offers just the same, along with Turkish epicurean delights![/pullquote-right]

My introduction to Turkish cuisine happened with the perfect cup of Turkish coffee, slowly brewed in hot sand – it’s frothy with an earthy aroma and a rich texture.

If you’re not a coffee person, it may take a while to appreciate it, but for me it was love at first sip.

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The coffee was just the kick i needed to stay curious about Antalya and what awaited me next. When we finally did get to the resort, i was in complete awe – and as much as i wanted to be angry with the airline for taking this long, i understood that it was a natural phenomenon they had no control over. Redemption looked absolutely stunning…

The WOW Kremlin Resort is inspired by Russian architecture with domes and colorful edifices. In my mind, i had already made up my mind that i wanted to come back here some day.

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Dinner was a great, comforting buffet spread and it took me no time in making friends with a Afghani gentleman over the meal.

The rooms were massive – mine had 3 beds and a luxurious shower cabin. All of this suddenly erased all the unsavory memories of the day and i was looking forward to the next day… and Scandinavia!

After the perfect breakfast on the morning of the 19th of Feb, Turkish Airlines sent coaches to pick us up for the airport.

Breakfast at WOW Kremlin Resort

I forgot that we were yet to reach Istanbul – which seemed to be waking up from a hangover, from the looks of the airport. Since over 15,000 passengers were stranded at Istanbul because of this, most of the day went in figuring out where to go, what to do and changing tickets for the onward journey.

Finally in the evening at around 8 pm, i got a new ticket for Helsinki – for the next day!
That means spending another night stranded, at the Istanbul airport – sleeping uncomfortably on the chairs, but i couldn’t really complain with thousands of other stranded passengers dealing with way worse scenarios. Onward we must go…

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Exotic Gringo (Kaushal Karkhanis)

Leading an experimental life as a digital nomad, Kaushal started traveling in 2007 while choosing to shuttle between Goa and Mumbai as 'home'.