Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

I’ve always wanted to visit Russia, Prague and Istanbul (among other places). Last year I crossed the first two off my list. Today I can cross off the third (though I’m only at the airport and won’t get a chance to venture outside).

On the approach to Istanbul, I was able to peer out the window as Europe gave way to Asia, noting the Mediterranean to starboard and the Black Sea to port. I could see the Bosphorus dividing East from West. It was very cool. As we descended, I could make out the many minarets and began to get a sense of the topography of this amazing piece of real estate. Sadly, that’s all I’ll get to see of it on this trip.

Meanwhile, I wait for my connecting flight to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, at the Turkish Airlines lounge, which is quite possibly the most awesome place I’ve even been. Walking in, I’m confronted with a library and a beautiful billiards table. There are three or four restaurant stations with free food, wine, spirits and other assorted beverages. There’s a theater playing some kind of Turkish VH1, and a kids play area with two Sony Playstation stations.

And for those wondering, the bathrooms didn’t disappoint either. Opulently decked out in marble, I could have spent the entire layover in the bathroom. However, one feature was a bit, well, disturbing: The stalls sported floor-to-ceiling mirrors on either side of the commode. Need I say more?

Now off to snag a Turkish coffee, some grilled lamb and maybe a slice of pound cake.

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