Emergency landing

Vienna Travel Blog

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Luton airport
When the alarm started buzzing at 5.30am I knew it was a bad idea to stay up so late.  Mouth dry, head slightly throbbing and stomach empty.  Urgh.  Not a great feeling.  The upside was that Pooja (the hen) and Poonam (head bridesmaid) was also awake and I felt relieved that we would be on schedule today.  Everyone readied and dressed themselves quickly and by 6.30am we were ready to rock and roll our way to Luton airport. 

The trip to Luton airport from Watford was easy like sunday morning.  As soon as you hit the M1, Luton is on the map straight away.  Within 25mins we were pulling into the airport vicinity.  The small planes looked so close they practically looked like they were parked in the car park with the short stay cars :)

Having checked in online we were able to bypass the huge queues, we just needed to drop our luggage off and grab our boarding passes.
Havas girls
  Luton airport is pretty small and there isn't a huge amount of shops or stuff to do.  With two hours to kill we decided to look for shops to spend our money and food to fill our bellies.  One mango tango and salmon and cream cheese bagel later I was ready to roll.  The queue for boarding was ridiculous, it was just a bundle of people.  At this stage easyjet decided to announce that only one piece of hand luggage was allowed per passanger, this caused a bit of a kerfuffle with passengers that had more items.  Why was something not said to them at check in?  This freed up a lot of space at the front of the queue, perfect for us to slip quietly into. 

When boarding started we got separated from our group, me and Annie at the front and the rest of the girls at the back of the plane.
Riding the airport bus
  I readied myself for a long snooze and seeing as we had the three seats to ourselves I made myself at home.  About 2 hrs into the flight Annie wakes me, I open my eyes to a huge commotion of people.  The passenger sitting on the other side of the aisle to us is having some sort of 'episode.'  There is talk of no pulse, paralysis on one side and no breathing.  There are 3 air hostesses, a Turkish doctor unable to speak English and two English nurses unable to speak Turkish.  This suddenly felt like 'grey's anatomy' or something along those lines that you would normally see on the telly.  This didn't seem real.  Am I still dreaming?  There was a small oxygen tank, people were offering all sorts of pills and sprays etc.
Roof terrace at Mikla
  All the while there has been no announcement or anything.  After watching for 20mins I feel the plane starting to descend very rapidly.  The type of descending that makes you feel like you are on a roller-coaster.  Eventually the air hostess makes an announcement that we are diverting to Vienna due to a 'potentially life threatening situation.'  Everyone get back into your seats and strap in.  Less then 10 mins later, we touched down... "Good morning Vienna."

The paramedic staff at Vienna airport were very efficient, they jumped on as soon as we landed, they checked him over, took all the relevant details and started to hook him up to the machines and IV drips.
Roof terrace at Mikla
  He was off the plane in about 10-15 mins.  Right, lets turn around and continue as we were... not quite that easy.  We had to wait till the patients luggage was taken off.  We had to refuel.  We had to get back into the queue for take off.  So, we sat on the plane, not allowed off and no time estimate of how long this would take.  Easyjet didn't even offer any free beverages or anything.  Two hours later we took off again.  Great start to Istanbul, said with sarcasm.

Arriving into Istanbul two hours late was not ideal.  We ran off the plane and joined the queue for visa's £10 and then queued to get through passport control, I still don't understand why its necessary to have to queues for this process?  The guy that checked my passport was cute.
Black and white lamb
  He smiled, I smiled.  He asked my name, I answered.  He was chatty and a little flirty.  Did I mention he was cute :)

So we all got through with no mishaps.  Grabbed all the bags off the conveyor belt and headed outside to find our way into the city.  There was a debate about getting a taxi or getting the bus.  I opted for the airport shuttle bus as it only costs 13TL and takes an hour, we get dropped off at Taksim square and its walking distance to the hotel.  The other girls debated that a taxi would cost 40TL and take us straight to our door.  Apparently some local had told the girls that taxi's were cheap and it would only cost 40TL to get to Istiklal.  I said to the girls be my guest and try to haggle.
Roof terrace at Mikla
  The taxi men literally too one look at us and said 100TL.  The next guy 120TL and the cheapest was 80TL.  There was no negotiation as I had expected.  So we jumped onto the Havas.  Air conditioned and cheap.

