So today has been our first full day in Ankara, and it has been busy! We landed in Ankara a little before midnight, remarkably without any significant delays and all of our luggage. We headed more or less straight to bed and got up for our first Turkish breakfast (coco puffs and coffee as usual, Turkish cheese and pastries as something different) and a lecture presentation at a national civil association. The presentation was a good overview of the various topics that occupy Turkish political discussions such as child rights, the environment, rights of women and the disabled, and LGBT. I found it particularly interesting that the majority of the funding of this group (that funds other smaller and more specific organizations) comes from the European Union, of which Turkey is not yet a member. Evidently, the EU is investing in Turkey in an effort to mold the opinions and perceptions to fit more with the EU’s standards with the idea that Turkey will one day join the EU after all.
After our discussions we walked to lunch and back to our hotel for a little break before embarking on a short tour of part of the city, and a visit to the History Museum of Ankara Civilizations. I will only say that Turkish history has been shaped by the Hittites, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Seluçuks, and Ottomans, before the republic of Turkey was founded less than a century ago. Therefore, the history of the country is beautiful and elaborate and much too complicated to discuss now. One interesting tidbit is the origin of the name “Ankara”- originally the ancient Gaelic’s made the site where Ankara is now its’ capital using the gaelic word “Ancaire” meaning “anchor” and would bring anchors from conquered ships as a demonstration of their power. The name evolved as the city was conquered by other powers, however, it retained the same root coming from “anchor” to what is called today Ankara.
It is currently 5:45pm, and I am pretty exhausted but am waiting until after dinner to go to sleep so I can adjust to the time zone.
A few minor details that have happened so far and should be noted:
-Lufthansa gave us mustache-shaped pretzels on our flight to Munich
-I discovered itty bitty Nutella jars in the Munich airport
-There are so many cats in Turkey. I was going to try to take a photo of every single one (in case people didn’t already know I was obsessed…) but after I saw three in two-second time period, that became unreasonable
Photo #1 A cute cat at the citadel in the older part of Ankara
Photo #2 Proof I’m here- standing on one part of the citadel with another part of the fort behind me