After 11 hours of flight, we reached Istanbul around 6.00 am (local time). Upon arrival at the airport we were taken straight for sight seeing in the city.
Besides Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, we were also taken to Topkapi Palace. It used to be a palace for the Ottoman Sultans which now turned into a museum. The museum has several sections and the most special one is the Chambers of the Sacred Relics. It is filled with some relics of Prophet Muhammad SAW such as his swords, letter, tooth and footprint. It was another episode of emotional experience especially when looking at the sacred footprint. It's difficult to describe what I felt, but suffice to say that my tears came yet again.
No photos though since camera is strictly forbidden in the museum.
After lunch we board the bus and went to Bolu ( 270 km) where we spent the night before we continued to Ankara the next day.
On the way to Ankara next morning, we enjoyed the usual scenery of green landscape with fruit plantation. Every now and then we saw small villages with the minaret (red arrow, above).
In Ankara, we were taken to the Museum of Anatolian Civilization exhibiting historical artifacts from ancient civilization which includes tools, jewelry and some model of the ancient house.
After having lunch we headed to another museum.
Our tour guide(left) is a friendly cheerful person. She is also a big fan of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. She would speak passionately about the Turkish national hero. While I have my own opinion about this man, the founder and first president of the Turkish Republic, I learn a lot from her about Ataturk's contributions to the modern secularized Turkey.
We visited the Mausoleum of Ataturk(right) located in the middle of a large museum dedicated to him. The museum consists of his personal belongings, well written history and photographs of his achievements, and also his life size wax statue.
The tomb of Ataturk (left) is inside the mausoleum.
Our journey continued to Nevsehir in Cappadocia (about 290km from Ankara). Most of us were sleeping. I was very excited to be in Cappadocia for a very good reason (and you'll agree with me). But along the way we saw a lake which looked so white. From the map we assume it was Tuz Lake. From one, two, suddenly most of us we chatting excitedly and some were standing while taking photos. May be it was our reaction that made the bus driver stop at a rest area near the lake.
Getting down from the bus, we ignored our guide's reminder not to go very far. It was a salt lake!
People come by personal vehicles to load the salt.
Some of us took the trouble of touching the salt and
tasting the water, just to be sure. I didn't even know that such a lake exists here. ( I only knew about Dead Sea in Jordan)
Turkey...you never fail to amaze me.