Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Pilgrimage from Feyzullah (Istanbul) to Gebze 07/06/08

So...what was meant to be my first nights sleep in Asia turned out to be an extra night in Europe :) Knowing that I still have to get the bus back I am eager to get an early start. Ozgur wants to come for breakfast but really isn't keen on getting up so early, finally around 9am I drag her out of bed and we go for soup...

Laughing "You want soup for breakfast? Only old men eat soup for breakfast!"

Well, old men and me :) I love it and was happy when she gave in and joined me for a bowl...

Saying our goodbyes, I find my bus and attempt to locate last nights Burger King. Being next to the sea it isn't that hard to track down and by 12 noon I'm back into it.

There was still a little rain around in the morning but what's left now is really strange. The clouds are white and fluffy with patches of blue sky, but every now and then I can hear the deep rumblings of thunder. I have no idea at all where that is coming from!!!

I start to feel a bit lonely as I make my way towards the outskirts of Istanbul. The feeling is in stark contrast to the joy I was feeling yesterday. It is going to be a long three months if I don't end up with another walking partner...but that's all just part of the journey...

I have the urge to go and get plastered, so spotting a pub I go for a beer. Feeling slightly peckish I order some meatballs, only to be bought a plate of sheep"s guts instead :( The chillies and tomatoes served with it made it edible and after another beer to wash it down I figure it was probably good for me :)

Hugging the coast I get another beautiful walk. I would love to share some of the views with you but there is a constant haze in the air in Turkey which makes it nearly impossible to get good photos of anything beyond 5m away, so you will just have to take my word for it ;)

Starting to feel like another beer I begin searching for a bar. God must have been listening to me because five minutes later these two old guys sitting on the grass call me over for a drink. They were great, couldn't speak a word of English but kept me entertained for a good half an hour. I loved that one of them was obviously religious, constantly singing Allah's praise, prayer beads in one hand...but with a beer in the other! Wonderful! :)

Around 7pm I make it to Tuzla and stop for dinner. The bill arrives and I get a huge shock realizing my one glass of Raki cost more than my plate of meatballs! I did notice it said 8YTL on the menu but i thought that must be for a small jug :) Raki is obviously a bit of a luxury in these parts...

Making it back to the highway just on dark I soldier on, for some reason still not ready to call it a day. Definitely one of the advantages of walking by myself, if I feel like walking I walk.

Just in time to catch the first half of Turkey vs Portugal I stumble into a bar.

"How much is a glass of raki?"

Big smiles "Aaaaah, no problem, no problem!!!"

Funnily enough "no problem, no problem" always seems to translate into "big problem" when the bill comes but I'm already too tired and drunk to argue :)

"OK, One raki please"

Grabbing the bill, sure enough the raki is 10YTL! When I try to bargain it down they all just laugh, then halve the price...

"OK, 5YTL"

I hand them 5YTL and they all just laugh again, give me the money back and go fill up my glass once more...wonderful!

As I go to leave one of the barman points out the door eyes wide and starts dragging his thumb across his throat, trying for a suttle hint that I should catch a bus...

I chuckle to myself as I realize that this is the place many people have warned me about over the last week. Not long ago an Italian woman, who hitched around the world in a wedding dress to show how safe the planet is, was raped and murdered by a truck driver right here. I think it is funny that everyone knows and comments on her here, the one place she ran into trouble, and she is probably all but forgotten in all the parts of the world she past through safely. People are strange, myself obviously included as I am doing exactly the same thing right now, commenting on her tragedy rather than her success :)

Making another 3 or 4kms zig-zagging down the highway I spot an abandoned building and call it a day...

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