The worried sounds we heard at O'Hare yesterday after take-off was delayed, were ratcheted up a bit when the captain announced that Frankfurt was socked in with fog and he was instructed to circle. The entertainment console displayed connection information for European cities, but Istanbul was not mentioned. Then the captain said that our connections might be OK, because take-offs were also being delayed. And he was right.
The flight to Istanbul also left late and by the time we purchased visas - really just a $20 head tax - and went through immigration, our suitcases were twirling on the baggage carousel. As we came out of the baggage hall the walk way was lined with folks holding signs, picking tourists up for tours and hotels. We were supposed to have a man with a sign, but we couldn't find him and we were quite late in arriving and guessed that he might have given up on us, so a quick taxi ride brought us to the hotel.
We are staying in the middle of tourist mecca, within walking distance of many of the sites every tourist wants to see here. After a quick nap, our innkeeper gave us a map and orientation talk and recommended some nearby restaurants. The streets were clogged, perhaps more than usual, since an area was blocked off for a crew filming a movie. The recommended restaurant had unfamiliar Turkish dishes and familiar European ones. We're here to sample Turkey and so we did. Some of the dishes were served on flaming salt beds and the serving dish was cracked open and broken to empty out the yummy contents inside.
If this restaurant had not been recommended, we would have had plenty of other choices. In this mild weather many folks ate outside. All the shops remained open late into the night. The Turks are noted merchants. Every time we have come to Istanbul, I ended up buying something I thought I did not want, but ended up loving as an item and as a good memory of a lengthy bargaining session.