My work sent me to Turkey last week. I traveled out on Monday and traveled back on Friday, so it was a relatively short trip. I wasn’t really there to explore or see sights, I was there to work.
However, I still wanted to write a post about my experience because I like to document my trips to new places. It’s nice to look back on. And who knows? Maybe someone reading this post will have some suggestions on other places in Turkey to visit for a holiday sometime.
I flew out of London-Stansted on Pegasus, which is a budget Turkish airline at midday Monday. It was delayed about an hour or so on the way there, which, from what I hear, is normal for Pegasus. The plane was small and cramped as all hell. As a 5’2″ woman, I can only imagine what it must be like for tall or wider people. You get nothing for free. Most airlines give you a free snack and drink, but Pegasus gives you nothing – they tried to charge me 3 euros for tiny can of Coke! Although, they do give you a free hand towel. So that’s something.
Anyway, I flew into Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen airport, which seemed nice enough. Getting through passport control was really easy. I had a Visa printed out, but they didn’t even look at it while they gave me my stamp. I did have to wait at baggage claim for a good 30 minutes before getting my bags. I don’t know if that was Pegasus or the airport’s fault but it was pretty annoying as everything else went fast. Luckily, my taxi driver had a sign with my name on it when I walked through customs so I didn’t have to figure out where to go from there as I just followed him. It was about 8:30pm and it was dark so I couldn’t really see any bits of Turkey on my 45 minute journey to the hotel.
Tuesday through Thursday I got up at 6:30am to get ready, ate a sad breakfast of kiwi and a roll, and boarded the shuttle bus at 7:15am that took me to work. So I was at work from 8am to 6pm where I get back on the same shuttle bus to the hotel, usually arriving around 6:45pm. And by that time, I was starved and ready for dinner. There was an Irish pub at the hotel so I would go there to try and find something to eat. As soon as I’d finish eating, I’d go back up to my room, have a shower, and get in bed ready to talk to my boyfriend for a bit. I’d watch some Netflix and then fall asleep. Life was pretty boring.
The most cultural part of my trip was that I finally was able to try Turkish coffee. I have seen lots of pictures, and as my best friend is Turkish, have heard a lot about it so I did want to try it. It comes in a small cup, like an espresso cup and it has a rather thick consistency to it than regular coffee does. It’s very bitter and has a strong taste, but the first time I tried it, I liked it quite a bit. And then I tried it again the next day and had to choke it down. So I think I may have just been a little overexcited. I don’t think I’ll ever elect to have it again, but I’m glad I tried something new!
Friday, I had to get up at 6am to get ready and pack my bags, and then was picked up at 7am by the taxi and was back off to the airport. Interestingly, when you enter the airport in Turkey, you have to put everything through an initial security scan then you can go check-in. And the check-in line was horrendous, I had to stand there for 30 minutes. Which now, I realise, doesn’t sound like a long time, but it felt like forever. After check in you go through passport control and then security, and that was another 30ish minutes.
It’s a really good thing I got there two hours ahead of my boarding time because after I got through security, I went to get some quick breakfast, picked up food for lunch, picked up some baklava for D, and then went to my gate. I only sat at my gate for about 15 minutes before getting in line for the bus that takes us to board the planes. It was a massively busy airport, I couldn’t believe all the people.
I may sound like a old bitter person, but it feels like you really have to go through a lot of steps these days to travel anywhere. Although, it may just be Turkey, or the Middle East? I’m only used to the States and London airports. Maybe someone could shed some light on that for me?
Anyway, it was a boring work trip. And I would like to go back sometime to explore Istanbul, Izmir, and the coast. I’ve seen so many pictures of beautiful white sand beaches so I know Turkey has a lot more to offer than the industrial dark bit that I saw. But it was an experience and at least I can add another country to my list.