Saturday, 23 July 2011

Enroute to Turkey

Thursday 21st July: Jo'Burg to Ankara
We spent a quiet day organising the luggage, doing some shopping and watching the Tour de France ( Ewan was in seventh heaven as it was a live broadcast - every turn of the wheel, every drop of perspiration.............for hours!!!!!!!).
We did visit a place called African Romance which is a diamond mining company using South African and Botswana diamonds. It was interesting seeing the entire process resulting in a rough diamond being cut, polished etc., but it didn't result in us acquiring any unfortunately! We did see some tanzanites that are rare as they are only found in Tanzania. They were a stunning blue-purple: very beautiful.
Off we went to the airport to catch the flight to Doha and then to Ankara at 10 pm. Not a lot of sleep on the plane and rather unusual combinations of food: it was Qatar Airlines: hummus with a mushroom crepe for breakfast??. It was a mere 37 degrees at 6.30am when we arrived at Doha Airport, which is being re-built. We had to stand in a queue for an hour with hundreds of others just to get through security so we could transfer to the next plane. Ridiculous! Ah, the joys of travel!
Our hotel was just up this cobblestoned lane
Finally we arrived in Ankara, one of the largest cities in Turkey. We caught a taxi and travelled through a huge modern city surrounded by bare hills, until we entered the oldest bit of town up a huge hill, only to discover that Ewan had booked us into a hotel in the historic Citadel area. It consists of winding cobblestone lanes, old wooden buidlings in various stages of decay, and lots of tiny shops and stalls, some with dusty faded wares.
The hotel has only 6 rooms with lots of dark wood and gold curtains, bedspreads and turkish rugs and kilims ( what a surprise!). We were very pleased that it has an air conditioner as it is mid-summer here, and the temperature is in the 30's every day, but quite bearable. Erin and I collapsed in bed and Ewan went off to explore.
For dinner we went to a small courtyard restaurant just up our lane, and we had what will be the first of many meals consisting of dips, pide, salad, and grilled lamb/meatballs /chicken. Very tasty.

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