We usually have breakfast by the pool but decided to eat in the buffet area today on our last day. I searched for the two girls who normally serve us our juice and coffee and find them both there. They have been lovely. Both teasing and helpful. One is from Ukraine and I can’t remember how to spell or even begin to pronounce her name I’m embarrassed to say. I should have written it down. She asks me this morning how long it takes to get to NZ if she was to fly. Two days I tell her and Noelle from Brazil who has called Gilbert, Mr James Bond all week, tells me she’s coming sometime too. Gilbert’s second name is James and when people see Gilbert James Joe they seem to think there’s been a mistake and he either gets called James or Joe. I write out my email address and tell both girls to email me and they can stay with us when they get to NZ for a few days. They giggle and say they will share the address I have written out. “Just you two!” I say. “Don’t share with everyone”. Jeepers! They laugh and agree. One of the guys who has also been lovely looks over Noelle’s shoulder and says “what about us three?” “Ok”, I say. “But just you three. No one else.”
This is the hazy early morning light as we berthed at Istanbul 7am. The smog seems pretty bad here but there’s dozens of big container ships waiting to load or unload so I guess that doesn’t help. Pretty disgusting tho…
Took a quick look around before we left left the ship this morning and it’s good timing. Ten days of that was enough for me though I knew today was going to be a bit of a challenge getting to our BnB in Rome after the lazy luxury of what we have just had.
We caught a taxi to Galata Tower which is an historic part of town and wandered a bit for our last look before a taxi to the airport. This time we remember to use Kieran’s velocity card but no luck with no one knowing what we are looking for so end up sitting at the Starbucks to use wifi. I ask for the code and about seven times she tells me what I need to do. She assures me she IS SPEAKING ENGLISH. It appears I was born yesterday and can’t for the life of me understand what to do, so I stand back as an American girl sets hers up. I told her I’m just going to watch her first. Sure, she says. She does a few different manoeuvres. Purses her lips. Reads the instructions again, does something else and steps back and says, “now it will come to my phone”. Shit I don’t have a phone. So I ask the next girl whose about 14 but obviously much wiser than me to help me. She says “sure”. Picks up the machine right off the counter and scans my boarding pass and ‘walla’ as Tara always says, it prints the code out for me. The two 30 something Dutch guys who had been laughing about ordering something and getting something else watch in amazement and ask me how did she do it. I shake my head and say. “Like magic” and leave them chuckling. Pretty sure they’ll work it out. I’ve been gone for about thirty minutes and when I get back to Gilbert he says, “Geez, where’d you have to go to get the coffee?” “Turkey” I tell him.
I have to say the Ataturk airport has it sussed. It flipping busy with over 500 gates but we negotiate it with ease. Anyone entering the airport for anything has to go thru x-Ray. Then a second x-Ray for those flying and passport control. Duty free is massive and one is bigger than our local countdown with checkout operators. We find our gate easily and sit when someone comes to you and checks and stamps your boarding pass so they weed out the idiots who are in the wrong place. Then they ask you to come up ready to board and put up four lines. A,B,C,D. Turns out we are coded on our boarding pass according to our seat allocations and so all those at the back of the plane board first. It was quick and easy. Then they give you lollies BEFORE you take off. Nutty Turkish delights. Oh yeah.
Then we’re given a menu and the meal was one of the best I’ve had on a flight. Smoked salmon with French green bean salad. Followed by stuffed eggplant with minced beef and pana cotta for dessert with cream cheese and crackers. Red wine and coffee to follow. This was a two hour flight.
Negotiating the airport train to the centre of Rome where our BnB is with our hosts directions was scary but easy and I love the language. First stop – Parco Leonardo. Drag the vowels and roll the rrrrs. Stop before ours – Villa Bonielli. Our stop? Travastere. “Buona Sera Rome”
I was beginning to feel brain dead but today has been exhilarating and I feel alive again. Wandering down alleyways in Rome at eight at night will do that to you…it takes us about ten minutes to find our BnB passing small cafés, we stop at a dairy and buy bananas and juice. Can’t wait for tomorrow! Ciao!