Day 160 (Istanbul, Turkey)
Well it’s been 19 days since my last post and a lot has happened. I had a great time in Italy and met a lot of cool people along the way. I still have that string bracelet on which is an accomplishment that I haven’t lost it or something. I did buy a book which I forgot on the bus. I also lost my eye mask on a ferry which sucks because I really liked it. Also I think I forgot a ring that I brought into a bathroom but it was only 5 EUR so I guess I will get over it. I bought a pair of sunglasses today which I am hoping to not lose for at least a few months.
An update on my progress since Rome is as follows. I spent a week in Rome before taking a bus north to Florence for a few days were I stayed at a really nice campsite that had a great view of the city. Met some cool people and mostly just hung out and did a small bit of sightseeing but never made it to see Michelangelo’s David. Then I took another bus to Venice for the same amount of days were I went to a second campsite by the same company as the first and it was equally good but a bit further outside of the Venice that you see in the movies. A shuttle took me in easily and the city was very fun to walk around in. Found some good food and my kind of art in one of the random Venice streets. It’s fun walking around a city with no cars, bikes or anything else besides pedestrians and pigeons.
After Venice I took a ferry all the way to a city called Patras, Greece which is a port city for Greece and was as close as I could get to Athens from Italy. I then took a bus into Athens which took a few hours and is were I forgot my book. Now I had met a really cool guy in New York City a few days into my trip who said I could stay with him if I was ever in Athens. I wasn’t sure if he would recall me but he did and he said I could stay which was awesome. I helped him move from one house to another over a few days with another couch surfer he had with him named Rafal. We went to the beach, had super with his family, hung out with his friends and many other things. It was one of my favorite couch surfing experiences and sadly I was so into it I took exactly 0 pictures of Athens. Rest assured I had a great time and saw everything I wanted to see.
Now more recently I took a bus from Athens to Istanbul via a train ride through Thessaloniki which was in Greece. It cost me 45 EUR for a visa to enter for 90 days which sucks because Canadians pay more than any other country in the world to enter Turkey and I am not sure why. I have been in a hostel in Istanbul for the last few days and will be here for at least another 10 days. The reason I am staying as long as I am is that I have decided to get my visa for Russia while here and a travel agency currently has my passport. I really hope things work out as I was refereed to a third person by the Russian Consulate in Istanbul, but the guys did seem trustworthy enough so hopefully it works out. It actually feels a lot like when I got my visa for China where I just gave it to some random person and then days later had a visa. Just like then I filled out no forms, didn’t get an invitation and gave it to some person who looks like they have nothing to do with visa’s. I will keep everyone posted on the visa thing and will do a post as soon as I know what happens.
A word on this hostel. It feels like the house that Tyler Durden lived in on Fight Club. The building across from it has no walls and is falling apart yet people work in it. My room in the basement has water everywhere, except near my bed luckily. The toilet/shower is disgusting in every way possible. The beds look like the kind you would find in a Turkish prison if not for the mattress that is barely on the frame. The internet works almost never. When I first arrived the key was thrown down to me from a 3rd story window and I was told to unlock the door. Oh and there is a bunch of chickens living outside the door. Besides that though it’s good for 4 EUR a night and I actually kind of enjoy the place in a sadistic way. It is good training for what India will have to throw at me hopefully.