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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul
February 20th 2017
Published: June 25th 2017
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Geo: 41.0245, 28.9881

Once again rising before 6am, I showered and snuck out of Jason's place (with freshly cleaned laundry) and walked 20 minutes to the underground station. I rode a 45 minute train out to the airport. As usual, no issues with security and my business class ticket let me skip all of the lines.
I slept through most of the flight to Istanbul. Upon nearing the airport, the pilot told us we had to circle for a while because of some runway emergency issue. This was unwelcome news since this was my shortest stop and every minute mattered. Luckily on landing, my business class ticket let me breeze through all of the customs and immigration issues quickly. After a brief attempt at using the metro system, I reverted to my original plan of taking a taxi.
The ride was very smooth with little traffic until we were very close to the Grand Bazaar. Eventually I just paid the driver and bailed out to walk the rest of the way. I walked up a hill, past several mosques, and through a rudimentary security checkpoint into the grand bazaar. Walking east through the bazaar I eventually came to the exit near where my friend Atahan's jewelry outlet is located.
We met and immediately went to have dinner at a local restaurant where the shopkeepers eat and talked about family and such. He found out this month that his wife is pregnant with their first child. After food we went back to his shop and picked out a gold bracelet for my wife. Then we walked around the Grand Bazaar and down the nearby streets for some historic insight. We stopped at what I would describe as a Hookah Lounge for some tea. Unfortunately I had little time and had to return to the airport after only about two hours.
The return taxi driver tried to rip me off with every trick in the book, including swapping a 50 lira note with a 5. Being in a hurry a paid him enough to get away and went through the multiple layers of airport security.

The Turkish Airlines Lounge was quite massive and included a few tacky things like a digital golf driving range and matchbox car racing. The food was plentiful and decent. Unfortunately I only had about 20 minutes time so I couldn't sit down and enjoy for long.

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