In Istanbul (Eventually)

View of Hagia Sophia from our hotel room window

View of Hagia Sophia from our window

Well, we made it to Istanbul. It was bit crazy getting everything squared away. We had horrendus weather on the Saturday before we left, to the point where Mary Lou’s flight into Newark was canceled. The best she could do was to fly up Sunday, arriving around 12:40. This was fine as we weren’t supposed to leave until 5:30.

When we got up Sunday morning, I took a quick check downstairs in the basement and found that we had some water again. The sump was working, so it wasn’t alot and basically only boxes got wet. However, it really wasn’t something we really wanted to deal with. To add to our problems, Suzanne’s work was flooded in the rain. NOAA had been predicting the Raritan River to crest at 27 ft, which would mean their plant would be fine. Instead it crested at 36 ft, meaning there was several feet of water in some of the building. She thinks her office is likely okay, but doesn’t know the extent of the damage as her nobody had been allowed into the plant before we boarded the plane.

On Sunday morning, we get a call from Mary Lou that they’re going to have to fly around some major storms in our area and would be an hour late. Not a huge deal as we still had time. In the end, she was only a few minutes late as they were cleared to fly their normal flight path. After picking her up and lunch at Jersey Gardens Mall (right near the airport), we headed out to JFK. Checking was smooth. However, our flight was delayed in boarding by 30 mins and then we sat on the ground to 90, eventually taking off 2 hours late. Unfortunately, we didn’t make up any time en route and arrived that late. Let me tell you, when the flight is already just over 9 hours, sitting on the tarmac for an extra 1 and a half isn’t so much fun. I did however end up watching three movies and getting a bit of sleep.

Our arrival in Istanbul was uneventful. The passport control line was quite slow. We had prearranged for a car to pick us up, which worked well. We had to wait a few minutes for a room at the hotel, but it was likely worth it as we have a view of Hagia Sofia. (The room itself isn’t huge, but is fine size by European standards and not the smallest one we ever had.)

After unpacking a bit, we headed out to visit Topkapi Palace, where the Ottoman Sultans reigned until the 1830s. It was very nice. The weather is decent, sunny, but a touch cool. We then walked around some of the main shopping streets of Sultanahmet (the old city), stopping by a grocery store for a few things before heading back to hotel for a break.

Tomorrow’s plans include Hagia Sofia, the Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar. I’ll try and do another update tomorrow night, but we do have 8:00 dinner reservations.

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