Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ankara - Bolu, Turkiye

Fri 31/1/14
Ankara – Bolu

Journey today:
Urgup - Kaymakli: 32km (32 mins)
Kaymakli - Kapadokya Tesisleri : 221km (2 hrs 30 mins)
Kapadokya Tesisleri - Ankara: 94.5km (1 hr 7 mins)
Ankara - Bolu: 206km (2 hrs 6 mins)
Total journey: 554km (6hrs 15 mins)

Urgup - Kaymakli - Kapadokya Tesisleri - Ankara - Bolu

Before proceeding to Bolu, we stopped by at yet another factory- this time a jewellery factory, Hanem art centre which specialized in turqoise stone, a blue-to-green mineral hydrous phospate of copper and aluminium. (from wikipedia) Other stones are available here as well such as jade, emerald, ruby, zircon and topaz. I didn't buy any, just looked around, and playing with fat cats in the premise. Yes, fat cats are abundant all around Turkey. And they are friendly too.

We then visited the Kamaykli Underground City, also a Unesco Heritage Site, grouped together under #357 Goreme National Park and Rock Sites of Cappadocia, Turkiye. Not all in the tour group ventured into the underground city, including my mom because they had knee or back problems. We had to bend down to pass through the tiny tunnels; some parts we had to almost crawl. Although narrow, I thought the Cu Chi tunnel in Ho Chi Minh is even narrower

From wikipedia: The ancient name was Enegup. The houses in the village are constructed around the nearly one hundred tunnels of the underground city. The tunnels are still used today as storage areas, stables, and cellars. A stable is located on the first floor. The second floor is a church. The church level also contains some living spaces. The third floor contains storage places, wine or oil presses, and kitchens.

Wine cellar
Living room

Kaymakli Underground City

From Kaymakli, we continued our journey to Ankara. On the way to Ankara, we passed by one of the largest salt lake in the world with a surface area of 1600km2 and 32.9% salinity – Tuz Lake or Tuz Golu in Turkish. Three mines operating in the lake produce 63% of the salt consumed in Turkey.

Tuz salt lake, just by the road

Today we stopped by at Kapadokya Tesisleri restaurant for lunch. Food was healthy – chicken cooked in olive oil with vegetables, but the taste was just so-so (because it was too healthy haha). We then performed our solat at the masjid next door at Emin Aga Camii.

Tesisleri restaurant

healthy chicken with vegetable in olive oil. I like the frying pan!

Emin Aga Camii

We arrived Ankara, the capital of Turkey since 1923 after the fall of the Ottoman empire at about 2.40pm. With the inception of Republic of Turkey, its founder ofMustafa Kemal Attaturk, moved it from Istanbul. Its name originated from Ankyra, which means anchor in Greek.

The only place we visited in Ankara was Mustafa Kemal Attaturk's mausoleum. From wikipedia, he was born Mustafa. Kemal, meaning Perfection or Maturity was given to him by his teacher, in admiration of his capability and maturity. He was was a Turkish army officer during World War I. Following the defeat of the Ottoman empire in World War I, he led the Turkish war of independence. He transformed the former Ottoman Empire into a modern, secular and democratic nation-state. Some revered him, some opposed him. There were also assasination plots against him. He passed away in 1938. His mausoleum, Antkabir, consists of four main parts: the Road of Lions (pedestrian walkway), the Ceremonial Plaza, the Hall of Honor (location of Atatürk's tomb) and the Peace Park that surrounds the monument.

We had to go through security checks prior to entering. There were also guards outside the hall who stood still like statues. We were impressed by their steadfastness. We managed to witness the changing of guard as well. Although it was a working day on Friday, there were so many people visiting the mausoleum, and taking pictures of the exhibits of Mustafa Kemal (although picture taking is not allowed in the exhibition hall). Clearly, many Turks revered him. 

Ankara Attaturk Mausoleum

that's a real guard, not a statue

Guard changing post

We were then ready to move on spend the night in Bolu, from which I read is a an attractive forested mountain countryside and I was expecting to take some pictures of the snowy mountains. Unfortunately, Burak told us we would be mdeparting very early in the morning at 6.45am before daylight in order to arrive Istanbul early and avoid the traffic jam. I tried to ask for a delay of 30 minutes for picture taking in daylight, but to no avail. Furthermore, we were told by our Malaysian guide Aisyah that there is a lake and nice garden behind our hotel. This made me further disappointed. I guess this is what you have to accept when travelling in an organized group tour.

When we arrived in Bolu, it was already dark at 6.45pm. So no chance of outdoor picture taking of the lovely mountain resort sigh. We would be departing early tomorrow morning, so no chance then also. After dinner that night, we ventured around in Koru hotel where we were staying, a nice English cottage style hotel with heated indoor swimming pool. That's it- I'm going to bring my swim suit no matter where I go from now on, regardless if I feel I have time or not. 

lovely Koru Otel
indoor pool

Koru room

traces of snow at first daylight the next day

there's supposed to be a lovely garden behind there. Pity we weren't given time to explore



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