Published: December 5th 2010December 5th 2010
All the way from Antakya to Ankara
After picking up my very heavy bags, I jumped on the bus, but not before helping and old man with his luggage, who thought I was trying to steal them at first, he came to understand I am a nice guy when he made sure I dropped the bags in the bus and didn’t take off with them.
The good thing about Antakya, is that you can buy a bus ticket to almost anywhere in Turkey, most important Istanbul and Ankara, lots of bus companies have offices at the station waiting for customers, which is something Antakya is never short of, there for working as a hub connecting all arrivals from the neighboring countries south of Turkey
Knowing the trip is going to take just a bit more than 8 hours made me depressed, though it eased me to see that the bus is almost empty, 5 passengers including me, and the thought of the others I have encountered, sitting in a bus ride that will take at least 13 hours to Istanbul made me smile *evil grin*.
If there is something that come into my attention is how beautiful the Turkish landscape is, you can never appreciate it from air, apart from the beautiful fields and mountains, I got the chance to see a huge volcano call Hassan, it is the 2nd highest mountain in central Anatolia, it is very interesting and humbling seeing something this huge, just imagine what would happen if Mr. Hassan decides to wake up from his 8000 years sleep, I don’t want to be around for sure.
Continuing the journey to Ankara, we arrived to a town of course smart me didn’t exchange into Turkish liras, I couldn’t buy any food or change any money cause it was a town in the middle of no where, and of course if I wanted to exchange, I will have to do so in much lesser amount than exchanging in a bank or somewhere official, so I had to hold my stomach for 4 more hours or so.
For me what made this journey more relaxing and enjoyable is the empty bus, I can’t describe the difference between traveling in a bus filled with people (Especially middle eastern) and a bus having 5 people, 4 of them over 60, so I slept most of the way. Nevertheless at some point I was approached by bus driver assistant, I guess he was curious about me and what I was going to do, he speaks excellent Arabic, figures he is from Antakya where almost everyone speaks Arabic.
This man used to drive a bus from Mecca all the way to Antakya, one day he tried to smuggle some olive oil, cigarettes, and other stuff, he was caught by the Syrians, who didn’t tolerate it, thus confiscated his bus and fined him with 50.000 Euros, which he needs to pay to get his bus back. As tragic as his story is, somehow I have my doubts.
Sleeping more, and approaching Ankara around 6 PM, 2 hours late from the scheduled arrival time, the bus entered Asti bus terminal, I was able to spot the people from AIESEC who were supposed to wait for me and pick me up from there, show me around the neighborhood and show me the way home, the interns’ house is quite close to Asti, 15 minuets by walking.
The apartment is in Emek, a very nice area in Ankara, residential but close to a busy street stuffed with bars, pubs and restaurants, the local call it 7th street, but I am not sure yet about it’s name, but for sure I will post more details about it, cause it is one of the places to be in Ankara.