So like in Istanbul, the everpresent travel-cold that had been with me basically this entire trip finally abruptly devolved into oh-fuck-I’m-really-sick, so this is mostly just a photodump since I tried to avoid interacting with people as much as I could.

Against everyone’s advice, I decided to take the night train from Plovdiv to Istanbul. This route has only been re-opened since February 2017, so most of the information about it is outdated, but what information there is pretty much is like do not do this. The hostel workers in Plovdiv were like do not do this. So naturally, I did this.

And honestly, it was completely fine. The train was utterly empty, and I don’t think a single person except the border guard spoke any English, but the conductor and even the passport dudes were perfectly friendly. I was alone in my sleeping compartment (because again, empty), and shit, I slept better than I do in real beds. They give you two sheets and a blanket, a pillow and a pillowcase, and it’s quite cozy. Especially because the door locks from the inside.

Border control at 3-4am is never fun, but what can you do.

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And then, yeah, once I got settled in Istanbul, my cough and runny nose became oh god I’m dying. Fortunately my hostel was right in the old city, like five minutes from the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, and you could chill on the rooftop terrace bar overlooking the Sea of Marmara, so I dragged myself out for a couple hours every day, more or less.

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I did at least, barely, muster up the wherewithal to take the ferry across the Bosphorus River to the Asian side of Istanbul, so I can say I have been to Asia. It’s totally cheating, but like, it’s not a lie.

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And there are, of course, excellent street kitties in Istanbul.

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Especially orange ones, I guess.

Because of the death-plague, I did not end up going a Turkish bath, because it seems kind of rude to go to a public bath where you’re coughing yourself into near-vomit 24/7. But the plague has by now dwindled into a mildly annoying lingering cough, so tomorrow I am going to one of the baths here in Budapest, and I have even booked a deep-tissue massage to try to ease some of the remnant Albanian back-fuckery, so I have to actually get off my ass and go.

…Hopefully.

Varna, Bucharest, Odessa, Kiev and now Budapest are still languishing here but I’m working on catching up. Slowly.

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