Turkey backpack trip 2022 – Cappadocia (3)

To continue from where we left off. Now we are on DAY 3; in our Hotel Lobby looking for a TAXI.

From what we’ve noticed, unlike most countries, in Turkey, UBER is used as a platform for Taxi drivers to find clients and vice versa as the Taxi network is quite developed. All Taxis are metered with the price varying depending on the region. In Ankara, the fair starts at 7.5 TL.

Knowing that, we decided to grab a Taxi pre-Uber era style. Our Taxi driver could have easily passed for my grandpa, he had such a warm smile, radiating kindness.

Farewell Ankara

Upon arriving to Anıtkabir, we were greeted with what seemed like tens of tourists buses. Indifferent, we proceeded running our way to The Mausoleum.

Once on site, we were shocked to be the only tourists around. I guess that we crashed not one but several graduation photo shoots and elementary school field trips.

We couldn’t tell what was more beautiful, The Mausoleum itself or the love the Turkish people have for their founder and their country.

With our hearts full, we rush out of Anıtkabir and luckily manage to find a taxi fast.

We arrive at the bus station (Otogar) 10 minutes before the departure time only to be overwhelmed by the number of bus platforms present; there were more than 60 platforms and several local bus companies.

And to make things worse, having reserved the bus tickets in advance on FlixBus we didn’t know the name of the local bus company. FlixBus in Turkey, is more of a reservation platform rather than a transportation provider.

After 5 minutes of information hunting, we found the name of the bus company and the platform number. At two minutes before the departure time, we were the last two passengers unaccounted for. Up until today, I don’t know how we made it.

And just in case you are wondering, the local bus company is Kamilkoc.

Continue reading “Turkey backpack trip 2022 – Cappadocia (3)”

Turkey backpack trip 2022 – Ankara (2)

To bring you to where we left off, now we are on DAY 2.

Imagine Hubby and I rushing through breakfast to catch a train from Istanbul to Ankara at 9:35am. Instead of calling an Uber, we decided to try the metro for the first time. After a 17-minute walk from the hotel, we arrive at the metro stop “Marmaray Sirkeci Istasyonu” only to struggle to buy a ticket.

The so-called stand-alone ticket machine wasn’t so stand-alone as the instructions weren’t clear. And to make things worse, the only person that offered to help us, unfortunately tricked us as well.

But HEY, let’s look on the bright side, he taught us how to use the machine. So, the trick is to buy a transport card and then top it up with cash depending on your destination.

The machine doesn’t sell individual tickets. It only tops up transport cards.

The card cost 25 TL, we topped up 75 TL, and used 15TL (per person). PS. One transport card can be used by several people as long as you tap-in accordingly (ex: 2 taps = tickets for 2) into a given metro stop.

After that small anecdote, we managed to reach our destination Sogutlucesme Station and catch our train on-time.

Unexpected surprise

The train was beyond amazing. We booked first class but there was also business class that included a private cabin. The ticket price included train catering (14 EUR per person). We were served food & drinks during the trip using a food cart similar to the ones used in an airplane.

After roughly 5 hours, we arrive at the Ankara Central Station. Lost, we went to the help desk to ask for the location of metro Baskentray direction Kayas. The kind lady directed us towards the old side of the station where we found the metro stop and the stand-alone ticket machine.

While waiting in-line for our turn to buy the ticket; the machine bugs for some reason and stops working. We were told that an alternative way of buying a ticket was by taping-in our credit card on metro platform (entrance).

Several people were in the same situation as us. One by one, they were taping-in their credit cards and succeeding. For some reason, our visa card didn’t want to work. After a couple of minutes of struggling, a kind local tapped us in using his credit card and made sure that we were on the right platform and even asked us for our metro stop (Kurtulus).

The kindness shown from this man made-up for the wickedness of the other one. Reminding us that somehow good always balances out evil.

Continue reading “Turkey backpack trip 2022 – Ankara (2)”

Turkey backpack trip 2022 – Intro (1)

I’m writing this from a very comfortable bus (an autocar to be exact). I thought I’d document my trip to remember the places I’ve been to and faces I’ve seen. Today is Day 3 out of Day 12 so you can say that we’re at the beginning of our trip.

Hubby and I usually look for a good balance between comfort, local-living, and adventure. So, if you are into that as well, continue reading.

PS. This is my second attempt at writing this as I lost my first draft. So, here goes nothing…

Before I get into the deeds of how the past 2 days went. Let me give you a little bit of context. We are a young couple based in Paris, who decided to come to Turkey for 12 days (and 11 nights). Our dates are 25 May to 05 June, so you can say that we are traveling off-season during a period where the Turkish Lira roughly amounts to 17.5 TL per 1 EUR.

Several people have told us that we’ve got a good deal but deep down something didn’t sit right with us. Enjoying services that should have been doubled in price for what they are worth doesn’t seem fair somehow.

Having said that, we’ve decided to travel differently; by being less of a tourist, supporting small local businesses & using public transportation.

We’ve decided to be fully immersed in day-to-day Turkish living during these times.

On a positive note, Turkey is as beautiful as it has always been, if not more. And we can’t wait to follow through with our schedule.

Trip Overview

Hubby planned a closed-loop trip with a couple of stopovers starting with a day in Istanbul:

  • Paris to Istanbul (by air) – 1 night
  • Istanbul to Ankara (by train) – 1 night
  • Ankara to Gorëme/Capadocia (by bus) – 2 nights
  • Gorëme to Konya (by bus) – 1 night
  • Konya to Antalya (by bus) – 1 night
  • Antalya to Pamukkale (by bus) – 1 night
  • Pamukkale to Istanbul (by air) – 4 nights
Continue reading “Turkey backpack trip 2022 – Intro (1)”