Wednesday, 8 June 2016

LGW to SAW (or, Could I have some Turkey, please!!!!)

OMG, it's actually happening.  I booked the plane tickets to Istanbul yesterday during the rain-forced stay in the restaurant at Tower Bridge.  The plane leaves today at 4 pm.

During a smoke break at 6 am in the smoking area of the hotel, I engage in conversation with two hobbits.  No they don't have wide hairy feet (Actually they might, I didn't check) but their entire attitude to places unknown tells of their origins.  The woman declares "Istanbul?  SCARY!" (I assume she's never been there) and the husband says as a good bye "Have a good trip, sounds different" in response to learning about our circumnavigate Europe by bike plans.

During the way too expensive and tastefully boring hotel breakfast, I finally find the hotel in Istanbul that I once had noticed. Istanbul has about 1400 hotels, so I had to use a smart algorithm to find this again without having to look at all the listings.  I had saved the image before, but unfortunately neglected to include the hotel name.  Ah well, the search terms "Istanbul, corner room, golden horn" produce this as one of the top results in Google Images and getting the hotel name from that is easy ;-)

It's booked. At the time of booking, I'm wondering why hotel rooms like this are still available for a price of CAD 115.

By the time we have checked out, left the hotel (and walked back because I remembered that I left my bike battery at the reception desk instead of attaching it to the bike), walked the mile to The Jack Fairman Public House in Horley, and ordered some beverages, I think I might know why.

This bomb exploded at 6:35 am GMT this morning in Istanbul.

Zu is a volunteer fire fighter and just can't help it !

We are walking to The Jack Fairman, consume some food and wine, and then walk to Gatwick Airport
Yes, PEGASUS is the winged horse in Greek mythology ;-)
4 pm is the time that jet lag kicks in, so I sleep through the entire 3.5 hour flight ;-)
My first glimpse of Turkey!

My first glimpse of Turkish food just outside the airport
We had planned to take the public transit bus and the Bosphorus ferry for the > 20 km ride from the airport to downtown Istanbul, but the plane landed late, so we just hop into a taxi.

The top left light over this mosque is actually a HUGE crescent moon that has EXACTLY the same shape as the crescent moon on the Turkish flag !
Checking in is easy. The first thing we do in the room is to rip the curtains open to see whether we can really see one giant mosque from our room. NOPE!  We can see 6 (SIX) giant mosques from our room and innumerable small ones.  Good travel planning I think, patting my own back ;-)

There is a pedestrian bridge over the Golden Horn not far from the hotel, so I waste no time and go for my first exploratory walk at 12:30 am in a strange city that has seen its last bomb explosion less than 24 hours ago.  Gotta LIVE, we're all going to be dead eventually ;-)

Good Night, world !

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