Sleeping with Grandma (& Grandad?)

Trip Start Feb 09, 2009
Trip End Dec 02, 2009

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Flag of Turkey  , Karabuk,
Monday, June 15, 2009

15th June - Goreme to Safranbolu

Just 3 fezzers today on the bus, with an English girl called Laura joining Cesca and myself
on the long drive north. In the morning we stopped at a huge salt lake for a little while. From a distance the water looked like it was a pinky/purple colour due to the large amounts of minerals in it. We took a few photos and admired the ostrich that was in a cage next to the car park. The main stop today was at Ankara, Turkey's modern capital city. After the biggest pide (pizza) I have had so far - it had two layers,  We visited Ataturk's Mauseleum. This massive complex guarded by Turkey's version of the Beehive Buckingham Palace guards is all about the life and times of Mustafa Kemel Ataturk. This ex-president, war hero and all round good guy basically founded modern day Turkey as a republic in 1923 and shaped it into what it is today. All over Turkey in every city, hotel, restaurant we had been in the whole country there is something dedicated to the big man. Even though he requested that the people should not spend any money remembering him or his legacy they ignored him and created a huge museum filled with everything from his life including his cars, his clothes, his books and even his favourite dog (stuffed). A high percentage of the people there were Turks all coming to pay homage to the man and learn a bit more about his life, so it was a bit strange being an outsider looking in. Back on the road we eventually made it to Safranbolu, but not until quite late. The reason we are here is to see the Ottomon style houses in the old town that are a listed UNESCO heritage site. Our accomodation was a family run pension well out of town in the countryside. As we pulled up the whole family came out to greet us, then Cesca and I got put in a double room that looked like it belonged to Grandma. The bed had a huge dip on one side, Cesca was worried Grandad had died in it and so made me sleep in the hole just in case. Also, there were old black and white photos on the wall of someones wedding, lace doilies and plant pots dotted all over the room - tell tale old folk signs. Dinner outside was really nice even Grandma's homemade soup that was white and had rice floating around in it - no one was sure what it was or was supposed to be! Other than that the rest of it was great especailly the ice cream that was brought out for dessert. All of our time in Turkey we had been meaning to try taditional ice cream as it looked so much different from what we are used to, you can stretch it like chewing gum and it all sticks together!

16th June - Safranbolu to Istanbul

Our last trip on the bus was a full one, we didn't get into Istanbul until 9pm. In the morning we wandered around the Safranbolu old town for a few hours admiring the architecture and browsing through the bric-a-brac type shops. The girls made some earing purchases at a shop that was open but had no shop attendant, we left the money on the counter after waiting around for a while hoping they would come back to work! Afterwards we drove to the Black Sea port of Amasra for lunch, here we got to play with some puppies on the side of the road. Then it was a long trek back to Istanbul stopping only for petrol and some cups of tea. We had arranged to meet Jess and Becky that night, but we were held up on the outskirts of Istanbul by traffic. When the bus pulled up they were still waiting for us, even though we were over 30mins late! After chucking our bags in our hostel room we joined them (and Dennis from our Gulet cruise - who we bumped into on the street) for dinner where they regailed us with tales of their adventures on the night bus from Cappadocia. It turned out that somehow in the confusion of changing buses at a stop, managed to get on the wrong one and ended up being turfed off in the middle of no-where as they didn't have the right ticket for that particular bus. Fortunately they managed to meet a local dude who commandeered a taxi and drove them 40 mins to catch up with the bus they were supposed to be on and only charged them a nominal fee for his trouble - must have been some girl charm involved there. Lucky it all turned out ok, it could have ended up much worse! After dinner we said final goodbyes to them and found our hostel room.
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