Travel Journal  

Travel Journal

Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.

Thursday, November 02, 2000 05:53:53

Istanbul to Bombay by ship 2000: 1

This email is being sent to all of your at once, as the satellite email system on board costs $45 per hour (yes, that was per hour, not per month) measured by the part minute. Fortunately, I brought along my computer and can put this on disk then just send it off to everyone when I am on line and the meter is running.

As seems to be my style this year, we started off with some basic airline problems. The flight on Continental from Costa Rica to Houston was smooth, on time, and with good seats. When we went to check in with Lufthansa we found they would not be leaving at 4:00 PM, but rather at 9:30 PM, which would ensure that we missed out connection to Istanbul.

The Lufthansa people, once they finally showed up, got us on standby with Air France via Paris. Standby, because airline regulations forbid allowing passengers being allowed on board if there are no meals for them! We said ?forget the meals, just get us there?, but no way - no meals, no go. Having a couple of hours to kill, we took a car to a shopping mall and had lunch. When we got back to the airport, Air France had us confirmed with good seats and away we went to Istanbul via Paris. Everything was smooth, and we arrived almost three hours before originally scheduled, except out baggage didn?t go with us.

At Istanbul we met up with two friends, Paul Jensen who we met on a riverboat on the Irrawadi River in Burma, and Tim Carlson who we met on the Lost Islands cruise down the middle of the Atlantic. It was with Tim that I did the trip through West Africa last fall, as well. They had both wanted to take this trip, but neither had someone to share with, so I put them together. Tim?s baggage did not arrive either, so we jointly did our baggage claiming.

The cruise line had busses to pick everyone up at the airport - everyone, that is, except Marilynn and I - we weren?t on the list to go. We could go with them, however it would cost $15 each, while the cab fare would be $10 for both of us - we took the cab. This was the second black mark against Orient lines - the first was their absolutely hopeless sales department.

We spent a couple of days in Istanbul, one largely wasted on a nothing tour, and the other with a boat trip up the Bosphorus. We had both been to Istanbul before, so the most enjoyment was walking around the small neighbourhoods. We had both been over most of the tourist attractions before, in years when there was a lot less tourists swarming over them. We were woken up at 12:30 AM at the hotel the first night to tell us our luggage had arrived. After the Bosphorus tour we were dropped at the ship.

Our cabin was really a pleasant surprise - lots of room, more closet and drawer space than we could possibly use and very comfortable twin beds. The bathroom is big, with a full shower, and there is a desk and a table with three easy chairs, making the room practical for entertaining. You could put two of the Explorer cabins that we are used to in one of these!

The rest of the ship is newly renovated, with everything in top shape. The only thing that is small is the swimming pool. So far the food has been superb, with great choices. There are three restaurants to choose from, as well as a half dozen bars and the main show lounge. Entertainment is great, with two really good dance bands so it looks like survival over the next month won?t be too onerous.

We were in Kusadasi yesterday for the day. What a change in the place since I spent four nights here five years ago! (This is where I backed the Rolls into a stone wall at the hotel and pushed the back bumper in so the trunk wouldn?t open. A local body shop guy who I am still in contact with from time to time sorted it out.) The city is at least ten times larger, with massive new high rise hotels and apartments. I liked it a lot better before! Marilynn, Tim and Jens went with the bus tour to Ephesus, the ancient Roman city, while I wandered around town purchasing some essentials such as mix and a steam iron to avoid the outrageous pressing charges on board. Irons are forbidden on board, but I have decided to make an exception in our case.

From the description, Ephesus has also change hugely in the past five years - it was pretty much in natural state when I was there - one simply wandered around. Now it is very organized, and there is a lot of restoration work under way.

Tomorrow we have a daylight passage through the Suez Canal, which we are looking forward to. The day after that we visit Cairo and Giza to visit the pyramids. I?ll keep you posted as to further progress!

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Last updated: 2011-Jan-04 07:44:32