Am back home after a long day of flying- having been up almost 24 hrs. Sad to leave Istanbul but have some final thoughts.
1)I was initially wary of Turkish Airlines but both the trip there and especially the trip back was fine. Economy is never fun but the seats weren't cramped, they handed out Turkish delight and cool tin amenity bags and from IST to IAD, I ate the best airline food I've ever had in coach- delicious salmon! Plus they didn't lose our luggage. A decent carrier whom I'd fly again.
2)Hotel Erboy was a fantastic suggestion from this board. The staff were helpful, the rooms-while not renovated-were quiet and comfy, no hot water shortages and we ate like kings with the promotional 5 night/free dinner. The best part was the location. From the hotel we could walk to almost all the major sites. Really was pleased with this budget hotel- which was budget in name only.
3) Istanbul herself-while in the beginning I struggled to enjoy the city, due to traffic, crowds and pollution- I came to enjoy the small things about the city. The small mosques decorated with tiles and their haunting call to pray, the kindness of so many Turkish residents toward foreigners and even the food and drink. The city reminds me of a more exotic San Francisco physically with the sea, hills and ferries. My folks and I still had a ton of things we wanted to do and would have loved to stay more. Tonight it feels a bit odd not to hear the call to prayer and seeing dogs on leashes.
My family all agreed this was one of our best holidays and its largely due to this forum. Thanks.