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DSCN0403I ask for one ticket to Istanbul, please. First lady: “no ticket”, second lady: “no Istanbul”. Drat.

Now travelling in the exact opposite direction to my planned route, on the fastest train I’ve taken yet.

’24hr ticket office.’ Yet another lie from the rail company.

If I were to draw a Bayeux Tapestry of hosteling, it would look like a photo of this lounge full of people; playing pool, dozing, drinking, wifi netbooks, hangovers, it’s all here.

The only two times I’ve booked a bed this trip, there’s been no record of me upon arrival. I’m a ghost.

Oh joy! Light jazz versions of ‘Suicidal’, ‘Umbrella’ and ‘Sex Machine’.

Bento box for lunch in Sofia is a tasty silver lining.

Must… Try… To take at least a couple of photos of Sofia.


Sofia isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but then at least if it were bad it would have been memorable.

I’ve tried on this trip to keep church visits to zero. Sofia has defeated this resolve, but I kept my time inside under 60 seconds.

A hostel lounge this busy, all day, is a damning verdict of Sofia’s offerings.

Groups of Japanese tourists are the receptionist’s nightmare. Shamefully demanding behaviour.

My water bottle is made by Bankia. That’s the failing Spanish bank, right? Diversifying their product portfolio in tough times…

Looking forward to my overnight journey; 12hours on trains/buses with changes at midnight and 2am.

Finding it hard to spend the £2 of Bulgarian lev I have left.


Backpackers everywhere on the night train to Istanbul.

Three Dutch backpackers tell me they’ve been on traveller-full trains the whole trip.

Backpackers swarming the Turkish border at midnight. It’s the closest I’ve seen to an Arab Spring.

We Brits could teach these Turks a lesson or two about how to run a solid rail replacement service.

No! After 90mins on a stationary bus, we’ve now gone 50m backwards.

Sunrise over the Mediterranean.


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