I woke up about 5:30 when Kate left to use the facilities. I couldn’t get back to sleep because I didn’t want to wake up when the train arrived in Istanbul. After I got dressed, I opened the window shade and was able to watch the sunrise on the Bosphorus River that is the dividing line between Europe and Asia here.
Right now we are on the Asia side. I saw some ducks, a lot of boatsâ€”both small and large–some fisherman and quite a bit of housing; some of it reminded me a little of Miami because of the terra cotta roofs and the pink paint.
As pretty as it was, by 6 I was getting a little antsy so I went down to the dining car for tea. I expected to get back and find children, at least Josh, awake, but everyone was snoozin’. I’m still replaying the carpet buying experience in my head, thinking how I could have done a better job at bargaining. Our guide told us that there are always several prices for everything in Turkey: the Turkish price (lowest), the Traveler price, the Tourist price and the Japanese price. Hopefully I was closer to Traveler than Japanese. I really have to quit the Monday-morning quarterbacking though because it’s taking the joy out of owning some beautiful rugs. One thing I may do though is email the shop and ask them to send details about the dyes and the patterns, because I’ll be darned if I can remember them now. I do know that the larger one was made with vegetable dyes and the smaller one was chemical dyes.
Something to keep in mind if you come, change is always helpful to have. Generally you get single lira and anything smaller in coins (I have gotten a one lira note, but only once so far). As a traveler, you need coins for almost everything. The public bathrooms are frequently .50 lira, for instance. Last night the conductor charged 2 lira per room to pull down the beds. That seems like quite the racket to me. I wonder if the Japanese tourist group had to pay that as well. All-in-all, the sleeper train was very nice and very comfortable.
Well, we had our first travel hiccup today. The confirmation that I printed out from the hotel didn’t have an address or phone number on it and I didn’t notice that until kind of late in the game.
After our ferry ride across the Bosphorus from Asia to Europe (about $1), we stopped and had a very nice breakfast in a cafe by the water.
After that, we walked a few blocks and hailed a taxi. He wasn’t sure where the hotel was and we stopped and asked several people. At one point, we went into a hotel with a similar name and he looked up the address. As we were leaving the taxi driver who was nice, but getting a little impatient, hit a traffic barrier pretty hard with his car, putting a pretty significant dent in his fender. Of course, this was not my fault, but I felt terrible. Luckily, we arrived at the right hotel soon after that. Since I’m an American, I threw some money at the problem and gave him twice the fare that was due.
Now we’re in the room waiting for Mike to arrive. We’re having a little trouble with the shower, but I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with the hassle of changing rooms, if that’s necessary. I could just take a bath and that would be fine at this point.
For the full story of Bridget Westhoven and 3beansabroad visit their website www.westhoven.net