A few weeks ago me and a very close friend of mine decided to make a trip somewhere. We ended up booking a trip to Istanbul, Turkey where we would stay for five days. November is not a very good month to travel to Turkey in terms of sunshine but the positive thing is that places are less crowded at this time of year.
Our trip started on Thursday morning, the 17th of November. Just a few hours earlier, the Swiss football team qualified for the next world championship. Before, during and after the crucial game against Turkey in Istanbul, a few unfair things happened and honestly we feared to be treated pretty bad. Anyway, we decided to to this trip since we were looking forward to it.
Since both of us live in suburbs of Basle, we decided to take the SBB regional train connecting our suburbs with Basle's main station where we would get a connecting bus to Basle's airport. Unfortunately, the train was late and we missed our bus connection in Basle, therefore we needed to take a taxi out to the airport.
LH3821 operated by Augsburg Airways
Photo © André Oferta
Unfortunately Andrea, my friend, broke his foot just two days before our trip and so she needed to walk with sprags. So checurity checks were a pain because the staff was not helpful at all. We then proceeded to our gate and ordered two mineral waters at the bar. 10.50 CHF for twi waters is a rip off and I will refuse to buy there again until the new shops and more competition arrive at the airport.
Our flight was the second to Munich this day and boarding began soon. The flight had approximately a 75% load factor. Apart from us, almost everyone were business travellers in suits. This is the result of Lufthansa's monopoly prices they charge out of BSL and due to some good contracts with the local multinational companies. But at least they make money on that route.
Taxied out to runway 26, the short runway in BSL, and took off immediately. The weather was not good at all so there was nothing to see at all. The crew was very friendly and also very helpful. On the short flight they offered a snack which consisted out of Milka chocolate bars and drinks. Landing was very smooth and Andrea commented the landing as followed: "The pilot definitely did not fly for the first time" . Said goodbye to the nice crew and went into the terminal. Due to Andrea's injury, we got asked several times if we need something (i.e. a shuttle) but it was ok. I found that very nice from Lufthansa. After a short coffee break boarding began for our Istanbul flight.
Munich-Istanbul Yesilköy Atatürk
Photo © José Jorge
Again, very friendly staff on this flight. They were very helpful. Load factor was around 80%. Bimpy take off with a good view on Munich's new football stadium. We then had an excellent view on Lake Balaton and at the same time, meals were served. To my surprise they offered a warm meal on this flight. It was very good for airline food, mainly spicy potatoes, bread with butter and a yoghurt. Drinks were served several times. The flight itself was uneventful and I was reading the very informative Lufthansa board magazine. They had some nice articles about the Airbus A-340, the airline industry in general and about interesting things such as how tickets get produced etc. We approached over some huge Istanbul suburbs with a smooth landing.
To our surprise, immigration was without problems and we had absolutely no trouble to get into our hotel. The drive just unloaded the wrong suitcase so I ended up with a suitcase from a Norwegian person. But after a few hours my suitcase was back in the hotel and everything was ok.
We stayed in the Sultanahmet quarter of the city, near the blue mosque and close to Aya Sofya.
We began to learn that the Turkish people are great hosts and in general very friendly people. Food is excellent too. And they serve big portions.
Some city pics:
The grand bazar:
On Saturday I received an SMS from a.net user OYRJA who asked if we would be okay since there was a bombing in a Istanbul suburb with dead and injured people. Thanks for that man, it was highly appreciated.
On Sunday we decided to make a cruise on the Bosphorus (which links the Marmara sea with the Black sea) despite the bad weather.
One of the Bosphorus bridges:
View towards the Black sea:
Yesterday, on Monday, we went to the Bazar again and bought lots of stuff! It's a lot of fun to bargain with the locals. After bargaining you get the feeling to have done a really good deal despite it's still a rip off. I ended up buying a box of Turkish coffee for 15YTL (bargained it down from over 20) just to realise later that you can get the same thing at the airport for 5YTL
We then had lunch and dessert and headed for the airport after that. The taxi driver was an insane driver! For a moment I thought I would be in Monaco
Istanbul Yesilköy Atatürk- Frankfurt Rhein/Main
Photo © José Jorge
After a rather unfriendly security check at Atatürk (everyone needs to go through security when entering the airport) we checked in and got treated very friendly by Lufthansa. When they saw us we did not have to wait in line for the second security check at the gate and then even got priotity boarding.
It was already dark and we took off with about a 90% load. Routing was Istanbul-Lake Balaton-Vienna-Linz-Regensburg-Nürnberg-Frankfurt with an ontime arrival. Again, a warm meal was served. Bread with butter, pasta with tomato sauce and a muffin plus several drinks.
After another security check at Frankfurt we proceeded to our gate to Basle where boarding has already started.
Frankfurt Rhein/Main-Basel/Mulhouse EuroAirport
Photo © Johannes Ossenberg
The flight had approximately an 80% load. Many Asiatic people and a full business class (36 pax). Taxied to runway 18 where the captain announced an expected takeoff clearance in 40 minutes. After a few seconds he talked again to correct himself: " I mean 40 seconds of course, oh that's now" and off we were!
Landing into Basle was spectacular since there was thick fog. I saw a lot of vortex and all of a sudden we came out of the fog. We were damn low and approx. five seconds later we touched down.
What an excellent trip on Lufthansa!
Comments and answers are much appreciated!