USA to Istanbul
7.18.15 - 7.19.15
The adventure for the past 24 hours was to get from Charleston to Istanbul on United. We were successful. We had a 90 minute delay in Charleston because the plane, coming from Dulles, had a significant ground hold due to thunderstorms in the area. This again enforces my personal and recommended policy of allowing many hours when you are connecting to an international flight. In this case we had five, which allowed for such circumstances as this. If we had a shorter connection, we would have been scrambling to find a way to Europe!
We flew through Dulles and Frankfurt. Dulles is fine - one of my more liked airports, and Frankfurt was challenging purely because of it's size. Lots of walking, getting a Lufthansa boarding pass, and going through a very thorough and tedious security screening (no passport control) was time consuming. Additionally the airport was poorly air conditioned so it was hot throughout. It took us a good hour plus in the business class lines to get from one gate to the other. I am thinking that Germany is on a heightened state of security for a variety of political reasons.
We arrived in Istanbul, and the passport control process was very organized and efficient. Turkey requires an E-visa for US tourists - about $20.00 - which made entry easy and quick, much more efficient than Germany. Our transfer person was waiting, and the car came in about 15 minutes. As it was a holiday - the day after Ramadan, a feast day - there were families everywhere. Interesting in and of itself, because the male head of the household held all of the passports and escorts the entire group through passport control.
We are staying at the Kent Hotel - a four star - not one that you would pick on a drive by - but within walking distance of the Bazaar and quite nice....wonderful shower.
Tomorrow, our group of 12 traveling companions leave the hotel at 9:00am for a full 8 hour tour of the famous sites of the city.