Be warned, however, that we didn’t go to either Greece or Armenia. We could see the Greek island of Samos from Özdere, where we spent the kurban bayramı holiday with Ferda’s parents. Does that count?
Defne and I had a short 5:30am self-guided tour of Selçuk when we switched buses between Antalya and Özdere.
After our bus adventures in Tabasco, Ferda and I figured it’d be easy to get from Özdere to Urla. We switched buses in Seferihisar, and thankfully Ferda is talented enough with the cell phone to top up our İzmir travel card while we waited for the second bus. They don’t take cash. 🙁
Friends in Urla made a yummy rakı meze mangal (bbq)
and gave us a tour the next day of Klazomenai (near Urla’s small harbor), famous for its ancient Greek olive press, reconstructed in 2004.
That was fun to see and gave me an idea of what the operation might have looked like at Lyrboton Kome near Antalya.
After a cousin’s wedding in İzmir, Ferda and I boarded an overnight bus and spent a day in Ankara. I had read somewhere that Aydınköy was one of Turkey’s most beautiful villages. It’s not (unlike Ormana which I enjoyed visiting recently).
Aydınköy is Disneylandesque, built so urbanites can get an idea of a Turkish village. It sits in a small pretty valley on the edge of Ankara and is well done for what it is. Houses were brought in from an unnamed village in Turkey’s western Black Sea region.
Most tourists won’t find Aydınköy interesting. However, in Ankara you should not miss the 13th century Selçuk Ali Şerafettin Camii (aka Aslanhane Mosque).
Highlights include the wooden pillars (with Greek and Roman capitals),
the wooden ceiling,
and the tiled mıhrab.
How had I never seen this place before on all my visits to Ankara?
It’s in a part of Ankara near the fortress that isn’t completely torn down and/or gentrified.
Since we were in the neighborhood, we quickly poked our heads in Ankara’s excellent Anatolian Civilizations Museum (Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi). We spent most of our time in the large room full of old stone carvings. I was excited to see the original 3000 year old Hittite relief that Seb and I saw in Arslantepe (Malatya).
This piece from (I believe) Carchemish reminded me of the carvings that we saw in Persepolis.
I’m sure you’re wondering why it had to be such a quick visit to such a great museum. Well, Ferda and I had tickets for the Doğu Ekspresi, the daily train from Ankara to Kars.
but the best part is the next morning, going along the Çaltı Çayı passed Divriği. We loved our bicycle tour through here three years ago.
In the evening we were approaching Sarıkamış.
It was dark by the time we got to Kars.
And Armenia? Well, it was just across the Arpaçay from Ani, but that’s for the next post.