Day 435: The Getaway

11.03.10: The fact that I got out of bed this morning just goes to show how dedicated to the cause I am. Atheer didn’t get up until well after noon. First up, I needed my passport back. After a quick (but surprising) fingerprint-taking session, the Iranian Embassy gave me my little burgundy booklet of travel, furnished with a brand new visa. I had Iran in the bag. Now I just have to get there before World War III kicks off. I had got in touch with Jamel, a couchsurfer in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, to ask if he could write me a new letter of invitation. No probs he said, but it would take him a couple of hours to get it proofed and everything. The Azerbaijan Embassy closed at 1pm and was way way way on the other side of town. I HAD to…

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Day 432: Day of Disaster

08.03.10: Woke up at a respectable time and headed over to the Iranian Embassy all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I jumped in a taxi only to find it would have been a five minute walk. If that. And so mere seconds later (and €5 lighter) I waltzed into the Embassy and gave the bearded chap behind the visa window my reference number (given so I could pick my visa up ‘straight away’)... sadly I was told that my reference number wasn't valid. What? I paid CHRISTKNOWSHOWMUCH for this damn number. Are you on crack? Try again tomorrow. Dammit. Not to be phased by this unfortunate turn of events, I then jumped in a taxi and asked him to take me to the Azerbaijan Embassy. MORE TAXI FUN! To be fair he DID bother putting his meter on, but then he drove in circles around the one way…

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Day 431: Back On Track

07.02.10: The ferry ploughed head-first into the Greek port of Igoumenitsa at around 6am (it was still 5am for me) and speedy disembarkation was encouraged… mmm… no passport controls… nice! Whilst sleepily trudging across the car park I noticed that there was a bus marked “Istanbul” waiting picking up passengers off the ship. Must be some sail & ride scheme or something. Not wanting to waste a minute, I knocked on the door and asked for a ticket. The driver’s mate asked for €80. I offered €50 and that seemed to work. Lucky it did, the bus took off before I got to my seat. No time for love, Dr. Jones… Igoumenitsa is not the most attractive of towns, so it wasn’t too much of a heartbreak to bypass it and head straight towards Thessaloniki through some of the most scrumptious countryside in the world. Not…

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