After that flight to Toronto on Air Canada, we were on a Turkish Air plane flying out at 11 pm, after getting new boarding passes (we had been unable to print the final ones to Dnepropetroesk at home- actually on the printer in the barn) and waiting for the plane to be de-iced. The flight was OK, the plane was packed and the legroom was a little tight for Garry (he is 6'5") and carry-on space was packed too. There was a large man in the row ahead of us who snored really loudly for a least and hour and a half, but Garry enjoyed lots of movies to watch on the little television in the seat back, and the meal was good. When breakfast time rolled around (an hour before landing at 4:20 Tuesday afternoon Istanbul time) my stomach was a little upset so I only ate the roll and had a cup of cola, while Garry enjoyed coffee, scrambled eggs, cooked mushrooms and tomato, a tiny triangle of grilled cheese sandwich (wait I ate mine) and both our servings of cheese, cucumber slice and fruit cup (except I ate my two chunks of fresh pineapple!) This was our first time on Turkish Air and first time going through Istanbul, and I would say we'd do it again.
We landed, got off the plane, found the buy a visa line (by the way, Canadians pay $60 US dollars for one while Americans pay 20!) got them, then waited in the longer line for passport control for other passports (as in not Turkish citizens) they sent some of us to the other agents to catch up! Then we went out past the luggage belts (our bags were checked all the way through to Ukraine) to find the booth for Turkish Air hotels. Garry had heard from Justin, that Turkish Air would give you a free hotel stay if your itinerary had a layover of a certain length in Istanbul (without there being a flight you could have taken) and at 20 hours ours would qualify! We found the right place, gave the guy our boarding passes and waited at the cafe (Garry checked his email and I read) as instructed. It took a little while but before too long, we were following someone to our shuttle van and after a half hour ride as the sun was setting, arrived at the something by Hilton had a great night's sleep in a very nice room with a king-size bed and a wonderful buffet breakfast too.
|Garry went across the street to search for pop (soda)|
|Returned with his prizes, ready to eat!|
Garry went out for a walk after we went up to the room, and walked over the street (look at the photo to see what I mean) to find a bank-o-mat to get some local cash (lira) and found what he wanted a bottle of pepsi, some cookies and corn chips, tangerines at a grocery store and some street food, a meat and peppers sandwich on a bun. I was still feeling a bit off, so I let him eat the whole sandwich, although I ate some cookies before falling asleep around 8 pm, we were up a couple times- like midnight and 4 am, but jumped out of bed for breakfast about 9:15 because the shuttle was picking us up at 10 am. Jet lag is an amazing thing, especially when we fly in this direction it seems, it drives your internal clock for a loop and then some.
|In the morning (same view from 8th floor room)|
|Istanbul from the shuttle bus window|
It was raining around midnight and still raining steadily on the Wednesday morning ride to the airport, but I tried snapping a couple photos anyway. We didn't have to de-ice, but we did have to take a bus out to the plane, and the wind was whipping as we went up the stairs to the plane, although the rain had stopped by noon. Nice lunch on the plane ( salad, sandwich, dessert - I was finally feeling like eating something, too) As the plane ducked back through the clouds nearing Dnepro we discovered everything was covered in snow, there were drifts all over. When we went down the stairs to get the bus to the terminal, I thought not as cold as Winnipeg (-15 and windy instead of negative 30) but it looks a lot like it!
Of course the line we choose was the slow one for passport control, but the guy finally stamped our passports and were were off to grab our suitcases off the conveyor belt, we had seen the red one go around 3 or 4 times while we were still waiting to get our passports stamped. I grabbed the gray one I had bought at the thrift store on Saturday (for $3.50) Two bags found, where were the other two... another bunch arrived, another lady was looking for hers also, then they came back with 4 or 5 more, and closed the doors...no black or blue bag yet, now what?
The lady who still was bagless said we had to file a report on the domestic side of the airport, so off to the x-ray machine belt and then a discussion with the customs guys about what are these things we are bringing in these suitcases? Only the bags with the milking machine parts had arrived, not our personal bags...they asked if we had someone who spoke Russian; so Victor came in to talk to the four guys now looking at our bags, who were apparently saying we might have to take them back.... but they are for the school to teach orphans to take car of cows (apparently they did not seen us on television news in 2012 or 2013)
Finally they let us go through.
Garry was trying to find the claim tickets for the missing bags while we rolled the luggage we had out to the van and went inside the other part of the airport to find the Turkish Air office. I found the rest of the claim tags in his computer bag, but it still took more than half an hour to get the paperwork done, hopefully someone will call when they find them... that bag of rubber gaskets we picked up is in one of them, along with some AI breeding supplies for Garry, and a new puzzle; not to mention my clothes, books, Advil, some gifts and lots of yarn in the other!
Victor asked if we wanted to stop for groceries, the boys are normally out of lots of stuff when we return, but it took a while to get to Metro with the drifts. blowing snow, and hardly any cars getting through the intersections when the lights change. Yesterday there was about 8 inches of snow in the city and it was pretty much the first snowfall of the year, so some of the drivers and cars were having problems. It was dusk as we headed in the store for the basics, and dark when we got out, then it was a slow progression to the highway out of the city. There are semis lined up on the side of the road, and when Victor finally gets to the front of the line, there is a policemen, turning traffic back....
What shall we do? Try the other highway out of the city? maybe, but it is not plowed as well as this one... finally a decision is made, we will spend the night in the city and go out in the morning with Victor, he has to come for Thursday's milk to sell then anyway, and hopefully the wind, which is still whipping at 10 pm will slow down and the highway will be plowed (and it will be daylight, too!)
So we are not back in the village yet, Garry has been sleeping for a couple hours already, and we are looking for two suitcases (at least I hope someone is) in Toronto, Istanbul, or somewhere in the world!
Update Thursday morning- Safely in Ukraine, but hanging out at apartment in the city until we can safely make it to the village- 8 inches of blowing snow has a big impact here, the road was closed when we tried to leave at 5 pm yesterday, from what we have heard from the village, it's full of snow and stuck cars, SUVs and semi- trucks! I guess we'll just sit back, enjoy the internet and get some sleep until we can get there.