Friday, July 17, 2009

Salt Lake and Ankara

Today was the second last day of the package tour and we had to make our way back to Istanbul and it was the longest journey so far, a total of 730km on the road. We had to leave early because of the long distance and we could still see some hot air balloons while on our way. Little did we know that a tragedy had occurred earlier in the morning.

Our first stop today was at the great Salt Lake, the second largest lake in Turkey. As its name suggests, it is a great source of salt and salt mining is the main activity around the area.

Surveying for salt....

Found, a solid chunk of salt.

We arrived at Ankara around noon and we went to a restaurant at the main railway station to have our lunch. After lunch, we went to visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk. There were plenty of school children visiting the palce and it was very heart warming to see them paying their respects inside to the founder of modern Turkey.

Exterior of the mausoleum

Ataturk is buried here.

Lonely, I'm so lonely........

The garden overlooking the city

After this, it was a long. long journey back to Istanbul. Since it was a Friday, there was a terrible jam crossing the Bosphorus back into Istanbul. As a compensation, we managed to see the sunset from the bus.

Sunset over Istanbul

This was to be our last dinner of the package tour and it was in a Chinese restaurant in the Taksim area. Because of the jam, we reached the restaurant almost at 9 pm and frankly the food was nothing to shout about but as we were all hungry, the food never tasted so good. The photos on the wall had Jackie Chan as one of the customers and I suppose he did not have much choice in Istanbul!

After dinner, it was back to the comfort of the 5-star Crowne Plaza Hotel in the old city and there's no better place to be in after a long, long journey.

Ronald Kwok

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