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Trip Report ankara/sivas/divrigi/eastern turkey trip

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this is my first time writing a trip report.i want to thank all the people on this forum & on TA & Other forum with whose help I had wonderful trip to turkey..this was my second visit to Turkey.
i started the trip from LA TO NEW JERSY & FROM NEW JERSEY TO ISTANBUL ON UNITED AIRLINE.I EVEN PAID EXTRA TO UPGRADE.ONLY COMMENTS I HAVE FOR THEM IS THEY ARE NOT WORTH TRAVELLING WITH.I have travelled to various part of the world & used various airlines but never had this opinion for an airline.I took Turkish air(great airline)
to Ankara.So finally we(my husband & myself) arrived at our hotel DIVAN CUKUHARRAN.
I have posted the review separately.had a great room & slept well.
13/9/12: saw museum of Anatolia civilization,IT was only partly open & had great visit
after that i visited ANKARA KALESI which was right across from the hotel.It has great view of the city & nice little shops on the way uo.I n the evening we took taxi to ANIT KABIR.It is a fantastic monument & a wonderful tribute to father of TURKEY.(ATATURK).They have wonderful display of history & revolution.we also got to see change of guards in the evening.
we took taxi back to Ulus Meydani & strolled around Victory monument,julian column & walked back to the hotel.We chatted for a while with the night receptionist who suggested to visit HAMNA ANYU.There are lots of small resturants in the area & on the way y see some old homes which are currently in process of renovation to original style.
Then walked back up hill to the hotel after 9 p.m. but felt safe.
14/9: trip to hattusas,.we had hired a car with english speaking driver/guide.we started at 9 a.m after great breakfast at the hotel & it was 21/2 hrs drive to BOGAZKALE.A very large HITTITES settlement with 1000 temples.i felt it a previlage to see,feel, & touch the stones of 3BC.Wish they could talk of their glory & civilization !!!!!!!!!.visited more temple complex,tunnel & Hieroglyph. Took lunch at 2 p.m. & visited Bogazkale museum to see the Sphinx that has been returned from Germany after many yrs. to its origin.the museum also has good display of HITTITES life style.Then we went to Yazlikaye open air museum & Alcahoyuk.There were hardly any visitors at any of these sites.Then we returned back to our hotel Divan Cukuharran at 9 p.m.We had checked out of the hotel at 9a.m. before we left for Hattusas,but agreed to store our baggage till evening.They actually let us use the room to take a nice shower & refresh our self & served us some tea before we left for our night bus to SIVAS.I have posted my review about the hotel separately. Took a taxi to
ANKARA bus station.AT midnight it was buzzing with lots of people. Apparently tonight many student return back so there were people every where & lots of chaos,but we found our bus & safely loaded our baggage & got seated.The buses are great.they do show movies(in turkish) & have radio.could not get much sleep on the bus.BUS ARRIVED IN SIVAS at 6.30 & the bus driver dropped us right in front of our hotel KOSK.That was just fantastic.I can never forget the hospitality the Turkish people extend to the visitor inspite of language barrier.
15/9:we were able to check in our room by 7a.m.Hotel KOSK IS simple,clean,well situated.front office only speak Turkish,I had help from a fellow Turkish man who translated for me.I decided to go for a walk to visit GOK MEDRESSA & CIFTE MINARET.Morning was nice & cool & very few people on the street.Again got help from a local for the direction(HE WALKED WITH ME TO & POINTED OUT TO ME.TURKISH HOSPITALITY AT ITS BEST).I had studied the Architecture of these monument from a great reference book by Henry STIERLIN titled TURKEY from selcuks to ottoman.It was another experience to look at details of stone carving was beyond words.y got to see it.
then we visited some mosque & made arrangement to rent car with driver for next day visit to Divrigi.During our visit to gok mederessa we met a lady from Belgium who was returning to Turkey after many yrs & decided to join us for trip to Divrigi.
