The alarm went off at 430 which was rather horrible but we got up and were ready by the time the taxi came at 515 to take us to the airport in Dubai. We were quickly checked in for the Gulf Air flight. We were travelling with Daisy on the first leg of our journey, the 75 minute flight from Dubai to Bahrain. Then she was going on to London and we were flying with Gulf to Istanbul and thereafter to Cyprus.
The flight into Bahrain was smooth and on time. They fed us a breakfast pack and coffee. Our layover was just over an hour (Daisy’s was 2 hours) and by the time we de-planed and had our cabin bags scanned again, our flight was boarding, so we said goodbye to Daisy after a lovely time with her in Dubai. The flight from Bahrain to Istanbul was just over 4 hours and we got lunch on that. One of the nicest aeroplane meals I can remember having in a long time. I managed to sleep most of the way too which was good. Bob and I had a row of three seats between us which was a lucky thing.
The new airport in Istanbul is absolutely massive and it really is very nice. There are lots and lots of shops and restaurants, plenty of places to sit and relax, free wifi…. It’s much better than the old airport. There are two lounges. The Turkish Airlines lounge is amazing, their flagship lounge, but it’s only for business or first class passengers. There is a “pay” lounge, the IGA, but its quite expensive at 49 euro each so we haven’t sampled that one. To be honest, unlike in the old airport, the restaurants and cafe areas in the main airport are so nice, it’s a bit moot whether the lounge is desirable. I guess if you want a shower or to lie down, it would be a good investment. There are also sleep pods in the airport, a spa and a hotel though.
We had quite a long layover – deliberately really. We were changing airlines from Gulf to Turkish and it hadn’t been possible to get them on the same ticket so our bags could only be checked through as far as Istanbul when we left Dubai. Knowing how big the airport is, we didn’t want a short layover (which was the alternative) and the stress of one of the flights being delayed and then a fast connection. We’ve had to literally run through the airport before which was not fun. So, anyway, we had 5 hours. And because of the luggage situation, we had to go out through passport control, reclaim our bags and then go to the departure area and check them back in again. It all went very smoothly and it wasn’t a hassle, we had time of course. However, it is always preferable to get all flights on the same ticket, and I would always recommend that. I don’t know why I didn’t do that this time really. So, I suppose that business absorbed about an hour or so of our layover. Then we set up camp in one of the cafes, accessed the wifi, had a snack and the time passed quickly enough.
The flight from Istanbul to Ercan airport in Cyprus, is just over an hour. They served us a lovely little picnic box of a Ramadan meal (Ramadan started on Saturday) – dates, olives, a cheese and veg roll, a baklava. Nice. We landed bang on time at 855pm.
We’d filled in the digital passenger locator on the app, Guvende Kal, before we left Dubai, uploaded our NHS vaccination document, and it had all been approved. No one actually asked to see any of that in Cyprus. We were stamped in, and got our luggage. We have a hire car from Gunray this time and it is very good to see Ozzie back in business after a very rough time during the pandemic. He had delivered the car to Villa Rockheart earlier in the day and sent a taxi van to pick us up. We normally drive from the airport to the villa ourselves as we know the way well, but he sent us the taxi foc this time as the car delivery worked better for him and actually for us because we were tired by then.
Got to the house at around 1030 and found it looking lovely. Marion and her ladies had done a great job. We just unpacked what we needed for the night and fell into bed. Lovely to be here. The weather looks set for sun and temperatures in the mid/lower 20s this week which will be lovely.