Belgrade to Istanbul by train

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So it’s around 7.50am and I’m on a train leaving Belgrade, bound for Istanbul. 25 hours, plus however many hours it may be late (which it will be!)  I’m wondering how many hours it will be until boredom sets in. Might try and catch some z’s to kill time. I got a sleeper train and I’m the only one in the whole carriage. I hope tonight some cool people board in Sofia or its going to be a long train for me! I just checked out the toilet and its one of those friggen squatters already covered in shit. And when I say already, I mean “still”. Apparently they don’t clean toilets on trains in Eastern Europe.  Luckily I was prepared and brought my own toilet paper, as of course they don’t have any. Still, there’ll be no pooing for me in that damn squatter! Thankfully I can smoke on here so that boredom doesn’t combine with insanity. Will check in later after a nap. BLAH!

So surprisingly I slept until 12.30 🙂 It’s actually really nice having my own carriage. It’s like a little temporary home. I don’t have to worry about anyone else and any awkwardness; although I still hope I get some cool neighbours tonight. I found a normal toilet, thank god! Of course I still have to squat, but I don’t have to use every muscle in my body to do so and don’t have the fear of falling into someone’s shit. I think I may have found somewhere to plug in my computer too, which means I can watch more movies and do stuff on here! 🙂 Woohoo!
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We are currently stopped at the Serbian/Bulgarian border and seriously, it must have been THE strangest border experience I’ve ever had! I don’t know if they were all fucking with me, but 6 men checked my passport. 2 of them stamped, the other 4 just wanted to see my name and where I was from. A soldier and another man in uniform just stood at my door and stared at me and said how they loved my tattoo. They were touching my arm as if they would be able to feel all the outlines. There was also a customs officer checking out my bags. And now all these men keep appearing and are gawking as they walk by. Then on the other side I had people on the platform staring at me as well. What the hell!? Then to top it off one of the train conductors who is clearly drunk, carrying around a 2 litre bottle of beer told me that I’m sexy, he loves my tattoo and he loves me. Hahahaha. Gotta love Eastern Europe huh? Ooh wait, just got another visit from one of the inspectors or whatever the hell he is to see what I was doing on my computer and telling me he wanted to say goodbye. Hahah Ok and just had my passport checked once more. I should start a tally.

26 hours in and we still haven’t arrived. Still no sign of Istanbul, just a whole lot of small towns and fields. We spent over 2 hours at the Turkish border at 2am in the cold last night, where I discovered that the only currency you can pay for your visa in is Euros or dollars which I had neither of. Luckily I was able to exchange my Bulgarian in the duty free store, even though the bastard ripped me off and I had to borrow 3 Euros from my new Croat friends. Basically if you can’t pay for your visa there, it’s too bad, so sad and you are suck there! In the middle of absolute nowhere where there is no cash machine and no exchange office, just a police station, passport control and a few little shops. It’s now 10am and the past 2 hours there has been a rancid stench of rotten eggs and I have no idea if it is coming from outside or from in the train. Its making me feel sick! If anybody has been to Rotorua in New Zealand, it’s on par with that! Nothing really happened last night so I shared a beer with my Turkish train conductor. He doesn’t speak a word of English, but insisted on telling me stories in Turkish anyway. Then he gave me a Turkish/English dictionary in case I ever want to learn Turkish (I won’t.) I’ve managed to read an entire book from start to finish and have played probably 60 games of solitaire. The funny thing about solitaire is I think you get worse the more you play. Or maybe I’m slightly retarded. Either one! I really wouldn’t mind if we arrived very soon and boredom is definitely starting to kick in!

OK so just after I wrote that journal my 2 Croatian friends from the next carriage came by and started swigging Vodka just after 10am! Haha I wasn’t far behind them. The train took another 3 hours, which made it 5 hours late in total. It was all good and fun in the morning until we ran out of alcohol and I just wanted to get there and off that damn train. So when we arrived my first experience was being felt up by a 15 yr old kid on the tram, which was very uncomfortable and awkward! It took us another 3 hours to find a hostel (of course stopping for beers on the way) and the drinking continued until late that night! I must admit, the trip was about 50 times better than I expected it to be so no complaints and Istanbul is amazing! : )

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