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                       |_|    ...2018-07-30 |___/ 

That trip to Turkey

This happened some years past, I fogot when, maybe it was in ?2015? I've told the story enough times that I thought it'd be nice to write it down, lest I forget it myself. What follows here, is, the most accurate account I can remember.. It may not be of much interest to anyone, but, as a favor to myself.

The last-minute all-inclusive

It was near summer-holday time, I was sitting at work, and caught myself slacking off, dreaming of summer-vacation. My girlfriend and I were renting an apartment at the time (she did not live close to me), and we had a week left before she would move back (to finish her studies), and I thought it'd be nice to be impulsive, and treat us to a nice holiday before our already great time together would come to an end (for the time being). I didn't think too much about it, and found a pretty good deal on a week long all inclusive stay on a 4 star hotel in Turkey. Called my girlfriend and explained that we'd be leaving for the airport in 2 hours.. When I got to the apartment she had finished packing, and we struggeled quite hard to get through traffic, we nearly missed our flight! Rushed through security and ID control, on the plane, great!

Airport security

We both live in the EU, at the time, she lived in a country that have ID cards that are good enough that they can be used for travel within the EU, I lived in Denmark, (we don't have actual ID cards, our National Health Insurance cards are the de-facto identification, and they have no ID card or secure identifiers, so almost everyone her has a fully qualified passport. I thought nothing of this and either of us had considered the detail which is the cause for this story.

Not all ID cards are passports

We were let through ID check at the airport in Denmark, since we both had the right ID, except, the airport security didn't notice that my girlfriends were travelling on an ID card, not a passport, and were leaving the EU... So.. We arrive in the Turkish airport, I think it was Antalya, and I went through passport check, and slowed down to wait for my gf, she didn't get through. They didn't accept her ID card (since it was not a valid passport, only a national ID card), this is the point in our journey where we realized, that Turkey was, the matter a fact, not a member of the EU. I somehow got back into the "international" zone, so I could try and help my gf.

Meeting the authorities

One young security officer, who could speak a bit of broken English, expressed some sympathy for our situation, and explained to us that things would be okay, we didn't realize our situation, they asked us to sign some papers, basically permitting them to take our airport (there didn't seem to be any choice in this regard, as I discovered after trying not to sign). So, anyway, our passports were taken way.

The room

We were led into a small holding cell, no windows, and an AC running at 100% capacity (noisy, windy, but maybe better than none, who'd know?). The door to the room was not to be closed, and a security officer was stationed at a desk outside of the room. Drawing not to scale at all... +---------+ +---------------------+--------------+----+ |TTT B| <- Our cell, | | Visa Office | | | C B| One table (T) -- +--------------+ | | B| And two beds (B, b) >> <- Gate | | bbb | b was a bunk bed -- | | +-------+ B a single bed | | | | -- +-+ +---+ >> D | <- The security officers -- Gates / +-+ D C| Tiny tiny room, the D | International zone | | D | a desk, the C a chair | | +-----+ | | +--------------------|V|--|V|--|V|--------+--+ | ^Passport control | | Turkish zone, public part of airport | | | |.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:|

At first

We laid in the bed together, talking about how to solve the situation, but apparantly that was not allowed, the officer directed us, with not one word of English, that we were to inhabit seperate beds (yay religion), even when fully clothed. Anyway, she didn't speak English. We observed that someone had written both in Russian and English.. Someone had scratched those stereotypic "prison day counts", hopefully they were fake, I think it counted 18, bit I don't remember.. -- It's important to note, that this story is not intended to criticize anyone involved, the error was securely on our side, I am simply retelling the experience as I remember it, systems are interesting, so enjoy the exploration of one -- We tried calling the embassy of my gf, but they did not care much, it was late Friday, and it was her mistake anyway, she was told that she would have to wait until monday to talk to someone. I called the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen, and got someone who spoke excellent Danish, Turkish and English, she was actually off duty, but she helped us anyway, thanks to you, whoever you were! The lady at the Turkish/Danish embassy acted as a translator, and talked to the security officer, who reluctantly got hold of a superior, who could explain the situation to her, and then she explained it to us. The system was rather robotic.

