Day 67 - Wed 21 May 08
I awake after our hours sleep and wonder if yesterday really did happen! We're ploughing through some beautiful low rolling hills with a mix of cultivation and wild pasture.
We arrive in Ankara 1:40 late, and that's 1:20 too late to catch the train onward to Istanbul. At first I'm told that my ticket won't be accepted on the next train, but after a bit one bloke says 'come back at 14:00 and we'll get you on the 14:30'. So I head off to see if I can find an Internet cafe. To get out of the station I walk through a subway which has shops on either side. They sell underwear, tee shirts, and military stuff. Weird.
After some Internet time I head back to the station and get a plate of chips on the station platform. On a whim I decide to see if I can purchase my ticket from Istanbul onward to Sofia. The very friendly station man says 'yes' and points me in the direction of what appears to be the station masters office. A lady then gets all three parts of the ticket sorted out, and calculates the price at 99L. She then rings Istanbul to get the coach and seat number. I even manage to pay by credit card.
The 14:30 train arrives and I'm put aboard, I'm told that I might have to move into the buffet at 18:00, but I have no problems with that. But that plan never happens. About one hour outside Ankara the train grinds to a halt. There is an electrical problem with the train. A diesel train is dispatched from the previous station to drag us back.
Once the train is back in the station someone start to work on the train, and not long after we're underway again, but three and a half hours late. I manage to retain my seat all the way to Hydrapasa station in Istanbul. We arrive just after 00:30, and there are no ferries running across to the European side at that time. So I grab a 50l taxi to get me across the bridge - the driver takes pity on me and even shares his pizza with me!
I eventually find my hotel, check in, do a wash and I'm in bed by 02:06! So I've been on the go since 20:00 yesterday evening..