30 july Istanbul (TURKEY)

We are in the center of Istanbul at the sweet Ozge's, a girl that Rossho met some years ago in Norway and now very kindly is giving us hospitality. I've just woken up, there is a deep silence all around me. Everybody are still sleeping.

The entrance in this huge and contradictory Country is still in my mind.

We were crossing small train stations with hundreds people waiting for the train till we arrived in Istanbul, everywhere the red flag with the half white moon were waving, there were no asphalt roads, we saw many small and dirty children who stopped playing to watch the train passing and greeted us, so happy as it was a very important event, you could see poor people everywhere but once entered in the suburb we have get to know the other side of Turkey. The industrialized area, the famous "minarets" everywhere, rich mosques, expensive cars...

This morning we went to a local supermarket with Ozge to buy something for our breakfast. It was weird to pay, for example, a bottle of water, millions Turkish lira, there is a huge inflation!

We had breakfast on Ozge's veranda over the Bosporus river. A magical place, it's beautiful to stay here and watch all this mosques as background in this city with 14 millions of inhabitants!

We visit the "Blue Mosque", there is a huge carpet which covers all the ground, at the entrance they made us take off our shoes, inside is wonderful, it seems to be in Saudi Arab, everything is written in Arabic, Muslim pray everywhere; then we go to "Haghia Sofia" Mosque, then an acqueduct used at the Ottoman time, the "Galata Tower", where we have enjoy a wonderful view, the whole Istanbul, her Mosques, her minarets, her Bosphorus, her degrade, her skyscrapers, her houses built without an exact "plan" as a mosaics continued in the course of the time, the Asian side and the European one. We also see the Galatasaray stadium.

Too bad only for the high temperature! At 11 pm it is 34 degrees!

I am impressed when I notice that there are no garbage bins along the streets; there are sellers of one glass of lemonade or fresh water or the one who measure your weight on their scale...

Too bad I'm too deep in thought because, I confess that, I'm afraid of the transfer from Turkey to Slovenia.

We are going to live very difficult days over there...

31 july Istanbul (TURKEY)

 

Today we move to Ozge's grandfather's, backpacks on our shoulders and nice walk towards the center.

In the afternoon, we cross the Bosphorus by ferry.

The Asian side is even poorer than the European one...

In the evening we visit the "Grand Bazar", it is really exciting to get lost in those narrow lanes that smell of incense, through carpets, hookah sellers and not very reliable people...

[Ôzge Ôztûrk from Istanbul, Turkey]: "Each of us goes his own way alone... But still it's a good feeling to make ourselves believe that we are not alone when the roads intersect even if just for a few days... See you, as long our roads don't intersect again!"

01 august Istanbul (TURKEY)

In a while we are departing for a new adventure.

We are leaving Turkey and the Bosphorus. This river represents the meeting point between the Mediterranean and the Marmara beyond being the meeting of two different cultures, our Western and their "Muslim", if we can say so!

We are leaving here the comfort of a house, the quietness of a safe place where we can sleep but above all the sweetness, the sympathy and disponibility of our dear friend and guide: Ozge.

[Rossho]: "Turkey. How many times I have thought of you! In my opinion this Country is very undescribed, not only because it's very far from our way to look at the things but also because every conclusions of yours could be contradicted two minutes later.

They love Atatûrk here, a political leader that in 1923 founded the Turkish Republic; he's a God and there are pictures and busts of him everywhere... Just as the mosques, there are more mosques than schools, in my opinion it should be the opposite... As for the democracy, there is only the appearance.

Atatûrk worked for the freedom but he hasn't been understood. After his death (1936) everything changed, but it changed using his name. They abused his name for fake political campaigns and through armed revolutions and constitutional changes; today Turkey worships a man of whom there is nothing but images and busts"...

 

02 august Sofia (BULGARIA)

[Rossho]: Travelling inbound Bulgaria.

I'm thinking about so many things... Ozge is far, maybe forever, the slow and noisy running of this train makes my memories a sad litany..."

What a hard trip, the train is jolting, windows opened and closed every minute, then they slam, the seats are creaking in an annoying way, the border policemen, the controllers...

We share our compartment with two Slovenian photographers. At five in the morning they make us get out of the train to check our passports for the nth time... It's so cold!

We should have arrived at midday but it's now four and we are still in the train... In every train station there is a man who checks the train's "wheels"... What does that mean?

After arriving in Sofia, we directly go to the city center but we soon realize that there is not much to visit... There are no interesting monuments, neither a characteristic road: nothing! It's a very poor city. They use the Cyrillic alphabet and English language is not very popular.

I meet an old man who want to help us, he want to give us hospitality in his house, take us to the disco, introduce us to some girls but we don't trust him and as soon as we can, we send him away...

Luckily we meet again the two Dutch that had travelled with us some days ago when we went to Istanbul: Haasso and Hanneke.

I think that we will travel together till Romania, after all: unity is strength!

[Rossho]: "Here we are in the train station, what a nice place... Tonight we are going to do guard shifts, it will be a long night! But I'm used to it by now, I left the normality at home...

I'm a bit confused, it's like we are still waiting for another train and while you are waiting you are still thinking about the last one...

We have had some problems with a drunk guy who was dressing a Liverpool T-shirt, but he's gone, now here we are and we want to have rest and sleep"...

03 august Sofia (BULGARIA)

[Rossho]: "They have just kicked us out of the train station... Even after asking the favour at two policemen to stay inside the station, they have kicked us out all the same, but maybe we have found something better... We are going to sleep in a bar opened 24h...

Mark and Haasso are having rest till four a.m. while me and Takx are doing the guard shift, then they will replace us...

"The time must, so it slides on the train of the existence; slow litany, solemn parody of whom believes, even for a moment, to be arrived".

[Takx]: "Choose, what a difficult choice! I will use all my voice to scream: I left alone, alone: and it will be a battle". I wrote this because Rossho was complaining of having nothing to do... So I will make him feel busy".

[Rossho]: "Answering at Takx's message: The choice, there is always one (actually more than one)... Using own voice is living, each of us departs and arrives alone, but is it all true? I'm always here but I surround myself with people to annihilate the in annihilated: the loneliness... Here the battle is".

[Haasso Schaap from Rÿswyk, Holland]: "At the moment I'm trying to stay awake from a terrible sleep on the floor. I think that we all disliked Sofia, but aren't these people a little bit too helpful with us?"

Everybody is sleeping here but me and Haasso, it's our guard shift right now.

We have many trips problems and my travel mates create others, of existential nature too? Guys: try to have rest, sleep well because tomorrow is another hard day!

If this Bulgarian serial ends well I will have a different opinion of these people, but I'm still wondering: Why they have been so kind to us?

Haasso has a sleepy face... A bit tired, I'd say... In few minutes he will fall asleep... Here he's!

The owner of the bar, very early in the morning, brings us five coffees. He wants to offer them to us and he insists too much, we, always more suspicious, refuse until, in the end, by mistake, he poures it on my arm. What a pain!!!

In the morning, we decide to go to the Romanian embassy to solve our visa problem! We find out that we had to pay 22$ each.

Now we are ready to leave this Country.

[Rossho]: "Everything is going all right with these Dutch. we exchange food.

A diffident meeting has turned into a young friendship"!

 

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