Saturday, September 12, 2009

Istanbul

Our plane leaves for Toronto in 2 hours. Skies were cloudy when we arrived last night but not a drop of rain. We will fly, all else being equal.

I discovered how to remain calm prior to a flight. Our plane was to leave Dnipro at 5:30. We left ZV at 11:00, got to Dnipro at 12:30 (Andrei drove) went to the souvenir market for last minute shopping, had lunch at McDonalds and arrived at the airport at 2:00 pm. Our bags were dreadfully overweight so we had to leave behind two of the four 3-litres of jam. We were still 4.7 kgs over on 60 kgs but no problem. We cleared security, cleared immigration and walked into the gate area at 3:00. There was a line up, not long at a gate. FOR ISTANBUL!!!! The plane leaves at 1530, not 5:30. Good thing Tanya is in charge.

Tanya's friend Sveta came with us to Istanbul to spend a few days with her boyfriend. Metin met us at the airport, drove us to our hotel and took us for supper, then toured us around on our way back to the hotel. We are in mid-Ramazan month and at sundown (7:35) the streets and restaurants are filled with people breaking their fast of the day. It is like family style Mardi Gras, (rated G) and we loved it. Because it was Friday night, the Mosques were filled with people praying but it didn't seem to effect numbers on the street.

Turkish Airlines put us up in the Grand Yavuz Hotel, a great 3 star in the heart of oldest Istanbul. We were a 15 minute walk from everywhere: Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque, Haija Sofia, Topkapi Palace. Dozens of sections of the old wall surrounding Byzantium/Constantinople are still standing. Mehmet II and the Ottomans were successful in breaching these walls in 1453, officially ending the Byzantine Empire. Constantinople was renamed Istanbul. Tanya and I have two days here on our return home from Canada and plan on exploring to our hearts' content.

Tanya is loose in Duty Free so I must needs go rescue her.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an awesome start to your adventure. glad you enjoyed it so much.

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