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Finally, after having this break planned for so long that we kinda forgot about it – we’re off to Istanbul with the gang. Dee’s finishing her packing whilst I’m on coffee duty and pottering around and making sure various devices are fully charged so that I can cut down on the amount of kit I’m carrying. We’re only away a few nights so it’s hardly packing for Asia.

Today’s a good day to be heading off. It’s snother grey, misty day here in the Calder Valley alhough this morning’s political news has added a bright spot. The local election results that have come through in overnight counting show the Tories suffereing heavy defeats, UKIP being annihilated and the Reform party getting nowhere. It’s not looking good for the Tories in either ‘red wall’ seats or their Southern heartlands…

We’ve less than an hour before we get picked up to begin our journey to Manchester Airport to join a Turkish Airlines flight. Admittedly, I’d rather be getting there on the Orient Express, but those days are long gone and Brexit has just killed off the last lingering UK leg of that romantic train. I’ll blog through the day (time and wifi) permitting. It’s a four-hour flight and Aubrey’s arranged transport at the other end to get us straight to the hotel, so we should be having a pleasant late afternoon in Istanbul. Let’s see how it goes…


We’ve had an easy and stress-free taxi trip from Halifax to Manchester Airport, even the infamous ‘cobbled motorway’ (M62) played ball. Now it’s time to check in at terminal 2.


Here we go…

The 5 off on another adventure…

Our flight with Pegasus was rather good. An Airbus A321 Neo carried us to Istanbul. Here’s take-off from Manchester.

For much of the 3hr 40m flight it wasn’t possible to glimpse ground due to heavy clouds but every so often we got a decent break to compare different field systems in different countries. The one thing all the countries had in common was rapeseed crops. The bright yellow flowers are a bit of a give-away.

Once off the plane we breezed through customs snd immigration, which made a pleasant change. Aubrey has arranged a vehicle to take us straight to the hotel so that part was simple too. The roads were rammed but surprisingly free of hassle. No-one used their horns but the amount of people driving whilst using their phone’s was a bit of an eye-opener!

My first impressions were that arriving in Istanbul was very similar to arriving in Athens. Busy roads, lots of concrete and apartment blocks. The only difference was mosques and minarets.

We’re staying in the Wolf Hotel in the Karakoy district. The barrow streets are full of cafes, restaurants and bars – but not cars, which makes for a relaxed atmosphere and outside tables are great for people watching. There’s a fascinating mix of people, both tourists and locals. The biggest difference to the UK is the amount of smokers. Even conservatively dressed young Moslem women can be seen sitting outside cafes puffing away, something you’d rarely see in Britain.

More to follow…

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