And then we all go to Istanbul for EGEE'08. It'll be a neat place to spend a week, I think. I've never been so far east before. The city itself straddles both the European and the Asian continent: I’ll be able to go to Asia by ferry! The conference venue, the Harbiye Askeri Museum, is located close to Taksim Square—in the city’s cosmopolitan, shop-lined, “New District.”
I'm planning to arrive a day and a half early--guidebook in hand, eyes wide and eager--to explore a bit. To share a few useful bits of information with any of you fellow travellers:
To call Turkey:
From a European country, dial 00+90+ area code (without initial zero) + local number
From the US or Canada, dial 011+90+ area code (without initial zero) + local number
The weather in Istanbul
This link even gives you the sea temperature!
at the moment,
1.00 EUR = 1.76 TRY (Turkey New Lira)
1.00 CHF = 1.10 TRY
1.00 USD = 1.21 TRY
The international terminal has a tourist information desk. Each terminal has an airport information desk, car rentals, and ATMs (on the arrivals level). Airport phone number (gen. info.) 0212/465-5555. Some of us (me for example) will have to purchase visas at the airport, more information about who needs a visa is available on the Ministry of Foregin Affairs website.
Getting around (GoogleMap of Istanbul)
I hear the tourist areas are walkable and that there is a good public Metro system in the city, in addition to taxis, buses and public ferries. From the airport my guidebook says that a taxi is easiest for all locations.
Otherwise, the airport shuttle bus is best for the New District and the public transport system is best for the Old Town. The shuttle bus is marked with Havas signs, on the arrivals level, past the taxi stand, leaving on the half-hour. It takes about an hour to get to Taskim Square (site of the conference venue and the last stop) and costs 8.50 TRY
Taxis are all painted yellow, with electronic meters, they are available when the top light is on, round up the bill (1-2 TRY) for tip. Ask, "Fis lutfen" [fish lewt-fehn] for a receipt. From the airport it takes 30-60 minutes to get to the Old Town or New District in a cab, fares are roughly 30-45 TRY.
In my research for travelling to Istanbul, I’ve been overwhelmed by the rich history of the place. Starting 2,000 years ago: Hitties! Greeks! Romans! Byzantines! Selcuks! Ottomans! And now, as of next month , several hundred EGEE delegates, from every corner of the world!
I’ll share more as it happens.
See you there!