Journal of Two Independent Travelers: Turkey May, 2012
In the beginning….. there was research and planning…..
We argued. Mike wanted to see Turkey and I wanted to revisit Spain and France. Three different travel guides discussed the attitude of the male Turk toward the female which add up to one phrase: control and aversion. I was not desirous of spending three weeks in such a culture. Additionally one book stated that many young men were encouraged with the attitude that foreign, fair haired, blue eyed women (of any age) are fair game. Not appealing. Finally my husband asked what it would take to get me to Turkey. Three days in Paris I answered. “Done” he said. (I should have said a week!)
The planning had taken time and effort. We needed reservations in Paris for three days; the first night in Turkey plus the last three nights in Istanbul and a rental car. All the specific hotels stays I arranged via the computer, and they were good. Mike perused maps of Turkey until he devised an excellent plan. Next was a calendar of the trip. He built in 3 extra days of the three weeks so we could expand some stays if we chose. For two 70 year olds, it took a bit of time.
For years I accumulated miles with Delta. Six months before, I established multiple possible dates for departure and return and got my choices for the international flights. The upgrade to business/ first class with high end coach fares, backed up with 50,000 miles each, made departure and return very comfortable. Delta’s “elite” status offers pampering from start to finish. You leave and return content, refreshed, hungover and old bones uncramped.
After leaving our dogs at the kennel, the two Independent Travelers set off. We left San Luis Obispo driving leisurely up the Coast. Gonzales was our lunch destination at the Wind Mill- a lovely old bank converted into a restaurant with wine cellar in the original vault.
Driving CA 1 up the coast, we stopped for coffee and wine at Half Moon Bay. One hour later we arrived at our favorite San Francisco B.W. El Rancho Inn. After a walk around the grounds, we headed to dinner in the bar at 7 PM. It was noisy with ANXIOUS TRAVELLERS yet-to-go and those who had just returned. Fun.
Out on the patio for coffee and a cigarette after dinner. We woke-up at 3 AM for the 4 AM airport shuttle with departure at 6 AM.
Our elite status ensures a smooth check in at San Francisco Airport. Then to the Delta Executive lounge at 4:40 and a sign on the door said “Open at 5”. We waited. I was the first person at the bar for a glass of stabilizing wine. Then boarding security. It was crowded and slow moving. Suddenly a first class line opened and we slipped right through.