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Trip to Turkey September 2004
Monday, September 20, 2004

There were one or two other guests at the hotel besides us (this being past the end of tourist season) and in the morning the owner left, leaving the hotel locked up except for the downstairs washrooms.  We thought at first that we might be the only people there, but we heard women inside.  It was time to get on the road again.

road sign to Yazgot, Hattusha, Alaca, Ankara

By 10:15am we had arrived at Alaca Hoyuk ("Alaja Hoyook").  The carvings on the stone very clearly depict a procession of many people bringing gifts to a seated enthroned and crowned woman.  No wonder the books are lacking in their coverage of Alaca Hoyuk, the archaeologists probably had no idea of how to interpret these pictures.  If the enthroned person had been male, it would have been much easier to interpret....  What surprises me is that these carvings have survived at all.  So many times invading cultures will do their best to wipe out any evidence that there was a previous culture that did things differently.

Female sphinx
Matron, the king
Alaca, foundations
Alaca standing stone

At 3:15pm we entered the city of Ankara.  We found the driving there to be just as difficult as driving in Istanbul.  Somehow Tom found the Anatolian History Museum by 4:15pm.  Our guidebooks said that this museum closed early (5:00pm) on Mondays, but somehow today they were open till 7:00pm and we took that entire time.

Here is where many of the finds from the archeological sites are kept (that is whatever wasn't looted or sent to London).  The displays were wonderful.
acorn necklace in Ankara Museum
cauldron in Ankara museum

We regretted missing Carchemesh because many of the museum pieces were from there, but the rest were mostly dug from the places we had visited.  The museum definitely houses the bulk of the wealth from the ruins.  After the museum, we found a souvenir shop open across the street and bought a reasonable (and well priced) replica of a metal sun standard.

We decided to leave Ankara to go to sleep in another gas station.  Gas stations were dependable, we had no idea where we would have slept in the city.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

By 8:00am we were on the road towards the Black Sea.  To our surprise, we were stopped for speeding by the local police at 10:00 on the road towards Eregli (Eh-reh-lee - the "g" is silent).  This was totally unexpected because we never saw any traffic rules being enforced anywhere else in all of Turkey, so we weren't even paying attention to speed limit signs.  Apparently, in this area, they had hidden radar with a policeman doing voice communication with the police car up the road (where we were caught) telling them to watch for particular vehicles.  The police took 50 million Turkish lira from us right there, gave us a receipt and sent us on our way after warning us that there might be more traps further on.

At 11:00 as we approached Eregli, a large falcon swooped in front of our dolmoosh.  We hadn't seen very many raptors in Turkey and it was good to see another.

At 4:00pm we were in Akcakoca (Akchakoca) and had arranged for camping at a hotel that the tourbook recommended.  Tom liked this place but I did not.  Facilities are more important to me and this one had the washrooms located at a difficult place to approach due to the slantiness of the walkway, in addition, although we were approaching Istanbul, the restrooms were not western and the women's shower had a burned out lightbulb and what I considered to be a dangerous electrical set-up with a metal clothes hook much too close to the lightbulb socket in a wet area.

The hotel/campsite came with a "laundry", that is a big sink where we could hand-wash our clothes, and we put up a line to dry them.  By now we were experiencing major road burn and some anxiety about being able to get the seats back in the dolmoosh and return it.  We were concerned about driving in Istanbul.

We did take a walk through town, along the beach front, and ate at our last fish restaurant where they let you pick out the fish and then tell them how you want it cooked.  That was good.  The Black Sea is a good place for seafood.  During our walk we saw a sunken patio and some porches with what appeared to be one layer of hazelnuts spread over a large area (about 6 feet by 9 feet).  We aren't sure what the people were doing with the nuts (drying them?).  There is always something to see everywhere in Turkey.

This particular area of the Black Sea was crowded and smoggy.  Later we learned that the prettier parts of the Black Sea area are further east, but we heading west back to Istanbul now.

Created:  November 15, 2004
Updated:  November 21, 2004
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