Going the Slow Way…
Three Days by Train in Turkey
I traveled by train and bus for three days to go from Selҫuk to Goreme in Turkey. I could have flown (ugh!); I could have taken the overnight bus (double UGH!). Either way, I would have gotten to my next destination in a hurry. But instead, I created an itinerary that, in a small way is reminiscent of the way people traveled 100 years ago: Slowly, by public conveyance, and spending each night in a hotel or hostelry along the way. Here is my route:
Day 1: Leave Selҁuk 12:08 Arrive Denizli 15:29
As the train chugged through the Turkish landscape, I could not help but feel a little like I had been transported through time. The occasional wind turbines on hillsides brought me back to the present.
Overnight at the Grand Otel Keskin, chosen because it is only a block from the train station. $22 USD included Turkish breakfast
Day 2: Leave Denizli 10:15 Arrive Eskisehir 18:15
Leave Eskeşihir 20:08 Arrive Ankara 21:34
This was my longest day—almost ten hours on the train. There was time for me to eat in Eskeşihir but I did not want to lug my packs through the streets. I had stayed in here on the way down to Denizli from Istanbul, so I knew of a nice café about a kilometer from the train station along the river. Luckily, there were storage lockers in the train station. I had a good stroll, a simple meal, and a break from sitting on a train before I had to board the YHT (high-speed train) for the shorter ride to Ankara.
Overnight at the Esila Hotel, chosen because it is blocks from the train station and right next to a Metro station where I could easily take the local train to the bus station in the morning. $22 USD included Turkish breakfast. This hotel was a step up from the Gran Otel Keskin.
You can read more about Turkish breakfasts in my post, “A Collection of Turkish Breakfasts.”
Day 3: Leave Ankara 14:00 Arrive Goreme 17:00
In the morning it was simple to walk down to the metro station, less than a block from Hotel Esila. The ride to the Ankara bus station took only about 15 minutes.
In my planning research, I learned that I could go by train to Keyseri, and then take a bus for an hour to Goreme. But this would have meant a nine-hour journey with several transfers. When I saw that there was a direct Flixbus that would get me there in three hours…well, my decision was made.
As it turned out, the bus took over five hours to get me to Goreme. I later learned that this bus is notoriously late going both ways. I could not figure out why they did not just change the schedule.
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I May Adopt this Travel Style Occasionally
This type of travel has a several benefits for me:
- Traveling by train is much more comfortable than by bus—there is more room at each seat, and you can easily walk around and stretch your body.
- I don’t experience motion sickness on a train.
- Because I did not have to travel super-long distances each day, I was able—at least in this case—to chose trains that did not leave before the crack of dawn or that arrived late at night. I had time to eat a leisurely breakfast and make my way to the station in the morning. I did not have to walk through unfamiliar and empty streets late at night to find my lodging.
Of course, this only works well when you are traveling long-term and are not on a tight schedule to return home. But I enjoyed this travel style so much that when I decided to leave Goreme to visit Bursa, I took two days to do so—staying again at the Esila Hotel in Ankara before continuing to Bursa the next morning.
I like this new-old way of traveling leisurely. I think I will stay alert for opportunities to do so again in the future.
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