Day 171 (GOT MY VISA!!!)
Finally got my visa to Russia! I have been in Istanbul since the 6th of August and gave them my passport on the 8th. The process although expensive was very easy and I recommend it to others who get a headache thinking about a Russian visa and have a Canadian passport and $220 USD. All I did was give this guy my passport and a photo of myself and 11 days later I had the visa ready to go which I paid for in Lira (390 TL). I just booked my flight out of St Petersburg to Cairo, Egypt for the 24th of September at 6:50 PM. I will likely arrive in Moscow on the 1st or 2nd of September and I have a place setup. Then I just need to go about the annoying process of registering when I arrive in any Russian city.
I also bought my ticket today to Plovdiv, Bulgaria which leaves in a few hours and will be an overnight bus. My plan is to stay in Bulgaria for a few days then move on to Romania. Likely I will stay a few days in Bucharest and a few days in Brasov so I can go to Bran Castle and say I have been to Transylvania. Then off to Kiev, Ukraine likely for almost a week. I may take a detour and check out Moldova for a few days and spend less time in Ukraine but I have not decided on that yet. Then from Kiev it’s off to start my Russia trip for 3+ weeks before I fly to Egypt and finally rid myself of Europe, in the most positive way of course but I do want to move on.
I went to a really cool art gallery with these mutant things interacting with humans that looked very real. It was free and had several levels so I really enjoyed it for those qualities alone. I am not much of an art person but seeing as how I like science fiction type stuff this was right up my alley. I was imaging a world were these thing existed and just walked around like a second species or maybe like really scary pets for people. Either way I will pepper this post with pictures from the gallery as I didn’t really take a ton more pictures since my last Istanbul post.
So I haven’t done a lot of stuff during my waiting time in Istanbul. Made some friends and just hung out generally. I got rid of my 3 t-shirts that I had when I started this trip, also got rid of the 3 shirts I bought from the GAP in London and 2 shirts that I was given while in Istanbul that I instantly disliked. I bought one shirt while here that I really like and am now down to only 3 t-shirts and 2 button shirts which I think is fine for now. One of my button shirts needs a button sewed back on which I have no idea how to do so I will just keep asking people until I find someone with the skills and supplies to help me out. I’ve kept the jeans I bought in Berlin but not sure for how long as I really don’t like them the same way I did when I bought them. But all this has made a much lighter backpack which is always a good thing.
Speaking of lighter things, I had an Estonian girl shave my head while I was at the hostel just so I could finally see if I liked it. Turns out I don’t. But as it’s been growing back for about a week I actually like the level it is at currently with just a few millimeters of hair evenly distributed. I will likely let it grow back to normal level and just get a basic hair cut while in Egypt. For those that don’t know I intend to get a tattoo in Russia to commemorate traveling for 6 months and to finally get a tattoo as I have thought about it forever and just never done it. I have heard Russia is a good place to get a tattoo and it will add to the story when I tell people about it. I will likely get a small round compass on the inner forearm of my left arm. I will keep people posted on the progress of this of course.
That’s it for now but my trip is about to get a whole lot more exciting I feel, and it almost feels like I am just starting my trip as I have gotten too familiar with Europe and am ready for Africa and Asia. That sounds weird but basically I am just really looking forward to some of the upcoming destinations. I am going to try and get more couch surfing going as I have been a bit lazy as of late mostly due to poor planning and lack of effort in sending requests. But expect me to have some CS hosts on my way to Russia and beyond.