In the CIEE program we take two “study trips” during the term. The first was to Ankara and our next one is to Çanakkale (pronounced: Cha nawk ah lee) in another week. Ankara is the capital and the second largest city in Turkey.  We took an overnight train on Thursday and arrived at 8am Friday morning just in time for an entire day of sightseeing.


The sleeper compartments were very comfortable and reasonably priced. 37.75TL each way which is $20.63. Amtrak easily costs 4 to 5 times that. The train provides sheets and a pillow and the compartments have heaters, electric outlets, and locking doors. Four people sleep in one room.  Does this look Harry Potterish to anyone else?? One of the guys in our program got his backpack stolen while he was in the dining car. His ipod, dictionary and a few other things were stolen. He was actually most upset about losing his dictionary.


A view from the train in the morning.


I liked this building because it had so many signs on it. I am so used to Canby having very short buildings, that it is still quite strange when I am directed to a different floor to pay for items in stores.


We stayed at a nice hotel in Ankara. They had triple rooms with three beds! Much better than Cappadocia where 3 beds were squished into a 2 bed room.


A statue on the campus of METU (Middle Eastern Technical University). Some of the students showed us around the campus. Apparently it is known for being an activist center.


Devrim means revolution. This is the futbol stadium at METU. According to the student giving us the tour, a few years ago chemistry students thought it would be fun to use chemicals to etch this into the seats. Haha I love Chemistry!


After METU, we visited Ataturk’s Mausoleum. Ataturk is the founder of the Turkish Republic and is considered to be the ultimate Turkish hero. It is actually against the law to disrespect his memory.


This statue represents the female Turkish population.  Not sure what they all stand for.


And these represent the male Turkish population. All men are required to serve 15 months in the military either right after high school (if not attending college), or after college for a shorter amount of time.


This is the walkway to the mausoleum square and museum. The stones are set far enough apart to make you trip a little. This is supposed to keep your head bowed while you approach Ataturk’s tomb.


The lions


The second tallest flagpole in Europe. (Turkey/Istanbul seems to have the second biggest of a lot of things)


Pretty passage way pictures.


This is the tomb of Ataturk’s right hand man.


They have guards similar to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington DC. They even get wiped down every so often because they aren’t allowed to move and it’s fairly warm outside.


Ataturk’s tomb. Dignitaries from all over the world come to visit here when they are in Turkey. The wreath on my right is from someone who visited that morning.


It looks a whole lot like the Lincoln Memorial


A cool Turkey map planted with flowers. Note that the purple is all the water surrounding Turkey. The crescent and star are on Turkey’s flag and a very recognizable everywhere.


The changing of the guard. It was very formal and their marching style made me remember marching band in high school because it would hurt really bad to play an instrument with the way they were marching. They slammed each foot into the ground after lifting their entire leg up. Ouch.P1060369

Lahmacun. Kind of like pide (Turkish pizza), but cheaper and thinner. This one has ground meat, tomatoes and spices on it. Delicious!


Hilal (one of our mentors) and Kim


There was a side street in Ankara that had only bookshops! Heaven! I found my Turkish Harry Potter book here SmileP1060457


A cool café we heard about. It really reminded me of the Portland atmosphere Smile


This is the Temple of Augustus. It has a long history of being used by different religious groups. It is connected to the corner of a famous mosque in Ankara so it has a bit more protection than some of the other ruins in Turkey.


Ancient inscriptions, linking the temple to a specific religious group. Not sure which one. whoops


Pretty fountains Smile


Prayer beads and the inside of the famous mosque. Men and women pray separately in mosques, so we toured both sections.


Does anyone else think this looks like the Space Needle?? The castle in the background was one of our next stops.


Busts (Hanane that’s for you) at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.


Carvings and statues at the museum. Most of the stuff there was from the Hittites and Phrygians, but this statue shows the Assyrian influence as well.


