Greetings! Chris here, checking in after being stranded in Istanbul, and having just completed a fantastic 15 page paper, or at least I found it pretty impressive.
On Wednesday I caught a Lufthansa flight out to Istanbul, Turkey a place which I had been studying heavily in my Mediterranean Politics course. One Munich layover and a Wall Street Journal later I’m in Istanbul Turkey, the city where Asia meets Europe. I had done considerable research on the city before entering, watching the Anthony Bourdain “No Reservations” episode in Istanbul before heading out, so I was somewhat confident in myself. It was when I had to leave the plush Ataturk airport that life began to seem more serious, realizing I hadn’t the slight clue how the metro would get me where I was going, and that I was seriously lacking in Turkish linguistic skills. Thankfully, I made a friend at the airport from Croatia who had been to Istanbul a number of times and made sure I made I made it to where I was going. There was something generally happy about Turkish people, and it made being a visitor all the more better.
Stepping off the metro with luggage in my hand the first thing I did was purchase a six lira kebob, and then stroll down to the illuminated Hagia Sophia, and it’s neighbor the Blue Mosque, which where both on the route to my hostel.
Because I find no need to bore you with the details, I’ll wrap it up and say Istanbul is a city unlike any other, mixing structures over a thousand years old with modern highrises, and connecting two continents, I found the food to be great, the people were kind, and the city was full of life.
Before coming in to Istanbul I contacted fellow student ambassador (Griffin ) who is currently studying abroad in Turkey, and he gave all the things I really need to know and see while in Istanbul.
So like a good tourist I checked out the sites, exchanged sherades-like conversation over lunch with an older Turkish man, made friends at the hostel, and ate everything I saw. The city has an awesome scene for young people, and all of the sight seeing as well if you ever need to pass the time.
But on my last day in Turkey I decided I wanted to do a little more exploring before leaving, because I still hadn’t seen the spice market. So I used my last day to walk around Istanbul, eventually checking out the spice market where I did indeed get ripped off paying $30 for a bag of trail mix and some Turkish delight, but it happens, especially when you have as American an accent as I do.
And then at three I’m grabbing my luggage and catching the metro out, but it seemed to be rush hour, and rush hour in Istanbul feels like the entire population of Boulder trying to get to Longmont at the same time, on the same metro line. So it was an experience, and finally I made it back to Ataturk, and went to check in to my flight, which I was no more than 20 minutes (if that) late to check in. The somewhat peremptory woman at Swiss Airlines told me that the check in would now be closed, and hurry off because there’s nothing that I could do, she was sympathetic to say the least.
So after realizing I’m stuck in Istanbul and have to get back to class I figured I’d look for a flight out. Sure enough I did just that, only to realize a lock had been placed on my card due to someone buying Turkish delight in Istanbul…
Now, at this point things became interesting as I was stuck on the border of the continent, with no money to buy a ticket home, and not to mention a 15 page paper due Monday which I was yet to have started.
Panic. I found wifi in a hopeless place, and got in my contact with my mother who saved the day, thanks mama. I was catching the 8 am flight out the next morning, but could not check in until four. So I spent the night working on my paper, strolling around Ataturk, falling asleep at a café, and then at four fifteen walking over with my fittingly situational red eyes, finally getting my bordering pass and making it over to the other side of security, a side which 8 hours ago had seemed so impossible to reach.
I’d like to incorporate a piece of advice, if you ever find yourselves flying out of Istanbul during rush hour, with Swiss Airlines, I prompt you to spend the 100 lira and take a taxi, as well as starting your 15 page research paper before leaving for Turkey.
All the best,