I Think I’m Finally (Almost) A Real Backpacker

So after my six hour overnight bus trip to Canakkale (my base to visit Troy), I have checked off a couple of items that I had this far successfully avoided: using a squat toilet, and smelling like a backpacker. Let’s start where I left off: in my lovely Istanbul guesthouse, after a long day in the sun, about to take public transit to the Istanbul bus station.

It’s a bit of a walk between the tram stop and the metro line that goes to the otogar (bus station). I asked for directions a few times but made it just fine. I’m not a fan of going places I don’t know with my backpack after dark since I stick out like a sore thumb, but there were plenty of people around.

And oh yes, the toilet. Well, I had avoided them in both Japan and Korea, but they were the only option in Istanbul and beggars can’t be choosers. Honestly, it wasn’t a big deal at all. However, the fact that it’s this far into my trip is a pretty big achievement.

I was really early for my midnight bus. A bus pulled in around eleven, which seemed very early but I wasn’t going to quibble. The destination listed was Canakkale and it was in the spot listed on the ticket. It was only when a lady had a ticket for the same seat as I did that the conductor realized I was one bus too early! My bag was already loaded, so he took me to the ticket counter and helped me swap out my ticket to one on that bus. My new seat mate was an older lady who kept insisting I eat some of the crackers she had brought. Whenever I stopped munching for a few minutes, she would pay my hand and point at the packet, making a satisfied noise when I took some more.

I managed to doze on the trip, waking for a few minutes on the ferry crossing the Dardanelles (anticlimactic on a bus at 4am). What I had realized only after I changed my ticket was that my new arrival time would be before dawn, around 5 in the morning. Luckily, I was able to sit in the lobby of the Anzac hostel there until the tour office opened for my tour to Troy.

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