I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Trip to Turkey Part 1

Pools from the lobby
I am finally at the hotel, after thirty grueling hours to get here, through one bus ride, three airports, a taxi, and finally I arrived, tired and grumpy, having shed a few tears along the way. But now it's Monday morning (still Sunday night at home), the sun is shining, and I've toured the hotel and gotten a good night's sleep. One night when it should have been two.

The long haul from Seattle to Amsterdam was not bad at all. I watched two movies (The Judge and Lucy) during my flight. It took nine hours instead of ten, since the jet stream was pushing us so fast, it didn't matter that the flight had been delayed by one hour. We arrived on time, and my bags were checked through to Istanbul. I enjoyed the Amsterdam airport very much, and the three hours that I spent there went quickly, as I sat with my iPad and enjoyed a nice frosty beer (Heinekin) while catching up on my blogs.  The internet connection wasn't great, but it worked well enough, as long as I wasn't trying to post anything. And then it was time to fly to Istanbul.

That three-hour flight wasn't nearly as comfortable, as the seats didn't recline and by this time I was getting very tired. I couldn't sleep well (I never do on planes) but napped a bit. When I arrived in Istanbul, it was late afternoon and it was raining as if I were back in Seattle! I had a couple of hours before my plane would leave for Antalya, but things never happen as they are supposed to. I was to pick up my bags and take them to the domestic terminal, since I was flying from Istanbul to Antalya. However, when I went to get a seat assignment, the plane I was scheduled to fly on was overbooked, and I had no seat. Well, by this time I was so tired and stressed that I began to cry. I couldn't help it, the tears just streamed from my eyes. I was given a standby boarding pass, and then I had to wait until everyone boarded before it would be possible to see if I could get a seat.

It was because I must have garnered some sympathy that one of the ticket agents took me (and two young men from Norway) to the boarding area and waited with us, hoping that there would be some people who didn't make the connection, and sure enough, at the very last minute I got a seat. Although the flight is only an hour, I felt as though I had been wrung through a wringer by the time I got off the plane. I stood with all the other people as bag after bag came off the conveyor, but mine wasn't there. I went to Lost and Found and was told that my bag would be in the domestic area, not the international area. Well, by 8:30pm I was reunited with my checked bag and went outside to find the purported ride to the hotel. Nobody. I ended up taking a taxi for the 25-minute ride and arrived after 9:00pm.

When I walked into the hotel lobby, I felt like a half-drowned cat. I probably looked like one, too. I registered for the conference, paid for my six nights and learned that Mickey and his wife Karen had already arrived and were in the dining room. I went to say hello and ended up having a glass of wine and spending an hour visiting with them before I went up to my room.

To say that I was overwhelmed by the room is an understatement. It is the nicest room I have ever stayed in, and I was dirty and exhausted and should have taken a shower, I just climbed into the comfy bed and lost consciousness. Several times during the night I woke but just turned over and went back to sleep. At about 5:00am Turkey time, I woke as usual and went right to my computer, but I found that the connection wasn't wonderful, so I went down to the lobby and called Smart Guy on FaceTime to let him know I am okay.

Now I am in the dining room eating a wonderful breakfast of fabulous foods, and soon I will finish this post and go walking around the hotel to see what it's like. The conference starts tomorrow, so I hope I'll be completely over my jet lag by morning. I also hope I have a chance to swim in one of those fantastic pools; there seem to be several, and boy am I glad I brought my swim suit!

By the time I went to sleep last night, I had a raging headache that I attributed to the stress of the day, but after a good night's sleep it was worse than ever. I found out why: I had not had any coffee or caffeine during the trip, hoping that I would be able to sleep on the plane. If I ever needed anything to remind me that I am addicted to caffeine, that was all I needed. A cup of coffee this morning, and the headache vanished.

Now I am rested, well fed, and posting my Sunday Eye on the Edge post, just a little late. It's Monday here, but it's still Sunday evening back home. I've connected with my guy, and now I am relieved that he knows I'm here safely, and it's time to explore my surroundings. I hope you will all stay safe and sound until we meet again, hopefully not so late next week. I'll he in Istanbul next week at another hotel, but I have five more nights at this one, and I'm not at all unhappy about it.


Elephant's Child said...

Lovely to hear that after all your trials and tribulations your room was comfortable. More than comfortable even.
Turkish food? Yum.
Look after yourself - and have as much fun as you can.
Cyber hugs. Lots of them.

Linda Myers said...

Isn't it wretched to arrive at a new place and be totally exhausted? Glad you had a good night's sleep.

Gigi said...

What a stressful trip! Glad to know you've made it safe and sound and that you are in a lovely hotel!

