Güle güle Turkiye, buona sera Venezia.

In the footsteps of Paul
All aboard!

It’s been a hectic couple of days, most of which was spent in transit of one sort or another. This is the first minute I’ve had spare to write, so I’ll try to catch you up with two posts at once.

The day finally arrived to leave Turkey. Given the political situation, it was probably good to go, even though it had not impacted on us at all, and I certainly wasn’t sorry to hand back the rental car – I loved the freedom of having our own car, but not the roads, the drivers, or the strain of driving on the wrong side of the road! But we loved Turkey, and I am looking forward to coming back one day with Keith, sharing the places we visited on this trip, and exploring more of this fascinating country.

Our task for the morning was to drive from Kusadasi to nearby Izmir (around 80km), return the hire car at the airport, fly from Izmir to Istanbul, and from Istanbul to Venice. Simple, right? With so many unknowns – will we get lost driving to Izmir? How much paperwork will be needed when returning the car? How far is the Avis drop off from the airport terminal? – we allowed plenty of time for contingencies. Well, we drove straight to the airport, dropped off the car with a single signature, and crossed the road to the terminal. We were so early that when we went to check in they offered us an earlier flight, which meant that we arrived in Istanbul over 4 hours before our connecting flight. Our luggage had been booked directly to Venice, so we had nothing to do at all. We walked all over the airport trying to find the Emirates Lounge (since there’s no Qantas lounge there), in the hope that they would let us in (they wouldn’t). But we did manage to find a cafe with comfy lounge chairs and free wifi, so we filled in the time reasonably fruitfully.

The flight was pretty good, as flights go. I finally got to have some Turkish Delight, as the flight attendant offered us a piece just before take-off! I had a pretty good view of both Istanbul and Venice, but unfortunately it was quite hazy, so the photos are very ordinary.

From Venice’s Marco Polo airport there’s a surprisingly long walk to the water bus stop (wheeling our big bags) and then a boat (vaporetto) trip of around an hour and another walk over cobblestones to our hotel. Phew – we finally made it, some 12 hours after leaving the lovely Pine Bay! We were probably tired enough to just go to bed, but we were in Venice! We strolled the short distance to Piazza San Marco, enjoying window shopping, taking in the sights, and just soaking up the atmosphere. The shop windows in Venice are one of the highlights – if I wasn’t limited by funds and luggage space I could shop till I dropped in this city.

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