Sure living in Europe in freaking awesome, but contrary to what people think, we still go through the same stressors and “life” as we would in Canada. So when winter break came, we needed to seriously get away. Between work and school and hubby’s surgery, it had been a rough couple of months, and we needed “out”. Winters in Germany suck. The temperature itself is not horrible (5-8ish degrees), but the wind which is there all winter long makes it not the same 5-8degrees as back home… The winters are gloomy ALL THE TIME! This is the worst winter we have had here yet. No, we don’t have snow, but we get rain almost daily for three/four months. And when it doesn’t rain, it’s cloudy. We never see sun. It’s depressing! If we had sun it would be one thing, but as I sit here and write, we have literally had snow, hail, rain and thundershower all since waking up (twelve hours ago now…). Winter in Germany sucks – which is why we ended up on southern Turkey!! 15-22 degrees and SUN!!!
I started looking at all-inclusive resorts in Antalya, Turkey. I was a little worried about booking and even going to Turkey with all the attacks happening, but I couldn’t let that stop me from living my life. We did Egypt last year, and while we knew what to expect, I didn’t want to go back there… My main site I used is called Thomascook.de. Once you get around and understand the German of it, it’s a very easy site to use. I screenshot a few all-inclusives I liked, and headed to a travel agency in our main mall in The Netherlands. They gave me a price of about 2450€ (3600$cnd about) – more than I wanted to spend. They couldn’t price match the German price (we think it’s because taxes in both countries are different), so we found a travel agency next to work and went there. I am sure I could have attempted to book with the German site itself, but I was worried I would miss something, so I wanted that “person interaction”. I asked the lady in the agency what she could do about the price I found, and she was able to get the same hotel, same dates, for twenty euros more than the website. Perfect! 2000€ (3100$ish) for all 5 of us. Just think – going to Cuba is at least 800$ – this ends up being 620$ a person, which is incredible. And for eight nights! Hotel was Limak Arcadia in Antalya (Belek), Turkey.
Packing was difficult as nights were about six degrees (so pants and sweater) and days were fifteen to twenty (t-shirts and shorts..). I probably packed a little more than I usually do, but when you have five free check-in suitcases, you don’t need to be as careful as normal…
Our flight was out of Dusseldorf International at 10:45am. Good thing we got there early as parking was a b*tch! Check-in was super easy. Thought since the kids were up early they would sleep on the flight – not at all. Three hours of them being wide awake, but excellent! They know how to keep themselves occupied. Once we landed in Antalya, you feel complete comfort. I thought I would feel nervous and scared – not at all. We found our shuttle to the hotel, and off we go! Took about thirty minutes, and we were the first stop! The drive was nice, very civilized. I was expecting cars swerving and cutting others off – but didn’t see it happen at all.
We walk into reception, and it’s a madhouse. There are tons of people! This place was popular!! Once you see past the people, they have a whole Smurf Christmas Welcome which was awesome. Kids loved it! As we were waiting in line, we had a concierge come and take our bags, and give us bracelets. There are different types of “all-inclusives” here, so ours was the full; others only had soft drinks (adults too, not just kids).
We were finally given our room number, and someone brought our bags down for us. He explained a little bit about the room – including the free mini-bar, which consisted of two sparking water, two normal water, two different soft drinks, and two juices per day. Considering bars were open from 9am until midnight, you didn’t need alcohol in your room also…
We were given a list of what was opened and included being winter-time, and not summer. I read online while doing research that there would be limits, so I wasn’t surprised at all. One thing I thought was weird was that the safe wasn’t included in winter.
At this point, we hadn’t really eaten anything, and were needing food. We decided to walk to the main building and have a look around. Again, you see a lot of people, and surprisingly, a lot of cats. Inside AND outside buildings.. It was almost time to eat, and instead of continuing around, we wanted food! The selection seemed huge, and we found a lot to eat. Finally with bellies full, we headed back to our room to relax. No matter how much we wanted to see what the resort offered, we seriously needed sleep, and then tomorrow, we could have all day, and the rest of the week to just hang out and relax!!
In general, the food was good. Sure on the first night the selection seemed grand, but in the end, wasn’t a whole lot.
While a good start to your day is always a must, breakfast was usually not a hit. Breakfast ran from 7:00-10:00 every day. There was one place where you could have an omelet made for you, and that was the freshest thing. Pancakes and French Toast – while usually alright, sometimes a little dry. Potato wedges were the same every breakfast, as were the boiled eggs, and scrambled eggs. There was always cucumber and olives and carrots…etc There was always either steamed broccoli or cauliflower – while the kids always thought this was awesome (yes, I have heard my kids are weird 😉 ), it just wasn’t breakfast-y enough for me and my hubby. The cheese section was the best part for me. Cheeses I don’t find and/or had never heard of before was awesome. Kids loved the cereal section, and the fact that they could get the milk themselves!
