Ankara: The friend-making-machine

Anıtkabir, Atatürk's Mausoleum and one of Ankara's main attractions

Anıtkabir, Atatürk’s Mausoleum and one of Ankara’s main attractions

Our first impression of Ankara is not a good one. We cycle through road construction sites, climb up hills, get scared by drivers who blow their horns. We decide to stay just as long as necessary. Our first host, Mahir, is very nice and shows us the parks outside the center. We dine at his mother’s place and enjoy a delicious meal. He gives us a ride to the Museum of Anatolian Cultures and introduces us to his friends. The Turkish hospitality makes us be happy every day.
On our second day in town we have already made enough friends to be invited to a party of a friend of Gürkan (the cycling guy who we have met just entering the city) where we bring Mahir and four of his friends.

Getting lost in Ankara

Getting lost in Ankara

On the party we drink our first beer since Fethiye. Without recognizing we somehow adapted the non-alcohol-culture and do not miss a cold beer after a long day on the bikes. On the following day we meet with Çiğdem, a friend I have been studying with. She has just moved to İstanbul and only comes back to Ankara for a night.
Though we have already managed to wheel our bikes all the way up to Mahir’s office, we leave them there when we move on towards our second host’s house: Taha.

Taha, his friends and us having barbeque on the balcony. We enjoy the student's life once again.

Taha, his friends and us having barbeque on the balcony. We enjoy the student’s life once again.

Taha is a student and introduces us to his friend Mete, who helped Roberto with some computer problems, where we have a barbeque on the balcony together with some other friends. We cook a lot together and enjoy breakfast pancakes and Kısır, a kind of salad based on Bulgur.

Breakfast with Taha

Breakfast with Taha

During the day Roberto applies for a new passport, because his old one is about to expire. We walk a lot of kilometers through the city, visit the Atatürk Museum, meet a very famous shoemaker in his shop, eat some delicious Kumpir (filled baked potatoe) and fall in love with the hidden charm of the city. When Taha’s holidays are over and he has to go on studying we move to Irem’s and Levent’s house.

Mexican Breakfast at Levent's and Irem's

Mexican Breakfast at Levent’s and Irem’s

We got to know them at Gürkan’s friend’s party and came along great from the first moment on.
From their place we make a three-night’s short trip to Cappadocia, where we stay in a cheap and clean pension. We keep the bikes at Mahir’s office and get a bus to Göreme. The area of Cappadocia is beautiful, there is enough to see and do for weeks but though we only have a few days we decide to see the open air museum of Göreme with its painted tomb churches, walk through love valley, red valley and rose valley and visit one of the underground cities in Derinkuyu.



Every year there is a traditional national dance competition fought by children and young adults. We are very lucky, because it takes part just when we are in Göreme and we spend half the night watching the fast dances, colorful dresses and listening to the music.

Irem, Levent, Gürkan, Roberto and Annika after Strawberry-Pudding-Streusel-Cake.

Irem, Levent, Gürkan, Roberto and Annika after Strawberry-Pudding-Streusel-Cake.

We come back to Ankara with Irem and Levent where we spend two entire days working. There have just been too many impressions for new articles. We cook breakfast-pancakes again and German Kartoffelpuffer (hashed potatoes) with Mexican Salsa and Greek Tsatsiki and as a desert Strawberry-Pudding-Streusel-Cake. When we leave the city we still cannot believe how many good friends we have made.

The Atakule, Ankara's most famous landmark

The Atakule, Ankara’s most famous landmark

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  1. Héctor says:

    As far as I know, you two are a friend-making machine… Annika, if you keep losing weight, you might disappear!

    • Tasting Travels Team Tasting Travels Team says:

      Aaaawwww! I just blushed a lot I think. Thank you so much for your wonderful words! My self esteem just made a big jump 🙂
      I think it is impossible to NOT make a looot of friends while traveling through Turkey – people are just so outgoing, curious and hospitable!
      Thanks for your comment, we are always happy to hear from you!

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