Trip Start Nov 09, 2006
Trip End Nov 22, 2006

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ankara was our last city stop before returning to İstanbul. On the way there, we passed some people who appeared to be doing some form of terrestrial parasailing.

Before going to our hotel, we toured Anıtkabir, the site of the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the modern Republic of Turkey. A lot of young people were waving flags in what (according to Metin, our guide) appeared to be a demonstration against Turkey's current anti-secular governing majority. One of our tour-mates said they'd heard that it was actually just a normal gathering as part of the ceremonies honoring Atatürk during November, the anniversary month of his death. Whatever it was, it seemed charged with energy!

Nathan and a few others from the group ventured out for dinner that evening, looking for a place Metin recommended called Hanedan ('Dynasty'). We couldn't find it, but Mary start shouting with glee when she spotted the word 'künefe' on the banners outside one diner. Once inside, we spotted the word 'HANEDAN' displayed prominently over the cash register...just not outside.

The waiters here spoke very little English, but they were very nice and patient, and Nathan's Turkish was just enough to help move things along. We had an enjoyable meal of chicken and beef kepabs, salad, and delicious lavaş bread on the side. Künefe turns out to be a yummy dessert made with shredded pastry and white cheese, baked and covered with simple syrup. The waiter convinced us to order two of the large size for our table of seven. They came to our table fresh out of the oven in the round metal baking dishes they were cooked in. A few of us thought that maybe it was a little too much...but it wasn't long before those dishes were picked clean!

The next morning had an optional package trip to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. Nathan was interested in the museum, but also wanted to wander a bit, so he used the subway to get to the general area and then walked around. There wasn't a whole lot to see, and it ended up being quite a hike up a big hill to get to the museum, but it was still fun, and it was cheaper than the tour package option. Amy enjoyed a nice relaxing 'me' morning after a solid week of go-go-go.
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