• Koula, 94.7 presenter and F&HE blogger, is loving all things food-related in her travels through Turkey, Greece, Italy and Israel…

    Tuesday 11 September

    And… sound glitches last night! The director realised when he was going through his footage of everything we shot yesterday that the sound had been scratchy and broke up from time to time! So today was a carbon copy of yesterday. Same route, same filming! Trust this to happen again so close to the end of the shoot!

    Typing this quickly before we catch a 4am flight back to Istanbul!

    Saturday 15 September

    Where to begin! So much has happened since Tuesday night! We had a relatively relaxed day in Istanbul on Wednesday, looking forward to catching a midnight flight back home to Jozi. Turkish Airlines had other plans though, as they’d overbooked our flight by more than 20 people that we know of (including ourselves!). By the time they’d sorted out paperwork for the passengers who couldn’t board the plane and we got onto a bus for our complimentary hotel – sans luggage as they said it would take two hours to find – it was already 4am on Thursday morning.

    The next ‘surprise’ they had for us was that our hotel was more than an hour away from the airport! Outside of Istanbul! No one had informed any of us of that fact and we were a bus full of very worried South African passengers driving further and further away from the airport, with a driver that only spoke Turkish.

    A few hours later and we were on the way back to the airport to collect our compensation for them overbooking the flight – except that the sales desk had run out of cash and couldn’t pay out said compensation. It honestly felt like we were caught in some bizarre comedy/horror film. Funny from the outside but not when it’s you experiencing it!

    We were put on a 4pm flight back to Joburg via Lagos, Nigeria and when we arrived in Jozi at 5am Friday morning, our luggage was nowhere to be found. Turkish Airlines told us later that day that unfortunately they couldn’t trace our bags. I was starting to feel pretty bleak about this and considering the wonderful time we’d had away, this experience had really soured the end of the trip for us. The thought of having lost all my clothes, toiletries, gifts I’d bought for people… made for a very moody Koula. By some miracle, our luggage was delivered to our home this evening. SAA (Turkish Airlines alliance partner) had flown the leg from Nigeria to Johannesburg and they had managed to track down our luggage. As for Turkish Airlines… Never again!

    So here we are, back at home, in clean clothes and surrounded by familiar things and it feels great. I think it’ll take a while to assimilate and process all we’ve seen and experienced over the last month. One of the highlights that definitely stands out was the hot air balloon trip over Cappadocia; another being Rome in all its beauty. So many wonderful memories. Am looking forward to seeing our edited film footage now!

    By Serdar Yilgoren