Turkey Summary


Our flight left Cairo at the very unreasonable hour of 3:45 am !!!  We went to sleep at 8:30pm the evening before and woke at midnight for the taxi ride to the airport with our erstwhile driver Omar.  Two hours later the Turkish Airlines flight landed in Istanbul.  We took a lovely and new Renault Kangoo taxi from the airport and arrived at the Special Artemis Hotel about 30 minutes later.  Our rooms were not ready since it was before 7:00am, so we feasted on a breakfast buffet of feta cheese, bread, olives, cucumbers, coffee, watermelon and cherries.  Then we moved to the roof of the hotel, which had a lovely and empty café with some swinging chaise lounges, where we napped in the morning sun until our rooms were ready.  Our next few days were a whirlwind of exploring marketplaces, old palaces, the ancient hippodrome, and the gorgeous Hagia Sophia Mosque.  We took a short 2-hour cruise up the Bosphorus, the channel connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Black Sea.  The carpet sellers near our hotel in the Sultanahmet District were very aggressive and one street we gave a nicknamed: "The Gauntlet".  We were almost talked into buying several carpets by one guy because the shop had a very cute kitten (named Suntana) who the girls chased around for a while.  The weather in Istanbul was delightful.  Despite that it was early June, we had spring weather with 70s during the day and 60s at night and the sky was a brilliantly blue.  

Kona Moment: We took a boat to the nearby Prince's Islands and saw a restaurant called Island Grill near the ferry pier.

Starbucks:  No, but the coffee was great, very strong.

Weird McDonalds Menu Item:  McTurco – something like a Greek gyro.

Cultural Moment:  Seeing the remains of Justinian’s (son of Constantine) palace from 1000 years ago.  Also, we saw what the Turks claim to be the actual skull and arm of John the Baptist (the guy who baptized Jesus).