Think this is a cuneiform tablet.  How cool is that? Western Civ is so real here Smile


This sun disk used to be the symbol of Ankara until a few years ago. Cool design and even cooler that it is so old. I really have a hard time remembering that there is soooo much history spanning many centuries here. (The U.S. is a baby compared to this large amount of history)


Yes, that original, and yes you can touch it. So weird.


My favorite ceiling from the trip! So cool!


A rather awful picture of myself at the castle I showed in the previous picture. It was really high up and we were walking on the outer walls with no supports. A little more than I was comfortable with.


The view from the castle.


The part I couldn’t bring myself to walk on. A little lot too high.


We ate lunch as a big group at little restaurant nearby. We had my favorite, mantı.


In the afternoon we headed to Beypazarı, a small town about an hour outside of Ankara. It is known for carrots (juice etc) and traditional Turkish crafts.


This was one of the few times where I didn’t eat any baklava. Apparently (according to Wikipedia) Beypazarı is known for 80 layer baklava. YUM!

We went to a traditional crafts museum where people dress up and tell about ancient crafts and rituals. This reminded me of all the Oregon Trail and Lewis and Clark museums that I have been to.


We tried water marbling (Ebru) which was awesome! You flick paint of different concentrations (this makes it spread out differently) on top of water that has a special plant dissolved in it.  Then when you finish making your design, you place a piece of paper on top and slide it off the top. The paint clings to the paper with the design that you made.


(not mine, but you get the idea)


A really fuzzy version of what mine looked like when it was finished.


We also had our evil-eye removed.  The idea that everyone has some evil eye in them is a very common idea in Turkey. People with blue eyes get it easier as well. You can get your evil eye removed by having a gypsy woman melt lead and pour the molten metal into a bowl of water above your head.  You are covered with a white sheet during this process. She then “reads” the resulting shape and flicks your with water. You also eat a grain of rice, and a pinch of sugar and salt.  This is to help you lead a balanced life. For extra protection, people carry evil eye beads (nazar boncuğu).



I found this super cute penguin puzzle at the museum in Beypazarı as well. Penguins are the mascots of my sorority (Phi Sigma Rho-the engineering sorority) so my future little (little sister) is definitely going to inherit this Smile

I epically fail at posting blog entries, but at least I get some of them up Smile Leave me some comments! I love hearing from you.


Cappadocia (Kapadokya)

Cappadocia (pronounced: Kapadokia), is a region in the middle of Turkey that is known for it’s landscape. The main features are the fairy chimneys and beautiful valleys that look similar to the grand canyon. Each year the ISS (International Student Society) organizes a trip to Cappadocia, filled with activities and tours.


Expand around the red dot about a quarter inch in all directions and that is the Cappadocia region.

My pictures should help explain what we did while we were there:

Thursday night and Friday:


My swollen knee. I fell up the stairs and landed on this knee with all my weight about 2 hours before we left for Cappadocia. That red line developed into a very pretty purple bruise within the next couple hours.


Bus buddies. This is Jenn Smile She is from Prince Edward Island in Canada. (think Anne of Green Gables)


We left campus at around 10:30pm (it was supposed to be 9pm, but it’s Turkey!) on buses that we rented through the school. They were like Raz busses without TVs. This was a view of the pretty sunrise in the morning. We arrived at our hotel (owned by the family of the president of ISS) at about 11am the next morning.


We took three busses full of people which is about 135 exchange students!


Everyone chilling in the lobby while we waited for our room assignments. The theme of this trip was not knowing what was going on at any given time. (As many of you know, I love organization and having a plan, so I was frustrated for most of the weekend. As I have learned, flexible timing is part of Turkish culture, so I am working on being accepting :] )


A new hotel being built on the street near the hotel. We stayed at Dadak Thermal Spa & Welness Hotel in Kozaklı. This is north of most of the attractions in Cappadocia. The hotel is right behind this building in the picture. It was really nice.

As soon as we got to the hotel, my roommates and I settled in and waited around for instructions. Of course noone knew what was going on, so when we finally went to the lobby to find out, everyone was getting ready to leave the hotel for sightseeing.


Our first stop was to see fairy chimneys. There was a camel there for touristy rides.


