Bitching Brew

Thursday, March 12, 2009


The trip has been amazing so far. Budapest was especially fun. Right now, I'm chilling on my last night in Belgrade, Serbia. Ever wondered what a bomb site looks like up close? Ever been morbidly curious to see the sick devastation wrought by a cruise missile? Come and have a look around; you'll have plenty of spots to choose from.

On Saturday, I'll be in Istanbul, and I'm really looking forward to it. Unfortunately, to get there, I may have to endure the sketchiest 24 hours of my life. I'll be travelling by train from Belgrade to Sofia to Istanbul... and I haven't been able to reserve a cabin or sleeper of any kind. I'm told that it may be possible once I reach Sofia. There is no way I'm going overnight through Bulgaria in a regular seat; the daytime journey will be unpleasant enough. The "trains" I saw in northern Serbia were Third World at best. I never expected to see bare metal boxes without doors, air-conditioning, food, water or toilets, and people clinging onto the sides, pass as inter-city transportation in Europe. Then again, if you'd seen the camps and shanty towns that pass as regional cities in these parts... And beyond the seating conditions, the stories and warnings I've heard from fellow travellers are giving me the jitters.

If the first leg of the journey turns out to be repulsive, I may take the emergency option of an overnight bus from Sofia to Istanbul. Yes, it may well be nastier than an overnight Greyhound, but I've been told it's less dangerous than the train.

In all my travelling, I've never been so apprehensive. I hope my worries are overblown.


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