travel


We started our Sunday a little later than had been intended. Last night, various people got ill at the bar, and they did not make it back to the hotel until 2AM. I’m glad I stayed in. We started in a village of old Greek houses. It was famous because one of the houses was the location where a television series was filmed.

Gokhan and I went searching for the Upper Greek House (there were signs with arrows) but did not find it. Instead, we found Kemal and were going to go look at the mosqque, but I got distracted by an old beaiutiful Ottoman building still being used as a high school. It was so strange seeing modern stuff (like a room full of computers) inside such an ancient building.

Later we visited “new” ruins, only found about 5 years ago. Rotary paid for the cover of the place (likely a church or meeting location) and I thought that was awesome.

We went to the underground city as well. Not so bad when everyone was moving along, but very bad when you stopped with seventy people in a small passageway.

We visited Pigeon valley, where people carved houses for pigeons so they could collect the pigeon poop which was used for various things in the ancient times.

Then we went to a wine tasting. The wines were not very good, but Kristin and I bought some pumpkin seeds to eat on the trip home.

Then it was back on the bus and back to Ankara~

~Han

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We left this morning at about 1:30AM. mad crazy early and I hardly slept on the bus, even though I had two seats to myself. We arrived in the region by 5:30AM, and drove through with the sun rising. After arriving at the hotel, I roomed with Charlotte and re-met the German girl I met in the museum with Cynthia. We ate breakfast, and I managed a quick shower before we left at 8:30AM.


(the center rock far far away is supposed to be “Virgin Mary.” To the right of her on top is a curled snake.)

Our tour guide was really sweet and I loved the way she spoke. First she took us to Imagination Valley to see shapes in the rocks, and then to another area to see and learn about the rock formations.

After that, we went to a village to explore some rock buildings. People still lived here only 60 years ago!!! It blows my mind!

After that, we saw a pottery demonstration. I took a video of it, but of course, we were all “really mature” (myself not included) about watching it happen. We had the chance to buy some pottery for 50% off, and lots of us ended up with extra discounts which was shweet.

This is their Red River, with the moving bridge…I kept singing “Red River Valley” while here, haha.

Finally we went to the Goreme open air museum. I find it most interesting that the history of this place as I know it differs from what the Turks know to be true.

Tonight’s party was to be “Turkish night,” with cultural stuff and a belly dancer. Really cool, but with the lack of sleep, I wasn’t feeling up for it. When everyone else napped and got ready, Charlotte, Kristin and I wandered through Urgup looking for wine. We bought a 6TL bottle, figuring we’d try the better wine tomorrow at the wine tasting before we leave Cappadocia. Charlotte wanted to find the way to the top of a bluff overlooking Urgup, but Kristin and I were too tired. We poked around in an antique store and then settled in a pastanesi with cay, sahlep and baklava. We both ordered in Turkish, so I’m extra proud of us! Charlotte found us there and we wanted to some other shops.

It was really strange though. The shop owners all spoke decent to relatively good English. I’m so used to talking about them and their prices right in front of them without them knowing it, so it was really strange not being able to do that!

After dinner, I was not feeling well. Charlotte, Kristin and I got together in Kristin’s room to drink wine and learn Backgammon! Charlotte taught us, and Kristin won, haha.

Moree traveling tomorrooowww~

~Han

Today we went to Ankara Kalesi and the Anatolian Museum of history. I looked up the names of these places in Turkish so I could get around alright, and we departed for our adventure at about noon. We took a dolmus to Ulus and taxi’d to the Castle.

We wandered and explored the castle some.

Much of the stone used to build these walls were taken from other buildings. Somewhere around this place, there’s a toilet in the wall xD

Amazing views of Ankara from here.

We went to the market right outside, where we ran into Ali, Keka, Merve and an architechture class on tour! That was so random. We hung out in the area so Cynthia could see some of how the professor taught.

We spoke with Ali some, and his friend from England (who is Turkish, and had a veeery interesting English/Turkish accent).

After, we walked to the museum and explored. It was so cool–the main building was an old bazaar! I got a Muze Kart, or Museum Card, which is a 10TL card that I can use to get into any museum in Ankara for 1 year pretty much for free. I only had to pay the cost of the card. They scanned my ODTU ID and put that picture on my card, so there’s a Study Abroad stamp across my face, hahaha.

No idea what these pots are do.

