OK, only just now did I see this notice:
TRAIN CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE AS FROM 13 FEBRUARY 2011 Greece is in a dire economic state, and massive rail cuts are being implemented. All international trains between Greece and the rest of Europe (including the Thessaloniki-Istanbul train) are cancelled until further notice from February 2011. Greece is now cut off from the rest of Europe!
This is worrying. Assuming I have a 30-day unlimited Interrail pass, what is the best method to use to get to Istanbul from Athens, without flying?
I know that I can take a ferry to Rhodes and a ferry onwards from there to Turkey, but that takes a long time. I would rather take a train close to the border of Greece and take a bus or something over the border and continue that way. Even if it also takes a long time via bus, I would rather be spending that time on land than on a ferry.
I've tried bahn.de, but it doesn't recognise "Athens" at all, or "Athen" (the German name).
I've tried the Turkish train website, but it is eternally loading and never shows up at all.
I've tried the Greek train website, but it doesn't seem to recognise "Istanbul" and instead shows me Athens - Thessaloniki.
I know that I have to go from Athens to Thessaloniki to Istanbul, but I can't get any of these websites to recognise "Thessaloniki - Istanbul" either.
I know about seat61, but it doesn't have specific price/departure information for the days I want.