Day 1,448: Asia, One Last Time

Tue 18.12.12:

It was teeming down with rain when the ship arrived in Iskenderun. I was feeling rather intolerant of any hanging about, but that’s what we did. First of all we waited to get or passports back, then we waited to get off the ship, then we waited in the customs building for the minibus to come and pick us up. Then it took us to the wrong gate so we waited – in the rain – for the minibus to come back. Then it took us to the correct gate. Then they wanted to check our bags. Again. In the rain.

I should point out that since climbing the volcano in Réunion and consequently climbing the pyramid in Egypt that my shoes have quite literally fallen apart. The upper has come away from the soul around the front of both shoes, they both have holes where the ball of my feet go and the rubber on the left soul has completely split around the edges. I only need to walk on slightly moist pavement for my socks to become wet through.

Here I am in the port, it’s freezing cold, my feet are soaking and I just want to get on a nice warm bus to Istanbul. Can I, can I please just do that?

Eventually I escaped and jumped on a minibus which kindly drove me to the next junction and then told me the bus station was just “a kilometre away.” In the rain, with wet broken shoes and no brolly. WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?? WHY DIDN’T I JUST FLY?! It would have worked out a LOT cheaper.

Luckily, the bus station was only 100 meters away. There was a bus leaving at 5.45pm for Istanbul, getting in at 8am the next day. This was good news. My current plan is to hit Istanbul, race over to Igoumenitsa in Greece, overnight ferry over to Bari in Italy, train to Milan, overnighter to Paris, London then Liverpool by the weekend.

Although there are a zillion options for getting across Europe, so this plan may – and probably will – change.

I clambered on the bus that would be taking me back to my jolly old sub-continent of Europe* and instantly remembered why Turkish buses are the best in the world. And I can say that because I used public transport in every country in the world. Maybe it was the free coffee, maybe it was the huge comfy reclining seats, maybe it was the TV screens provided for each and every passenger, placed aircraft-style in the back of the seat in front, maybe it was the free internet access.

Maybe it was the fact that Turkey’s buses are the diametric opposite of the infernal Greyhound bus ‘service’ of the poor old United States of America: hands down the WORST buses in the world. And I can say that because I used public transport in every country in the world. Way to go Greyhound! Don’t think you’re going to be able to use me as a brand ambassador any time soon.

So I used my laptop until it ran out of power and then spent the evening playing electronic Sudoku on my TV screen. And the cost? About twenty quid. That’ll do nicely, Turkey, THANK YOU.

*Many people regard Europe as a continent. It’s not really though is it? It’s a peninsular of Asia.

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. GrahamStalker

    Greyhound in the USA was decent at one time.
    But this is 2012 and most people are “expected” to own a car, or at least fly and take local transportation, so I guess Greyhound has cut corners to stay in business.

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