Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Friday, March 7, 2014

Konya to Ankara

I have a new camera.  I took a couple of pictures in Konya before I left there - I will post them later.  I went to a mall in Konya and went to a sort of electronics super store.  They did not have any of the lower end cameras that I was after, and it annoyed me that they had things on display that they didn't have in stock, just to try and upsell me.  So I found a small shop selling cameras and bought one.  I think it's about like the one I had but it's a Nikon.  The price was reasonable.

Konya is a major city, but it has a very different feel to it than Istanbul or Ankara.  It's very religious.  You see very few places that sell alcohol.  The majority of the women are covered up.  A lot of businesses close for Friday mid-day prayers.  I saw people sitting on the ground in a side street praying during Friday prayers.  It was interesting to see, at least.

I made it to Ankara.  From Konya, there is a high speed train.  So around noon I checked out of my hotel, took a long walk to the train station, and asked for a ticket on the next train to Ankara (2:30PM I think).  I am learning that in Turkey, if you think you can walk up to the station and buy a ticket for a train that requires seat reservations and you expect to get on the next train, you are in for a rude awakening.  If you do that, you need to memorize two words for your Turkish vocabulary - "yok" (which roughly means there isn't any) and "dolu" (full).  All of the several trains to Ankara for the rest of the day were "dolu".  So I got a taxi to the bus station where I had arrived the night before.  The bus station is which is several kilometers north of the city.  I got a 2:30PM bus to Ankara, no problem.  The bus pulled into Ankara about 5:45.

After arriving in Ankara I decided that based on my experiences with Turkish Railways I had better go to the train station and buy my onward ticket to Kars first thing.  I found the station after asking a few people directions (and I am finding people generally very helpful when asked for directions).  I do think it's weird, though, that Ankara built a subway system that does not connect directly with the main train station.  At the train station I asked for a ticket to Kars on Sunday, in the sleeping car.  Unfortunately, I was not early enough because the sleeping car is "dolu".  I am stuck in a couchette.

In Ankara I did not have a hotel booked.  I sent a couple of requests, and got no reply.  I eventually found one after walking around for quite a while.

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