I had a quick breakfast at the Tara Hotel in Dubai at 07:00 and then took the metro to the airport. I breezed through customs and security since I didn't have to drop off my big bag because it was already checked through to Istanbul.
It was another smooth five hour flight from Dubai to Istanbul. I had the window seat but the middle seat was empty. I switched seats again because I was next to a big guy. I watched a couple of movies and enjoyed the lunch on Emirates Airline.
I hadn't checked the visa requirements for Turkey and immigration sent me back to pay for a visa at a different counter for 25€. Luckily there was an ATM that worked since they wouldn't accept their own currency.
I took a long bus ride (M10) to a metro stop and then the tram to the Sultanahmet stop, and then walked a few blocks to the hotel. Thank goodness that my SIM card finally kicked in and I could use Google maps routing.
After checking into the hotel, I went out and walked around for the rest of the afternoon. Istanbul was bustling with people and there were quaint neighborhoods full of restaurants and cafes everywhere. The hotel was right by the Ayasofia Mosque in the historic area of central Istanbul.