Sunday, February 20, 2011

Well I seem to have skipped the rest of January

But all is not lost!

I've spent the better part of last month making all the arrangements (hotels, domestic air tickets, car rental, hotels) for our adventure.

T spent his time wisely and called old friends in Turkey so we could try and get together!!

foggy sunrise a few days ago
Tomorrow we leave on the early morning Aegean flight for Athens and tomorrow afternoon we arrive at Attaturk airport at 3 in the afternoon.

I am SO excited.

We haven't been to visit for almost 15 years.  It will be so nice revisiting old friends and familiar places!

We bought the house here on Corfu, just shortly before we moved from Izmir to Copenhagen.  (we couldn't bear to leave the region and we had fallen in love with Corfu.

Still we would probably have never found Corfu if we hadn't lived in Turkey, so I have a special thankfulness in my heart for our time there.

Our house sitter is here and the dog and cats are happy.  (as is our house sitter - he loves darts, so we put a regulation dart board downstairs in our guest apartment were he'll be staying!)  This is a totally win-win situation as we have someone to keep the house running smoothly, the dog and cats have someone to annoy, and our house sitter will be able to play darts and watch sky tv to his hearts delight.

So this is what I did over the past month... I made all the arrangements for THIS! (except for C& S tickets from Seattle... they did that part!)

Our Itinerary:

Monday-  February 21 brother-in-law and sister-in-law ( C & S) depart Seattle  1:30 PM
Monday- February 21 T and I  depart CFU arrive IST  15:00 PM
Airport pick-up (by free hotel shuttle) Check-in Santa Ottoman Hotel Taksim Square (poor C & S will be stuck in an airplane, while  we hopefully have dinner with old friend in Beyoglu.)

Tuesday- February 22 C & S arrive IST (via FRA) 4:40 PM (16:40)
Airport pick-up (by free hotel shuttle) Check in Santa Ottoman Hotel Taksim Square.  After dropping off bags, we take a walk down the famous Istikal Street in Beyoglu and down into the Galata area

Dinner at a nice "inexpensive" restaurant and early night.

Wednesday February 23 Breakfast at hotel then sightseeing. 
[Choices include any or all:  Dolmabache Palace (hrs 9:00-5:00); Galata Tower, (hrs 9:00- 8:00);  Museum of Modern Art (hrs 10:00-6:00); Visit to the Mevlevi Monastery (hrs 9:30-4:30) lovely garden and cemetery (the rest of the monastery may be closed for renovation?); and, maybe a peek at the newly renovated to its former splendor,  Pera Palace Hotel. Or maybe the Pera Museum (10-6) to see Maria Callas grand piano – (special exhibition is Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera!).  Of course there are other things to see and do, checkout the links to Galata Area above!]

Thursday- February 24 Check out of Santa Ottoman Hotel around 8:30- 9:00.

Take private arranged (we pay) shuttle to Istanbul Sabiha Gocken International Airport (SAW) for our flight  12:50 departure to Izmir. (private shuttle for 4 people is cheaper, cleaner, safer and more comfortable than a taxi)

Arrive Izmir 13:50.  Rental car reserved at airport.  (hopefully.)  

 T will drive us to the Balcova  Thermal Hotel in Izmir.   (access to the hot spring "Baths of Agamemnon" to swim in!)

Spend rest of day scoping out our environment and maybe driving into Izmir for dinner (tho apparently dinner and breakfast comes with our hotel rooms- boy, did I make a good deal!) As the Archaeological Museum is close by, we might take the opportunity to drop in and see the loot from many of the sites we’ll be visiting.  

Friday- February 25 Drive to Priene, Miletus and Didyma to visit the ancient cities (may include Euromos, Iassos and Labranda). 

Eat en route (either picnic or small restaurant)  Return to hotel and do dinner and/or go into town and meet with Turkish friends (group will meet us at hotel - we may just stay there and catch up!)

Saturday- February 26 Drive to Pergamon (aka Bergama)
As there are three parts to the city it will probably take the better part of the day to see.  Dinner will either be at the hotel or in Izmir. Will meet with more Turkish friends.

Sunday- February 27   Drive to Ephesus (history), Selcuk (museum) and
Maryamana (house of the virgin Mary  (yes, I know, the URL link SAYS “cappadoccia”, but it’s not)

If we have time we’ll drive to the seaside town of Kusadasi (means “bird island”) and have a bite to eat, hoping no birds are directly overhead.

Monday- February 28  HAPPY BIRTHDAY dear bro-in law!! 
This is the day we drive to Sardis. It’s a very nice archaeological site but not too big so it shouldn’t take up the whole day.

Tuesday- March 1  HAPPY 42 ANNIVERSARY T& Me ! !
Check out of hotel 8:30 ish, and drive to airport in plenty of time to return the car and check in  for return flight to Istanbul  (dep 11:20)

Arrive Istanbul (SAW) 12:20 and take private shuttle service to Sultanahmet and check in to the AyaSofia Hotel.  Ask where a good place to have dinner would be!  Then take a little sightseeing walk.  Maybe visit Hagia Sofia (open 9:00-4:30), and perhaps (around the corner) the Cistern, Yerebatan Sarayi (9:00-5:00). 

Wednesday- March 2  Topkapi  Palace (9- 7) and the Archaeological Museums. (9-7)

Thursday – March 3 Blue Mosque (9-7) cannot enter during prayer time, Sulemaniye Mosque (8-6:30), Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar (day to wear thick socks as must remove shoes)

Friday- March 4 Chora (9:30-6:30), Mosaic Museum (9:30-4:30), Old city walls
(no mosques cause it’s the Muslim prayer day))

Saturday March 5 Catch up day to see (or re-see) anything missed.  Do Turkish Bath?
Or for anything C & S particularly want to see or do.

Or anything needing a second look (also shopping)

Sunday March 6 Relax catch up and pack
(as C & S will be in a state of NON sleep for the bulk of the night.)

Monday March 7 C & S fly out of Istanbul  5:45 AM. 

Hotel will arrange free shuttle to airport.  (will include a wake up call for C &  S…) am guessing  departure from hotel around 3 AM. Gaa.

T and Me depart Istanbul  for Athens, 15:50 (obviously a more civilized hour).  

We return to Corfu 19:15.  (sigh)
and All's well that ends well!


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