16/9/12:we started our trip to Divrigi at 9 a.m.One of the hotel employe (ONUR) was our driver.he only spoke Turkish but the tour operator from EASTERN TURKEY TOURS(BASED IN VAN) WAS very gracious to do the translation & explain to the driver where we wanted to go.The drive was through dry flat plain & mountain region.Reached DIVRI AT 11.30 A.M.We visited the MOSQUE & DARSUFFA(HOSPITAL).IT is just gorgeous,to describe the carving words are not going to do the justice.ONE DESCRIPTION OF THESE WORLD HERITAGE SITE IS POETRY ON STONE,WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE.CARVING & DESIGN LOOK LIKE INTRICATE HENNA PAINTING ON BRIDES HAND ,SO DELICATE & SO BEAUTIFUL.After relishing this beautiful
architectural marvel we went up to see kalesi ,with beautiful view of the town & KUMbATS(TUMBS).After that ONUR took us at a nice restaurant from where we
continued to enjoy the monuments.After that we drove to KANGAL,Where we went in a nice resort where they have fish Pedicure.You can submerge yourextremites you whole body & fish nibbles on your skin.it feels funny & enjoyable.we all had good time & wished we had more time to spend there.then we started long trip back to SIVAS & said good bye to our new friend.Onur had agreed to take us to Otogar for our night bus to Gaziantep.we had nice dinner of lentil soup/bread & salad.
reached the bus stop at 10 p.m..a very different experience than Ankara.much quieter & few people.bus started on time at 10.30 p.m.LONG DISTANCE buses are great in Turkey.Very comfortable & SAME ROUTE OFFERED BY MORE THAN ONE COMPANY.I wish i can say about that for different destination form los angeles,where public transport is not that good.THIS time i was able to sleep & woke up about 4 30 a.m. & we arrived in Gaziantep bus station at 6 .30 a.m.Took taxi to HOTEL RAWANDA & got early check in as we were part of eastern turkey tour(ALKAN TOUR).we setteled in our room & then we
went out for breakfast & then walked to center of historical area.visited ZETERHAN,famous baklava place & kalesi.walked arond the hans & came back to the hotel around 12 noon.on the way back had some carrot & pomogranate juice.Our plan was to visit RUM KALE FORTRESS FROM KASABA VILLAGE.We engaged a taxi for the trip.the road to kasaba village was partly under constuction ,so drive was slow & we reached by 3 30p.m.we booked the boat for RUM KALESI & VILLAGE OF SIVASAN.WE INVITED OUR DRIVER MUSTAFA to join us on the boat.the enerance to RUM KALESI IS CLOSED.NO LANDING PLATFORM FOR THE BOAT.I convinced the boat captain(a young man) to go closer to the landing area.there was no bridge,so we jumped from the upper deck of the boat to landing area.we walked up to the gate & found a small door through which we were able to go all the way up & gaze at beautiful lake.it was just a wonderful site to walk.there was nobody else except four of us & some goats.finally we came down & continued to sail.there was nice cool breeze & felt great with our feet in the water & experiencing the silence & looking at the mountain & the kalesi.we passed the village of sivasan & decided to go upto HALFETI.WE ENJOYED THE boat passing through the canyons, some cave like homes high up in the mountains(reminds y of cappadocia).
Life seem to be perfect,with cool breeze,singing of the birds & pleasant ride on the boat.it felt like world can stop as time has stopped for me,simple pleasures in life seems to
come so easily & enjoyed by all of us,abdulla(captain of the boat),mustafa(driver) & us.
we were all happy & enjoying the moment.finally we return & got treated by abdulla with a nice turkish tea.then we left back for Gaziantep & on our way back stopped & plucked some fresh pistachio from the trees.there were many pistachio trees on either side of the road with many pistachio ready to be harvested.we asked the driver to drop us at the city center where we had nice dinner(baked eggplant with yogurt,fresh warm bread,salad & baklava).then walked back to the hotel.we walked on small cobble stoned streets & under pass connecting the homes & old homes.OUR OFFICIAL TOUR WITH ALKAN TOU R WITH SABAHATTIN STARTS TOMORROW WITH OFFICIAL VISIT TO GAZIANTEP.
WE meet our guide Mehmet at the hotel & he informs us we are 3 couple on this tour.
I WILL POST MY TRIP REPORT OF GAZIANTEP & EASTERN TURKEY WITH ALKAN TOURS AS PART 2.

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