After being on 6 planes, in 6 airports, 4 countries, 3 continents, eating countless airplane meals, and definitively not enough sleep, I had a great Turkish trip. I flew business for the first time ever, which was definitively great on the long-haul to Istanbul. After flying business with Air Canada flying first class is no longer a goal of mine for my Rocking my Thirties, it was exactly how I though first class was, and even more. It definitively helped with the jet-lag transition, since I was able to sleep on the plane to accommodate to the time change.
My Turkish trip was great, I was able to spend a lot of time experiencing the sights in Ankara. My favourite part of my trip was definitively the Ankara Citadel. The architecture of the buildings within the Citadel and the AMAZING view from the Citadel, the best view I have seen EVER, and the all-around amazingness of the pace were just wonderful. I loved how people are still living within the Citadel, when I was entering a very narrow gate before the fort, a pick-up truck drove by in the very narrow street filled with appliances to accommodate someone’s move.
Just beside the Citadel, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations was very interesting. I purchased an audio guide and it was definitively the way to go. The exhibits themselves were fine, but the audio guide described the history behind the pieces and how the Anatolian population has evolved over the years.
My other two favorite sights were the Kocatepe Mosque which architecture was simply stunning. I loved the white and blue tones and the serenity that surrounded it. I did remove my shoes and looked inside, but I stayed at the back and didn’t take any pictures to respect the people praying inside. I must say that it was also gorgeous inside and the ceiling was breathtaking!
I also loved the Anitkabir, although the walk there and back contributed to the sunburn I acquired during the trip. It was a very impressing building that serves as mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey.
While in Turkey I also visited a Hammam and had a traditional Turkish Bath experience. It was not at all as I imagined it would be. I was expecting a steam room experience, but although it wasn’t cold, it wasn’t a steamed room.
I also ate in a couple of great restaurants that served more traditional dishes. The fish restaurant was great fun and the courtyard patio where we ate was breathtakingly beautiful. They had a tray with small dishes that you could point and choose, we were three so we tried three dishes. For the main, the waiter walk us over to a bed of fish on ice and we picked which fish we wanted, it was then fillet and served nicely. The Brit in our group chose the Sea Bass and we all followed, it was very nice. The other great restaurant was a kebab restaurant, where a couple of people were performing what I would say was a mix between opera and traditional Arabic music. The food itself, as the fish restaurant, tapas like dishes were stacked on a tray and displayed for us to choose. Most of those were spread of some type, there was a humus, a tapenade and a cheese spread to eat with the fresh pita bread and feta that was served for us to share. As a main, we shared a platter of mixed meat kebabs, my favorite was the lamb and pistachio kebab, it was delish!
My favorite treat in Ankara was the susamli simit, which to me looked like a big Montreal bagel, but didn’t taste quite like that. I was impress how it was sold on almost every street corner, in almost every bakery and was on every breakfast buffet I seen.
So overall, well worth the very long journey!