Leaving the Bosphorus

Trip Start Jul 01, 2010
Trip End Aug 08, 2011

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Where I stayed
By the road with a few stray dogs

Flag of Turkey  , Istanbul,
Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday morning, I am reading my email by the šesme (water fountain) opposite my hotel, when I spot an email from Charlie, sent from the İndian consul and telling me that my Indian visa was ready. I was astonished, as I'd been told it would be the following week and almost given up hope of having any company for my way east.

I quickly packed and checked out of the hotel, crossing town to the Indian consulate and trying to arrange a quick meetup with a couple of Kiwis whose blog I'd stumbled across and who happened to be spending the Winter in İstanbul for a break on their bicycle voyage back from the UK to New Zealand.

After being told I'd have to wait until 5 pm to collect my visa, I was seen 'camped' outside the embassy by one of the staff members who told me to come up with him. I was given my visa forthwith and sped off to meet Justin and Emma at the nearby Taksim Square.

It was great to hear Kiwi accents again for the first time in an age, and we had a lot to talk about with our sımilar backgrounds and travel plans. I enjoyed my first Turkish coffee, and was so enthralled chatting to Emma and Justin that I had trouble to leave, and didn't get away until 5 pm! I found the ferries crossing the Bosphorus and somehow wiggled through the thronging rush hour crowds of people and onto the boat, meeting a local cyclist en route who gave me helpful advice on getting out of İstanbul.

I zipped along and around strands of the enormous web of motorways radiating out into Asian Turkey, finally getting clear of built up areas just as darkness arrived. I saw a small wood by the road and, passing a barking stray dog, went down a steepish bank, then climbed a small hill and pitched in a little clearing in the trees. The four or five stray dogs barked all night, alerting the dogs in the nearby village who joined in for good measure. Sleep came without a problem.
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