I arrived in Istanbul around 9:00 tonight. I wasn’t planning to go until Thursday, but the flights were so early I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get to London on time. I took a glance at the flights that left Wednesday, and they turned out to be much cheaper and much more convenient. I departed from Gatwick, which is much closer and more convenient than Heathrow, and I was still be able to go to class beforehand. Plus, I get an extra day in Istanbul.
The flight was the best I have ever had. Turkish Airlines is my new favorite way to fly. It was is direct flight, and they served dinner. It was the best plane food I have ever had. It included a little appetizer, almond cake for desset, and for after dinner they served coffee and tea. All of the beverages were complimentary: the beer, wine, even the spirits.
I sat next to a Turkish lady who was really nice. She was returning from London, where she had been visiting her daughter. She had a lot of great advice about traveling in Istanbul, and gave me her card before we got off the plane, so now I have a friend in Istanbul to call if I get in trouble. But I won’t! But it’s really nice to know.
I’m staying at a hostel called Cordial House. The rooms are regularly 13 euro a night, but they reduced the rates so that my entire 5 nights stay was only 23 euro. This includes free wifi, breakfast, a airport shuttle… it basically pays for itself. Moreover, it’s located right in the middle of Sultanahmet. It’s only a short walk to some very exciting places: the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar, as well as some of the better reviewed Turkish Baths.
just the taxi drive to the hostel was amazing, this city is magical. It’s hard to believe that all these buildings are actually here. I’ve never seen anything like it.
i I was too excited to stay in tonight, so I befriended some people in the lobby. I walked around the Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, Tikpaka Palace, and a bunch of other historic buildings in the area with two Italian men. When we got back to the hostel, I met a bunch other guys from all over the world. Italy, chile, and turkey. Two of them were also planning to be at the Tikpaka Palace when it opens tomorrow, like I was, so we’re all going to go together.
I am interested to see how it’s going to work sleeping in a room with 7 other girls. I still haven’t located the bathroom.