Ürgüp to Ankara

Wednesday, August 24, 2022 - 20:15

This morning was our final excursion in the Cappadocia region, to Uchisar Castle which we decided to postpone from yesterday to today. The castle is known to be quite a good sunset and sunrise spot, but we couldn't face another 5am start, and instead had a leisurely breakfast and arrived at the car park below the castle about 9.30am. A shop owner bordering the car park came out when he saw us and asked us where we are from. When I said London and Argentina he looked confused and asked why our car was from Ukraine. Turns out he mistook the UK on our plate to mean Ukraine, and I can see why he might have been confused! It made us realise that many people might be thinking the same thing when they see our car. In reality the Ukrainian cars have the two letter country code UA, though I still don't understand why we changed our code from UK to GB after Brexit. The shop owner then gave us a warning that it is very hot up Uchisar Castle and we could come for some cold apple chai (tea) once we get back down.

Turns out he was correct about it being hot up the castle. Despite the castle looking from a distance like it has a lot of inner rooms to explore, in practice it only has a few caves set in the side, and an external staircase which takes you most of the way to the top. The caves and staircase happen to be on the side of the mountain facing the sun in the morning, and it was already approaching 30 degrees despite only being mid-morning. We had a lot more energy than yesterday though, and made it to the top with Lucy having a good time in the harness. From the viewpoint at the top you get a 360 view over the whole of the region, which was a great way to finish our trip here so we could see the full lay of the land. The actual castle is carved into the mountain, and you can see why they chose this place, since it is the highest point in the region and provided a perfect defensive position. There wasn't that much to see other than the viewpoint though, so we headed back down and back to the car to get back to the hotel to pick up Summer and check out.

The rest of the day was spent driving to Ankara, which took us on our first 'Otoyolu' (motorway) in Turkey since we left Istanbul nearly four weeks ago now. Given we don't drive much over 70mph to conserve battery, it didn't make much difference to us compared to the excellent dual carriageways we have become used to in Eastern and Central Turkey. About half of the cars on the Otoyolu seemed to be from France, Germany and Austria, with the rest being locals. As for the landscape, it was mostly sunburnt farmland with a few rolling hills; nothing interesting and not a patch on what we had just left behind in Cappadocia. It was just over three hours to Ankara, and as we approached the city we could see five distinct areas of tower blocks in the distance on the hillsides. Only one of these was Ankara, with the rest being part of the urban sprawl which is home to nearly 6 million people apparently. The trip to our hotel near the city centre was wide dual carriageways all the way from the main motorway, with a rather complex network of inner-city tunnels and underpasses to navigate. Luckily Google Maps had the lane guidance perfect, and we made it to the hotel right on time.

Ankara doesn't seem to have a reputation as a city worth visiting, but we managed to pick out a couple of places to stop by while we are here: the Anıtkabir which is the mausoleum of Ataturk, and the Presidential Palace since this is the capital city. We tried to do the Anıtkabir tonight before dinner but found the complex completely closed despite the monument itself being brightly lit up. We'll come back in the morning instead, and also drive past the Presidential Palace while we are on our way out of the city. We tried to have dinner in a bustling downtown area near the Anıtkabir but parking was a nightmare, and then a thunderstorm came along with heavy summer raindrops which it didn't look fun to walk around in with a dog and a baby in a buggy. Instead we went back to the hotel and ate locally while the storm passed. As for the feel of the city, it is certainly a lot more Western and cosmopolitan than the other places we have been lately (the bars serve alcohol not just coffee), and feels a bit like something out of Latin America, maybe Mexico City in terms of how developed it is and the urban sprawl with a complicated but wide road network. Presumably a lot of diplomats live here since most countries would have a diplomatic presence in Turkey given its importance in the region and its NATO membership.

Dog Notes: 

We didn't take Summer with us to Uchisar Castle since we guessed ahead of time that it probably wouldn't be dog friendly, and it seems we were correct. Luckily Summer has got used to spending a couple of hours at a time in our hotel rooms. We've setup the baby camera on a few of these occasions and can see that she sleeps peacefully, as long as we give her a dental treat before we leave.

Electric Vehicle EV Notes: 

The drive today was short enough to do on about 75% of the battery, which was good because there weren't actually any chargers on the shiny new motorway from the Cappadocia region to up to Ankara. When we arrived the nearest charger was conveniently at a hotel right across the road from ours. It was blocked by cars but luckily the hotel concierge had the keys to move them since they were part of the valet service.
- ZES charger at Midas Hotel Ankara

Miles Driven: 
Holiday Inn Ankara Kavaklıdere


You've travelled so much that its interesting to read your comparisons with other places you've been been to.

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