Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ankara to Tatvan by train

Not everybody gets off a train that they have been on for over 24 hours, hangs around for three hours and then gets on another train that will take 30 hours to reach its destination. Let's just say there are some strange people around and I happen to be one of them.

As you can see, Tatvan is not that far from Kars and it would have made more sense to go to Tatvan first, travel by ferry to Van, bus to Igdir near Armenia and then bus to Kars. Then take the train from Kars back to Ankara.

Yes, I did travel over the same track a few times, but at different times of day. Anyhow, I like being on a train so it all worked for me.

When I got off the train from Kars in Ankara there were stalls set up selling all sorts of clothing and food. I looked at the food and decided to buy some for lunch. Suddenly I had a bag containing five large pieces of the stodgy stuff on the left and two of the sausage things on the right. The stalls were run by young women University students to raise money for poor students. I figured I could store the food in the fridge on the train.

When I was in Kars I had realized that my body was craving juice so I bought two containers to drink on the train. I had finished one and had the other left over for the journey to Tatvan. I also had some chocolate and biscuits.

Later in the day, I thought I might visit the restaurant for dinner and discovered there was no restaurant car for some reason or other. Now I was rather glad that I had all the food. It was pure chance that I had all this food and I was never hungry. 

Since I am sure you have had enough of terrific scenery pictures, I am including more 'people' pictures in this blog.

The leaves were definitely more advanced than three days before.

Late in the afternoon at Kayseri where people filled their water bottles.

Early next morning. I found the beds on the train comfortable and slept well every night.

More concrete sleepers.

Yet another huge dam.

I was intrigued by the position of this house with its tremendous view.

I wondered what the owner would sell it for and I estimate $30,000 would be more than enough.

I got the sense that the dam lake was filling and submerging houses and trees.

Bee hives surrounded by barbed wire.

Yes, the lake was filling.

They must sell a lot of blue tarpaulins in Turkey.

Oddly enough, I did not see many waterfalls. This was the first.

Waiting for the game to begin. I got the sense that many people must be really bored in rural Turkey.

The train sat at a station for about 30 minutes so I took photos of people who passed by. particularly those carrying a tricycle.

Guarding the cattle.

Blurry photo but young kids often waived to the train.

I suspect a lot of time is spent sitting around talking and drinking lots of cups of tea.

Nearer Tatvan the train slowed down to less than 10 mph and when you look at the track you can understand why. I estimate that it took fours hours to do the last fifty miles. The train arrived about four hours late.

This wonky track was an exception. Turkish track is much better than Russian track.

There are so many unanswered questions when you travel by train. Why is this building ruined?

There are so many poor villages but children who live there still appear to enjoy life as much as richer children.

We stopped for about 45 minutes about ten miles outside Tatvan for no apparent reason and I watched these two blokes watching the train. I have my suspicions that the train is delayed so that the workers can get get overtime pay.

Unusual flat rocks.

Nemrut. It's a former volcano with a large caldera.

A long tunnel. I suspect it was constructed to keep the track clear of snow drifts.

Lake Van in the distance.

I was planning to pamper myself and take a taxi to the hotel but there were no taxis, probably because the train was late. So I walked into town. This road only goes to the station and it appears to be a favourite of driving schools.

So it was an enjoyable trip except for the late arrival.

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