24th June 2010

I went to Ankara with the purpose of getting a Visa to enter Iran. Ruth and Hannah had already been there and had told me that the Embassy is closed on Fridays. It was Thursday. So I wanted to get there today otherwise I would have to wait till after the weekend. Also, these places usually close at noon so I had to get there that morning. I arrived in Ankara at 7am after two nights without a bed. As the Embassy wasn't open yet I found myself a hotel. I went to the one Ruth and Hannah had stayed at a week or so previously and had recommended to me. When I got to the room I fell asleep. When I woke up it was 11am! So I rushed like mad to the Embassy. I got there 15 minutes after they closed! But luckily they ARE open on Fridays after all. So it just meant I had to spend an extra day in Ankara by myself.

The main square in Ankara.

The view from the hotel. At least it had a view.

Lady making Gozleme: kind of spinach pancakes.

Shops in a crumbling building.

Ankara isn't a particularly attractive or interesting city so I wasnt particularly enthralled by the fact. But in Turkey there is always good food. No, GREAT food! I wandered about by myself and got some food. The kebabs in Turkey are great. Nothing like the greasy processed disgusting poor excuse for meat served in a soggy pitta that falls apart with manky salad that you always get in the UK. But there are loads of other great dishes. Turkish food makes me very, very happy :o) The bread is always SO fresh and SO tasty. And they always give you plenty with your food. You wont know about Turkish bread until you try it. The picture shows my highland soup (yoghurt mint and rice soup: delicious). The next one is my Lahmacun. Its special stretchy dough rolled out really thin, topped with a mixture of lamb, red pepper paste and parsley and baked fast. You eat it rolled up with lemon and fresh parsley or salad.

In the evening I went and got my hair cut. In the Barbers Shop there was a great map book of the whole of Turkey. I loked at it to find places to go.

The next day I made it to the Embassy and all went well. I have to wait until Wednesday (5 days) until I can collect it. I don't like the big city much so I checked out of the hotel and went straight to the bus station. But first I had a lovely lunch of beans and rice :o)

On the way to the bus station I passed by this tomb in a relatively quiet square and noticed alot of people were there around the tomb. They were all women and they were going inside and praying around the tomb.

Using my excelent Turkish language skills I managed to find out that Women gather here every Friday (Sabbath day in Islam) and pray. Inside the tomb is the body of a saint called Vefat Eden. She was a pregnant girl who was also sick. When she arrived at this place in August 1577 she prayed for snow, presumably because she had a fever and was so hot in the summer heat. And it snowed! The people thought she must be a holy person. She died shortly after from her ilness. But this is now a special place for women because they are not always welcome to pray in the Mosque on Fridays, the Holy Day. Its great to know a bit of the lingo huh! :o) I wonder how Ruth and Hannah have been getting on?

I tell you what, they don't mess around when it comes to bus stations! 3 storeys of busses! National Express eat your heart out!

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