We walked back to the taxis and hopped one to Kizilay because I wasn’t quite sure how to get to Kizilay from where we were. We walked some and found the Ankara mosque, it was so amazing and impressive.

On the way to get the dolmus back to ODTU, I saw this store. The name made me laugh so hard. xD We went back, took a rest, and then went for dinner in the Carsi. Then we walked next door for some cay/coffee, since she had to stay up until around 3 to board her plane. After that, we wandered to Arkabace for a final baklava, and so Cynthia could grab some food for on the plane. We talked a lot about study abroad requirements and such, and we decided that days like today, where I had to get us around based on what I’ve learned, language barriers and such, should be worth credit as well.

I made sure she had my number in case she got in trouble, since her plane was leaving at 4 and she would have to get there via mostly public transpo. I didn’t hear from her, so I assume she got home safe. =)

~Hannah

I needed to go out to Çankaya today to get my cell phone from Mustafa. I had an idea of it, but I wasn’t positive so…I headed out. ;D

Took the Kizilay dolmus out and looked around the dolmus depot for the name of a dolmus that my roommate had given me. But as I was looking, I found a Çankaya dolmus! And it had the other name Mustafa told me to look out for, Yildiz! So I hopped that and rode it all the way out to the neighborhood they live it. It looked very familiar so I got off and started walking. I wasn’t positive where I was going. xD I walked around for maybe an hour or so and finally found their apartment building, but they weren’t home. ^^; So I went up to Rahime and Gokcer’s apartment, and Rahime called Mustafa for me. He was at his office, not too far away. So we walked out to there as well. And now I know exactly how to get to his office and to their house. I feel soo accomplished! It was rather exhausting though, I will say that, haha. So I retrieved my cell phone and Mustafa dropped me off at the Y.Aryanci dolmus stop, which goes straight to METU.

When I was walking around Çankaya though, I saw this “thing.” I’ve never seen anything like it. Rahime says people use it all the time….to move into apartments! The movers place stuff on that flat thing at the bottom and then lift it up using a mechanical pulley system. So cool!!

I conked in my room a bit after returing, and then picked up Cynthia for dinner. We got pide at a restaraunt in the carsi (shopping market on campus) and some baklava at another place. By 8PM we were both exhausted and went our separate ways. And now I’m ready for sleep =)

~Hannah

Today, we took a trip to Beypazarı. 😀 It was wonderful!

First we walked out to 100.Yil (pronounced yuz-en-jill, a neighborhood outside ODTU) to catch a dolmus to Ankamall. Though it was rainy and drizzling, a tree by the dolmus stop was blooming and this made the day start out juuust right!

We caught a bus outside of the Ankamall and took it to Beypazarı, 100km west of Ankara. Hanne and her roommates bought 400TL worth of groceries yesterday…nuts! So she’s eating an orange on the bus. I think one of the things I am going to miss the most about Turkey is the oranges…they taste so much better than the ones in the States, and there are no seeds. 😀 The boy reading that you can see in the background here….he vommed later on the bus trip, and so did the girl who sat behind him. It was rather gross, but thankfully all collected in a bag. @.@


Charms hanging off the ceiling of the bus? The guy with the dark hair whose head and shoulders you can see was like a flight attendant, or maybe more like a bus attendant. He gave us water, tea/NesCafe, and a wipe to wash our hands with. It was pretty nice actually, especially for only 5TL!

Beypazarı is an old Ottoman town, and was an important trading hub along the route from Istanbul to Baghdad. Their carrots are specialty: Beypazarı alone produces approximately 60% of Turkey’s carrots, which is amazing.

They sell carrot Turkish Delight, and there were several carrot juicers along the streets selling carrot juice (and apple juice I think I think.) Beypazarı is also famous for its 80-layer baklava…traditionally you find it with only 40 layers.

Our first order of business was food! We had a great lunch in a building that I’m fairly certain is an old Ottoman building. Really, really pretty rugs and hangings, and a guy playing the traditional Turkish guitar-type instrument and singing while we were there. Was very cool.

We walked around the streets, looking at Ottoman houses

and trying to decide how we could get to the tops of various jutting stone.

I think this is a hamam being built? Not sure.

There really were some just stunning views in this city. It was really tough to walk (because some hills were nearly vertical, and everything was wet slippery cobblestone) but it was so fun and worth it.

