We landed in Athens last night and were greeted at the airport by Thanasis, a 35 year old young man who rents out his two bedroom home on AirBnB. He borrowed a car big enough for all of us and took us to his home. Thanasis was so nice and gracious, he would have done whatever we asked. The only issue was we arrived at 9 PM on Saturday night and our next flight was at 10 AM on Sunday, so we really just wanted a place to sleep. We were all in bed by 10:30 and I was out like a light. I awoke around 7 AM to get everyone ready to head back to the airport, which Thanasis happily drove us to.
We had about an hour before our flight took off and were able to hand in an airport lounge for part of it and then boarded the Turkish Airline flight to Istanbul. I have landed at the Istanbul airport about 6 times in my life, but this was the first time I was actually going to set foot in the city. Ilise had been here about 20 years ago, but I have not and neither have our kids. So, we were met at the airport by a driver hired by the AirBnB host we selected. Everything seemed to be going fine until we arrived at the apartment. The AirBnB landlord had warned me that the apartment was in a poorer area of the city filled with local families. I thought that meant not filled with a lot of tourists. What it really meant was the building was super old and it turns out that the apartment was on the 5 floor with no elevator. Ouch!
Now, most people who know me understand that I’m not one for complaining, but we are in Istanbul for 13 nights and this apartment is not the right place for us. Ilise and the kids were OK with it and said we could survive, but I told the owner that this place was not going to work. They happen to manage 25 apartments around Istanbul so they showed us a few options while I search on AirBnB for another option. I found a really nice 2 bedroom apartment less than a mile away that seemed to suit our family so much better and the landlord showed us a few options that we could look at. In the end we decided to move to the new listing on AirBnB. We agreed to spend one night in the current apartment and move to the new one in the morning. The landlord was so nice and tried everything to provide us with something that they just didn’t have. In the end we brought half of our luggage over to the new apartment before going to dinner and then went back for the one night at the original apartment.
During the entire process I was thinking that this is all happening for a reason, that we are meeting all of these people and for some reason this just wasn’t the right apartment. We got a great little tour of the area as we were shown a few options of where to stay. In addition, the apartment we did take was just recently listed for the first time and we are their first tenants. So, when we looked online a few weeks ago to book this apartment this one wasn’t even an option. The young 22 year old student who showed us the apartment was the daughter of the owner, who also owns a small fruit stand on the street below. They also have a 10 year old daughter who doesn’t speak any English, but hopefully the kids can get to know each other a bit.
I’m really looking forward to spending some quality time in Istanbul starting tomorrow and seeing what this amazing city has to offer, while staying in an apartment that suits our needs much better than the one we are in tonight.
To a life well lived!