The only bad experience we had in this lovely city was upon first arriving by cruise ship we took one of the taxis located right where you leave the ship. We were promised 1. an English speaking driver - he had very little English 2. a 4 hour driving tour around the city with stops where we wanted for E100 or 250 Turkish lira - we got a half hour drive then were taken to the cathedral. OK on that - but afterward, the "cousin" of the driver who acted as our guide to the Hagia Sophia, (a guide to walk us up the street? it is open to the public and in a huge area, stupid us) asked us in to where he also worked for a drink of tea " as is our custom." It happens that he also worked in a rug store. What that custom consists of is SELLING you a rug. This took nearly 2 hours before we got out of there without ( miraculously) buying. Then the cab took us back to the ship since we were out of time and demanded 270 Lira instead of 250! He knew very well what had been agreed upon but since we did not buy a rug, he did not get his commission! I did not have any other money so he said he would take the $20 I had left in my wallet. Very bad feelings were left after this episode. DO NOT agree to any free tea or drinks anywhere unless you are prepared to sit through a sales pitch of some kind. And always negociate every cab fare. Our hotel manager told us that NO fare in the city should ever be more than 25 lira.
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