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Monday, May 12, 2014

It has been an interesting first week here in Anatolia.  This is my second time to be in Turkey, but I had never been to Ankara before.  The Turkish capital is a bustling and modern city set amidst a backdrop of rolling hills and dusty scrub land.   Ankara reminds me a lot of my hometown of Dallas, Texas in that both cities started as small frontier forts but eventually grew into booming cities of several million people.  There are, however, several notable differences between the two cities.  The first major difference is public transportation.  The bus and metro systems in Ankara are efficient and heavily utilized by the general public.  Not so much in Dallas.  There are also fewer personal vehicles in Ankara when compared to Dallas, if not the United States in general.  Still, there is a lot of traffic in Ankara.  Pedestrian culture in Ankara is quite vibrant.  Many people walk several kilometers just to eat and shop within the city.  This would be unheard of in the United States.  While many of the Turks I have spoken to from Ankara do not consider it to be a fun or interesting place, I would have to disagree.
This past weekend, our group traveled to Cappadocia, specifically in and around the town of Goreme.  I can only describe the region as being a mix between Colorado and Mars.  It is a very touristy locale, with many nationalities being represented at the various hotels and restaurants across the area.  The region is known for its signature hot air balloon rides, but our group declined to ride as 160 Euros per person was pricy.  Ultimately we enjoyed the natural beauty of the region by going hiking at Uchisar Castle and walking around the various geological formations of the region.  It was definitely a trip that will remembered for a long time.  
Ankara Otagar, basically an airport for buses and the start of our journey to Cappadocia
View from the Uchisar Castle trail looking southward
Richard getting out of a photo in style, Uchisar castle in background
Tuz Golu salt lake on the Ankara highway
View from top of Uchisar Castle, the rain would eventually get us

Random hole in the cave city
Turkish Petroleum building in downtown Ankara

1 comment:

  1. James,

    My name is Tammy Mida. I am interning in the LSA International Internship office this summer, so I will be reading and responding to your blog posts!

    Don't forget to post your name and the city/country you're studying in the headline/title of your post. I would LOVE to travel to Turkey one day. Your descriptions, especially the differences/similarities between Dallas and Ankara, really helped me visualize the city. It's funny how a city so far away can remind you of home.

    I'm glad that the public transportation is so prevalent. I hope that it's easy to use and affordable. The picture of the "bus airport" is amazing. You will definitely take advantage of this when you're not working. Where are you working? I hope that the first week has started off well!