One could think 30 hours on a train would feel endlessly long and tiresome. But now, with only a couple of hours left on the train, both Leo and I think we could’ve done one more day on the train – it’s been nothing but great!
That was a lie, just when I wrote that I remembered I slept horribly as the train was rumbling and the brakes squeaking all through the night. But apart from that, everything has truly been great. When I woke up this morning, Leo had gone up and ordered breakfast for us and a few minutes later a tray was delivered to our “room” with different kinds of cheese, vegetables, salted butter (why do other countries even bother with unsalted butter?), toasted buns and delicious Turkish coffee. Together with the view outside our window, this may very well be one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in my life.
The train did som additional stops during the day, where Erzincan was the most memorable as we thought we were stranded there. The communication with the train personel is not the best when we try to understand each other with translation apps, but we were sure they said we would stay for at least 2 hours when we arrived at Erzincan. So we, together with many other of the passengers, strolled out and went up on a walking bridge over the tracks to reach the other side. When walking there, all of a sudden the whistle blew beneath us and our train started moving. Like in slowmotion we started running back (as if we would ever catch a running train…) and at the same time reason loudly – could it really be leaving? Panic spread, all our stuff was still at the train, we only brought phones and money. Even our passports where left at the train. What the h were we gonna do, stranded in the middle of nowhere in the Turkish country side?
But then a policeman on the platform saw us running and yelled something and waved to us, and we saw the conductor strolling around down there too. We stopped and tried to figure out what he had said, it was something in line with “the train will be back”. At least that was what happened, a couple of minutes later it came back on a different track. The panic faded and got replaced by the insight that we probably looked pretty dumb when running for the train when everyone else chilled. Never the less, the anxiousness of loosing sight of the train again remained and we hanged out at the station for the rest of the stop.
Our current stop is now Erzurum, which is the last stop (that we know of). We’ve had a delicious kebab meal that we bought from a restaurant outside the station (but not too far, if the train would start moving again). It is apparently tradition to eat kebab when stopping at this station when taking Dogu express. Gotta say, it tasted really good with a beer.
Besides all the stops we have done during the day, the best part has been the actual ride. Over and over again we have been blown away by the views. Speaking with almost no experience of long international train rides, I still feel confident stating that this must be one of the most beautiful train routes. We spent hours just lying comfortably in bed looking out at an ever changing landscape. The picture we have taken doesn’t even begin to do it justice. I would recommend this to anyone, it is one of the best experiences of my life.