So after sleeping on the beach in Kavala Greece we woke up and drove straight to Turkey. The sun was beating down harder than ever and the heat was so intense. We rolled into the border in the late afternoon. It took about an hour to pass through as we had to cross at least 4 different check points and pay 45 Euro for a visa! It took us another several hours for finally drive into Istanbul..
Upon arrival we discovered our two campgrounds in Istanbul from our "Europe Camping" book had been closed. We contacted Ben's German friend Daniel and headed to his place. Unfortuntately he didnt have room for us so after a night of drinking we got a few hours of shut eye in the Hajji in downtown Istanbul. In the morning we were all brushing our teeth on the street with people still sleeping on the roof of the van... we shook many Turks to their core, they had no idea what to think.
So yeah, Istanbul, always dreamt of going and it is an amazing city! So huge, so huge! So many people and so many cultures all mixed together. Mosques and churches and kebab stands clutter every street. We spent many an afternoon lounged on a rooftime sitting on big fluffly pillows drinking beer and smoking a water pipe! Very delightful! We did some sightseeing, to the Blue Mosque etc, went to the big markets and took a ferry or two.
Eventually we caved and got a hostel room for the first time on the trip, sleeping 5 people in the Hajji in crowded big city streets just wasnt cutting it...
So as time was slowly passing I was coming to the end of my trip, I was scheduled to leave on Friday from Istanbul and then Monday from Amsterdam... the thought of spending another 3 nights in Amsterdam turned my stomach. I was tired, dirty and ready to come home, so instead of delaying the inevitable, I changed some flights I flew home on Thursday! Where I am now, sitting in my parents house!
The great Africa Europe trip of 2009 has come to an end... what an unforgettable experience! As we always say in the Hajji, it is not about the places or things we see, it is the people we meet and travel with that are so amazing!
Watch my facebook for pictures....!
Addy in Calgary