Arkansas Patti said...

So happy to know you had a safe if exhausting trip. Hey, tears work wonders getting you a seat on an overbooked plane or out of a traffic ticket.
Thank goodness you have the day's rest to recoup.
Looking forward to more.

The Furry Gnome said...

Glad you got there safely in spite of the frustration! Look forward to hearing about it.

Tabor said...

I stopped by here from Musings because I saw you were in Turkey. I cancelled my fall trip there last year for fear of political problems. It will be fun to visit vicariously.

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, What a great trip report! Admire the way you hung-in-there until you finally arrived at your hotel. Glad you are safe and sound. Wow, I just checked Google and see that it is nearly 4 PM where you are ... just about 6 AM in Seattle. Almost a full 12 hour change in the clock. Amazing that you have it all together enough to do some posting!!! :-) I will have to keep an Eye on DJan-ity this week just in case you post some updates. Hey, no worries about posting comments on my blog ... I just want you to enjoy your time on your journey! Thanks DJan and have a great day. John

Red said...

Well, you've been on a marathon and you won. Long trips are not easy. Enjoy your stay.

Anonymous said...

That is a splendid picture of the pools. How I wish I could be there with you. It was a good idea to give yourself an extra day before the start of the conference to recuperate from the arduous journey to get there. Stay well and have loads of fun.

Rian said...

So glad to hear that you arrived safe and sound... even though a little exhausted and anxious. But it sounds like things have settled down and now you can enjoy being there. Keep us updated!

Linda Reeder said...

Like so many other things you do, you must be very good at sleeping. I have never been able to get a full night's sleep after a long flight, or flights, to Europe. Jet lag lingers, and I just keep plowing through it. Good for you.
I would have shed tears too, especially with being all on your own with no companion with whom to talk things through. But now it sounds like you are being very well taken care of! Have fun.

amanda said...

I was feeling for you as I read this, DJan.. travel can by a major pain. We've been overbooked before and it made me so angry that they could sell us tickets and then not give us a seat while we're left to wait in the discomfort of a strange place. We've had our share of hangups and moments of panic and stress.. but all's well that ends well. I'm glad you are there and in comfort and loveliness!

R. J. said...

It is so nice that your luggage arrived. That was a rough trip and visions of such travel always make me think twice about travel. Nevertheless, it doesn't keep me at home, because stuff happens at home too. I think the nice accommodations will help to balance the experience. Enjoy, enjoy.

Jazbriz said...

After such a long trip it's great to get to a really nice hotel. Enjoy!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

You traveled under a Mercury retrograde. From an astrological viewpoint, it explains the delays and snafus. So glad you arrived and can't wait to hear more!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Wow look at that pool, I bet you will enjoy it very much. You will be back to your old self soon. Thanks for the update on your trip! Palm Trees it must be warm there:)

Rita said...

So glad you made it on that flight after all. How stressful! A good nights sleep was such a relief, I'm sure. Looking forward to hearing about your stays and the conference. :)

justme_alive said...

I would have been right there with you & your tears, my eyes leak much more than I care & at the most public of times. Glad you have such a soft (& beautiful) place to lay your head after all your travels.

#1Nana said...

Beautiful hotel! I cried at LAX in the 30th hour of what should have been a 6 hour flight to Texas. My original route didn't even go through LA. I'd just had enough and the desk clerk recognized it and I was upgraded to first class. I might even cry more often if it guarantees an upgrade! Safe travels, my friend.

Sally Wessely said...

What grueling experience. I would have been crying too. And then I would have cried when I had to wait for my bags. You have been on my mind. Im happy to know the trip has been safe and that you had a refreshing night's sleep. Can't wait to read more. Hugs.

CrazyCris said...

Wow! Sounds like you had a grueling trip! :(

Glad to read you made it in one piece though, suitcase and all! Isn't Istanbul airport chaotic?! I haven't had to leave the International Terminal (I've been through there several times in the past year, to and from East Africa or Central Asia) and it's NUTS!

Amsterdam airport is so much more relaxing! I think you don't follow my travel-specific blog, but you might find this post about a day spent in Amsterdam airport amusing:

A Day Wandering Around Amsterdam...

Your week is now up and you'll be on your way to Istanbul tomorrow... I'll head over to your other blog and hopefully find out that you got to use that pool! :D

Hugs and bon voyage!

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

That you got so stressed out is very understandable.
Overbooking seats is a nasty airline habit:(
I love how honest you are about what you are experiencing.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

A tad behind so I'm reading this one first. You have inspired me to pay extra to have less time flying. Age definitely brings in a new factor to the flying thing. Onto your next post.