We debated whether or not going to Izmir was worth it… and then we heard from our friends Josh and Leanne (remember them? Our friends from our Tanzanian safari a few months ago) that they had just arrived in Istanbul and would be there for a few days.
Meeting up with new friends is just as good as meeting up with old friends. We decided to skip Izmir and headed back to Istanbul to not only stay/visit with our friends, Juliet and Daniel, but to hang out with Josh, Leanne, and their friend Margarita. We are lucky, lucky ducks.
Unfortunately, heading back to Istanbul meant another 12-hour bus across the country.
It should have been 9 hours, but as we’ve found to be the case in Turkey- the drivers enjoy their breaks, and they enjoy them often. We stopped a lot. Often for 30-40 minutes. We reminded each other we’ve survived worse and focused on the positives: We each had our own seat all to ourselves. Our seats reclined! Multiple stops meant multiple opportunities to go to the bathroom. The bathroom was not on the side of the road in front of fellow passengers. There were even doors and tissue within the stalls! And snacks to be purchased along the way did not consist of burnt birds on a stick.
I know you’re jealous of how low my expectations have become.
Our bus dropped us off across town from where Juliet and Daniel live. We didn’t get in until nearly midnight. Walking into their apartment felt like walking into my apartment in Seoul after a week or two out of the country. It felt like home, or as close as home has felt since this trip began.