November 18th 2013

Turkey. Trip of a lifetime. Getting there. 8 of 8

Lufthansa City Line CRJ700 D-ACPO “Spaichingen...

From Vancouver we flew Lufthansa to Frankfurt and then on to Istanbul. Others used KLM to Amsterdam and then onto Istanbul.  There is talk of next year a direct Turkish Air flight from Vancouver to Istanbul.  We flew Turkish Air from Izmir to Istanbul. Good airline with some neat features. I.e. they have HD cameras on the nose and tail so you can watch the whole flight and view the ground as you go over. Watching a landing is so cool.  The Star Alliance is very big in the EU so you can really build up your Aeroplan points. Our tour was organized  through LandoftheGods Travel ( Amanda is an agent).  Airfare was $1050 return , per person , all in (this was end of the season rates) . The land trip (airport transfers, hotels, bus, admission tickets)  was $1600 per person and it was first class. All meals except for daily lunches and your dinners in Istanbul are covered. ( And we went to an amazing restaurant where I was first introduced to raki.) The bus is ultra modern, fitted like an air-plane,Turkish Delight, French Nougat, Coconut Ice - ... full wifi all over Turkey, with  entertainment centres at each seat and two fridges for cold water, beer and wine on board.  Really roughing it. What surprised me is that Turkey is pretty big. open and aside from crazy city traffic snarls the country roads were not that busy. I would not recommend renting a car and driving, the distances are big and tiring, unless you like that sort of thing. Think nine hours driving through Saskatchewan.  If you do drive , it appears that speed limits, lanes and road signs are just guidelines, some drivers go as fast as they do on the German autobahns. Cities do not have many street lights, very limited parking, signs are in Turkish (think Cyrillic Hungarian/Finnish), roads can have unmarked hazards. And they do not tell you about local attractions on the highway. Due to the great distances, the roadside gas stations are big.  Since it is so competitive, when the bus drives up, the passengers race to the WC ( sometimes one-holers, sometimes western). The bus gets a complete wash ( free) . The passengers sit down to eat a very good simple meal, with beer or tea and dessert – Maybe $12. And there is a whole bazaar to shop from.


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