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Published: October 29th 2011
Today was our travel day as we crossed the Bosphorous into the Asian Istanbul and on to the capital, Ankara. Ankara is the political center but is a third the size of Istanbul and is not a tourist city. However, we are here during the celebration of the country's start as a republic so there is a lot of flag waving and partying in the streets.
Ankara is several thousand feet over sea level where Istanbul is so we had about a 20-25 degree drop in temperature. I'm not complaining though, after our summer.
We went to the mausoleum of Ataturk, who was the one to raise an army against the Greeks against the Sultan's wish. After 2 years of fighting, the Turks finally reached a peace and became a republic. His mausoleum is very large with gold ceiling and marble all around. Lots of the public were there to lay flowers and pay respects. It is an important memorial for them because Ataturk, although a dictator, brought Turkey into the modern age by changing the state from religious based to secular, making men and women equal, banning the Berka, increasing literacy from 10% to over 60% before he
died and it is now over 90%. He also started small business financing to encourage his country to create their own export goods and they have done so significantly.
We spend the night then move on to Cappadocia Sunday.
We have learned quickly that to eat in the local restaurants, you need to like bread, a lot! Bread is served with bread, maybe a little lentil soup or some meat kabobs, but all made
to work with bread. It's really easy both in Istanbul and Ankara to go out and eat. We've done dinner on our own and found diners on the street that seemed to have several people so we try it. The menus have pictures so even if you're not sure exactly what you are ordering, it's nothing crazy and outlandish. Food here is very simple and basic, but filling. And most the staff in these cities speak English, at least enough to get the point across. We have a little more guessing to do in the more rural countryside.
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