Istanbul

Just an update. This was one of the most bizarre nights I have ever experienced… hence the long story, but first I want to tell you about a small intermediate stop I’ve made at Istanbul. Going back from Ankara to Istanbul (Pendik) went great.. going from Istanbul (Pendik) to Istanbul Sirkeci (main station) is difficult due to the construction going on. I knew that I had to go to the metro in Kartal, so when I’ve arrived at the bus stop of Pendik I saw a bus with ‘Kartal’ on it. No no no no metro (mumbling in Turkish), so I look confused but meanwhile he makes signs sit down. So I’m sitting in a bus to god knows where, which honks at everyone and as soon as someone waves the bus stops (doesn’t matter where; middle of a roundabou is a logical place apparently). After a while the driver shouts in Turkish to the back and makes signs saying ‘blue bus blue bus blue bus’. So I get out and go to another bus, and yes that one goes to the metro station of Kartal. I want to pay with a note of 20 lira, but apparently thats to much and since they driver realizes I’m not Turkish he simply waves me to the back of the bus (again free ride!). Viewing Istanbul as a tourist is quite an experience (where you coming from? Holland? Ooooooooooooo / actually the only people that speak English.. trying to get you in their restaurant). Istanbul is very pretty, and rather safe by the way.. (!) – there are just a few who spoil it. One aspect of Istanbul I will remember forever: The Blue Mosque – unbelievable pretty building. Istanbul should definitely be on your ‪#‎Interrail‬ list. Now coming to the bizarre part… at 22:00 I left istanbul with 2 other people who kept me company, both speaking English very well for a change. They wanted to go to Bucharest, and I was going to Sofia: our split up point was Dimitrovgrad. In Kapikule we had to change to the train to Dimitrovgrad, in which we sat together trying to ignore all the people that wanted to sell cigarettes to us. At some point when we were all in relaxed state (feet on other couches… oh oh oh naughty us), and suddenly there is this massive bulgarian looking guy pointing from outside to one of us very angry. Turns out that he does not like that our feet were on other seats – so he enters the train! We were like o-shit whats going to happen.. luckily I had folded a blanket underneath my feet so he liked me. So he tried to give the other guy a speech in his best English (~10 words), and my other companion starts laughing… ‘NO SMILE NO SMILE’. So imagine a massive angry bulgarian guy being very angry at us? Well, it turns out that he’s a soft sweet little kitty. After the other guys put something on the seats for protection he came to sit with us. In the middle of the night we had conversations for a few hours in sign language and partially English with the massive bulgarian guy. He even added me on Facebook!! We even took pictures all together, but not allowed on Facebook because his boss would be angry. To summarize all the conversations: not a good job, no money. One of my companions tried to convince him that he should go to New York, but no money. In the end his life dream would indeed be go to New York and marry with an American women. Continuing like this, we were asking ourselves for how long is this going to go on? We al wanted to sleep, but yea the happy massive bulgarian guy was extremely happy that we had a sort-off conversation. Meanwhile I went to the bathroom, and when I got back the other 2 guys looked utterly shocked. What happened: the happy massive bulgarian guy asked his boss on the train if he could travel with the other 2 passengers to Russe (border of Bulgaria/Romania), instead of leaving in Dimitrovgrad. So, I was luckily able to sleep for a few hours… but I’m very curious how it went with the other 2 travelers.

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