26 August 2006

Istanbul (not Constantinople)

The train ride back to Turkey was much longer than I expected. We were told that we would get into the station at about 7 this morning, but we didnàt get in until after noon. I had my own room because the guy who booked thought I said 1st class instead of 1 passenger. Oh well, it was nice to have a cabin to myself for a 14 hour train ride.

Unfortunately, I kept getting awaken by customs last night. First, they have to stamp your passport to leave Greece. Youàd think this would be a quick process. But, the customs agent comes onto the train, knocks on everyoneàs cabin, and collects the passports to be stamped. The train then started moving and I went back to sleep. About an hour later I got awakened by the customs agent again to give me back the passport.

Then, we got to Turkish customs another couple hours later. Same thing, first they collect hte passports, and then give them back to you. Luckily I already had my Turkish visa, but if you didnàt, you had to leave the train, buy your visa, and then come back on the train to give your passport over to the customs agent.

I am really excited about hte tour. Iàm staying in the nicest hotel Iàve ever been in in Europe!!! Thereàs a rooftop pool, a full gym, and I have a Turkish bath and massage scheduled in a couple hours!! Theres a jacuzzi tub in my room, flat screen TV, full mini'bar !! The board at the front desk says my room is 250 Euro a night, which is over 300 dollars....nearly a third the cost of my entire tour (which is for 17 days). I probably looked weird walking in with my huge backpack into the ultra posh lobby, but once I got showered I blended right in with the crowd.

I crave western food, and thereàs a mcdonalds down the street............

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