Istanbul was fabulous, even though I only had enough time to explore the neighborhood where my hotel was located. I awoke, well rested, and went downstairs for my free breakfast. Now, I’m not normally a breakfast person, but the breakfast buffet at the Gunes Hotel was excellent: pastries, breads, eggs cooked every which way, fruits, veggies, and a huge selection of cheeses. I consumed an enormous amount, especially for me. Which turned out to be a good thing, as I didn’t get another meal until over 24 hours later. Thank goodness I had packed triscuits and peanut butter cups!
After breakfast, I called Turkish Airlines, and received some very good news. My backpack had been located – still in Chicago – and they promised to have it delivered to The London School in Bishkek by Friday. Fingers crossed that it shows up!
I packed my things and checked out of my hotel room... and still had three hours before the bus would arrive to take me to the airport. I left my bags with the concierge and set out to do some exploring. I wish I’d known I was going to have free time in Istanbul; I would’ve come prepared with a list of things to see and do. Instead, without any maps or knowledge of the city, I simply started walking. It turned out that my hotel was located in a residential/shopping area, and not within walking distance of anything historic and/or touristy. Nonetheless, it was an excellent walk. The weather was the perfect temperature for wandering about in just a sweater and scarf, the sky was a brilliant blue and the sun was gleaming. I felt perfectly safe, and everyone I encountered was quite friendly. I *definitely* want to come back to Istanbul at some point in the future. Below are some random photographs from Istanbul, mainly of mosques. Never having seen a mosque in real life before, I felt the need to photograph the ones I found.
Istanbul from an overpass near my hotel
At 2:00pm, the shuttle bus came and took me to the airport. In contrast to the previous day’s shenanigans, checking in was simple. Even though I had time to snag something to eat in the airport, I was not yet hungry after my enormous breakfast, so I simply loaded up on water. I assumed that on a five hour flight, we would have some sort of food service. But alas, no. Whoops. Other than lack of food, the flight was pretty nice. It wasn’t crowded at all, and I had enough space to stretch out across three seats and sleep comfortably. We arrived in Bishkek an hour early, although someone from the school was there to meet me. He drove me to my apartment and dropped me off.
My apartment is HUGE. Rather barren, but huge. Here are some pictures:
This is the first thing you see when you walk in the door.
The first door to the left leads to the bedroom
To the left of the bathroom is the living room / kitchen.
Another view of the living room / kitchen
The view from my window.
I also have CATS. Three cats, to be exact. I’ll have photos of them and the school and stuff later. Right now, I think I need to go take a nap.