Our favorite part of breakfast they only had two days out of the 7 we had breakfast – bagels and cream cheese! I can’t even find a proper bagel here in Germany to eat. We had to take a picture to remember this, because it’s a very rare occurrence to us these days! And the kids asked, so I really had no choice.. lol
LUNCH AND SUPPER
Lunch and supper were always very similar meals. It seemed that whatever was for lunch, was the same at supper time. Lunch was always from 12:30-2:30, and supper was 6:30-9:30. We usually got there a few minutes after opening times to avoid the huge first initial rush. There was a huge salad bar area with different types of salads and toppings – cucumbers, carrots, peppers, olives (same as breakfast…). Cheese bar area was always closely the same, usually changing a type or two of cheese daily. There was always a different type of appetizer or salad – turkey salad, chicken salad, mixed peas salad. There was always french fries and either wedges or boiled potatoes. Always two types of rice – one always being plain white rice, the other being chicken fried/risotto/couscous/wheat rice. There were always a type of thin pizza – either with cheese/pesto/chicken/tuna on top. This was always declicious to eat, and gone within seconds of the chef putting them out. One spaghetti and another different pasta daily. And the meats were always good! Either fish/seafood platter/meatballs/chicken/turkey/even gyros meat! This was always delicious – but again, very repetitive. Whatever was served at lunch was usually the same for supper. Sometimes for a couple days in a row.
Deserts were a big section of cakes. Believe me, my kids packed in the deserts like there was no tomorrow. But not many fruits; I wish they had more fruits. It was mostly cut up organges and maybe grapefruit – not enough in my opinion.
I’m not a big desert eater – as I don’t like sweets, most deserts are very sugary – but there was one section, the “Turkish Delights” area of the deserts, and I wish I could learn how to make some of this stuff!! I honestly have no idea what half this stuff was besdies the Baklava, but I will be willing to Google until I can figure it out..
Now don’t get me wrong here, we not for a second felt hungry! There was always always enough to keep someone in our clan satisfied and happy, so in the end, that was really all that mattered.
When the weather is nice enough (only happened once or twice in our eight days) the beach had food as lunch. Burgers, hot dogs, fries, nuggets, and sandwhiches. Wasn’t anything fancy, but the day we went, we were needing a chance of food scenery – this is exactly what we needed!! Kids thought it was amazing! And the burgers were better than I have had in a long time (most who know me, know my food of choice is most always a burger!).
We loved these! Every evening at 11:00 the buffet area served soup, spaghetti, a couple salad options, and a pastry or two. Just enough to let you go to bed not hungry. The kids actually asked to go to this nightly. Since we ate supper at 6:30, after the shows, by the time 11:00 comes around, the snack is exactly what you need! It never disappointed!
Each meal (besides the midnight snack) had a coffee/tea serve yourself, as well as juices and water. You cannot drink tap water in Turkey, so it was always from a bottle (same reason why the mini bar in your room gives you water!). There were always waiters/waitresses walking around ready to get a more specialized order. Breakfast they will get you orange or apple juice (different from the serve yourself) and lunches and suppers you could get wines and beers, and any mixed drink with a soft drink, and soft drinks for the kids. They LOVED the drinks here as I don’t keep much cokes/sprites at home; it was a nice treat for them!
There were enough bars to keep you more than happy, there are more (and more popular) in the summer months. One of the things I researched beforehand was about the alcohol. They had a “local drinks” only. So local wines, beers, whisky, no rum, no tequila, yes vodka. While my hubby likes his rum more than any others, he enjoyed the whisky as well with his coke. They had a couple cocktails available, but wasn’t a “on the spot, let’s change this up” resort – at least for winter… The cocktails they did have though, were very good. The wine was always the same ones, and always good, and the whisky coke was always extremely strong lol There was a a Tom and Jerry cocktail for kids (Grenadine and 7Up) and a Smurf (no idea what was in it, but it was blue and the kids loved it!).
The Lobby Bar was open daily from 9:00am until midnight. Right next to it was a Game Room where it was just a quiet area to play games. John and I taught the kids Checkers in here and 31 and Pace the Ace, and we learned how to play BackGammon.
Beach Bar was open from 10am until 4pm, but only had coffees, soft drinks, and beer.
The Oleando Bar was open mid morning until just after suppertime, and the Bar where the shows took place was open from about 4 or 6, until midight.
