We woke early on our third morning in Selçuk (staying at the family-run Dreams Guest House), finished packing and headed to the train station for our 6:49am train to the Izmir airport. Along the way, we passed dozens and dozens of merchants setting up on the streets for the weekly Saturday market. All of the crowds, merchandise, vehicles and tables made it difficult to navigate with our bags through the area, but we got through and to the train station in plenty of time.
Once at the train station, we paid our TL4person for the 69 minute train ride from Selçuk to the Izmir airport and jockeyed for position in the large crowd that all hoped to board the train. We were successful in getting on and getting seats – although there were plenty of seats for everyone. We arrived at the airport just behind schedule and right around 8am for our 9am flight.
We though we cut it a bit close, but the crossover from the train station to the airport was a breeze and we got to the Turkish Air check-in counter by 8:10 am. We checked in, dropped our bags and headed to the gate. Always looking for a wi-fi signal, JT went in search of the airport cafés who were broadcasting. While unsuccessful, the search was humorous as he got an idea of the ridiculous prices that we had been forewarned about at this airport (TL6.75 for a small pastry and TL4.75 for tea – the cheapest item on the menu).
Once boarding began, we took the shuttle bus over to the Turkish Air plane (a 737) and took our seats. We were hopeful for drink service and maybe a snack on the short 1-hour flight, but we were about to be amazed. The Turkish Airlines flight attendants, working efficiently and with care, pulled a magic trick – they served drinks and a delicious breakfast (cheese sandwich, fruit yogurt, and bread) to everyone on the plane and then cleaned it all up in the less than 48 minutes that we went gate-to-gate!
After picking up our bags, we took the familiar and sentimental trip on the metro and then tramvay from our airport to our hotel near the Sirkeci train station. We arrived to Hotel Antioch (94 euros for two nights, which was just over half of the rate stated at the front desk) around 11:30 am and were treated to a coffee and tea as a reward for lugging our bags through the streets. After storing our bags at the front desk, we re-grouped and headed out to see Istanbul!