Istanbul Airport hasn’t Sold its Soul (yet)…!

The first four hours in Istanbul airport. What was it like?

Erika Chaudhary
Dec 22, 2020 · 5 min read
Photo by David Monje on Unsplash

I met a beautiful friend from Turkey at a language school. The impression I’ve got when I first met her was; she is fun, friendly always willing to cook good food and share it. It turned out she lived next door to me. It was a stroke of luck!

Her name is Sinem. She used to always invite me for food she’d cook. The dishes she’d come up with would be something out of this world. She spoiled me with her beautiful friendship and incredible cooking.

Ever since I met Sinem, I’ve always wanted to go to Turkey. On my travel to Pakistan I had a stopover at the Istanbul airport. What a treat it was! Istanbul airport felt like the same warm surprise as a friend I had met all those years ago. Istanbul airport was something I had “known” but couldn’t figure out what exactly.

Travel is a lot more exciting in hindsight.

We all tend to remember the good things about our travels, not the things that annoyed us; for instance, bad stomach ache, headaches, toothaches (god forbid), lack of sleep, being too cold or hot, and all that uncomfortable jazz.

All the discomfort becomes stories and how we’ve overcome them after the travel. Even though I had a bad migraine at Istanbul airport, it was the best airport experience I’ve ever had.

Photo by leo hallal on Unsplash

Istanbul Airport

The airport itself was incredible — massive, with huge ceilings, windows, and clean. My husband and I always notice the design details at all airports. To have a great design doesn’t require a lot — the beauty is in simplicity. However, I wouldn’t describe Istanbul airport as simple. It’s big. We’ve had to walk a little while felt like forever to go through the security.

I carry my laptop with me and books a bit heavy to walk around with it on my shoulders. We looked for a trolley. It transpired the payment was required. It took us a while to understand how to pay 1 euro. We were not the only ones with confused faces.

We had about 4 hours at the airport. The time just flew by. The airport was enticing me with all the food available. Airport food is known not to be that good, but we were in for a surprise.


Istanbul airport impressed me with the food. What a choice! I had a terrible migraine. My husband found a shop where they make freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. The juice from those pomegranates saved me. It got rid of the migraine and gave me energy.

The fresh food they cook is incredible. None of the airports I have ever been to have such an outstanding food selection nor the deliciousness. The food is made right in front of your eyes. Everything is fresh, tastes like million-dollar restaurant food. Turkish food was divine. I loved the authenticity of the food.

Fresh food prepared in front of our eyes was just like my friend, who would cook with so much love.

Do you know many airports where you can get the food made with love and pride? I don’t. However, not all food places were like that. There were, of course, places with sandwiches and not as fresh food available. There was plenty of choice for everyone.

I have been to Dubai airport for 20 dollars all I could get is some defrosted coconut curry, which I didn’t eat. All I end up having is an overpriced bag of crisps.

Dubai airport has gone all Western shop nonsense, including the food. It was impossible to find something decent to eat. If we came across something remotely interesting, it was overpriced and frozen. Since when do we eat food like that and think it’s ok?

I am glad to have found an airport with a bit of soul and magic!


Istanbul airport shops were impressive! The reason for that is they haven’t opened up the shops such as Zara, H&M and all that Western nonsense. I couldn’t even find make-up brands I know, which was a pleasant surprise. The big make-up brands were there such as Chanel, Armani, Clinic, Dior but I wasn’t looking for those. However, everything was overpriced.

This airport also had a beautiful shop with carpets (overpriced), beautiful lamps, shawls, unique clothing things you wouldn’t find in a Western shop. It was all fascinating and unique objects. It reminded me of a fascinating museum only you could buy stuff overpriced.

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

Istanbul airport has some soul, which hasn’t traded for money with the West. I hope it will stay like that. I hope Istanbul airport will stay unique to its food, culture, and soul. It reminded me of my friend who’s got some soul, knows what good food is, and is so happy to share it with others. If the airport is great what is the rest of the country like?

I’ve never been to Turkey. Istanbul airport made me want to visit Turkey even more. I’ve only heard great and best things about Turkey. I’ve seen some cool youtube videos too. Now, the only thing left to do is go and visit that wonderful country.

Love and Light!


We curate outstanding articles from diverse domains and…

Erika Chaudhary

Written by

I am a writer who learned to code! I write about personal experiences within a humanist and global context. Find me on Twitter & Instagram @erikachaudhary


We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

Erika Chaudhary

Written by

I am a writer who learned to code! I write about personal experiences within a humanist and global context. Find me on Twitter & Instagram @erikachaudhary


We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

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