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Thursday, October 15, 2015

GAWA Day #30: Istanbul to Venice

Breakfast in my Istanbul Club Lounge was minimal, but the goodbye scene was worthy of a photo:


It was a $7 taxi ride to the airport.  Turkish Airlines did it again.  They couldn't find me.  It took half a dozen people over half an hour to finally give me my ticket.  My stress level went to max.  This is one reason I won't again take an around the world airplane adventure, but if I do, avoid Turkish Air for sure.

However, the Turkish Air Lounge was fabulous.  The largest I've ever seen:


The square footage is about a whole football field, including the end zones, as touted by the air magazine:


You can store your carry-ons in these lockable glass cubicles:


Want a movie theater with popcorn?


Alcohol?


You say, is that all for such a large lounge?  Well, there are twelve of these scattered around.  The kitchen for breakfast features a real honeycomb, where you can catch your dripping honey.  The chef is making omelet in the background, and another doing something with vegetables:


The flight was wonderful, and the salmon dish was terrific:


That is saffron rice, and the green stuff is the same taste as the great spinach yesterday, but this time with peas.  Anyway, I am now boycotting Turkish Air for screwing up my check-in, twice.  Plus, I actually saw a fly in the plane to Venice.  So there.

This will be my first visit to Venice.  I keep looking at the various web sites about how to get from Marco Polo Airport to the St Regis in Venice, and I got intimidated.  So I took them up on their pick-up service and all worked well, except the cost was outrageous.  A chauffeur showed my name as I walked out of customs/immigration, drove me in a Mercedes to the port, all of three minutes, and took me to this private speed boat:


I think that's Venice above. Half an hour later I arrived at my hotel on an island. Everything was seamless and I got to my room not much more than an hour after the plane landed.  They do have a free shuttle into San Marcos Square every half an hour if you want to get into the city.

My primary concern was getting to Milan tomorrow and back.  The Concierge, Matteo, was really helpful.  He bought my round trip train ticket and found a way to get it $35 cheaper and told me how to get to the train station for all of $7 from this hotel.  He was royally insulted when I asked if it was safe to walk from Milan Centrale to my hotel a few minutes away.  If nothing else, his attitude gave me confidence that all is exaggerated about pickpockets and vagrants.  Hope I read him accurately.

Tonight I decided to have dinner in this hotel at


I ordered a Chianti and Prosecco to go with a foie gras dish and a beef cheeks risotto:


This was the perfect finish to my day that began in crisis and ended in bliss.  I did have a chat with Chef Damiano, where we created an enhancement to the best one dish I've ever had, a white truffles risotto at La Terrazza in Rome five years ago:


I return to Acquerello on October 21, and Chef Damiano has promised me that he will have waiting a truffles risotto, capped with six basil leaves and a slice of raw white onion, topped with saffron, for a not ridiculous price.  He will soon become famous for his Risotto Damiano.  After all, I did dine at Noma before it became #1 in the world, and same for Gaggan, which went on to become #1 in Asia.

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Tropical Depression 19E will become a Category 2 hurricane, but turn north way before Hawaii is threatened:


However, Tropical Storm Koppu will become a Category 3 typhoon and crash into the Philippines:


Tropical Storm Champi will also become a Category 2 typhoon, look for a while to head towards Japan, but all computer models show Champi turning north and not affecting Japan:'


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