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More Turkish Train Time

Ankara, Turkey


As I have previously mentioned, I finally made the decision to explore more of Turkey. Having got here, and realising what a diverse, huge and at times daunting country it is, it felt foolish to move quickly on to somewhere new. Of all the places in Turkey, the one that had the strongest pull for me was Cappadocia, the Middle-Earthly valleys of towns built into the rock. Problematically, this would require a 21 hour journey from my current location of Izmir. Normally this might have been too much of a barrier; in comparison to what I have been getting used to, however, it seems positively short. And besides, I have learnt to make the most of my time spent travelling: reading, sleeping and working out where I am going to go next.

The first couple of hours of the train ride gave some stunning views of the mountains, kissed pink by the setting sun; once darkness set in, however, there were no such amusements and other than this, the journey from Izmir to Ankara was greatly uneventful. A couple of locals tried to talk to me, but soon realised the limits of their English and my ignorance of Turkish; I got very little sleep and that which I did get was disturbed; and I consumed large amounts of water, diet coke and Turkish tea. Otherwise I read, philosophised and generally let my thoughts morph between wakefulness and sleep in that surreal way that they tend to do.

Ankara, into which the morning brought us, seems fairly unexciting despite being the capital of modern Turkey. But I wouldn't know; I took my guidebook's word for it. I was more concerned with getting to Cappadocia as soon as possible. Having managed to lose myself in a sort of underground bazaar annexed to the station which sold mostly military uniform and equipment, I decided to indulge in a cab. Little more in price than the metro it got me to the bus station, or 'otogar', in good time. Next came the tough part. Insular as I am, the words 'bus station' conjure up images of a few buses lined up at Exeter or at the very most Victoria Coach Station in London. In Ankara, this is more like a medium sized airport, but I managed to locate a company selling tickets to Goreme, where I was going to be staying, and boarded the first bus I could. For four hours we rushed down straight roads as the scenery became increasingly desolate. Sometimes in the distance you could see snow-capped peaks, but mostly it was rocks, small mountains and a scattering of grass between the small towns. At Nevsehir, I changed to a shuttle bus, which took me to Goreme, in the heart of Cappadocia.

permalink written by  BenWH on April 24, 2009 from Ankara, Turkey
from the travel blog: Gap Year Odyssey
tagged Turkey

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