These guys, holy crap they work hard! Took us a couple of days to realize there was as much happening as there is. Throughout the day the organized archery, darts, fishing, airsoft shooting. Nights they did shows and then activities afterwards (karaoke, 70’s night, live music…). The shows are pretty entertaining. Some of them had us laughing pretty hard. Their days start at 10am, and they work right until at least midnight. They work six days, and always have Sundays off. When we got there, it was New Year’s Eve the next day, so they still worked that day. They also worked the Christmas Eve the week before, so they were going on over three weeks by the time they got their next day off. I’m not even sure that is legal in Canada…
One show was the Miss Arcadia. I told my hubby beforehand that if they asked for volunteers, I was NOT going up. Of course, when the time for volunteers came, I went up… My husband got many “looks” while I was up there. There were four of us, and the lady next to me seemed just as embarrased as I was… We had four things to do, and the audience declared the winner. First was a “catwalk” and to “pose” for three pictures. The second was a belly dance (for anyone who knows me, being in front of an audience is not my forte, so my hubby had a lot of fun with this. Last thing though, was we each got asked who we were there with. When I said hubby, he got called up on stage (PAYBACK!). He had to stand on one side of the stage, and i had to run at him and pop one balloon belly to belly, another balloon my back to his belly, and another I had to put it on his lap and jump and pop it. Fasted couple won that round. Hubby and I won that one, but in the end, I lost (trust me, I am fine that with…). One of the other girls was almost in tears she didn’t want to be up there, so I think the audence liked that she still tried. It’s all good. It was all in good fun, and even though I said I wouldn’t, I still talked to my husband afterwards.
Ecran (I think that was his name) was absolutely INCREDIBLE! Anyone who can handle my three kids at the same time is pretty awesome. Mini Club was open daily from 10:00 until 12:30, then in the afternoon from 2:30 until 4:30. There was always about ten kids there at once, and he was alone. Check out the photo below for the park at the Mini Club!!!
Every day there were competitions for which they got certificates on stage after the Mini Disco show. There was Jenga, mini-putt one, a bowling one…etc Nathan and Zachary got two each, and on our last night Tyler finally got one. He was so excited, Ecran even said “you look happy, it’s your first time up here. Not only did they get certificates, but they got a Limak stuffed animal dog, a kinder egg, and a lolipop. It was a very exciting moment!!
The scenery all around the resort was beautiful. We were able to take great pictures of the kids all over. Made for a great relaxing atmosphere alright! I loved just walking around.
There were two soccer fields, a couple tennis courts, a giant man-sized chess set, shuffleboard, mini-putt….etc So much to keep you occupied at all hours of the day!
I think I spent all my down time here. I have never been much of a beach person, but something pulled me there this time – maybe the incessant clouds and gloomy-ness of Germany made the beach a bigger deal.. It wasn’t always hot enough to actually go fully in – well the kids did of course – (plus the waves were crazy!), but it was always enough to put your feet in.
The beach area had these awesome huge comfy chairs. During the summer they also have small individual “rooms” for a family. They look cool. The wind would have blown them away during winter season though… So we settled into the big comfy chairs!
There was an actual playgroud on the beach which the kids enjoyed – parents would enjoy during the summer while sitting at the bar or eating a meal!
And finding seashells was a MUST! We probably have ten pounds brought home just of shells…
NEW YEAR’S EVE
We wanted to be somewhere new to start our new year. Prices may have been a couple hundred euro less leaving New Year’s Day or the day after, but I really wanted to be there for New Year’s. The day after we got to our resort, we had to reserve our spot for a special New Year’s Eve supper. There was only this meal, so buffet wasn’t available. We were told that hubby and I were going to get one meal -alone! – and the kids got a special evening for kids. It was kinda awesome. Cocktails started at 6:30, and you could start entering the restaurant at 7:00.
The table was nice and festive, and the entire restaurant looked beauiful.
Once we finally got the meal, it was absolutely delicious! The only problem was that you waited about forty-fifty minutes between courses; and being five courses, it was so long… The waiters were around quite often to serve you whatever you were drinking.
It was nice to be able to sit in peace without the kids around since they would have gotten extremely bored between courses. This way, we ate quietly, and they got to play games, face paint, pig out, and have fun!!
Once supper was finished, the party started. There was a live band playing grat music! There were balloons everywhere, and party hats and masks everyone had on! There was a countdown at midnight and a confetti popper popped confetti everywhere!! It was a lot of fun!
This entire trip has been incredible! We benefited as a family, we benefited as a couple, we just in general benefited. We really grew as a family, which was such an amazing thing!
Only “regret”, is it was wintertime. Before we have to move back to Canada, I can honestly say I would like to come back during summer season. I would love to see the waterslides and pools and beach being utlized properly during hot summer weather!
Thanks for reading all! Take my advice – this place is worth the trip!!!