Overnight on the Orient Express to Istanbul

August 23, 2008

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My First Turkish Coffee in IstanbulI spent my last Lev on snacks and baklava, changed into my comfiest outfit and headed to the train station to catch the overnight sleeper train to Istanbul. It’s kind of neat to be on the Orient Express to Constantinople. ;)  Our train was, of course, late so we ended up leaving two hours later than expected. I fell right to sleep and was awakened shortly at the Bulgarian border. Thirty minutes later we got to the Turkish border and then the real fun began. Everyone had to get off the train to buy visas and then stand in line. When I finally made it to the front, they stared at me and pointed to a different line. Several lines and exhausting hours later, my passport was finally stamped, and we were allowed to get back on the train. Thankfully, our belongings were untouched!

After a bumpy night, our train pulled into Istanbul around 10 am. I was sweaty, hungry and just about grumpy, so after we ditched out bags at the hotel, I ran for the ATM to get Turkish lira and then settled in for my first real Turkish coffee! We were right in the heart of the tourist area in Sultanahmet, so everything was pretty expensive, but I ordered the fruit platter anyway. After being in Eastern Europe for three weeks it was amazing to have a massive plate of fresh fruit! Ahhh! Türkiye