Ankara Day 2


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Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Ankara
July 4th 2007
Published: October 22nd 2017
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Another citadel viewAnother citadel viewAnother citadel view

Of course, when I want the "good" camera, I've left it at home, but you get the idea. It' pretty spectacular
Geo: 39.9439, 32.856

Day 2: Still jetlagged. I got the kids to sleep by 11pm, but I didn't nod off until about 3am (That's 8pm at home). Hopefully I'll have that sorted out in a day or two. Josh was up by 8 and we let Kate and Alex sleep until 9. We decided to try the hotel breakfast which had the advantage of being both close and free. There was a huge array of breads, spreads, fruits, vegetables and olives. There were also a couple cereals, veal sausage and boiled eggs. I think the highlight for everyone was the honey served on the comb:

We spent some time back at the room writing up our thoughts on yesterday and then went downstairs to ask the best way to get the the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. I know that the name of the museum doesn't sound very snappy, but it really is an incredible museum and probably the first thing anyone coming to Ankara should go see (I'm completely in agreement with the guidebook on this one). At this point, one would think I would now talk about the museum, but we didn't quite get there first.

Much to the children's frustration, I am
Drinks at Cafe AndDrinks at Cafe AndDrinks at Cafe And

After baking in the sun on top of the Citadel, we stopped at a beautiful cafe on the way down. Grapevines were growing along the cafe walls and you could still see much of Ankara in the distance. The drink of choice for the kids here has been orange Fanta.
not the best with maps and I certainly don't read Turkish well. I thought I did pretty well only walking us an extra four blocks or so. I'm not sure Alex was in agreement. He's still a little nervous and out of his depth. He holds my hand most of the time when we are out on the street...even though it's very hot. He also burst out with, "I hate Turkey!" about 15 minutes into our walk. Luckily, once we get him to our destinations, he is very excited to be there and very enthusiastic about what we find. Alex is very much a "destination, not journey" person.

So, to get back to it, we found the Citadel before we found the museum. The looking clueless thing has been working well and many Turks are happy to point and give directions I understand 2% of. The Citadel is way up on a hill and the guide book calls it, "by far the most interesting part of Ankara to poke about in." It was built starting in about the 7th century AD and continued through the 9th century AD by Byzantine emporer Michael II.

It was in the Citadel that we had
Exterior of Citadel wallExterior of Citadel wallExterior of Citadel wall

There are many homes and some shops within the citadel wall. They've been there hundreds of years, but I haven't looked up how many.
our first overwhelming shopping experience. Kate started looking at some purses displayed on a stone wall. We were basically swarmed by 4 or 5 ladies who crochet purses and attack tourists. We bought two purses and a few pieces of chotchke for about $15. I swear, if I come away paying anything less than the original asking price, I feel like I've done a good job. Kate's purse has already come in handy for carrying water bottles. I'm very pleased that the kids seeme to be grasping their numbers, thank you and the all important, "no" very well. Afterwards, I wished I'd thought to videotape some of it. After we gave up some of our cash, the ladies pointed us on up to the top of the citadel which has an unparalleled view of the city.
From there we looked around and shot some video interviews with the call to prayer in the background. When my nerves couldn't take being up so high (and on precarious walls) anymore, we started back down.

I'm immodestly known as a great restaurant picker in my family. I proved my prowess once again today when I found us a cafe for drinks in
Honey on the combHoney on the combHoney on the comb

We got a huge kick out of serving ourselves honey for our yogurt and bread straight off the honeycomb at the breakfast buffet at the Radisson.
the citadel. I just found out (back here in the room) that it was the Author's choice pick from one of our guide books. It's called the Cafe And and it isn't far below the top of the citadel. As a result, it has gorgeous views and grapes growing on the balcony. More Fanta Orange for everyone!

Finally, we made it down to our original destination. The museum is housed in a restored 15th century covered market building and houses artifacts from all of the major excavations made all over Turkey. The artifacts go all the way back to the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras. We saw a Neanderthal skull, cave paintings that were 25,000 years old--the actual walls, cut up and brought to the museum, 8,000-year-old frescoes, obsidian mirrors, some of the first coins ever made in the world, cuniforms and many other wonders. They even have the skull of a man they suspect was King Midas. When you arrive at the museum you can negotiate to hire a tour guide who speaks your language. We rented one for an hour and he did a great job with the kids. To their credit, they hung in there for an hour before
Josh and his "colleague"Josh and his "colleague"Josh and his "colleague"

Josh continues to impress me with his amazing recall of knowledge. I certainly didn't remember that the original meaning of the swastika symbol was "luck."
making for the cafe and gift shop. When we were all done inside, we mucked about a bit in the ancient statue garden.

We left the area a different way from the one along which we came and ended up in a big shopping area. The part of town where we are staying (and includes the citadel and museum) is called Ulus and I had read that it is a big discount shopping area. Up until this point, I hadn't seem much shopping, but we found it by accident on our way home. Our shopping interest meter was pegging low, so we just walked around and looked (but tried not to look at the same time--very tricky!). When we seemed to leave the main area we started looking for a likely dinner spot. We picked a kebap place, but found they didn't actually have any kebap at the moment. So, we ordered pide (a cheezy flatbread with crumbled meat), a salad of diced cucumbers, tomatoes and fresh flat parsley with a yogurt sauce on the side, grilled chicken on flatbread with pilaf and a meatball dish on flatbread. The meatballs went first. I wasn't too surprised.

Despite my children's doubts, I guided us smoothly home on foot. First I had to promise them that if I couldn't prove to them in 15 minutes that I knew where I was going that I would get a taxi. Boy, are they a tough crowd!

Tomorrow we check out and head to Cappadocia. Fingers crossed for a good night's sleep!

Josh's favorite part of the day: going to the museum and making friends with the tour guide.
Kate favorite part of the day: seeing real-live caveman paintings at the museum.
Alex's favorite part of the day: being interviewed (by mom) on video at the top of the Citadel overlooking Ankara (what a ham!).


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The top of AnkaraThe top of Ankara
The top of Ankara

It was a long, hot walk, but the view from the old Citadel on top of Ankara was well worth it.


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