Day 23: Thessaloniki To Istanbul By Road
We both got up early, pretty excited and charged up and left for the airport to catch flight to Thessaloniki. Flight was on time and in around 2 hours we were back with our beloved Dhanno. I want to take a moment here to appreciate the hospitality of Hotel Royal, every single moment we were there they went out of their way to make us feel comfortable. Even after we checked out of the Hotel, they kept Dhanno in their parking lot while we were gone and even offered us breakfast once we were back.
We had breakfast and left immediatky as it was going to be a long day on the road before we could enterg Turkey. Aarti had created an extensive 5 day itinerary for Turkey and we were going to explore places like:
- Istanbul, İstanbul, Turkey
- Troia, Tevfikiye Köyü/Çanakkale Merkez/Çanakkale, Turkey
- Ephesus, Efes Ören Yeri, Selçuk/İzmir, Turkey
- Kuşadası/Aydın Province, Turkey
- Pamukkale, Kale Mahallesi, Pamukkale Belediyesi/Denizli Merkez/Denizli, Turkey
- Göreme, Turkey
- Konya, Turkey
- Cappadocia, Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
- Trabzon, Turkey
And from Trabzon, we were supposed to catch a ferry for Sochi. We still had to buy the tickets to Sochi and our rest of the trip was very much dependent on this ferry. This services came into being during Sochi Olympics, later it was reduced to once in 2 weeks and was driven mostly by the will of the captain. we googled a lot but there was no clear information available or any portal from where we could book the tickets. Aarti however did find a contact but there was no clarity on when the ferry was scheduled.
It was a bright and sunny day, and in about 4 hours we were at the Turkey border. Turkey is pretty strict about what you are bringing inside the country, and as a result we had to empty the car completely, drive car into a big enough X-Ray machine.
Once all was good and we had purchased the insurance, had a quick lunch and were back on the road. Another 4 hours and we entered the hustle-bustle of Istanbul.
Aarti had booked us at amazing Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah, Istanbul. While we were sipping our welcome drink and trying to digest the grandeur of the palace, people at the reception completed all the formalities and we were on the way to our room. We quickly freshened up and left to check out the market. It was indeed crowded and markets were brightly lit. Each and every shop was decorated to kill, and all that decoration did get our hunger triggered. Turkey is the land of famous Turkish Delight, so we bought our quote and then started hunting for a nice restaurant.
It was quite a similar scene, restaurant employees were on the street distributing brochures with offers to lure customers in. We selected one restaurant and settled down. Food was really good and the kebabs i had were one of the best i ever tasted. Funny thing was, that we were served white butter. This was the white butter that we get back in India by churning curd, it is usually homemade. It came as a surprise because we dint knew if it was a delicacy anywhere else as well!
We thoroughly enjoyed the dinner and the walk back to the hotel. It was time to give some rest to our tired muscles, and there was nothing more welcoming then the palace bed.