Istanbul and the Taxi Driver .......

Istanbul Travel Blog

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I don't want to scare you, but I'm going to tell you like it is. Before I get into the "heist" I'll tell you about getting here from

Athens.   Flying from Athens to Istanbul

was a real treat on Olympic Airways and as usual were treated with the upmost amenable service, smiles, kindness

great little meal (on only an hour flight) and we just shook our heads. What? Do you have to travel

half way across the world to get this kind of service?  Well, we're airline people, and sad to say, I'm afraid it is

so. 

Arriving in Istanbul, we did the budget thing and inquired on the free internet (in the airport) downstairs

from customs, and found our hotel.

Blue Mosque
  Good airline rate.  Then we proceeded to jot down all info on that

hotel and asked some questions and found our metro.  It was great at first then became packed like

a tin of sardines you have no idea.  I mean - pickpocketer's dream. We held on to our stuff for dear life.
Left metro at our correct stop (we thought) everything intact, no one touched our stuff.  But then we

got a taxi.  Not the best thing.  He did not give me a price when I asked. That should have been the first clue.

Then, we got in anyway, and he took us all around the city and charged us beau coup amount.  (It was only

3 kilometers from the hotel, but I was tired and think I didn't tell him that.)  He let us out near the hotel (he said)

and that it was "right up the street".

outdoor cafe near bazaar
  Then the deception began (actually probably as soon as we got in the cab)

He lets us out in the middle of the street....says he'll change Richard's 100, and that our taxi  ride was 25 lira which is

about $15 ...but he snapped the 100 from Rich, David saw him put it in side pocket lightening fast, then told

rich another 25, and he gave him a 20, but somewhere in there another 20 got out of Rich's hands.....David and I

just looked at each other like WHAT IS GOING ON? ...and then we refused to budge until he gave Rich his

100 back, because all this was happening so fast.....but we KNEW 100 Lira was missing!  David didn't budge

I didn't budge, taxi driver is yelling at us, and I'm just about to say, "WE CALL POLICE UNTIL THIS IS RESOLVED"

but didn't have to because he finally gives Rich back his 100 LIRA BILL.

(Still gave him an extra 20 - I mean he STOLE it

in there somewhere.........)  Then the driver doesn't move to open the trunk....he sits there..... David is in front

and turns to me and says, ....go to the trunk, I'm staying here......so I see that the guy hasn't popped the

trunk and is probably going to speed off with all our stuff (HEAVEN forbid!)...so get out...

then, and ONLY then, when David doesn't budge, does the guy finally get out of the taxi to

open the trunk......It was not a pleasant experience, and then we walked FOREVER to find

this hotel, which was suppose to be right "down the street".  It wasn't.  It was far.  When

We got to the hotel, they wanted to take our bags and hold them, but I wasn't about to

let go of these bags after almost losing them, and then explained to the staff why and they just

shook their heads.

....who can afford these things?
  They said had we taken a taxi all the way from the AIRPORT it would have

been only 30 lira (less than 21 USD)......that taxi driver got 25 plus another 20 he stole from

Richard. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

WATCH YOUR TAXI DRIVER - DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED - HAVE SMALL CHANGE WHEN YOU
GET IN - MAKE HIM TAKE YOU TO THE HOTEL - TO THE DOOR! NOT across the square, not aross the street, to THE   DOOR!   - DO NOT GET OUT OF THE TAXI UNTIL THE TRUNK IS OPEN.............ALWAYS ALWAYS BE VIGILENT AND WATCH YOUR BACK.  Might not be a bad idea to snap a pic of license tag before you get in the cab, & the driver.  ALL THAT SAID,  we have fallen in love with this city, have cancelled plans for Paris and are just staying here 2 more days.  It's magical.  You have unscrupulous people everywhere. Don't let it spoil your trip!

erojas3 says:
Thanks for the tips, too bad some people are just not honest :/
Posted on: Aug 22, 2009
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lovely

You may not hear from me for awhile. If internet access is difficult in ATHENS, I can imagine it's going to be a slow go toward Turkey. We are leaving Athens at 8PM tomorrow night and overnight train to Thessoloniki, wait for 2 hours to clear, then on to ISTANBUL.   I will try and update as soon as I have find internet access.The train is a great deal. We leave from the Larissa Station and it's 50 euros FIRST CLASS, which, since we are using it as a hotel is a good idea.  Plus, not sure what we're getting with that 2nd class, if you know what I mean.  And I don't mean to sound snobbish.

SO!  That's all I can say so far..........stay tune for updates !!

UPDATE:  Train left early, plus it was twice as much as was published.  Just as well. We FLEW instead to Istanbul on Thursday

August 20th.  It's now the 21st. ....  Ramadan.  Not sure this was the best time to come, but we're here anyway and enjoying it.

Hope we get out!

Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque
outdoor cafe near bazaar
outdoor cafe near bazaar
....who can afford these things?
....who can afford these things?
lovely
lovely
Istanbul Hotels & Accommodations review
Best Western Hotel (Senator)
I realize I'm spoiled from the Intercontinental, but due to our taxi scare, things didn't feel so good here. Staff very helpful and explained how tax… read entire review
Istanbul
photo by: Memo