It was a long journey here to Istanbul. I inadvertently booked an early morning flight on the day that we spring forward here in Europe. Luckily I woke up just fine and we were on the road in time to make it to the airport in time. The roads were deserted as it is a Sunday morning after all. We got to the airport and I checked my bag and collected my boarding passes. We had just enough time for a coffee and a last chat before saying our goodbyes. I passed through security and waited outside the gate for my flight. It is with a great sense of disbelief that soon as I looked on the monitor I realized that the flight was cancelled!
I can’t say that there wasn’t any panic as I realized that I would be missing my flight in Warsaw to Istanbul. We were instructed to board the shuttle bus to collect our checked baggage and report to the airline office to reschedule our flights. I had a dreadful thought of this trip being delayed by a day. There were some unhappy people and I resigned myself to follow the process through to at least find out what I’m in for.
We collected our baggage and left on another shuttle back to the first terminal. The airport in Kraków is under construction. It is undergoing an extensive renovation and expansion. Soon there will be a rail link with the city as well as many more gates which will access the planes directly instead of the current shuttle bus service between the plane and the terminal. We were driven to the second temporary terminal and we exited the through the gates into the shuttle bus outside.
There were quite a few of us and we all efficiently filled the shuttle to be driven the few blocks to the first terminal. We rushed in to look for the airlines office. The terminal was quite busy.
I initially walked past the office but quickly realized where it is as this terminal is not that big. I stood in line for maybe 30 minutes. My nine a.m. flight turned into a twelve o’clock flight as the lady processed my itinerary to reflect where I needed to go. I was ready to check in for the 1205 flight to Warsaw before the window was ready to check in again. That’s just before 10 a.m. !!! I ended up having another coffee and admiring the construction in the now shining sun.
The flight to Warsaw was 40 minutes and I left the checked in area for some fresh air. In retrospect it wasn’t a wise move. There was a long queue to get through the security check in. I did like the airport though. It is nice and modern. There is even a small relaxation lounge!
I had to get a bottle of JD in the duty free as alcohol is expensive. It was going towards my stay in Istanbul at a friend of a friend’s place. A good recommendation goes a long way in life. Boarding the flight to Istanbul kept getting delayed but once it began we were ready to go quite quickly. We made it to Istanbul on time.
I got a window seat with a spare one I between the other guy in my row. It’s nice when that happens. Once we landed it took a while to disembark from the plane. We had to wait for the stairs to arrive so that we could get shuttled to the terminal. A visa is required to get into Turkey. There was another crazy queue to wait in. The security guy was quite thurough in his examination of my documents. He even asked for my drivers liscence. I got through and found the carousel with the luggage from our flight. I got outside and realized that in order to get back in to exchange some money and get directions I would have to be screened again. When I found the Starbucks in the airport I was happy. I could update my status to let everyone know I landed safely. However, the wifi is for departing passengers only!? You get a code after presenting a boarding pass. The Starbucks had a really good selection of sandwiches though. The western ones could learn something from this. I had to catch a bus to Taksim. This is the square that so many want preserved from commercial development. Burcu and I found each other and we walked to her place as its not “that” far. It is a bustling place.
I’ll explore more of it later. We chatted for a while. Burcu works in the travel industry and we also talked about life and our individual approaches to it in our phases of life. She has a great view from her balcony and after she went to bed I experimented with acquiring a good photo of this view and of one landmark in particular.
I need rest for tomorrow…