An early start at 6 to catch my first flight, mainly because I didn’t quite know how I was getting to the airport. I had read that there was a junction where you could pick up minivans to take you to the airport for just $2 and I thought I knew where it was as I was sure I had seen it yesterday. When I got to the junction I thought it was there was no cluster of minibuses like I remember and the couple that I did flag down weren’t going to airport and one which was wanted me to hire him as a private taxi which would’ve cost at least 10 times as much. I decided I would walk to downtown and see if there was anywhere there I could catch one from, there wasn’t but a taxi driver was willing to take me for $6.50 so I accepted as it was already 0730 and my airline (Pegasus airline) had made it clear that you had to be there 3 hours in advance and it was at least half an hours drive to the airport and my flight left at 11.

We made it in time but before you can check in or go through to departures you h e to put all your belongings, including your hold luggage into a security scanner which for me was no different to a normal one as I only have hold luggage. On the other side I went to security as I had checked in online and had a print out of it but the security guard wouldn’t accept it even though it had the correct barcode on so I had to join the queue at check in and wait to get a proper boarding card. Once through i then had over 2 and a half hours to wait. Why they said to be there so early is beyond me.

The flight was like any other although during the landing I though we were going to tip over. Despite having an onward flight because I hadn’t been able to check in prior to my flight I had to buy a visa for $30 to enter Turkey and then fly out a couple of hours later. A frustrating additional cost which could’ve been avoided had the airline staff been friendlier and more sympathetic. Once through passport control I had 4 hours to wait for my flight to Antalya (my trip to Tel Aviv was in two parts) so as any good travel does I found a coffee shop and got my book out, after about an hour there some Turkish football team turned up and took over, it didn’t take long for me to take my stuff and go through to departures.

The flight to Antalya was delayed slightly which almost resukted in a number of us missing the connection, especially as I had to check in too. But thankfulky we all made it in time albeit a littlw hot. When we landed in Tel Aviv it was after 2230 and there was a queue at passport control. When I got to the desk the usual questions were asked: where are you staying? How long are you staying? Who are you with? Do you know anyone here? Where have you come from? As well as why did you go to Lebanon? What was I doing there? Etc after which I was ‘interrogated’ by yet another security official before finally being given my Visa card and being allowed through to my 46th country.

A taxi was the quickest and by far the most efficient way to my hostel but it was also the most expensive and although I managed to knock the price down considerably from what was initially asked it was still pricey. The hostel I was staying at made up for it, very cheap and friendly with a good backpacker vibe, I might return there on my way back out of the country.

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