Ankara to Istanbul

Thursday, August 25, 2022 - 20:45

We started the day today not in the best of moods since the air conditioning in the whole hotel didn't seem to be working. This meant Lucy struggled to sleep, and we therefore struggled to sleep. In the morning I complained to the management and after assuring us it was working properly (it wasn't, it was just a fan, not real AC), offered a discount on the room rate for our discomfort. This helped somewhat, and we were then on our way to the Anıtkabir after our failed visit yesterday evening.

The Anıtkabir didn't have a car park open to the public, but we managed to find street parking about 100m from the pedestrian entrance on the side of the dual carriageway near some apartment blocks. This was useful since we ended up having to go in one at a time while the other waited at the car with Summer and Lucy. There was a fair amount of security around the complex and to get inside, and it reminded us quite a bit of the security around Tiananmen Square in Beijing. My guess is this is because it is a bit of a target for anyone with an axe to grind against the Modern Turkish State and what Ataturk himself stood for (I'm thinking of Armenians and Kurds in particular). We had no problems though and were quickly walking up the pathway to the Mausoleum.

The complex is huge but had very little information available in English, so I've had to do my reading up in our hotel room this evening. Apparently it was built from 1944-1953 and also houses the tomb of the second president of Turkey along with that of Ataturk himself. There was a staircase to get up to the main plaza, which has the actual Mausoleum building on one side, and is surrounded by some other museum and administration buildings on the others. The plaza is quite a sight, with no expense spared on the elaborate decoration. Once we crossed it there were some more stairs up to the Mausoleum, which we entered to find the 'Hall of Honour' which is where Ataturk's tomb can be found under a very high ornate gold ceiling. The whole thing was very picturesque, and I spent some time taking photos inside and out. Given the complex is on a raised part of the city, there were great views on all sides over the sprawling cityscape. As I was leaving I stumbled across a small museum in one of the corners which had Ataturk's armoured Lincoln car in it. It wasn't signposted at all and I was the only person there which was odd given how busy the rest of the area was, but it was interesting to read a bit about how it had to be armoured due to multiple assassination attempts against the man.

Once we'd both done our own circuit of the Anıtkabir, we got back in the car and drove over to the Presidential complex. It was very empty 8 lane roads the whole way, though when we arrived the main road up to the buildings was closed with an armoured blockade. Turns out the complex isn't a tourist destination like the White House or Houses of Parliament which you can walk up to and take photos, but something secluded and rather cut off from the public. We kept driving on the parallel road closest to the complex, and could see vast and new looking buildings in the distance which we took a few photos of while stopped at some traffic lights. Again, reading up about this online this evening we learnt that we drove past the largest library in the country, a mosque, and of course the President's residence. It was all built around 2015, so it is as new as it looked. With the main sights of Ankara complete, we continued onward to the Otoyolu up to Istanbul.

The motorway wasn't a particularly interesting drive, though the landscape did start to change again, from the dry yellow farmland we'd seen yesterday, to greener mountains more reminiscent of Northern Greece. This reminded us we were on our way back to Europe, and there were a couple of milestones worth noting. Firstly, we reached the point around Bolu where we had completed our loop of Turkey and the Caucasus, and were on the same road we drove the other way on four weeks ago. Secondly, we crossed the Bosporus on the 15h July Martyrs Bridge as we got close to our apartment in Istanbul, and this officially marked our entry back into the geographical continent of Europe. It has been an incredible journey to date, though we definitely feel ready to make our way back up into Europe at this point.

Unfortunately we managed to arrive in Istanbul right in the middle of rush hour, and although the majority of the traffic was leaving the city, it still took us nearly 45 minutes to drive the final couple of kilometres. Driving in Istanbul in rush hour certainly isn't for the faint hearted, with the buses and taxis being a law unto themselves. We managed to get to the apartment without any scratches, though it then took another 25 minutes to drive less than 1km to the EV charging point nearby. We are staying in a different part of the city this time, in the heart of Galata, famous for the football team Galatasaray. We had a walk around this evening, and discovered that walking distances on Google Maps in this area don't take into account the very steep roads you have to walk up if starting down near the Bosporus where we are and moving up to the busier areas. After a steep climb with the buggy and Summer, we made it to the famous İstiklal Avenue which is the Istanbul equivalent of something like Oxford Street and Leicester Square in one. It was extremely busy out and not particularly suitable for Summer, but we made it from one end to the other, which saw us reach Taksim Square where there is a monument and a mosque which were lit up nicely at night. We returned to the apartment via a different route, and the downhill was much easier for all of us!

Tomorrow we will explore more of the city like the Bazaars and hopefully one of the historical palaces.

Dog Notes: 

Summer wasn't allowed in to the Anıtkabir which was a shame. When they told us we got a bit annoyed since it was a wide open space which Summer could easily have walked in. I said "we just came all the way from London to pay our respects to Ataturk", which in retrospect is quite amusing, and fell on deaf ears since the guards barely understood a word of English.

Electric Vehicle EV Notes: 

We could have just about done the drive today on a full battery, but it wasn't worth the stress. Instead we stopped at the same fast charger in Bolu we stopped at four weeks ago on our outbound journey across Turkey. Once we got to Istanbul I was glad to put the car in the underground carpark at the Novotel overnight since parking on the back streets is a bit of a nightmare.
- ZES high speed charger at Bolu Highway Outlet
- ZES charger at Novotel Bosphorus

Miles Driven: 
GV Suites


People with cameras can get arrested in Turkey

Add new comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.