Originally published 27 August 2011.
Gute Morge! (“Goo-ta Mor-ga” for all us non-Swiss German speakers!)
Wednesday morning I got up and heard about the earthquake in Richmond/DC, and I’m kind of bummed I missed it! Now comes Irene–not sorry I’m missing that! Thankfully I have a friend checking on my house. Here’s hoping for no basement flooding!
Breakfast on Wednesday was interesting. The Turkish really do have olives at every meal! (I don’t like olives–this could be a problem!) But there were also all sorts of interesting cheeses and fruits and such. I like eating my way around the world. =)
Getting to the airport was an adventure in itself. Took the hotel shuttle back to Ataturk airport, where I caught the Havas Bus to Taksim (an area in the middle of Istanbul, where people switch from one bus to the other to get from the European side of Istanbul across the straight to the Asian side). Switched buses in Taksim, then rode on to Sabiha-Gokcen Airport. The whole trip took about an hour and 15 minutes, and it was only 22 Turkish Lira, which is around $12.50. Not bad, I thought! Plus I got to see a lot of Istanbul! It amazes me how compact everyone else int he world is, and they just go with it. Their roads and cars are a lot smaller, and things are just close together. I like having wide open spaces, but it’s not impossible to live a lot smaller (i.e. efficiently). The thing I really noticed about riding in Turkey was that the lines don’t really matter until someone is already coming into your lane! Glad we don’t plan on driving while we’re there!
Next nervous experience… checking in at the airport! I had to check in at the desk, and the real trial was going to be making sure my luggage fit into the compartment. Yes, I had to fit everything for three and a half weeks into ONE bag! I checked and rechecked the dimensions and weight limitations online before I left home, and I was certain I’d be fine… till I got to the check-in counter! Seeing the box I’d have to fit the bag in, I started to wonder where I’d gone wrong in my measurements! (Yes, I made sure I was measuring in centimeters!) Please keep in mind checking a bag is expensive when traveling in Europe–moreso than in the US. I could have checked one bag online for around $30 (25 Swiss Francs), and if I had to check it at the airport, it was going to be $50 (40 Swiss Francs)! And the limit is truly one bag–not a carry-on and a purse, everything has to fit in the carry-on!
When I got up to the front of the line, I had to face the music and try to fit my bag into the box provided. It just fit! Whew! I approached the counter and the lady asked me if I was checking my bag. I confidently said no, and she looked skeptically at the bag. “Can I see?” She asked me. She was not snarky, just doing her job, so I happily said, “Sure!” It fit again (whew!), and she gave me a cabin label to put on the bag so I could be on my way! Ironically enough, the label ripped when I went to put it on the bag, but I had it just the same, so I was good to go. Just saved myself $50! =)
The flight was about 3 hours, I had a window seat, and while I ended up sitting next to a couple of kids, one of the French flight attendants was cute, so I have no complaints. =)
And then I was in Switzerland! The adventure continues…