Our last day in Venice! We spent the morning going across the Canal to St. George’s, which resided basically on its own island. After seeing it looking at us across the water for two days, we had to check it out. It was nice but not earth shattering. It turned out there was a conference going on on the island, and a nice exhibit on urban planning put on by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art - this being the LMOMA in Sweden, not the USA as you might be expecting.
Hopping the water bus to Venice airport was a little bit of an unknown but in the end it worked out very nicely. We were worried that they might be very strict about luggage or depart at an odd time or from a hard to get to place - in the end we got on exactly when we wanted to, at the most convenient stop (right outside our hotel), and there was plenty of room for all our luggage. Katy and I alternately napped, people watched, and enjoyed watching the very picturesque outskirts of Venice as we headed in to the airport.
Venice airport was nice; bigger than Eugene but smaller than PDX. The shopping was substantially nicer, and the jetways went through tasteful stone towers. We hung out in the lounge until our flight for Turkey departed. Katy took advantage of the wifi to try to video chat with her parents and Scott, who we were going to meet in Istanbul.
We caught the flight and enjoyed the surprisingly nice Turkish Air coach experience. Katy enjoyed the seat to seat calling quite a bit. Once we got to Turkey we had to clear customs (including buying a visa). I was grilled by the passport control guy about how much I paid for my visa; Katy got waved through flirtatiously. We both expected to see a lot of people in conservative Muslim dress, but out of the 500 or so people we saw in the airport, only one couple fit that description.
Once we had our luggage, we caught a taxi and headed to the hotel. It took quite a while; the last 5-10 miles near our hotel especially had consistently awful traffic for our whole stay. But the cab driver was nice, seemed to follow an honest route, and made an effort to point interesting things out to us. There were plenty of borderline sleazy people in the airport trying to sell us on various bus/taxi/hotel services.
We got to the hotel, settled in, then headed out to pick up a couple of essentials (ie, diet soda + snacks). Pricing in Istanbul was weird, and it wasn’t until I left the country that I put my finger on it - everything was very cheap EXCEPT the hotel. A liter of soda was about $1USD, even right downtown, but our hotel was something like $350/night (the highest we paid anywhere on the trip by a wide margin). We ate well for around $12/meal. My theory is that the government taxes hotels heavily to capture tourism dollars. I’m not sure we came out ahead, but it was a nice change from Europe where everything except the hotels was much more expensive.