Vienna Travel Blog› entry 1 of 6 › view all entries
June 24th, 2010 – by: hoangn
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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