Friday, September 24, 2010

Ankara with the NSLI-Yers!!!

I just got back from a 3 day trip to Ankara with the other NSLI-Yers in Turkey this year/semester. The four of us in Samsun met up with the four students in Trabzon to see the city of Ankara and have a small orientation since we missed it from our super long delays. 

We met at the Samsun bus station at 11:30 on Monday night to get on the midnight bus to Ankara. It was supposed to take 7 hours, but luckily we made it in 6. Unfortunately we only slept a little, and I watched Alvin and the Chipmunks in Turkish. It was pretty entertaining because I could understand a lot of the Turkish and since I had already seen it I didn't have to worry about the plot. Once we got to the Ankara bus station we got on a smaller bus that would drive us around the city for the next 2 days. The kids from Trabzon flew because their bus ride would have been over 10 hours, but their flight didn't get in until a few hours later. We stopped in a parking lot somewhere and all fell asleep until we went to the airport. It was so great to see the kids from Trabzon because they are doing the same program as us but in another city. We had so much to talk about!

After breakfast in Kızılay, we went to Ankara Castle, which is the highest point in Ankara. We were surrounded and were able to see the whole city of Ankara. It is in a part of the city called Ulus. On our way out of Ulus we stopped at the Archeology museum, which is the largest in Turkey. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures, but evyerthing was very interesting to see. Later, we went to the old Turkish National Assembly building, which is now a museum. After that, we went to ANKAMall which is an extremely large mall in Ankara; it is 5 stories, and has every store imaginable. After that we checked into our hotel and got to shower and rest before dinner. For dinner we walked to a close-by restaurant which was very artsy an eclectic.

the whole NSLI-Y Turkey gang!
this man had an interesting pose... and we saw many other men standing the same way later that day...
The next morning we woke up relatively early to go to Anıtkabir, Atatürk's Mausoleum. I had gone there last year, but it was interesting to go again. After, we went to the US Embassy in Turkey for a Security Briefing. We got to meet some of the people in the foreign service and they talked to us about how to be safe in Turkey. Most of it was common sense and was useful to how to be safe anywhere in the world. The best part was that everyone could pronounce our names correctly and we got to see large American cars, which are very different from the cars in Turkey. For security purposes we were not allowed to take pictures. Later, we walked around Tunalı, another part of the city where my Turkish school was last summer. We just walked around and relaxed before going back to the hotel. 

Atatürk's Mausoleum

Atatürk isn't actually burried in there, he is burried about 6 ft underneath the floor.
My last day in Ankara, we went to the New National Assembly in the morning which was fantastic. I truly enjoyed seeing the building and going into the main room where the assembly meets. We were told that it was one of the nicest in Europe and I can believe that. It was very modern, spacious, and clean compared to the Old National Assembly building. That afternoon we went to the AFS office in Turkey, which is on the top floor of the building that I had classes in last summer. It was great to go back and see it. We had a mini orientation and just talked about some cultural things that were specific to Turkey that we missed because of our flight. We also met some previous AFSers that had gone abroad when they were in college!

The Old National Assembly
The Old National Assembly
That evening we flew back to our cities, and it was pretty sad saying goodbye because we had become so close. We became close during our long journey here, but we have come to realize that we can all truly relate to each other and shared so many stories that it is unfortunate that we don't get to see each other too often. Luckily we can keep in touch and will be seeing each other in a month!!

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