Our Last Day in Istanbul: August 4th and Journey to the Airport

Morning: A Change of Plans

Our final day in Istanbul, Friday, August 4th, began with a relaxed morning. Originally, we had planned to pray Jumma at the iconic Blue Mosque, a spiritual experience we were all looking forward to. However, our leisurely start to the day meant that by the time we were ready to leave, it was too late to make it to the Blue Mosque in time.

Local Mosque Experience

Determined to still observe Jumma prayers, I decided to head to a local mosque. On my way, the sound of the call to prayer from a nearby mosque drew me in a different direction. Following the sound, I found myself at a larger mosque bustling with worshippers. The atmosphere was serene and communal. After prayers, I took a moment to capture some photographs and explore the surrounding streets, which were lively with food stalls, fruit vendors, and small restaurants. This spontaneous detour turned out to be a delightful experience.

Afternoon: Exploring and Shopping

Around 4 PM, we set out to explore the local area and do some last-minute shopping. I also needed to exchange some money, so I planned a route that would take me past a currency exchange booth I knew of. Our adventure began with a stroll through the local streets, where we unexpectedly discovered an underground store. A few steps down revealed a massive store selling everything from kitchenware and cleaning supplies to jewelry and suitcases.

While the ladies in our group were captivated by the jewelry section, I seized the opportunity to exchange money. The entire process took about 40 minutes, and when I returned, they were still engrossed in their shopping. I decided to explore further and stumbled upon the famous BIM store, which we had been searching for during our stay.

Dinner and Evening: Culinary Delights

After the ladies finished their shopping, I guided them to BIM, where we picked up some snacks and essentials. Nearby, I had spotted a charming restaurant that seemed perfect for our final meal in Istanbul. We enjoyed a delightful dinner, savoring the flavors and reflecting on our memorable stay.

With our stomachs full and spirits high, we made our way back to the apartment, where we indulged in the last of our watermelon from the fridge. This refreshing treat was the perfect way to end the evening. As we packed our bags for our early morning flight, excitement mixed with a tinge of sadness at leaving such a beautiful city.

Early Morning Departure: August 5th

We had an early flight to Athens on Saturday, August 5th, which meant a very early start. The logistics of getting to the airport were a concern, so we decided to take a taxi, despite the higher cost, for the sake of convenience and peace of mind.

At dawn, we prayed Fajr and began our journey. The streets of Istanbul were quiet, with hardly anyone around as we dragged our luggage to the main road. To our relief, we found a few taxis waiting. We quickly loaded our bags into the first available taxi, and for 300 lira, we were on our way to the airport.

Smooth Taxi Ride and Airport Check-in

The taxi ride was smooth and uneventful. Due to the language barrier, our conversation with the driver was limited, but the ride itself was comfortable. Arriving at the airport was a huge relief. We were flying with Norwegian Airlines, and the check-in process took about two hours. The staff was incredibly accommodating, handling all our luggage and leaving us with only our hand luggage – exactly what we needed.

Flight to Athens

Our flight to Athens was with Norwegian Airlines, a budget carrier that exceeded our expectations with its professionalism and customer service. We were pleasantly surprised by the inflight meal, and the journey itself was smooth and comfortable.

As we left Istanbul behind and looked ahead to Athens, we reflected on our incredible journey through this vibrant city. From spontaneous adventures and local encounters to the hustle of last-minute preparations, every moment was a cherished part of our travel story. Istanbul had left an indelible mark on our hearts, and we were eager to see what Athens had in store for us.


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