The bug

We were told, that since we (my gf, I could technically have had the vacation alone, and an (I'm fairly certain) ended relationship) were not allowed into the country. So, as far as they were aware, we were now responsible for arranging travel back home. BUT WE DIDN'T KNOW THAT?! Alrighy, armed with this new knowledge, I called the company whom I bought the travel from, who kindly informed me (they have since gone bankrupt, wonder why) that since I've already accepted the terms of service (clearly stating that we were fully responsible to bring valid travel ID), there was really nothing we could do but wait for our scheduled return flight. I dialoged with her a bit, then called back to the lady at the Turkish/Danish embassy, who talked more with the security guy, then she informed me that, since I was allowed to enter Turkey, I was allowed to enter the Airport to buy tickets back home, but that I should be aware that the tickets had to be directly out of Turkey, since we didn't have valid ID, we weren't even allowed to hop via Istanbul (which is what we were supposed to do on the planned trip back home!) That's the bug! Had we waited, we'd actually not have been allowed to board the plane! But nobody in the system would catch that before we were to board it! Glad that I decided not to wait.

The best chicken burger ever

At this point, we'd spent maybe 20 hours in the little room, and we had had only a bottle of water. So I started rather annoyingly to ask for food. It took some more hours, and someone decided to get us some food. To this day, I'm not sure how that worked.. If someone took pity on us, and decided to buy the food out of their own pockets, I think so, since there seemd to be no system in place to ensure that we were being fed. So, if that's the case, shame on you, airport, and thank you very much for the food, person who bought it for us! I've never seen my gf devour a burger in such haste before :)

The golden way home

Armed with information that I had to buy tickets, and a credit card, the hero at the Turkish/Danish embassy arranged that a security person (Can't recall if it was police or G4s) escort me from (and back into) the holding cell, to buy a ticket. She spoke good enough English that she instructed me how to haggle for the price of the ticket, that I should act slightly offended and start to leave if the price wasen't right.. So, I ended up in an office of Lufthansa, with the most stereotypical slick, underachieving douchebag lowlife sales type I've ever imagined (like, the guy had a magazine cutout of a Ferrari as a poster in his office, sorry, but stereotypes, they just sometimes make themselves). I don't recall this too well, except that after seeing him, I decided there was no where in hell he'd ever touch my credit card... Which probably worked out the best for him as well, I'm certain he sold those tickets as low as he could get away with, and pocketed the rest of the cash himself.. Does not matter, the tickets were, by Danish standards, not terribly expensive, and they actually existed! So, we were booked! Back to the holding cell. The golden way part, comes from the fact, that even though the tickets were reasonably enough priced, they still added up, for those two single tickets, to the same amount as the complete two-way-flight-one-week-all-inclusive-hotel package....

EU is home

We were escorted, this was actually kind of thrilling, and very fun, multiple security personnel to the Lufthansa plane, we didn't go through security again, since we'd never left it.. We walked to a gate, and then into a rather fancy car, leather seats and stuff, I think it was some kind of VIP taxi gate bus.. The security officer carried our documents. We went into the plane as the very last people, I didn't see anyone boarding, so I believe they actually delayed the flight a tiny bit so that regular boarding could be completed. Inside the plane, we were shown to our seats, and flight-staff were handed our documents with strict instructions that they be returned to us only after landing on German soil. This worried me slightly, because I'd not actually had a chance to inspect the documents, to verify that they were indeed ours. I voiced this, but staff was simply not allowed to open the envelopes. We got a few extra bottles of water, which was super nice, since we were a bit dehydrated from staying in the cell.. The world changes dramatically when you go from hungry and thirsty and insecure about immediate future needs, to... Being in the hands of a German airline.. Things were good! When we landed in the German airport, I think it was Hamburg, we were asked to wait until the other passengers had left the plane, then we were escorted, by whom I recall not, to the airport police station, I don't recall if we got our documents before, or if they were opened at the police station, but, they looked at our documents, smiled at us and welcomed us to Germany, HOME! I'm Danish, living in Denmark, but still, HOME! A place where we have rights!

Corrupted memory detected

I believe that we arrived during the evening.. Oh! Correction, I believe we actually landed in Frankfurt, and took another plane to Hamburg (as it was just closer to Denmark), but really, I don't recall. If I remember (the sweet irony) to ask my gf, she may fill me in and I will correct this. < Maybe we took a train from Frankfurt to Hamburg??)

