Constantinople / Istanbul - Ancient and Modern - Crossroads of the World

Constantinople / Istanbul - Ancient and Modern - Crossroads of the World
Istanbul/constantinople - Ancient/Modern - View of the Old City from across the Golden Horn, atop the Galata Tower.

Day 1 - Arrival in Istanbul

Monday, April 9, 2012

After a 12 hr 50 min flight on TK 10 from LAX, twenty-one of us arrive at the Ataturk International Airport (IST) in Istanbul late Monday afternoon at 5:10 pm.

Because of our travel over nine time zones from west to east, it is now ten hours ahead of Pacific Daylight Time (Turkey is on Daylight Saving Time too).  Our bodies think it's still 7:10 am -- the folks at home are just starting their Monday morning.

Here's another video of landing at Istanbul, with a tour through the airport. Looks a lot like most other airports.

After disembarking from the plane, we must first purchase a visa, good for 90 days, which costs US $20 (cash).  The visa is a sticker placed in the passport, then we go to passport control, where the sticker is stamped with the entry date.  From there we go to the baggage claim area, pass through the customs (where nobody has yet been stopped or questioned), and through the doors into the arrival area where someone from Orion Tours will be waiting for us.

There are, of course, opportunities to change money here.  Although you might feel better having some Turkish Lira in your pocket, it's not advisable to change very much money at the airport. There are a lot of trustworthy banks with ATMs near the hotel, and plenty of opportunity to get cash tomorrow.

The other six are all arriving within an hour or so of our flight, so we can all meet at the airport, and travel together in a bus provided by Orion Tour to the Madison Hotel in the Beyoglu District, our home for the next three nights.

After getting settled in the hotel, it is still be early enough to take a brief walk in the area around the hotel and perhaps get a bite to eat.  It's safe, but don't walk alone.  You'll be spotted immediately as a tourist, and fair game for slick hucksters to sell you anything from cheap souvenirs to expensive carpets.

This will be the last night for the next three weeks you can sleep without the anticipation of an early wake-up call!

Did you know? Istanbul, with approximately 13 million people, is the third largest city in the world, following only Shanghai (17M) and Karachi (also 13M). The Brookings Institute rated Istanbul as the #1 most dynamic city in the world following the 2009 global recession. Istanbul was also voted #1 of the New York Times' "Best Places to Go" in 2010.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to Turkey, Istanbul and first impressions! and welcome back to those who have returned again! Go with God as your pilgrimage begins, love to all, blessings and graces. My prayers are with you ! love Nicole