Day 2 (Friday afternoon)
Temperature: 8 degreesWeather: blue sky, comfortable cool breeze
After clearing customs without any problems, our transfer to the hotel was waiting for us right next to the gates holding a sign bearing our name. I was so excited to step outside the airport's doors that a very deep breath of purely fresh air was inhaled…..convincing me once and for all that I was finally here in Turkey and that I wasn’t dreaming. I had arrived!
The sky was blue, no snow was on the ground (whohoo) and the grass was green. It felt just like early spring as some flower buds could be seen piercing through the rich brown soil around the airport. However, I was glad to have my warm jacket on plus my gloves as the temperature must have been around 8 degrees Celsius with a light cool breeze, a reminder that we were still in March. Regardless, I was finally here in Turkey and tiredness already forgotten I was ready to confront my new adventure full speed ahead!
With wide eyes opened, I admired every little detail around me as we were being driven to our hotel by the tour’s representative. What I was seeing so far of Istanbul was quite impressive. The city had a lovely clean distinctive look about it along with the people living here. Being a Muslim country, there wasn’t very many women wearing the traditional head scarf. But most importantly, everyone here drove normally and not like madmen……as I say this, I’m thinking about my last year’s trip to Egypt!
The Istanbul Conrad Hotel, well, what can I say about the hotel. It was absolutely g o r g e o u s. A big huge circular staircase stood magnificently in the entrance luxurious hall surrounded by several columns. The entire area was elegantly decorated going from a beautiful shining marble floor to many oil paintings hanging on the walls and antique mahogany furniture complimenting the room. Looking up, way up to the open second floor’s ceiling, a huge Tiffany glass dome allowed the natural light to pass through brightening in the process the entire area. Everything looked resplendent. In other words…to my taste!
The key to our room was given and after saluting the tour’s representative, we followed the bellboy way up to our room located on the third floor. Our room was down the hallway, way at the end of it…..but guess what…..we had a huge balcony! Whohoo! Only rooms located in the corners had them and we were lucky enough to have one. My trip here in Turkey was starting on the right foot!
Standing outside on the balcony, the view was fantastic. I could see the Bosphorus Strait which separates Europe and Asia and the Blue Mosque standing proudly way above other structures in the far distance. Just knowing that we were staying here in Istanbul two full days before the start of our tour made it even more thrilling. Imagine, two days all to ourselves to do whatever we want to do and at our own pace. As the British people would say, "Lovely"!
Swiftly stepping back inside the room, it was now time to go out and explore the wonders of this glorious city called Istanbul.