Tuesday, August 24, 2010


We arrived in Turkey at around 2am on the 18th August and took a bus from the airport to the city centre (Taksim) and planned to take a taxi from there to our hotel in Sultanahmet, the old city. We decided this was the best and most cost-effective way to get to our hotel quick-smart and finally get to sleep. However, we had a serious car accident on the way to the hotel.

I personally have no memory of the accident (I originally thought it was in a big square, but it was actually in a small side-street). I was sitting in the back with Bertrand, I was on the right (passenger side) and he was on the left. The other car hit us with most of the impact on the front passenger side, thankfully noone was there, because they probably would not have survived. I suffered from a few fractures, mainly to my hips, and had some serious damage to my liver. Also, I have well over 10 stitches on my face because the glass shattered all over me. Bertrand is pretty badly beaten up with a seriously broken arm and will need surgery when he returns to France tomorrow. I was lucky enough to not need surgery and not have lost an eye, as most of the facial injuries are around my eyes. Someone also stole my wallet somewhere between the accident and the hospital and did a fair amount of shopping on my visa. Also, my computer is broken due to the impact of the accident.

The next few days are a blur and I have little to no memory of them. I remember a lot of needles, and ultrasounds and cat scans. I remember changing rooms at the hospital frequently and I remember vomitting from the shock (good-bye German cuisine!). The Polish consul helped us a lot, translating and bringing us food and clothes, as did the family of the taxi driver, who helped wherever possible. The consul was very surprised they finally let us stay in the same room as in Turkey, men and women are not allowed to be in the same room in a hospital, besides emergency.

I remember the final room. I argued a lot with the doctors, who said I could not go to the bathroom, but I screamed and fought and finally stood up and (very very slowly) walked the 2 meters to the bathroom, my drip jittering next to me. My wonderful boyfriend was feeling well enough to leave the hospital for a while and bought me an icecream, having learned after a week in Italy that icecream is perhaps a more effective method of lifting my mood than any kind of drug.

There was one day that started horribly but turned out to be the big turning point in my recovery. That night, I didnt sleep at all untill 6am, and at 6.05am, the nurse woke me up to take my blood, which set forward the standard panic attack when it comes to taking my blood. A doctor then came around to put anisthetic on my stitches and got some in my eye, causing me again to scream bloody murder across all of Asia Minor. I then had a strange reaction to the drip, causing my had to swell and become very very sore. However, it all turned around for me, full of little victories. I walked (with no-one to hold me hand) the the bathroom, I finally had a shower (or half-shower, I couldnt bend to wash my legs) and I sat up on the bed alone! I even laughed!!

The next day was good too, full of little victories. Finally, yesterday, they said we can go! The relief and the promise of a bed big enough for me to stretch out in! (And I'm only 5'2" and the bed was too short for me!!!). It took 8 hours of dealing with Turkish beurocracy and waiting for the understaffed doctors to finally take me stitches out, but we got out! It took a lot of stress and miscommunication but we got to the hotel, we showered (well, I bathed, because standing for long periods is not possible) and I finally (after a week), brushed my hair.... it took a good half an hour but I no longer have dread-locks! And my face looks a little better once I finally cleaned the dried blood and old antiseptic off.

Now, we're just resting and waiting for me dad to arrive (2 hours left!) with pain-killers, and little presents and moral support, most importantly. Bertrand is going home to Lyon tomorrow and my dad and I have to figure out how to get me back to Oz becuase there is no way I can travel like this, I can barely walk and I fear that it will take a long recovery....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rome... #1

It’s official. I’m in love! I love Rome, I love Italy, I love ice-cream (gelato) and I love tomatoes. I’m a happy girl! I arrived in Rome last night ahead of schedule, completely exhausted and with less than half the things I left Australia with, and still with 1 kilogram more than the official RyanAir luggage allowance. I was so exhausted (blame it on the insomnia the night before and a tiny panic attack before leaving) that I only saw Termini, the route to the hotel and the hotel. I didn’t even eat anything!
So, I woke up starving (and still a bit sleepy) and gladly chowed down on a tomato and mozzarella sandwitch and had a lovely Caffe Freddo (iced coffee) and then the intense day began… here’s a dot-point summarized version of the events of the last 10 hours;

· Colosseum
· Vespatian’s Arch
· Roman Forum
· Trajan’s Column
· Royal Palace
· Basilica
· Beer (for some)/ juice (for me) break
· Piazza Navona
· Gelato (mint and pistachio – my favourite, although odd, combination)
· Pantheon
· Pizza
· Plaza di Spagna
· Siesta (even though I know sleeping in the afternoon is more a Spanish thing...)

Now, off to Trastavere for some good local food – we’re making a pilgrimage to what is claimed as one of Rome’s best trattorias. I’ve been told to ask for Uncle Ennio, and beginning to feel more like I’m living in a bad mafia film while all day I’ve been channeling Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday…