Ankara to Istanbul by train
Our two previous attempts to catch trains had been foiled, but we had
bought tickets from Ankara to Istanbul a week earlier and this time
there were no problems.
The first leg of the trip was by high-speed train to Eskisehir. The train
stuck to 70-100 km/hr getting out of town, but ratcheted up to right
on 250km/hr for the middle of the trip. This stretch was fairly flat,
with the wheat fields that make Anatolia one of the bread-baskets of
the world. At Eskisehir we changed to the ordinary Bashkent Express,
which followed a much windier route through some quite mountainous terrain
and then along the Sea of Marmara to Haydarpasha. The station here is
quite a nice old building, but we just made the connecting ferry so we
didn't have much of a chance to look at it.
The ferry trip was rather nice, with great views of the Istanbul
skyline and the Bosphorus bridge.
We had missed lunch in all of this, so when the ferry got in to Eminönu
we grabbed a fresh fish sandwich from the floating stalls there. Then we
tried to get a taxi back to our hotel...
Rather than giving the street address of the Turkoman Hotel, which is on a
small sokak (lane) that Gabi's taxi driver had had grief finding
when she first arrived, we told our driver to go to the Hippodrome,
thinking that would be much easier. Unfortunately he seemed totally
unaware that there was an ancient Hippodrome that tourists might want
to go to, and started taking us to a modern racetrack somewhere way out
of town... Fortunately my knowledge of the geography was good enough
to correct this, after two mis-headings, but it was a bit stressful.
Next: Istanbul: Beyoglu