We moved at speed at first until we hit the traffic.  How annoying.  We crawled along, slowly.  The whole journey took about an hour and 40 mins or so, instead of the usual 45mins.  When jumped off and walked towards Taksim square, Istiklal caddessi is labelled and so off I went to locate the hotel.  Suite Home, located on the busy street was less than 5mins walk from the square.  With all 7 girls and 7 cases stacked up in the tiny reception area, it was overwhelming to look at.  Mehmet the receptionist worked through the crowd and took us all to our rooms.
Roof terrace at Mikla
  We were spread across four floors.  I got the 5th floor. 

The room was as I expected just as I had seen in the pictures.  The room was clean and adequate.  We had a problem with our air conditioning system and the safe.  The air conditioning system was fixed as soon as the receptionist realised how hot the room was getting.  The safe took another day to sort out.  The room faced the street.  You could hear the noise of the population outside but it was bareable.  The shower was great, nice and powerful and HOT.

We readied ourselves for dinner at Mikla.  Located inside a hotel on their roof top terrace.  Our receptionist kindly made reservations for us.  They suggested taking a taxi.
Roof terrace at Mikla
  Our driver ripped us off.  We paid 10TL for the ride and the other girls in the other taxi paid 6.60TL as per the meter.  BLAH!  I hate to be ripped off.  Oh well, still cheap though. 

The restaurant was very westernised, on par with London prestige with prices to match.  They serve bread (white and brown) with oil and vinegar, they were very attentive, as soon as you finished mibbling on your bread they refilled.  We ordered wine the local white and red and I chop the lamb chops.  The lamb loin was perfectly cooked, tasted divine.  The table had a mix of fish and lamb dishes, all looked great and tasted great too.  After dinner we sat out on the terrace to enjoy the views of Istanbul.  The club on the top floor was closed due to the weather not being at its best, it was slightly windy with the threat of showers.
Roof terrace at Mikla
 

As we left the restaurant we tried to get into a taxi but were refused.  The drivers kept driving off and shoo-ing their hand at us or simply just tutted and drove off.  We stopped at a rank and tried to speak to the drivers to find out what was going on.  One driver kindly stopped to talk to us and said that Istiklal is literally 100m away, through the side street turn left and you are on it.  We cautiously walked up the side street and realised hey... we are so close to Istiklal, except our hotel is right on the opposite end of this street.  We strutted down the street so satisfied with ourselves how we just saved 16TL on taxi rides.  Istiklal is kicking at this time of night round 1am.  Shops are open, bars a booming, restaurants are still serving, music is coming from all over the place.
Roof terrace at Mikla
  A waiter appeared from a side street and offered us free shisha's and so we decided to take advantage of it, we had a few drinks here and a few laughs with the waiter.  We sang and clapped and cheered with the street performers all the way back to the hotel.

 
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Luton airport
Luton airport
Havas girls
Havas girls
Riding the airport bus
Riding the airport bus
Roof terrace at Mikla
Roof terrace at Mikla
Roof terrace at Mikla
Roof terrace at Mikla
Black and white lamb
Black and white lamb
Roof terrace at Mikla
Roof terrace at Mikla
Roof terrace at Mikla
Roof terrace at Mikla
Roof terrace at Mikla
Roof terrace at Mikla
Roof terrace at Mikla
Roof terrace at Mikla
Roof terrace at Mikla
Roof terrace at Mikla
Roof terrace at Mikla
Roof terrace at Mikla
Shisha time
Shisha time
Puff like a dragon
Puff like a dragon
Puff like a dragon
Puff like a dragon
Chill out zone
Chill out zone
Our new friends
Our new friends
Mez
Mez
Vienna
photo by: EmyG