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capicua
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Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:32 pm

Ze ‘Zee’ route from Djörmany to Caracas – and some Turkish delight on the way – Pt. I HAM-IST

Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:24 pm

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Background

It was again time for a proper holiday in Germany. The big question now was: who to go with? The five contenders of last May (AF, IB, TK, TP, and UX, in strictly alphabetical order) were all still around, plus newcomer Plus Ultra from Spain. With AF and UX in the wrong alliance, Plus Ultra lacking an extensive network in Europe and IB out of the question for personal reasons, this left me with the choice between TP and TK. I went with TP on the last two occasions and was now interested in trying out TK. As it turned out, TK were even cheaper than TP on the dates and booking classes I had envisioned, so the decision was a fairly easy one to make. And the TK journey being almost twice as long as the TP one, I’d say that that’s twice as much bang for the buck!

While I’d fly in Y on the outbound, the return flight - which this report will focus on - was booked in J, partly because of the flight’s duration and the possibility to get some decent sleep in a lie-flat J seat - not to forget the famed Do&Co catering - and partly because of the more generous baggage allowance. You may argue that booking in J is quite an expensive way of buying excess baggage, but I was really looking forward to a trip in TK’s business class.


Ze ‘Zee’ route. Zorro couldn’t have drawn it better:
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Map by GreatCircle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz

The route certainly seems odd and involves backtracking at both ends on the South America-bound segments. The IST-HAV-CCS-IST routing brings back memories of the equally odd IKA-DAM-CCS vv route served once a week alternately by V0 and IR more than a decade ago and probably exists for similar reasons.

Another factor leading me to opt for TK was the number of daily flights between HAM and IST, allowing me to choose between an early departure from HAM and nearly a full day in Istanbul, several more departures throughout the day and correspondingly less time in IST, or an evening departure with a swift connection to the CCS flight. As I was connecting anyway, I thought that I might as well take an early flight from Hamburg to Istanbul, spend a good amount of time exploring a bit of the city and then continue on to CCS.


The trip

After three weeks of visiting friends and family, a tour of the Airbus factory at XFW…
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…some plane watching at HAM:
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…at FRA:
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…at ZRH:
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…and at MAD:
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…a much anticipated flight on Lufthansa Traditionsflug’s Ju-52 that unfortunately got cancelled on short notice,

…a visit to the:
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with interesting exhibits related to the manufacturer’s seaplane building history…
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…but also to their aircraft with proper undercarriage…
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…and current products such as this carbon-fiber weaving machine:
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Also on display was this 1927 vintage Dornier Merkur:
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The legroom was certainly more generous than in today’s euro-business class. And when you come to think of it, livery-wise LH actually seems to be going back to their roots nowadays, though the ends appear to be mixed up.


Across the runway on the opposite side of FDH airport there was a steady traffic of Zeppelin airships doing sightseeing flights:
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Let’s get on to the trip now, which is what you are most probably here for anyway.


I arrived at Fuhlsbüttel (now Helmut Schmidt) airport at 5:20 in the morning as part of an endless stream of taxis dropping off travelers.
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Having only one other passenger ahead of me in the dedicated J line, check-in was done in a breeze, though the agent checked my passport quite thoroughly. “A routine thing” was her remark…
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It’s going to be gate B47 today:
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Security on a Monday morning just after the autumn school holidays wasn’t nearly as swift as the check-in, but after a body scan and secondary screening of the hand luggage I eventually made it through as well in about 20 minutes.


After getting a few magazines for the folks back home at the newsstand I aimed straight for the LH lounge. Prior to the morning bank of outbound flights many others seemed to have had the same idea: everybody and their mother were in there. The lounge was so packed that I didn’t dare to take any pictures. There was a long line just to get coffee. As I had taken hold of one of the coveted armchairs I rather stayed put there and browsed the newspaper instead of queuing up for any food items or drinks.


Eventually the time came to head to the gate where TC-JRN was being prepared for the flight to Istanbul.
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Even though there was a lane for priority boarding, the main cabin passengers blocked the access to the BP scanning point, which I reached only after a near endless string of “Excuse me’s” and “Sorry, would you please let me pass’s”. Not the most premium of experiences but then I could probably have waited until most of the passengers had boarded…


October 2018
Airline: Turkish Airlines
Flight: TK1668
STD / ATD: 07:20 / 07:23
STA: 11:30 / 11:42
Route: HAM-IST
Registration: TC-JRN
Aircraft: Airbus A321-231
Seat: 2F



