Arrival in Istanbul
The arrival at Ataturk Istanbul Airport from Dubai was at 6:20 pm, about 20 minutes late. The plane had to do a slow figure of eight over the Sea of Maramar before being allowed to land. This presented great views of the city spread out on both sides of the Bosphorus.
Passage through the airport was easy except for baggage claim. The bag didn't arrive until an hour after the plane landed. The arrangement with the hotel transfer said they would wait a maximum of one hour but my concern that there would be nobody waiting was not warranted. Obviously several hundred people had been delayed and a multitude (well, about 100!) of transfer/greeting people holding client's name signs were lined up at the exit gate. It took me a while to find mine. Then I saw the Joy Shop. I thought it was a good omen.
Gengis, “as in Gengis Kahn”, introduced himself and very efficiently checked my whole itinerary and confirmed pick-up times for all arranged activities. He was in a great hurry but attentive. He explained it was a bit mad with all the people arriving for the ANZAC centenary.
He rang my driver to let him know I was ready then took me outside to meet the hotel transfer bus. The ride took 20-30 minutes, initially along fast divided roads that paralleled the coast, except for the numerous roadworks which slowed progress, and then plunged into the narrow, winding cobbled streets of the old town.
The streets were chaotic with many market stalls flowing out onto the road, hundreds of pedestrians milling about and two way traffic. I was fully expecting that we would squash a pedestrian. The streets reminded me of India, but clean, with flags and garish lights suggesting a touch of China.
Finally he announced that we had arrived at the Hotel Nina. He lugged in my heavy bag. I checked in and all was in order. I was told the 4th floor room had a view. It did - of the building across the street. I showered and was in bed asleep by 11:00 pm.