STATS – Day: 36 | Distance: 8746.2 miles | Location: Ankara, Turkey | Money Spent To Date – Transportation: $727.06 | Food: $132.38| Stay: $231.33 | Play: $91.32
One of my goals on this adventure of living abroad is to take time to experience other cities outside of Istanbul.
“Why Ankara? ” I’ve been asked this question by people back home, from people in Istanbul, and even from people in Ankara!
No, it isn’t a tourist destination, but I’m not a tourist. I’m a seeker of experiences, understanding and adventure. 🙂
Constantinople was the Capital city through the Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire and Ottoman Empire.
The Turkish War of Independence (1919–22), initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, resulted in the establishment of the modern Republic of Turkey in 1923, with Atatürk as its first president. The capital was moved from Constantinople to Ankara.
Ankara is the Capital city of modern Turkey.
An added bonus – I can get there riding my first high speed train. Heck, I’d count this as my first “actual” train experience! I did take a train from Prague to Munich with classmates from my master’s program back in 2009, but I was too drunk to remember much and lost my train ticket about 2-seconds after it was given to me and spent most of the trip in the bathroom (not a pleasant place to be) dodging the ticket checkers.
This experience is guaranteed to be better.
Ankara is about a 4-hour train ride from Istanbul. Well, really I’d have to say 6-hours since it takes 2-hours just to get to the Pendik train station from Taksim and requires a number of transfers using metro, domestic train and city bus. This is an experience all by itself. I’m so glad I took the time to do a dry run a few days before and got all the “getting lost” out of my system beforehand. Now I’m a pro!
Buying a train ticket was a bit difficult for a non-Turkish speaking, inexperienced train traveler. When doing my research on buying a train ticket I found all kinds of websites explaining how difficult it was, or how getting to the train station was difficult, or the delimma on train vs plane decisions….but I could not find HOW to actually buy a ticket.
Pappy came to the rescue since he’s taken the train several times.
Here is the magical website for future travelers: http://www.tcdd.gov.tr
I selected my destination, my dates and times of travel. I picked my seat (a perk of buying online) and received a nice discount for purchasing a round trip ticket (109 lira instead of 140 lira).All you need is the PRN# and your identification (passport) but I took photos of my tickets since I couldn’t print them out.
So I’m finally ON THE TRAIN, I picked train car #2 facing forward. The train gets ready to roll….and we start moving backwards. I’m thinking “maybe the train just needs to turn around.”
Nope! Riding backwards for 4- hours is no fun! So much for careful planning 🙂
I’m think I’m going to be sick.
My seat companion is an elderly woman who speaks only Turkish and I speak only English. We still managed to communicate and help each other. I helped her load her bags into the overhead compartment and she helped me by offering me sweets. Little candy that reminds me of the rock candy my family used to get from Pennsylvania.
Riding backwards isn’t so bad.
“Even if you‘re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers
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