My seat was quickly found and turned out to be as cozy as it looks. A real business seat on an intra-European route! J class was full today with all 16 seats taken.
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Just as I was getting comfortable in my seat, FA Selin came by, introduced herself and offered a PDB. Although TK’s signature lemon-and-mint drink was not among the choices on the tray she was carrying, in less than two minutes the first of many of these on this trip was delivered with a friendly smile, along with a pack of hazelnuts, the breakfast menu, and headsets.
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Just as dawn was breaking, push-back started at the scheduled departure time all the while the LEGO-themed safety video (also featuring Batman & Robin…) was playing on the screens.
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About 40 minutes after take off from HAM’s runway 23 into somewhat hazy skies, hot towels were distributed followed by each passenger’s choice of breakfast.
As a starter I had “today’s special”, comprised of comb honey, countryside butter, marinated olives, sundried tomato spread, regional Turkish cheeses, a simit and green tea to go with it.
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Staying with the Turkish theme, my selection for the main was the cheese pastry with sautéed mushrooms and grilled red peppers.
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An after-meal coffee or tea was also offered, as were hot towels again. Just as I was inspecting the reading material we were overflying Budapest.
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Later on we passed by the town of Turnu Severin near a prominent loop of the Danube. This side of the river is Romania, on the opposite shore Bulgaria.
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With not much time left until landing in IST it was time to pay the lavatory a quick visit, if only for the sake of this report.
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Shortly thereafter we landed on IST’s runway 05 slightly late and found Istanbul to be quite overcast. The announced inauguration of the new airport was still two weeks away so we were left with the infrastructure and services of the current facility. A few interesting visitors among the countless red TK tails:
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The aircraft came to a halt on a (very) remote stand, from which Y passengers were picked up in Cobuses while J passengers were taken to the terminal in a dedicated minibus.
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Thanks to a separate passport control section for J passengers I was stamped into Turkey in no time. After changing some money and stowing my second carry-on in one of the baggage lockers available landside I was ready to explore some of Istanbul.

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10 hours in Istanbul


An express bus from the airport took me straight to Taksim Square, the starting point of my long walking tour, bustling with selfie-shooting people, dove-chasing kids, and chestnut vendors.
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I then walked down lively Istiklal Street, great for people watching, window shopping and stores full of Turkish delight, baklava and other delicacies. A sweet tooth’s heaven!
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This definitely had to be tried, so I took a break for baklava and çay at one of the many sweet shops/cafés with tables in side streets off the main thoroughfare. Being surrounded by locals having lunch or coffee reassured me in my conviction that this was no tourist trap but the real deal.
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Later on it was time for a refreshing pomegranate juice before joining the queue for the Galata Tower.
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I don’t know what the average waiting time is, but it took me 40 minutes to reach the ticket window, at circa 4 pm. When I got down again there was no line at all. Bummer!


The tower affords great panoramic views of the bustle on the Golden Horn, Galata Bridge, Old Istanbul and its numerous landmarks, and the Bosporus Strait.
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Eventually you have taken in all the sights from up there and it’s time to move on. From the tower I headed through what must be the lighting district of Istanbul, with one lamp store next to the other, towards Atatürk Bridge across the Golden Horn, popular with local fishermen, where the catch of the day doesn’t seem to have been too bad at all. Truth be told, I mistook this bridge for the Galata Bridge, which would have definitely had a lot more flair; a tourist blooper if you will.
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Taking a left turn after crossing the bridge I went to the Eminönü pier, where I boarded one of the frequent ferryboats across the Bosporus to Üsküdar. Surprisingly for the time of day (afternoon rush hour) the ferry was not crowded at all. By going ashore in Üsküdar I set foot on Asian soil only for the second time in my life, the first one being Oman a few years ago.
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By the time I was back in Eminönü dusk had settled in. Walking up Atatürk Bulvari and after checking out Valens Aqueduct, I went over to Süleymaniye Mosque. It was obviously closed to visitors at this hour but is an impressive sight from the outside nonetheless.
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From there I asked my way to Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Both were closed as well at the time, but being beautifully lit from the outside they were nice to look at anyway. Corn on the cob anyone?
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My legs where by now signaling they’d rather have a rest from walking and as it was nearly 11 pm anyway, I retraced my steps to a metro station I had passed on the way here and, with a little help from a couple of local university students, bought a subway ticket back to the airport.
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Pt. II of this report shall be out shortly.

Cheers,
C.

