10 reasons I know I've just started travellıng.
19/7/10 - 25/7/10 28 °C
Well I finally got away. At times it felt like I would be preparing for this trip for ever. But to be honest we are totally unprepared in a planning sort of way, which suits us both but worries some people here!
We spent the first night in Riga. The arrival was a bit challenging as they didn't tell us that our baggage would be sent into storage and we sadly waited at the conveyor belt as everyone else collected their stuff. Eventually we realised that it wasn't coming and waited in a slow line of baggage complaints. I didn't panic, but felt sad that my new rucksack and hanging wash bag and carefully chosen travel items might not be used in their full glory, and even wondered if it was an extra lesson in non-attachment to material things, as if packing up my bus and office hadn't been enough.
Life in Latvia is a lot slower and more relaxed than England - as I realised in that line waiting! We caught the local bus into Riga, where I realised that they also had a relaxed attitude towards paying fares, passing money and tickets down the crowded bus.
Riga is a nice mixture of Soviet and European and I suppose Baltic - Scandinavian. It's pretty quiet with wide streets and a mixture of greenery and dilapidation.
Managed to speak a little Russian, please understand that when I say little, I really mean minute.
I hated Istanbul airport and was a bit worried I might feel the same about the city, but not at all - it really is a fantastic place to come to. We are staying here till Monday night, when we get the sleeper train to Ankara and on to see fairy chimneys in Cappadocia.
I've got a chest infection still from England and as we are staying in a really nice hostel on the Asian side, which is no more Asian than the European side, we decided to take it easy and do touristy stuff in Istanbul, which as I will keep telling you I really like and would recommend everyone to come to.
It is definitely Middle Eastern, but also European and also very modern but with old traditional bits. There are lots of places like that, but Istanbul manages to do it with style in a very comfortable way. The area we are staying in is in a fairly trendy sort of area where there are organic shops mixed in with the local shops and market and to get to the old part of Istanbul involves walking down to the port, eating freshly caught and cooked fish and catching a ferry, which is all great fun, though I imagine if you have to go to work there on winter mornings it might not be so good.
More about Turkey coming soon, I hope I like the rest of the country as much as here.
]10 ways I know I've just started travelling again
1. My miniature playing cards are still new and far too slidey.
2. I still get ridiculously pleased with myself if I manage to buy something in Turkish, which might involve only 2 words still.
3. My travel wash bag still impresses me and the plastic compartments are still clean and see through.
4. Hand washing clothes with my special travel wash is still fun.
5. The basic hostels seem luxurious, with hot water, showers and electricity.
6. Temperatures of under 30 deg C seem hot.
7. Still sometimes forget not to put toilet paper in the toilet.
8. People still manage to tell me their life histories- in bad English.
9. I keep trying to communicate with people in random languages, not Turkish. Mainly Arabic, but the odd word of any language I have the slightest knowledge of, and remember I mean slight!
10. Get the occasional phone call or text from people who don't know I'm away/
Haven't taken photos yet, but bad wobbly videos of touristy stuff, which I"ll try and put up another time.