Another edge-case

As far as I recall, we ended up at Hamburg airport around 2 in the night. We couldn't figure out how to get a plane to Denmark, and we were super tired, good chance we were not thinking our straightest at this point. But we figured it'd be best to just take the train back to Aalborg. So we haggeled a cap, I think I got a good deal on the fair, because the driver spent the whole trip complaining that he'd make no money from the trip (20 eur for 10 minutes, I'm pretty sure he made enough to pay for the gas, and there were nobody else around anyway). We found ourselves at the station, a crazy place in the middle of the night really! We attempted to use the ticket machines to buy tickets to Denmark, but somehow, we couldn't.. We went to the Information desk and hit another stereotype, maybe this is not true, but, sometimes one might get the idea, that in Germany, "one ought to know the system, one is only entitled to assistance should the cause be that of failure in the system, which seldom fails." again, maybe not true, but after attempting to get help, I was pretty convinced that the reason we'd get no help navigating the German train system, was because we didn't know how to navigate the German train system.

The actual edge-case

Rambling I do. We were unable to book tickets the whole way.. But it seemed we had no trouble finding a trip one part, and then the next part. So, a bit naively, I bought tickets for the first of a two-leg train-fare. We ended up just south of the Danish border, in a station which had very little but a platform... I went to the ticket machine, and found the next trip, it would arrive within the hour! Blessings! Except, I couldn't buy a ticket for it... Now, it didn't reveal this information before one actually attempted to buy the damn ticket! So, I wouldn't have known! And, when one tried, as I previously did, to buy a ticket for a fare that included this particular train, I was not told that either, there was simply an "Something went wrong" type of error, which indicated a technical, not procedural, error. So, here we were, no means of buying a ticket, and the train rolled in, it stopped, and we went aboard, attempting to find a way to buy a god-damn ticket! After quite a while we understood that this was an overbooked train from somewhere in the nether- lands. Filled with bicycles and sleeping people, and, as we discovered, people trying to slip past ticket inspectors. When we met the ticket inspector, I attmpted to explain our situation, and was met with "please wait a while, stay where you are", which honestly didn't inspire a lot of confidence in us getting anything but a (rather hefty) fine for our honest troubles of trying to pay for our fare.

The escape

I decided it prudent to slowly work our way to the back of the train, hoping it would stop so we could get off before getting into trouble. Again, what we did, I must argue, was not wrong, we were faced with a system that didn't have room for reason, and we did was we had to, I'll gladly pay for the tickets, if asked by an actual human, should one still work within the infernal machine that operated those trains. But, indeed, luck would finally kiss us, the train was coming to a stop, as the train-staff made eye contact with us, the doors opened and we stepped out into freedom.

The Final Station, devils spawn

Was our next stop, we were now just north of the border, and this station not only offered a platform, but an underground shop, where we bought supplies for the next part of our trip. I can't remember exactly, something vaguely resembling a sausage in a bread blanket, but more.. artificial and evil. I was hungry though, so it was... acceptable. Tickets bought, we were so tired, but we'd made it, we waited an unmeasured amount of time, then the train arrived, which took us through almost the entire longitude of Jutland, we arrived in Aalborg, we were home, we had survived. Of the whole trip, what I recall as the most annoying, the worst, were two kids who were badly diciplined above average.. They were making so much noise, were rude to the other passengers (to me, only once, then they understood that they would not survive another attempt), and only their poor sister (whom, rudely informed her, were not required to listen to since she was a girl, and only the father can rule the family (more religion)). I rather considered taking a man-to-man talk with their father, but decided against it since he'd probably rather hit the sister for failing to control her younger brothers, than give the devil-spawn themselves the lashing they so deserved. (Note: I don't beleive in hitting children, or people, but these rats were neither).


That was it. Maybe I've fogotten stuff, maybe I've made up extra, I can't remember, but it's been my honest attempt at a recall. Nothing much to say about it, it was, in the big picture, not a big thing, but for us, small normal people, in our lives, for the two of us, it was something extraordinary.. Maybe not in a good way, but maybe not in a bad way either.. The all-inclusive stay would probably not have made the same impression on us as this did.. Also, we're likely not going to Turkey again anytime soon... - OUT