Arriving in Istanbul: The Flight to Istanbul, Visas and Passports

Too tired to write much. We arrived in Istanbul last night.

Turkish Airlines is no more comfortable nor is its food an ounce or a spice better than American airlines. But Carol and I made it through the 11 hour flight. Then we endured a long line to get our Turkish Visa. We paid $20, they checked our passport and stamped it approved. Then another line for the passport check. A quick glance at it and we were out. Finally we could grab a taxi and head toward the hotel, the Doubletree-Hilton Inn the Old Town, getting our first view of Istanbul, the historical Constantinople.

First impressions. A fascinating combination of the old and new. A city undergoing massive construction. New malls and shopping centers going up. Minarets and towers of an ancient country rising above it all.

We met the other two coming in to Istanbul, had a drink at a bar, dinner at one of the little cafes the size and environment of a hot dog stand, but excellent fried (more like sauteed) egglant, eggplant pizza (actually in what appeared like a small panini), and a type of rice custard, and then back to the hotel to fall into bed.

Monday we have a full day tour of the city. I will try to blog about it on Tuesday.

Good night.

Filed under: Istanbul

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    Carolyn Boiarsky

    " I am an American," but not "Chicago born" like Augie March. Only Chicago aged. I'd like to think that if Henry Louis Gates were to investigate my geneology, he would discover in my past three women who traveled around the globe, chronicling their adventures. Sarah Kemble Knight traveled 112 miles by carriage from Boston to New York in 1704, a journey most women did not embark on alone (and men did so only with some trepidation). In fact, women were only just beginning to exercise their independence in the 1920's when Emily Kimbrough took off with her friend, Cornelia Otis Skinner, to explore Europe. But it is Auntie Mame, transforming herself from a New Yorker to the wife of an Austrian Baron and climbing the Matterhorn, whose mantra I have adopted. "LIFE IS A BANQUET...LIVE!" I began travelling in the 1960's when I traveled around western Europe between graduating from the Univiersity of Pennsylvania and my first job as a statehouse correspondent for UPI (United Press International) in Charleston, West Virginia, which was about as foreign a place as Europe was to someone who grew up in the environs of Philadelphia. Since then, I've also travelled to Kaunas, Lithuania, to teach at Vytautus Magnus University and to Sheffield, England, to present a paper at an engineering conference. I've been to the Alps and seen Auntie Mame's Matterhorn while climbing, by a series of cable cars rather than by foot, toward the peak of Mont Blanc. For the past 10 years my husband and I have been traveling to unique places: a sheep farm during lambing season in England's Lake Country, a hotel on one of the Barromeo Islands in the middle of Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy, and a cottage in Dun Quin on the Dingle Peninsula which the Irish claim is the last parish before Boston. Between excursions, I'm a professor in the Department of English at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Indiana,. My husband passed away recently and, Auntie Mame-style, I am in the process of transforming myself. Last year I joined a tour to Central Asia. This year I'm going to China to work with the pandas. A new adventure. Another banquet.

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