Friday, 17 May 2013

Getting Around Turkey - Fethiye To Eskişehir By Intercity Bus




As you'll know if you read this blog a lot, we love to get around Turkey by intercity bus and, where possible, by train. Many of our friends prefer to make use of Turkey's budget airlines, particularly as these are increasing their flight network all the time, flying to more and more of Turkey's smaller city airports...but flying just seems like such a hassle to us. It's one of those perpetual discussions we'll always have to have with Turkish friends but we're more than happy to stick with our story. 

From Fethiye otogar, it's possible to get to many of Turkey's larger towns and cities on a direct bus - but our recent trip to Eskişehir was slightly different because we needed to change. Lots more to come about Eskişehir in future posts but first, let's look at the journey there. 


Fethiye to Eskişehir - The Bus Journey
Unlike the bus to Izmir, we travel at night. If you remember, when we posted about our 2013 travelling Turkey plans, we guessed the route the bus might take, and aside from being told there is no direct bus, we weren't far wrong. 
Pamukkale Bus To Istanbul
The Istanbul bus takes you to Eskişehir
Whenever we can, we book with the Pamukkale bus company. This is personal preference, and again, if you're ever travelling in Turkey, ask any Turkish person which is the best company to use and you'll get recommendations for just about every company that operates from Fethiye otogar...complete with strong arguments for why one company is better than the other. All part of the fun. 

The bus we need for Eskişehir is our usual 9 pm bus to Istanbul. We know the route well, but this time tactics need to be a bit different. We need to try to get some sleep as soon as possible because our change of bus means waiting around for an hour in Turkey's famous porcelain-producing city of Kütahya.

We're more comfortable than usual. Pamukkale are always introducing new services to try to entice travellers away from the flight option. They were one of the first, if not the the first, companies to introduce personal TV screens and internet connections by way of their 'technobus,' and, for this journey, we're happy to be placed on the new 'Pamukyol' bus. This bus has two seats down one side and one on the other...therefore much wider seats and much more legroom. 
Travel In Turkey - Afyon Service Station
Afyon service area
The usual fitful sleep follows and we don't bother to get off the bus for a leg stretch in Afyon because we know we'll be in Kütahya an hour later at around 3:30 am. Typical then that we both fall sound asleep here and have to be woken up at Kütahya by the bus steward. We need to wait here now, groggy and sleepy, till 4:45 am for our connecting bus so we take it in turns to wander around - there are a few shops open, selling porcelain, as you might expect. One shop sells nothing only bleach and chocolate. An interesting mix that takes up a few minutes of time as we each study the window display to try to work out exactly what the thinking is behind this.

Groups of young lads are milling around trying, like we are, to kill time. They've all got short or shaved hair and each group looks to be an unlikely bunch of friends. We're half asleep so it takes a while for the penny to drop. This is a military area and youngsters doing their military service are waiting around for buses back home. 
River Bridge In Eskişehir
Eskişehir is very quiet first thing in the morning
At 5am, our bus sweeps into the station. Its final destination is Bursa but, fortunately for us, the bus steward is again more aware than we are and gently wakes us up in Eskişehir at 6:30am. Early morning in an unfamiliar city - but Eskişehir looks immediately accessible; it doesn't sprawl into the distance and, at this time, the roads are quiet. 

We wander aimlessly out of the otogar and eye the tram waiting at the stop. Then we glance at the taxis. Then we consider walking (we know our hotel is only a mile or so away) and just at that point, I spot the Pamukkale service bus. We tell the driver we want to go to the centre. Where in the centre? How would we know? 

So it's at 6:45am on a Friday morning with a chill in the air that we find ourselves sitting on the marble doorstep of a shop, looking at our map on the tablet. We work out where we are, where we need to be...and then we head off to the nearby börekçi to go and join the local road cleaners for a breakfast of pide and çay. It leads to the first of a good few of Barry's Eskişehir heartburn experiences. 

Fethiye To Eskişehir By Bus - Useful Information:
  • Most buses to Istanbul (your bus for the first leg of your trip to Eskişehir) leave Fethiye otogar around 9pm.
  • Depending on which bus company you use, you will change bus at either Afyon or Kütahya.
  • Don't worry about falling asleep and missing your stop. The bus stewards know where everyone is going and will wake you up when it's time for you to get off.
  • We can't speak for other companies but Pamukkale offer a free shuttle service into the city centre once you are in Eskişehir. If you have a map, show the driver where you are staying and they'll drop you off in the nearest place and point you in the right direction.
  • Before you go, use our blog to compare prices on different travel websites for hotels in Eskişehir.

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