Number 5 – Train to Georgia
You may well know by now that I love an overnight train journey – throw in a dining car with fabulous views too and I am completely bowled over!
In 2015 I travelled to Georgia from Istanbul, taking a train to the edge of the Kurdish region of Turkey at Erzurum and then a bus/minibus/taxi to the Georgian Black Sea resort of Batumi.
The journey started at Ataturk Airport, from where we needed to cross Istanbul, travel the Bosporus and get to the Asian suburb of Pendik.
This was achieved through a series of trams and then excitingly a train through the recently opened Marmaray Tunnel that took us below the stretch of water between Europe & Asia.
After an overnight in Pendik, we then took the new electric line train to Ankara, to then catch the Dogu (Eastern) Express the 700 or so kilometres to Erzurum, a journey of over 23-hours.
That was despite a customary scare at Ankara Station that you can read about at the end of this post.
At least we found something worthwhile to do this time by visiting Kemal Ataturk’s mausoleum.
Once aboard all went fantastically. The twin berths were comfortable, they sold cold EFES lager in the restaurant car and everything ran to schedule.
After a good night’s sleep the best part – a leisurely breakfast in the restaurant car followed by a relaxing few hours watching the world go by as we climbed higher into the snow-capped mountains.
Once we got to Erzurum, things did not go quite as planned and I was to endure what turned out to be a rather uncomfortable bus journey, which you can read about on the link below.
The journey culminated with us walking across the border into Georgia after midnight, before crashing for the night in a seedy Batumi hotel.
Next day we would be catching an overnight train to Armenia, sharing our compartment with two Armenian ladies and their blind cat – another story for you to read.
Coming Next – #4 in Central Asia