I’m still at the point in my life where I buy in bulk because it’s cheaper, even if I don’t need 5 lbs of spinach. There hasn’t been any point in time where I have decided that I’d splurge on a hotel and stay at the Ritz-Carlton. But, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity when I went to Istanbul, Turkey for a work conference. And let’s just say, I was VERY excited.
My coworker and I left on a Friday and were going to connect through Frankfurt. We met at the airport with 4 giant suitcases full of conference materials and made it to Germany where the airport decided to go on strike. But we were lucky enough to still make our flight to Istanbul. When we landed, it became very apparent that our luggage was no where to be found and we filed a report with the airline. As that happened, we realized that our entire flight had walked into the office behind us because our plane flew from Germany to Turkey without any cargo.
With nothing else left to do at the airport, we jumped in a cab with our carry-on bags and headed to the Ritz-Carlton. I was dressed in yoga pants, a rain coat and some $5 ballet flats. The hotel was kind enough to give us some tank tops, a pair of large high-waisted underwear and some sheer nylon socks to hold us over until we could either 1) get our luggage or 2) go shopping.
We spent the next two days calling airlines, figuring out where we could buy clothes, and making random side trips to the lobby of the hotel to get free Turkish Delights. It was the first (and hopefully only) time I camped at a hotel, let alone a Ritz-Carlton.
Even though we were camping, we decided to make the best of a unfortunate situation and go explore the city. We stopped by the Blue Mosque, the Cistern, saw a real “magic carpet” made of silk, went to the Spice Market and Grand Bazaar and wandered aimlessly through the streets for some shopping. Istanbul is a beautiful city full of history and culture. And it’s not every day that you can hit two continents in one city. I hope that one day I can make it back there and experience more of the city…minus the camping.