We’re big advocates of Turkey’s intercity buses and travel on them all the time – hopefully, we’ll be on this Fethiye to Istanbul bus in November – but we’ve got to say, if there’s a train on offer, we’re there!
We love us a bit of a train journey and we were excited when we found out we could get from Eskişehir to Ankara by YHT (Yüksek Hızlı Tren), Turkey’s new high speed trains. What used to take three hours is now a 90 minute journey so we just had to give it a go; we’d never been on a high speed train before.
Our Eskişehir hotel was only a few minutes walk from the train station so, when we were ready to head off to our next destination, we trundled down with our backpacks in our own time and went inside the station to try and make sense of all the flashing boards. Ankara YHT – leaving at regular intervals. Great!
Not for the first time in Eskişehir, we were aware of our yabancı status as we went to buy our tickets – and the girl behind the glass burst into fits of giggles. Foreigners on trains – novel, apparently. We exchanged pleasantries, booked ourselves on the train for an hour later and then we left the station to take care of some unfinished business.
Before we came to Eskişehir, we asked people on our Facebook page for tips on what to see, eat, drink. One person suggested we go to Köfteci Ali just opposite the train station – 60 minutes left in town to fulfil one last task. And it wasn’t a chore. If you do find yourself with a bit of time to kill before you board a train in Eskişehir, you can do worse than go and fill yourself up with simple, lightly spiced köfte served with Turkish pickles (turşu), fresh sliced onion and tomato and all topped with a sprinkling of sumak.
Perfect start to a journey into the unknown – it was to be our first time in Ankara…
And then the time came to board our YHT. To put things into a bit of context here, everything was up in the air at this point. We were in contact with our friend in the east, telling her we were trying to get to her. We were on our way to Ankara in the hope of boarding a train to take us to Tatvan (on the shores of Lake Van) the day after…except no one seemed to know if the train was leaving.
We could book seats online on trains for other days, but not the day we wanted to go. Story of our life! The train only leaves Ankara twice a week and it would be almost a week before the next train left. We didn’t have enough funds to be paying for hotels in Turkey’s capital for a week, so we were in a bit of limbo. All we knew was we were going to Ankara, we had a night booked in a hostel…and well, we’d just have to sort something when we got there.
Ankara is in the centre of the Anatolian plains, so our scenery was farmland with the odd backdrop of low lying hills. The train gained in speed and the monitors fixed to the ceilings of the carriages proudly informed us of increases.
It was looking like we were going to be in Ankara sooner than anticipated and I was already starting to feel sorry for the city.
We’d just left a great hotel in a city we’d made ourselves quite comfortable in and now we were going to a hostel we’d booked just because it was close to the train station – no concept of which part of the city we would be in, we didn’t know how long we were going for or where we were heading after.
Poor Ankara; we weren’t heading there in the right frame of mind…
But our train journey was super smooth and very comfortable. As we approached Ankara, we started to slow down to a more pedestrian speed and we were handed wet wipes to freshen up before we drew into Ankara Gar. First impressions were favourable…a station older and more ornate than we were expecting. Not too crowded. Not too in-your-face. No hassle from anyone.
And before we venture outside the station walls, into the big wide (unknown) world that is Turkey’s second largest city, first things first: let’s try to find someone who can tell us whether tomorrow morning’s train to Tatvan actually exists…
Eskişehir to Ankara by High Speed Train – Useful Info
- A one way ticket from Eskişehir to Ankara on YHT cost 25 TL (Spring 2013)
- Return tickets are discounted and there are also discounts for groups and children
- The journey takes around 90 minutes
- Eskişehir train station is marked here on our map of Turkey
- Ankara train station is marked here on our map of Turkey
- The high speed line will eventually stretch as far as Istanbul
- YHT also run between Ankara & Konya and Eskişehir & Konya