I’ve always liked the word rocky. Maybe it’s because of Rocky Road ice cream, maybe it’s because of rocky movies, and maybe it’s simply because I grew up in mountains made of and filled with rocks. I like my scotch on the rocks, marriage can sometimes be rocky, and at the moment, I’m writing from the inside of a rocky palace – literally, I’m in a stone hewn room decked out with gorgeous furniture and sumptuous bedding – literally inside a marvelous palace made of rocks – a rocky palace, which by the way is what Taskonaklar means – Rocky Palace.
Getting here was a bit rocky, in fact. That though, was no one’s fault but my own. I think being a new dad, trying to plan everything out and take care of my wife and daughter and running that hotel in Istanbul for a month filled my head with rocks. Feels like it anyway.
After we were invited to Taskonaklar by Tolga, I booked our tickets on Pegasus Air and then forgot about everything as I took my family to Bursa, explored Istanbul, and tried to encourage my wife to bring her scarf and leave her couscous pot behind (success!). Anyway, I never do this, but somehow, I got it in my head that our flight was from Ataturk Airport and never managed to look at the details again despite printing out boarding passes, checking everything else twice and even telling my wife we were flying from Ataturk when she asked.
So, imagine my surprise when we got to Ataturk with plenty of time to check in and only then I found that we were flying from Sabiha Gokcen – which is about as far away from Ataturk as you can go and still be in Istanbul (which by the way has nearly 20 million people and is huge) – let me put it this way – Ataturk is in Europe and Sabiha Gokcen is in Asia! I brought us to the wrong continent!
So, I did what anyone would do – I hailed a taxi and asked him to take us to Asia. We haggled a bit and settled on 80 Turkish lira and ignore the meter which, by the way, I knew was an amazingly cheap cab ride between continents. We had 2.5 hours to get to the other airport. On the way, the driver was asking other cabbies for directions and then asked them how much he should have charged and they all told him 200 lira! It’s not that my haggling is that good, it’s that he was a new driver. He tried to winge but a deal is a deal once it has been made and when we got caught in traffic, I figured it was a wasted 80 lira anyway but he had assured me he could get us there in time…
Actually, new driver or old – this was the best cabbie I’ve had in Istanbul. He was friendly, kind, and even made a few jokes about ‘cheap cheap taxi, oh no!’ and once I refused to accept a change, the wingeing stopped. Our flight departed at 6:45. He got us there at 6:35 – the meter read 128 lira, I gave him 100 which made us both happy. I figured we’d missed the flight.
Especially when we got inside and I saw the security line. Now, I should point out – I forced my wife to bring a carry on size bag, I e-checked us in before we left, and we were well under the baggage limit. Still, two security lines in ten minutes? No way.
Hanane to the rescue. “Vago, ask people if you can go ahead of them, beg if you have to.” Well, I didn’t beg but I did ask though I was doubtful and guess what, people not only said yes, but smiled and were kind about it! the announcement of our flight, last boarding call went out. I was ready to give up, we still had to get to the departure area. Hanane kept prodding me. I listened.
Long story short, we made it through 3 security lines in about 7 minutes and ran to the gate where we were the last ones on the plane and everyone looked at us like we were crazy. Because we didn’t have to check bags, because we didn’t have to wait (thank you kind people!) and because I had checked in online. Unbelievable, but here we are.
After a rocky road, we sit in a rocky palace. Arriving here, we were shown to our plush suite and then we had a delicious meal presented to us by the chef. Tomato bisque with local cheese, fresh green salad with dill, bulgar, potatos and special roasted chicken. I’ll have to ask about the menu tomorrow – for now – we’re exhausted.
Time to go to sleep. Check out Taskonaklar – totally gorgeous and a very worth it reward.