Wandering the streets of the Sultanhamet area...

Istanbul Travel Blog

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Istanbul, Turkey

After a 10+ hour flight from JFK, finally arrived in Istanbul. Was so tired since I really didn't sleep much. I just cannot ever get comfortable enough on planes to be able to really sleep. I think I dozed on and off for maybe an hour or so, that's it. Even though I was tired as all hell, I was so excited to finally be in Turkey. As soon as I got off the plane and entered the airport terminal, I kept hearing my name being called over the loudspeaker. I was being paged to please go to the information desk, not something I was able to at that moment since I still had to get on the Visa line to get my visa and then the long customs line. After about 45 minutes and being continously paged over the loudspeaker. I made it through and found my way to the information desk where the driver was waiting for me.

Blue Mosque
He was the one having me paged all that time.

As we drove from the airport, the driver kept pointing out several landmarks telling me what they were and tried to teach me some words in Turkish, you know basic stuff like good morning ~ Günaydın, thank you ~ teşekkür ederim, when you're toasting while drinking (the one word I'll never forget since I said it quite often on this trip) ~ Şerefe, which means "to honor" or as Batuhan translates it "in your honor", I like that.  

We finally pulled up to the front of my hotel, the Hotel Ayasofya, located in the Sultanhamet area of Istanbul. It wasn't anything fancy, but it was a very nice, small boutique hotel, perfectly located within walking distance to The Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, The St.

Blue Mosque
Sophia, to name a few. I must say the staff of the hotel were great; they were all so very helpful and very nice. I used to sit in the reception area in the afternooons drinking my tea just chit chatting with them. 

 

Anyway, I was finally settled in my room and decided to call Lucian and see what the status of his flight was. Let me backtrack a little here. Lucian (Lucian_32y) was the first travel buddy I met back in February when he came to NYC. When he found out I was going to Turkey in May, he told me since he was already planning on traveling to Turkey on business (he's in the travel/tourism business) he would stop in Istanbul first for a night and a day to spend time with me before continuing on to Izmir.

Blue Mosque
Isn't he a sweetheart. Well, he told me his flight was delayed and would be arriving that evening instead of that afternoon and we would meet for dinner.  Bummer. But not all was lost. I decided to take a little nap since, of course, once again, could not really sleep on the plane and was pretty tired.  About two hours later I woke up because I thought I was hearing bells in my sleep, it turned out to be phone. It was Asli, Meli's daughter. Meli is the owner and head of the tour group I was hooking up with while in Turkey called Melitour. Asli just wanted to say hello and check to see that I had arrived okay, etc. We had been emailing each other for months before I arrived in Turkey. As for Meli, I met that wonderful woman back in February, when she and I met for lunch, while she was here in New York visiting a friend. After hanging up with Asli, I decided to take a quick shower, throw some clothes on and find someplace to eat, since by this time it was 2:00 in the afternoon and I was starving.

Stevie_Wes says:
Real bland question here Debs but I'm ever in the pursuit of knowledge blach blah blah... what exactly's a 'boutique hotel'? I ask as you mention one and recently helping a girl in Shanghai with some hokey customer service questionnaire I was supposed to pass comment on 'boutique hotels' but had to confess i didn't know what one was :)
Posted on: Jun 02, 2009
santafeclau says:
Turkey is a place where you can always go back. Is an incredible contry, I agree with Sheba!
Posted on: Oct 01, 2008
homeres says:
hurry! wanna read it!
Posted on: Jul 09, 2008
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Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey
Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque
Sulthanhamet area
Sulthanhamet area
Sulthanhamet area
Sulthanhamet area
Istanbul
photo by: Memo