We were planning to catch the train this evening and start the long journey across Turkey - well for me it depended on AMEX. I went with Michael and Heather to the bazaar as Michael had decided to buy a leather jacket - it was excellent quality. I left by myself and headed to the university where you could climb the tower for a view over Istanbul. The campus was spacious and the buildings very modern but alas the tower was closed. An alternative view would be possible from the Galata Tower. So I walked across the Galata bridge and briefly watched the fishermen using small nets - during my stay they were being very successful despite the water being very rough. The Galata Tower could be seen easily from all across the city but it took me ages to find the street where its entrance was situated only to find that entrance fee was quite expensive. Anway it was nearly 3pm and I needed to find the Amex offices. This proved difficult - there were no taxis to be seen and it was impossible to tell which way the buses were travelling. Relief as the next bus was signposted to Taksim square. Double relief as Amex had agreed to reissue my travellers cheques. Naturally there was another form to complete and for good measure they took my photograph.
The area around Taksim was fairly modern compared to most of Istanbul with many hotels and smart shops. This time I walked back and soon reached the Bosphorus. Time to check the train times and buy some food for the train journey. I exchanged my vouchers and enjoyed my free meal at the YMCA before Michael and Heather returned. The train station was across the other side of the Bosphorus and so it was a 3TL ferry journey and then into the continental land mass of Asia. The train fare across to Erzerum was 38TL with our student discount - not bad over 24 hours for £1. There were two other westerners on the platform and they joined us as we found a separate empty compartment to share. The seats were OK and the floors were cleaned several time during the journey. There was not much space and so we took turns in lying down on the luggage rack which was like a hammock - it was still difficult to sleep. The train was very slow and there was a constant stream of sales people mostly selling soft drinks. Our new travel mates were Canadian Bob and American John with the latter having spent the winter in Israel at a kibbutz.
Travelled overland to Australia in 1972 taking 4 months and after 20 months in Australia travelled back through Indonesia taking 3 months. I have read and admired lots of blogs on this website and have decided to add my diary from my first travels. I will endeavour to update my pages in line with the 1972 dates. Unfortunately my films from London to Kabul were lost in the post and therefore I cannot add my own photographs until later in the journey! The first ten days were spent travelling through Germany and some days were staying with student friends hence they are less challenging (and mayb... full info