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On The Road In Turkey

We are seven countries, twenty different hostels, and 6 overnight buses/trains into our trip, and we are still having a blast and managing to get along with minimal arguing.  We have decided that each month of this trip is equivalent to 2 years of married life since we are together every second of each day.  So come March, instead of our 3rd wedding anniversary, we will celebrate our 13th!  Quite an accomplishment really!

The past week spent in Turkey has been another true adventure. I'm so glad that we only spent one night in Istanbul and decided to visit other areas of this interesting country.  We both love hıttıng the road and seeıng all that we can ın the amount of tıme we have ın each place.  The bus rides are always interesting, and you just never know what the journey will bring.  The journeys we have taken in Turkey have certainly not left us disappointed!  When we left Istanbul last Monday evening, we were picked up by a transportation company to take us to the bus station.  Nothing like a good minibus ride!  I love a good Mercedes minibus!  The ride to the station was a hair-raising experience to say the least.  It was such a thrill to fly through the crowded streets and get a different view of the city.  The driver cursed incessantly and was the recipient of many honks and hand gestures as he drove furiously through multiple traffic lanes to get us to our bus on time.  Once at the station we were hustled through a very crowded non-english speaking office to get our tickets.  We managed to get on the bus and find our seats, and soon after we departed Istanbul for Goreme, which was a long 11 hour journey.   Ahhhhh...nothing like an overnight haul, not knowing where you are going to land.

Let me backpeddle and say that a travel agency in Istanbul had arranged for the transportation and accomodations for our first several nights outside of the city.  We had two overnight buses to look forward to, and one night booked in a cave hotel.  Quality for sure!  So the first bus ride (the one I started to mention in the above paragraph) left us both in foul moods.   A few things to mention were the total lack of leg room due to seats directly in behind the back door of the bus, aircondition blowing into our faces all night because the individual on/off switch was broken, and a bus attendant that kept demanding to see our tickets and then yelling at us in Turkish.  Eventually we became convinced that we had gotten on the wrong bus.  The next morning at 7:00, in sleep deprived states, we were dumped off with other tourists at a random bus station 10 km outside of Goreme.  When asking the locals how to get to Goreme, they shook their heads and looked confused.  We were relieved when a minibus came to pick us up, but our bad moods flared once again when the seats filled too quickly, and we were left stranded.  The two of us, a gaunt looking American woman, and a very pleasant Phillipino couple stood helplessly for a while longer, until Aaron completely lost his cool.  Thanks to his tantrum (ıt wasn't pretty), one of the locals reluctantly found another minibus and got us to Goreme.  He pouted a bit and drove us in circles around the town several times, but we eventually landed at the Nomad Cave Hotel. 

We were very thankful to be staying in a cave the following night.  The bed was comfortable and free of bugs, and we even had our own bathroom.  Really quite luxurious!  The following night we found ourselves back on the bus at 9pm.  We managed to buy some beer, sausage, cheese and crackers to prevent hunger during the long 12 hour ride.  We were pleasantly surprised to see our Phillipino friends sitting in the seats next to ours.  This journey was looking promising at first because the bus was more modern, and we had proper leg room.  We both popped some benadryl and managed to sneak in a few hours of sleep until we were awakened by the attendant at 5:30.  He announced that this was our stop, a small dinky town called Denzili.  We got our gigantic backpacks out from the luggage compartment and were standing in the dark contemplating what to do.  We really wanted to travel for three more hours to the town of Selcuk, so Aaron went to go inquire about times.  It just so happened that the bus we had just gotten off of was heading to that location, but they said we had to pay a total of 40 YTL to get back on, and we only had 20 YTL.  Aaron busted for the ATM as I attempted to carry our bags back to the bus.  Unfortunately the ATM was out of service, so we were unable to pay the total cost.  The driver and the attendant held a small pow-wow to discuss the matter and decided that we could pay later.  Relieved, we hopped back on and rode for another three hours until we were awakened once again by the attendant motioning for us to get off.  Outside we were standing beside a closed gas station, a couple of cottages with goats and hens scattered in the yard, and a sign ahead saying that Selcuk was another 7 km up the road.  The driver used hand motions to tell Aaron to go and find money, so Aaron ran off while I was held hostage with the luggage, the driver and the attendant.   Once again, no ATM, so we were unable to pay.  We continued to point to the Selcuk sign and motion to our map in hand, and so there was another pow-wow between the driver and attendant, and they decided they would take us to Selcuk.   Finally in town, we stopped at the bus station where they let us off, and Aaron ran well over a mile to the nearest ATM while I was once again held hostage with the bags.  Thanks to a functioning cash machine, we finally managed to pay for our tickets wıth much relıef!

Today we are relaxing, preparing for our final overnight bus ride in Turkey. Aaron tried out the national beverage, called raki, which turns out to be his old friend absinthe, which was rough. Tomorrow we will arrive in Istanbul, and the next day we are off to Bangkok. The adventure never ends.

Peace, Jess.


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great view. i think the same

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