Despite a little cold spell we're going through in Fethiye at the moment, the worst of winter has passed, spring is in the air and thoughts are turning to 2013 Turkey travel plans. Last week was a bit of a travel theme on the blog and across our social media channels - and over on our Facebook page, we asked people when they were travelling to / in Turkey. It seems everyone else is also getting restless because we had around 100 replies.
We're getting restless, too, and for the last few weeks, we've been making rough plans of where we want to go this year. Well, now we know where we're going and we know how we're getting there...we just don't have concrete dates yet and nothing is booked - and we like it that way.
(If you are reading this post in your email or in a feedreader, you might need to click through to the blog post to see the map.)
As you can see in the map above, we're going on a bit of a (or a lot of a) cross-Turkey jaunt. This is more by accident than by plan, but because of how the situation has arisen, we're going to be fulfilling three ambitions that we've harboured for a long time, so naturally, we're excited about this one.
Where Are We Going And Why?
Eskişehir was the original destination on our 2013 agenda. We've been curious about the city for a while as photos keep appearing on our Google+ stream. Each time we share these photos to our page, proud locals of Eskişehir comment underneath and tell us how great their city is. Also, 2013 is the year that Eskişehir is the Turkiç World Capital of Culture. Famed for being a city of industry and a city of students, Eskişehir is now targetting tourism. Time we went to have a look for ourselves, we think.
As usual, we like to take things slowly. No planes. We'll be going up to Eskişehir by bus from Fethiye otogar and, from previous routes we've done, we've guessed the route the bus might take.
Eskişehir to Ankara:
Ankara is where the first of three Turkey ambitions will be met. We'll travel by high-speed train from Eskişehir to Turkey's capital. This is actually just as a stopover but while we're there, we'll make sure to visit Anıtkabir (the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk) and the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations.
Unlike Izmir, where we stayed for six days, we're not counting this as THE trip to Ankara - it'll be too short and sweet to get any sort of flavour of the city. No, this time, Ankara is our link city and the start point of the fulfilment of another ambition. We've always wanted to travel by train from Istanbul to Van. At the moment, due to line upgrades around the city, it isn't possible to travel all the way from Istanbul. Rail travel to the east begins in Eskişehir and the train we need, the Van Gölü Express, needs to be picked up in Ankara.
Ankara to Van:
Ambition number 2 is to cross central Anatolia to Eastern Turkey on this overnight train; a journey that will take 26 hours (the map shows the rough route the train takes). İnşallah, we'll be doing this soon! And when we do that, we'll get off the train in Tatvan, right on the shores of Lake Van. Ambition number 3 of seeing Lake Van will then be fulfilled.
As we said, the Eskişehir plans have been in place for some time and the original idea was to spend time in the city itself and have a wander around the surroundings over a period of a few days. The cross-country jaunt has come about because we have a friend who has just qualified as a teacher. She has been sent to a post close(ish) to Van and invited us to go and stay with her for a few days. We could come back to Fethiye from Eskişehir and then fly from Antalya to Van a few days later...but where's the fun in that?