Previous trip reports:
TAP Portugal feat. EuroAtlantic Airways: CCS-CUR-LIS-HAM, or …
A blast from the past: DC-10-30 – When VA was still VIASA…
Checkin’ on Robinson and Friday – on a Wednesday: Aerocardal
TAP. Why not? CCS-LIS-HAM vv + LAN 787-9 interlude
#4: Eldorado by day: AV B787/A321 SCL-BOG-CCS Y
#3: Twotters & a narrow gauge train in Patagonia
#2: “The LAN guy” gives Sky a try: H2 SCL-PMC-SCL
#1: Eldorado by night: AV A321/B787 CCS-BOG-SCL J
Joining the Club - 20 years late: AA LAX-MIA
Venturing beyond: AS SEA-LAX
Sleepless in Seattle: In the Beaver’s lair
HAM-CCS:The first LH and a ride in J - sort of
Chasing Zulu: 4U HAM.LHR-HAM
Moving on: LH ZRH-FRA-HAM
LH CCS-ZRH: Flashbacks along airway UA550
Deep Chile II: Ham, monkeypuzzle trees & a culprit
Deep Chile I: To the hut with the power outlet
Return from Mt. Pleasant – Not so pleasant: LAN
Island-hopping on, well, an Islander: FIGAS
LAN wishes you a pleasant flight to Mt. Pleasant
Another day, another Lufty – HAM-FRA-CCS
Off to Oman 4: Return MCT-FRA WY A330
Off to Oman 3: Of spices, dhows and frankincense
Off to Oman 2: ICE in F and WY in Y
Off to Oman 1: Positioning commute LH CCS-FRA.HAM
LANning back up again: PUQ.PMC-SCL-LIM-CCS
LANning down South Americas backbone: CCS-PUQ
South, farther south, southernmost! PUQ-WPU on DAP
"The greatest sight to see is the world - look at it!" (Kurt Tucholsky),
and getting there is half the fun!
 
CO7e7
Posts: 2693
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 3:39 pm

Re: Ze ‘Zee’ route from Djörmany to Caracas – and some Turkish delight on the way – Pt. I HAM-IST

Mon Dec 10, 2018 5:18 am

Great report so far. Loved your photos...I'm looking forward to part II.
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1840
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

Re: Ze ‘Zee’ route from Djörmany to Caracas – and some Turkish delight on the way – Pt. I HAM-IST

Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:43 pm

Unfortunately I only spent 1 day in Istanbul on a cruise. What left a lasting impression was Topkapi Palace. However with all the attacks there I am uncomfortable going. Backtracking is OK if one fly's in Business. LOL. The food looks delicious.
 
Tenaja85
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:42 pm

Re: Ze ‘Zee’ route from Djörmany to Caracas – and some Turkish delight on the way – Pt. I HAM-IST

Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:55 pm

Great TR, thanks for sharing. Istanbul is my favorite city that I've had the opportunity to visit so I enjoyed seeing your pictures!
 
User avatar
capicua
Topic Author
Posts: 213
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:32 pm

Re: Ze ‘Zee’ route from Djörmany to Caracas – and some Turkish delight on the way – Pt. I HAM-IST

Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:58 pm

CO7e7 wrote:
Great report so far. Loved your photos...I'm looking forward to part II.

Thanks! Part II will be out in a minute.

lychemsa wrote:
Unfortunately I only spent 1 day in Istanbul on a cruise. What left a lasting impression was Topkapi Palace. However with all the attacks there I am uncomfortable going. Backtracking is OK if one fly's in Business.

I didn't even spend a full day there, but I'll probably return to see some of the sights for which there was no time on this occasion.
I felt safe at all instances and pretty much everywhere I went. Then again, if you lived where I live you'd feel safe most anywhere else too.
Yeah, backtracking is OK if one's flying in J. Still pondering whether to do this again on a future trip.
The food was really good. More of that in Part II.

Tenaja85 wrote:
Great TR, thanks for sharing. Istanbul is my favorite city that I've had the opportunity to visit so I enjoyed seeing your pictures!

Thanks for dropping by and I'm glad to have brought back memories of your favorite city.
"The greatest sight to see is the world - look at it!" (Kurt Tucholsky),
and getting there is half the fun!
 
akhmad
Posts: 2502
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:20 pm

Re: Ze ‘Zee’ route from Djörmany to Caracas – and some Turkish delight on the way – Pt. I HAM-IST

Sat Dec 15, 2018 2:14 pm

Hola capicua, :smile:

Great report! Lovely pictures! Remind me of my own trip to IST 8 years ago.

Gracias! Thank you for sharing. :wave:
There is no deity except You. Exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.
 
User avatar
capicua
Topic Author
Posts: 213
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:32 pm

Re: Ze ‘Zee’ route from Djörmany to Caracas – and some Turkish delight on the way – Pt. I HAM-IST

Sun Dec 16, 2018 1:14 pm

Suryo!

Great to have you visiting the forum again. Your TR's are certainly missed! Glad to have brought back some memories of your trip to IST.

Cheers
C.
"The greatest sight to see is the world - look at it!" (Kurt Tucholsky),
and getting there is half the fun!

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