Day 1 Istanbul
As I landed in Istabul airport, I heard my name being announced on the speakers to come to Information Desk- that was really nice and reassured me. I was walked over to a hotel shuttle and did not realize then that I would get a grand tour of the city too! As the airport is west of the European side of Istanbul, we headed east on the highway next to the Marmara Sea. I was impressed with the number of parks along the shore, including open-air gym equipment. I saw men and women biking, walking, even ellipticals in the open air watching the seascape beyond. What a neat way to work out I thought! As we approached the City Center, Eminomu, where all the famous sights are, the van driver negotiated the hilly, curvy and narrow alleys skillfully, while we passengers worried he may hit a bike, person or even a wall or window-that’s how close it felt. As we climbed up the alleys that lead to Sultan Ahmed Mosque, my favourite one, we saw one boutique hotel after another, and suddenly he parked in front of Obelisk Hotel, where Sonia, Sheema and I stayed last year! I remember how we could hear the azan of the Blue Mosque at namaz time.