We almost never made it to Çanakkale. Early morning countdown: up at 5:20 AM, we get the 6:10 vapür from Üsküdar. Arrived at Eminönü, 6:30 AM. On time. We sprint to the bus stop on the other side of Galata bridge. 6:35. The bus is due for 6:40. No bus. 6:45, we catch a taxi. 6:55, Yenikapı. On time! We rush through the security check to the counter, ask for two tickets to Bandırma, where our bus for Çanakkale departs from. Dolmuş. Full! 7:00, the ferry leaves, our world crumbles down.
The next ferry is due for 13:00. Six hours to ponder. We’ve thought of everything. A couchsurfing host, a tight timing, a well packed bag, everything but the obvious. People go away on the weekend. Many people live in Istanbul. Most of them have internet access. Tickets go quick. It’s wiser to book in advance. And online. Obvious.
It’s starting to rain, all we needed. Ironic how the weather depicts our feelings. We walk to the nearest internet café. Maybe we can book a coach that goes directly to Çanakkale and departs before 13:00. We can’t. All are a seat short, some only have seats for women left… We go back to the ferry port, through the security check, to the counter. The 13:00 ferry for Bandırma is still on offer but the price is 50TL, not 35. Saturday inflation. No way! The website said 35TL. We go back to the internet café and check. It’s 50TL. As expensive as the bus for the whole way. We need to take the bus. There’s got to be a bus!
We go to the Esenler bus terminal via tram and metro, get there around 10:00, dash into one of the many coach agencies. We’ve been moving like pieces on a board game, composing with the flow of circumstances, staying calm, keeping faith, making the rational decisions. Or have we? The man at the counter says they have a coach, they have two seats, it leaves at 12:30. Booked! Happy, knackered, relieved. Breakfast well deserved.
The bus trip is fine. It couldn’t be anything else than fine. The friends who left Friday night are waiting for us at Çanakkale in a café close to the port. To see them is pure bliss. We shout it out. We made it!