According to the tour guide, the fairy chimneys were formed when erosion took away the soft rock layers (Tuff) and left the hard rock layers (Basalt) in place.


Cappadocia has been occupied by various powers (including the Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, and Byzantines, Ottomans and finally the Turks) since the Bronze Age. The fairy chimneys have been used as houses, churches and hideouts for centuries and many can still be toured.


Jenn and Rumeysa (from Holland, but she is Turkish in heritage).


The landscape here is beautiful in every direction.


Another view


This is a church built in the fairy chimneys. It is several stories tall, but there aren’t any ladders inside anymore. Of course that didn’t stop some of the more adventurous people from climbing the walls and through the holes to the top stories.


Civil engineers should really take some lessons from the people that built these. They are well designed and very sturdy.  The rooms are comfortable and shelves, benches and tables are built into the stone in some of the chimneys.


A window in the church.


It’s so weird to me that we can walk all over the chimneys. This would never fly in the US at the National Parks.




Cappadocia is also famous for wine. The grapes are grown low to the ground without tresses.


Our next stop was Imagination Valley where many of the fairy chimneys look like shapes. can you guess what this one is??? Answer: It’s a camel


Aida, Rumeysa and me.


This one is supposed to look like the Virgin Mary.


We then went to Pigeon Valley, so named for the large amount of pigeons there.


There was a tree there that you could tie evil-eye protectors onto. This symbol is everywhere in Turkey.  It is called Nazar Boncuğu in Turkish. You are supposed to wear one at all times to ward off the evil-eye.


Every single touristy shop sells these, so be prepared to get one from me when I return Smile


After a REALLY late lunch (4pm) we went across the street to a pottery workshop where one girl got to try throwing a pot. We were then told that everything in the shop was 50% off. More like each price was double the actual price so we thought we were getting a deal. The pottery was beautiful, but taking it home is going to be a challenge, so I only bought one piece.


We left the hotel midmorning and went to Kaymaklı where the underground cities are located. These cities were up to 8 levels below ground, VERY well engineered to let fresh air into the even the lowest levels, and built around 2000BC but the Hittites.  They were mainly used in the time of the Romans by Christians looking for a hideout. The cities could accommodate up to 50,000 people and be completely sealed off so no above ground trace was visible.


A room in the underground city.


Our tour guide showing us a mill stone.


This is not a place to go if you are claustrophobic. The tunnels are very small and even I had to bend at the waist to move through them. I did bonk my head on the ceiling and lost a bunch of hair since the rock in so rough. No worries, I didn’t go bald in that spot Smile


Huge grates have been added over the holes in the floor that show the lower layers.


Another room.


This is an open air natural castle. I can’t remember the name though.


This was our next stop.  The view was fantastic and the sky even cleared up to give us better picture weather!


These are whirling dervishes. I haven’t seen them yet, but I plan to.


So Young (from Vancouver, BC). We are Pacific NW buddies.


Rumeysa with a bunch of pretty lamps. I want to buy one, but don’t know how I will bring it home without it breaking.


This picture is from the Göreme Open Air Museum. This museum includes about 10 churches carved in the fairy chimneys. They date back to the 4th-11th centuries. St. Basil was instrumental in developing Christianity in this region and the churches are still here with mostly original murals and painted decorations. We couldn’t take any pictures inside the churches, but you can see some pictures of what it looks like here.


Some of the entrances to the churches at the museum.


After the open air museum, we stopped a winery to taste some Cappadocian wine. (the drinking age is 18 in Turkey, but they never check IDs so I’m sure you could be much younger)


I have no idea what kind of white wine I tasted, but it was yummy. It was really cheap as well, but I didn’t buy any.


We got on the buses Sunday afternoon (We didn’t leave in the morning because everyone [not me] wanted to party at the discotek (just a club) at the hotel on Saturday night. Getting up for the bus ride home was hard enough for them I think.) We arrived back to campus at 1am on Monday morning. And of course I had my first Ochem lab at 9:30am that day.

Getting closer to being caught up! One more weekend to post about Smile Leave me some comments like always!