We’re heading to Izmir the only way we know how… By train. There was a ferry ride from Istanbul to Bandirma involved, but mostly it’s a 6 hour train ride. And I may need ear plugs to get out of this one still sane…
But first, the ferry. It was rainy, it was choppy, but as always with water trips, it was mesmerizing. 2 hours passed like a flash. And except for the rugby-scrounge-like-scramble to rescue our luggage from the bag room at the end of the trip (those Turkish folk have sharp elbows and wily ways!) it was an uneventful crossing.
We ended up in Bandirma, delightfully described by Lonely Planet as “an undistinguished 20th century concrete city”. Still, interesting in comparison to Istanbul because you get lulled into believing that all of Turkey is pretty. It’s not.
And now, to the train journey. It’s no Trans Siberian, let me tell you! Although once again nothing is in English, so E and I spend much of the time passing confused looks at each other when announcements are made and hoping we’re still on track (pun intended).
The most amusing part about this leg of the journey is our close proximity to the jabbering Nonna’s. A cacaphonic revaluation.
We’re doing the long “every station” stretch of the trip. But every stop a herd of new Nonna’s move on and off the train with a shuffle of shoes and a crinkle of shopping bags and a general Linus-like sense of disarray.
The thing is, What we hadn’t realised before when walking side by side with the dear little (almost invariable 5 ft nothing) Npnna’s on the streets of Sultanhamet, is their penchant for gossip! On the street they’re all so quiet and smiley. On the train with their girlfriends they’re a hootful of nonstop chatter. And even though we know not a word of what they speak (all attempts at learning Turkish are failing), E and I can taste the flavor of their conversations. The ooh’s, the lowering of voices for something juicy, the barking laughter at a biting comment. We can hear it all, and it’s loud. But it’s also helping 6 hours of train travel pass quickly!