Sunday, July 3, 2011

Honeymoon Day 13 – June 13 – Freiburg, Germany to Istanbul, Turkey

Despite our late night the previous night, Jeff and I were up and back at the wedding venue at 9:30 in the morning for breakfast. I really like the idea of having breakfast the day after a wedding, because it’s really nice to see everyone a bit more and to say your goodbyes when you’re (somewhat) more awake and focused than at the very end of the night. We ended up getting a ride back to Frieburg with Christoph and his dad, which was really nice, because it gave us a lot of time to catch up with Christoph. He and Karen are headed off for their honeymoon – in Copenhagen and Sweden – and then they’ll be coming back and moving to Geneva together.

Christoph and his dad dropped us off at the Freiburg train station, and Jeff and I made our way to the airport. We slept every minute of our flight to Istanbul.

We arrived in Turkey around 8pm, and decided to be adventurous (and thrifty) and take the public transportation to our hotel. The subway and metro are relatively easy to understand, so we made it without much trouble.

The most difficult part was trying to actually find our hotel after we got off the metro – we only had a general idea of where it was. As we walked along with our bags, people would stop us every 20 feet to ask us where we were going, and which hotel. We thought at first that people were trying to stop us to get us to come their store or get us to buy something or something like that, but actually, we discovered they really just wanted to give us directions. This is actually one of the really cute things about Istanbul – it seems like people are used to tourists and just take it upon themselves to help out. In this case, it was person after person insisting on giving us directions to our hotel. But we saw the same helpfulness in a lot of other ways throughout our stay. When you’re trying to figure out how to buy a metro ticket, the Turkish person in line behind you will reach up and press a button for you, or show you how to do it. When I wanted to find stamps, I got information from about four different people along the way (they could see me scanning the street looking for something) – telling me where it was, how far I still needed to go, and warning me that it would be closed during prayer time.

We mentioned to the hotel – the Best Western Citadel Hotel - that we’re on our honeymoon, and they upgraded us to a sea-view room and sent up a bottle of wine to the room! It was a really nice way to start out our time in Istanbul.

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