On Friday, 3 August we left Europe behind and flew into Turkey. This was a section of the trip that we had really been looking forward to. As a secular Muslim country with a moderate Islamist party leading the government, there seemed to be many connections with our adopted country of Morocco. We were to find that our initial observation was both right and wrong. In addition to exploring this huge country we took the opportunity to link up with some more friends who are living in Istanbul.
Since we had such an early morning in Basel and long flight and ride, we had a low key evening catching up with friends, which included a walk to the local grocery store and Mothercare, a British based company that we regularly make pilgrimages to in Morocco. It was a good thing that we got our rest in on Friday, because Saturday was the full tourist experience!
Guidebooks – We used Lonely Planet Turkey for this portion of our trip and were very happy with it. It was useful both during the planning phase before the trip and while in the country traveling. We didn’t have any guidebook specifically for Istanbul and never found the need for one with Lonely Planet Turkey.
Pegasus – We flew with Pegasus Airlines from Basel to Istanbul. Unlike Ryanair I would recommend Pegasus Airline; and would use it again myself. Like all airlines you need to read the details for what is included and not included with your ticket every time. Also, pay close attention to the baggage details. European standards are different then American standards. And unlike every American flight I’ve ever been on, the size of your carry on matters; you may be asked to weight your suitcase and show it’s the right size. You will also want to pay for your baggage ahead of time as part of your reservation to save money. – Pegasus was low cost, convenient, safe, easy and friendly to fly; but mostly it was a good value and good experience.
Mothercare – I referenced Mothercare above; this is not a tourist store but for anyone traveling with babies you are going to want to know about it. Mothercare has baby clothes, baby supplies, and baby gear. Baby supplies were harder to find than I would have thought, and pharmacies were where we found most of our needs, (pacifiers, ‘sippy’ cup, baby silverware, and more). Mothercare was not only our favorite but one of the only full service baby stores around. It was our go-to in Morocco for baby supplies and some of our favorite items came from there.