Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey: Day 1 - Another Adventure Begins

"What do you think? It's Turkish!" was the quote that was running through my head as we left our house in Seattle for Istanbul. It's from a scene in the movie Amadeus where a woman solicits opinions on her outlandish headdress. I've always thought of this scene as indicating the foreign, exotic nature that folks have about Turkey, and I was eager to experience it for myself.

So, out the door we went and into the 3 inches of snow that had paralyzed the city of Seattle for several days. Jon and I caught a bus to SeaTac and enjoyed Lufthansa's business class lounge before heading down the gate. Our flight to Frankfurt was great, and we took advantage of the excellent business class service. They served lunch, then we went to sleep and woke up in Germany. A few hours later, we were off on our connection to Istanbul.

We arrived right on schedule and, despite the distance from the airport to the city, decided to pay up for a cab to ease our navigation in this new place. The city was gorgeous at night, dramatically covering several hillsides. Our cab sped through town, crossing under an ancient viaduct that the road now threads through. Our hotel for the evening was located right on a main pedestrian street, so it was a little strange for our cab to dodge the passing walkers and drop us off right at the front door! We put down our bags and headed out to explore the city at night.

Not wanting to wander too far on our first night after a long trip, we just walked up to Taksim Square along the busy Istikal Caddesi and soaked in the ambiance. The street was teeming with folks out enjoying the nice evening, so we strolled along with them and had a decent doner kebap at one of the casual places lining the street. After a while, we were both exhausted and decided to call it a night.

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