Now Boarding: Istanbul for $544 from Chicago, RT

blue mosqueTurkish Airlines is offering a ridiculous flight steal: Istanbul (from Chicago) for $544 roundtrip (departing Monday-Thursday).

I will include a “Getting Lost In Istanbul” posting next, but let me just state that my ticket in July 2007, when subprime lenders were still doling out funds to people who shouldn’t have received them, was $1,700 roundtrip on British Airways from Los Angeles. (I really have a love/ hate relationship with This Economy).

This ticket is available from Sept. 1- Oct. 30, which will mean no sweltering heat and humidity and403795330503_0_ALB fainting (like I did while climbing the ancient city wall), fewer crowds at the Hagia Sophia, and more delicious pides and hummus and stuffed grape leaves and Mediterranean cuisine with Turkish wines. If you have a little child, the Turkish men will, oddly, go out of their way to pinch his/ her cheeks and give treats as if they 598626330503_0_ALBhad never seen a child before. Even young Turkish dudes who dressed super hip and were too cool for school pulled off their trendy sunglasses to make googly eyes at my niece, then 1 1/2 years old. It is especially helpful when you’re dead tired from trekking around mosques all day, and your child is fussing away, to have a waiter voluntarily entertain her the whole evening with puppets and toy cars on hand in the restaurant.

Even if you don’t have a child, this is still a great opportunity to visit a fascinating city and country centered in the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, steeped in history, religion, art and delicious food.  Prices are reasonable, and you only need to purchase a visa once you arrive in Istanbul. Of course, check riot reports before you head over. Stay tuned for a posting about how to get lost in Istanbul next!

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