A Travellerspoint blog

Istanbul - June 22

Yep, I said Istanbul. Not Bangkok.

sunny 88 °F
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As I begin writing this, it’s 4 am in Michigan, and 3 pm in Bangkok ... our flight should be landing any minute. Unfortunately, we are not on it... which is how I also know that it’s 11 am in Istanbul, Turkey.

Last night when we got to the airport in Dubrovnik, we could see that our flight to Istanbul was delayed 35 minutes, which was a bit concerning being that Istanbul airport is huge and our layover was only scheduled to be an hour and a half. When our delay went to 1 hr 15 minutes we really became concerned, but were still optimistic.

I’m sure our plane must have still been on the runway, if not at the gate, when we arrived... but they told us we were too late. They did offer to put us up in a hotel, but first we had to walk back and forth a million times, standing in line only to find out we were at the wrong place, or at times, in the right place, but “now go back to where you last came from, then come back this way...” - it was a bit confusing, not helped by the language barrier.

Finally, after an hour and a half (by now it’s 3:15am local time, 2:15 Croatia time) we had shiny new Turkish visas (which were procured as easily as showing our passports and handing over $120 American dollars), boarding passes for a flight that leaves at 8pm tonight (Turkey time - we will arrive in Bangkok at about 10am Sunday), had made it through customs and immigration (both also very easy, especially when you have no luggage), and were put on an airport shuttle bus with about 25-30 others in similar predicaments (not all from our flight, I don’t think).

We then drove, and drove, and drove... for an hour and a half! I heard someone ask the bus driver why we didn’t get a hotel near the airport. I think the answer was that they were all full. That seems hard to believe, in a city the size of Istanbul - maybe some just aren’t open (or aren’t up for a busload of impatient travelers?) at that time? My weather app says we’re in Silivri.

By the time we got to our rooms, it was starting to get light outside - here are pics from Tim’s and my balcony when we arrived. You can see the Black Sea on the left. Then a pic later off the hallway balcony - this hotel is a “water park”


Before sleeping, I had to get ahold of our Bangkok hotel to let them know that we will be arriving 18 hours later than planned; Nudi, to let her know what’s going on and NOT to go to the airport in a few hours; and the tour company for the one and only tour we booked so far - to the floating market, which we were/are really excited about. We were supposed to do that first thing Sunday morning, but since we’ll still be on an airplane.... Thankfully, I heard back from all 3, and we were able to move the floating market to Monday.

So now, we have a day in Istanbul. I see there are city tours that leave from the airport that Turkish airlines will provide free to us, but since I assume the rest of my family is still sleeping, and we need food and have an hour and a half (or more in the daytime?) ride back to the airport, I’m not sure we’ll be able to make one of the times work.

I do know that once we leave the hotel, we are again cut off from communication, since our Croatian SIM cards don’t work here and Istanbul airport offers free WiFi for one hour... AFTER they text you a code. Hmm..if our texting worked, why would we need their WiFi?! In a real emergency, I could put my US SIM card back in and pay Verizon’s charges...but not planning on any emergencies!

It’s crazy that I was just feeling really proud of how smoothly everything has gone so far. Since Natalie and I planned the entire Croatia portion of the trip, and there were LOTS of little details, means of transportation, and Airbnb’s, I assumed somewhere along the way there would be a glitch (such as, “I’m sorry, you can ride this ferry, but your luggage can’t!”), but there wasn’t - everything went extremely smoothly. So it was a little shock to have a glitch now. However, it could be so much worse - all will be fine, and on the bright side, we get an extra day and a long shuttle “tour” of Turkey!

Later addition: when we all got up and showered, we headed downstairs to the hotel restaurant, which is windowed on 3 sides with beautiful views of the Sea), where there was a buffet. I was a bit leery of all the unknown food, but hunger won out so I tried it and it was really good. We were also told we will stay here at the hotel until 4, when we will be shuttled back to the airport, so the kids might go enjoy the pool a little. I’m thinking a nap sounds good - I didn’t get much sleep this morning!


Posted by Rowlandfamily 03:13 Archived in Turkey

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