After five days of sitting still in Cappadocia, my obsession with train travel started to emerge. My resolve not to embark on a train ride that would leave us yet again rushing to catch a flight on the other side of the country started to dwindle. (Although I appreciated the easy flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia, having not traveled by land left me wondering about the landscape.)
Eventually, reason won out, and instead we spent a day, traveling by bus, train, and then ferry on the Sea of Marmara back to Istanbul. As our bus climbed higher and higher, and the sand-colored ground gave way to pink lakes and to green trees and mountains (and a view of the sea), I knew we had made the right choice. Some of my favorite memories of travel include sitting on a train or bus, marking the slow transition as the landscape (of central Russia or the Gobi Desert, for example) shifted from dramatic snowy landscapes to flat arid desert, and then back. Cities emerge and then dissolve into the background ... I find that there's something magical about it.
|View from the fast train|
|Not the Asian buses I am accustomed to, the Turkish buses had a steward, entertainment, drinks and internet.|
We stopped for a night in the capital of Ankara, walked through the park, witnessed families' iftar celebrations at dusk, ate at an Urfu kepab restaurant that seated us and others so far out onto the street that our table shook as cars passed by, and woke up early the next day to see the Atatürk Mausoleum, which was impressive.