Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hello from Turkey

I'd use the Turkish word for Hello but I don't know what it is which is scary as I try to learn stuff like that...however I am really not prepared for this adventure...not as much as I usually am.  However I have been kind of busy!

Anyway I am here in my room in Istanbul...name of the hotel to be a secret until I leave (well you never know I just might have a stalker...ha ha).  It's okay but it sure would be nice to have more than two hangers.  Smalls already washed and hanging in the bathroom....

Anyway....up early because it's so easy to sleep the night before a flight isn't it.  Of course the fact that Claudia gave me a huge mug of tea when we watched the movie last night didn't help.  Three times in the night..three times!  That has to be a record!  Anyway Claudia helped me with my suitcase down the stairs and it was much lighter than it was when I rolled into town nearly ten days ago....it helps to mail stuff and Claudia is storing a shopping bag for me as I am going back there on my return from Germany.

Got the train to Victoria and then the tube and all went well.  The line to check baggage was long but went quickly and security went quickly but they decided my plastic bag of gels and liquids was suspicious so the whole tray got pulled to the side and I had to wait while he checked others.  Ah well I had lots of time.  By this time I was starving and in dire need of coffee so headed off to the cafe called Eat and had a flat white and a yummy egg, mushroom and cheese bunwich.  Looked in the shops and checked out the carry ons to get ideas of what I want to get when I get back to the UK as I will be storing my suitcase and using a carry on for Ireland and Scotland AND to come back home....I had to laugh at the prices...I think not! 

Turkish airlines was awesome - good service and the entertainment system was top notch.  I finally saw The Hundred Yard Journey which was excellent and most of Blended...what can I say..I was in need of some fluff....we had a choice of chicken or beef so I had grilled chicken on rice with egg plant and tomato on the side which was delish.  With chick peas in a spicy tomato sauce.  Almond cake for dessert.  I liked!   We were late leaving by about half an hour due to "late passenger issues".  Ah well...

We took the bus from the plane to the terminal building and not a long wait for passport control so that was good.  As I think I mentioned earlier you now order Visas on line so it came via email and I printed on ordinary paper...which is handy but I do love seeing the visas in my passport....

Picked up the luggage and then out to the exit - I had prebookied transportation with Intrepid but nowhere to be seen at first...finally there he was...he mumbled something and I said I had to go to the ATM and he nodded and went back to waiting.  The first ATM I used (Ing Direct) said chip failure and I nearly sh*t my pants thinking oh no I can't use it here.  I had just phoned my bank in regards to reminding them about my travel plans as I am paranoid like that.  Sol I walked over to HSBC and it worked...phew!!!   I then went back and he said I'll take your bag and off he went checking his phone and chatting with another guy.  Anyway I got loaded into a van and off I went - it took about an hour and up and down streets...wow I think it would be easy to get lost here. 

Checked in with no problems and here I sit...there is no way I am walking around a night on my own and especially not on my first night.  I don't want to get lost...been there, done that....not a fun thing trust me.  I did grab a card with the hotel address and map on it...

I don't meet up with the group until Sunday evening so I have two days to do my thing...we do a walking tour on Monday morning and then we take off, not returning to Istanbul until the evening of April 6th so I've got a lot to cover in the next two days.  Stay tuned!!! 

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