When we got to the dead end of a path on one of the mountains, we were standing around talking about what we should do then. The bus wouldn’t be leaving until 4:50 first bus, and it was only 3PM. A woman came in and out of the house there with the big porch, and then said something in Turkish to all of us speaking in English. She ended up inviting us inside her house for some cay with some of her (friends I think?) It was so cool. Only two girls really had enough Turkish to have much of a conversation, but now and then it was still hard. I followed some of it, but definitely not all of it.

We stayed for a while, and then headed back out to do some shopping on the main pizar line. After that, some of us walked and some of us got sahlep before catching the 5:50 bus back to Ankara.Here are some of our weary travelers!

I have a Turkish test on Tuesday………….I should really stop procrastinating on that P:

~Hannah

Rather than attempting to snowboard in the wind that bowls me over when I am merely standing, let along attempting to slide, I went to Bursa, the city at the bottom of the mountain. We had a wonderful time!!! There were 7 of us on this mini trip: 5 girls, Kristin, Nina, Beth, Veronica, Fiona and myself, and one ESN Turkish guy, Gokhan. He was “touristing” with us, but was also our tour guide, translator and navigator. It was really nice to spend time with them, because I didn’t know most of them all too well, and now I have a bunch of new friends here. ❤ (from left: Kristin, Beth, Gokhan, Veronica, Fiona, Nina)

We got off the dolmus right next to a castle, which was way cool.

Our first stop was a mosque, which had a gorgeous fountain. It was really soothing and calming!!

The artwork around the mosque was really pretty, and the whole place seemed really well taken care of.

This is most of our group here =)

From there, we went to the bazzar. I love bazzars! I love the fake cheap stuff, hearing the merchants hawk and try so hard to get you in their shops…it’s such a fun atmosphere.

A really cool little flower-shaped garden under a bridge we walked over =)

After that, we had lunch and headed to the sultans’ tombs. We were aiming for the first two sultans of the Ottoman empire. We got distracted along the way by a wonderful, FREE museum of Turkish Islamic Art. The garden within the walls was an amazing oasis from the city you could barely hear just outside.

Then we found the tomb of the 6th sultan and his family. His 3 sons are on either side of him, and his 5 daughters are behind him. I didn’t find any wives, but I couldn’t read one or two of the signs. (Though, interestingly, the daughters’ tombs are actually larger than those of the sons….)

We wandered to a sweets shop, then walked about 2 kilometers back to meet up with the bus of folks who stayed on Uludag to ski. Before we left, we stopped at a restroom–doesn’t this sign look like Lucille Ball?! We started the trip back to Ankara at around 4PM, and arrived by about 10:30PM.

Grammy left this morning really early to head back to Colorado. Her plane took off shortly after 6AM. I’m kind of really sad to see her go, because I so thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her and haven’t had the chance to do so before now for a few years. When she called last night, she asked if I was going to be okay over the next four months on my own. I don’t really have a choice though, do I? =) I’ll make it because I have to.

I’m one of the lucky ones here though. I have people I can go to, who can help me should I run into any problems. A lot of people don’t have that at all. I hope all will be well for us all though.

~Han

Headed out to the slopes at around 8:45 this morning. I decided to try snowboarding. I tried to get an instructor, but the only instructor on the mountain who speaks English wasn’t willing to wait the 5 minutes it would have taken me to go get the cash out of my bank account in the building next door so I didn’t get lessons. The only two other snowboarders were on the slope by the time I got out there, so I trekked 20 yards up the mountain to try to teach myself to snowboard. It worked only slightly, and I wanted more space with less people so I borrowed someone’s lift pass to try to get higher up the mountain. I fell, and the dudes who worked there kicked me off the lift. I was really upset, and pretty much finished by that point because of it. Sat around, after lunch I turned my gear in and returned to the hotel. I updated my blog, sat around and talked to various people

Interestingly enough, skiing is on the Olympics right now, hehe.

I think it’s fascinating that when you look at the mountain, you can’t tell who anyone is, what race, ethnicity, or anything about them that would distinguish them from another human being in this world who just enjoys winter sports.

Some amazing sceanery

Seriously, mountains in the clouds. So cool.

There is trash all over the place here. It makes me a little sad because, to me, it detracts and distracts me from the amazing beauty of this place.

Quiet night, but I’m very tired. Goodnight!
~Han

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