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EUR07: The End of All Things

As is my wont, I’m going to sum up two days in as short a time as possible. [edit] Maybe not… [/edit]

Getting into Turkey was a bit of a mess. The train broke down, so we had to take a bus to the border station in Greece. We crossed over into Turkey, and of the 60 or so people on the one-coach train, only four, including myself, had to pay for their visas. We were taken inside the station, and this is what the official said, verbatim:

“American? Ten euro. Romanian? Fifteen euro. Spanish? Ten euro. Canadian? Fourty-five euro.”

I mean I was expecting it, but that’s really just a bit odd. Anyway, then we waited for another thirty minutes in the inferno of a train until we got underway. Finally arrived in Turkey at night, with the Aya Sophia and Blue Mosque looking damn impressive. Get to my hostel (directly between the two monuments, luckily enough). You may remember that I’d originally planned on staying two nights in Istanbul, but had to reduce that to one night. I’d emailed the hostel to let them know of the change, but the way things were going I knew how that was going to turn out. Of course, they’d cancelled my reservation when I didn’t show up the first night, and now the hostel was booked. A shame, because I really liked the location/look of the place. But, “no worry, no worry, we help you,” I was told. Indeed, they gave me a room with the best view in the house.

The roof.

I found that oddly fitting and decided to go along with; so I clamber up to my room/roof to look out over the twinkling lights of Istanbul at night, on the other side of the river, when I hear what must have been the last call to prayer of the day. I had to laugh… I’d finally made it, and it was all so very perfect.

Anyway, stayed up with some late-comers who were chilling on the other side of the roof. Then, around 3:30, we all went to bed – them on their comfy mattresses; me, on the roof, on the cushion smelling the least of cat pee.

Awoke to the first call to prayer of the day, 4:45ish, then sleeping on and off again until 7:00. Got my train ticket out of here for tonight, had free breakfast on the hostel’s terrace, again overlooking the river, passed through the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia in the morning, then the Grand Bazaar, and then after lunch I took the ferry and passed into Asia.

There honestly wasn’t much to see there, as I didn’t have a map, and it was boiling hot again, and so there my eastern journey finally came to an end. I carved a Ring into the wall by the road where I took my last forward step, and then, at last, turned back towards home.

So there we have it. I’ve been gone for a month, I need home for a rest, as the song goes. All that comes now is a train overnight to Thessaloniki, then the train during the day tomorrow to Athens, and then I just go straight to the airport to wait until my flight early the next day. But my goodness, I don’t envy the person that has to sit next to me on any of those steps. Whew. Feet wrapped in burnt, leathery bacon, is all I gotta say.

Deep thoughts and reflections when I’ve had a chance to shower back home. Until then, see you later on down the trail.

Merci, danke, grazie, epharisto, teşekkür ederim, thank you all for reading.

I’m glad you’re with me Samwise Gamgee… here at the end of all things.