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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 13
Greece, Turkey and Spain


At the Parthenon  
Day 18

Enjoyed another delicious and filling breakfast at the hotel, then hopped on the nearby tram, hopped off three stops later at the Grand Bazaar for one more round of world-class shopping. The ancient souk was just waking up when we arrived.


Shopped for an hour, then slowly wandered back to the hotel, passing the Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cistern and Hagia Sofia along the way. The day is bright and cool and the six minarets of the Blue Mosque gleamed golden in the mid-morning sun.


Sat at Faro, an outdoor café, and sipped Turkish coffee in the shade, then walked the area around the hotel one last time to savor the flavors of this magnificent and majestic city that joins Europe and Asia.

Turkish coffee at Faro

As we checked out of the hotel, our amicable “room attendant” presented us with a large box of Turkish Delight.

Turkish Delight

The Sirkeci Konak Hotel cannot be surpassed for service, location and all around attention to the guest. We cannot express our gratitude regarding Ramazan highly enough. We will surely miss Ramazan and this excellent hotel, and it is very easy to see why Sirkeci Konak continually tops the Trip Advisor list of Istanbul hotels.

Saying farewell
Ramazan, Carol and David

Our taxi ride along the Sea of Marmara to Ataturk Airport was pleasant. Hundreds of ships of all sizes plowed the sea lanes that glimmer in the afternoon sun.


We arrived at Ataturk Airport to find that our 3:55pm flight to Athens has been cancelled, as have ALL flights into Greece, due to yet another national strike by the Greek transportation workers. The strike apparently started at noon and will last twelve-hours, until midnight. No ships, planes, buses, trains or taxis will move into or out of Greece until the stroke of midnight. The political turmoil in Greece does not bode well for travelers. This is our third Greek flight to have been cancelled.

Waiting for the Greek transportation strike to end at midnight

After some stress, we managed to book ourselves on a midnight Turkish Air flight into Athens. So here we sit, in Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport at 2 pm, and we wonder if we’ll ever see our bags again. Oh well, life is an adventure and when you travel you have to go with the flow.


We spent a couple of hours doing laps around Ataturk airport and then decided to spend the Euros it costs to sit in the comfortable first-class lounge until our midnight flight into Athens. Very comfortable, quiet, good food, quiet and wireless access at the lounge.

Lounge at the Istanbul airport

Greece, unfortunately, is a mess at the present time. In our opinion, they are handling their frustration with the current financial and political problems totally wrong. Tourism is one revenue stream that works in Greece, and when they call a 12- or 24-hour nationwide strike that shuts down airports, trains, buses, museums, etc., it makes folks want to avoid Greece as a travel destination.


Our midnight flight to Athens was delayed, but by 2 am we had landed, cleared customs, collected our bags and checked into the Athens airport Sofitel Hotel.

Sofitel at Athens airport

A somewhat grueling fourteen hours but we are still thrilled to be here.


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 copyright 1998 / david and carol lehrman / all rights reserved
email david@davidandcarol.com