It's never good when you arrive at your departure airport to an hour and forty delay right out of the box. Immediately this threw off our trip as we had a connecting flight in Istanbul that we would for sure miss. Luckily we could re-schedule from the onset but it meant not leaving Istanbul until well after we were originally scheduled to arrive in Tel Aviv. Such is life. I like Turkey and the Istanbul airport is nice.
The 12 hour flight was one of the very best long haul flights I've been on. Turkish airlines gets major thumbs up and I'm actually not dreading the flight home! Doug and I lucked out as the middle seat in our row of three was empty. I tell ya, every time you are traveling as a pair, book the window and the aisle. No one chooses the middle so if there are extra seats, you get the room! If it gets filled, the one in the middle is always happy to switch with someone. NO ONE LIKES SITTING IN THE MIDDLE SEAT! For Economy class, Turkish Airlines treats you right. Everyone gets a little travel comfort pack with a toothbrush, eye shades, and ear plugs. The service is really nice. They even hand out a menu card before the meal service. And you get to eat with real silverware! Oh, how I'd love to get bumped up on Turkish Air! I bet their business class service is amazing! But they had a lovely drinks service where they served wine, drinks, beer, and fresh juices. I enjoyed cherry juice and some homemade lemonade with mint. Delicious. Inspired me to make that next winter when my lemons are ripe! The cuisine reflected the Turkish kitchen and it was actually pretty good! I watched Jersey Boys, the movie, and konked out until the next service, a nice breakfast platter.
Our flight from Istanbul to Tel Aviv was also delayed, but for an hour on the tarmac. Nothing like sitting on a fully loaded plane in the very back row and just sitting there. We finally took off and it was an uneventful, 2 hour flight. In those 2 hours, Turkish air served drinks and a lovely salad platter that was just delicious. We landed in Tel Aviv around 12.30 a.m. Passport control took 45 minutes. Getting the rental car took another half hour. Driving into Tel Aviv took about a half hour. Finding the hotel took about a half hour! Poor signage combined with utter uncertainty about what we were looking for made for a long night. We had to park the car about a block away. The hotel clerk was very nice. Across the street from the hotel was an all night convenience store. We bought some water and a bottle of beer. The clerk was super nice. He said that he isn't allowed to serve alcohol in bottles in the middle of the night but he would gladly pour the bottle into two glasses and then we could take it away. Just a very nice gesture.
So we are finally in our hotel bed, noshing on potato chips and corn nuts, sipping a not bad Weiss bier! We've asked for a late check-out. They could make no promises. Breakfast goes until 10.00 and the desk clerk said we could show up at 9.45. I hope we can get a few winks before the day continues.
Hard to believe that tomorrow night we'll be on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.