We know the coastline of Turkey like the palm of our hand; Aegean and Mediterranean coasts with a relatively warmer climate in summer, have been hosting domestic tourists for many years. As we take advantage of the natural riches of our country, we are once again thankful to be living in such a beautiful country. On the one side are western regions with fresh air where blue meets with green and cold eastern regions under a white blanket are on the other. The East is as silent as a wise scholar who retired into reclusion, and as humble as a little child if you listen.
A MOVING HOTEL
People should not confine themselves to the city they were born in but must see, visit and know the destinations near and far to be able to feel like they belong to the country they live in. People should visit the recommended destinations as well as those they are personally curious about, even if no one has recommended. If a person is curious about the cold, distant cities, they should fire their curiosity and learn about these places. You should also take into consideration the opportunity to feel like a novel character when going on such an unordinary journey. If you ask how, I would like to introduce the Eastern Express. It is a means to travel with a route beginning at Ankara and its last stop is Kars, and moreover you pass by a number of destinations in a train throughout the journey. Imagine staying in a moving hotel and the constantly changing view. You enjoy breathtaking views passing right beside mountains, rivers and plains.
CAREFULLY SELECTED TIME
Eastern Express departs from Ankara at 6 P.M. as if the time is carefully selected so amazing views and destinations can be viewed in daylight. The cities you will stop by at are Ankara, Kırıkkale, Kayseri, Sivas, Erzincan, Erzurum and Kars. After the departure, all you can do is to explore the Eastern Express. There are four types of wagons in this train. You can choose which type of wagon to travel in while purchasing your tickets. The names of the wagons are: pull-man, covered-couchette, bedded and with dining. In pull-man, there is a double and single seat in each row which can be called a regular room with seats. This is not very suitable for those who will travel all the way between the first and last stops. Covered-couchette wagons are for four people and seats transform into bunk beds. In these wagons, you are likely to travel with strangers who purchased tickets for the same compartment.
The journey has begun and you are hungry; make sure to pack some snacks, but there is also a dining cart in the train. There are soups, grills and various snacks on the menu, however sometimes the electrical circuits in the kitchen do not function properly and in such cases, food cannot be served. There is no Wi-Fi on the train and sometimes there is no service. However you will not miss internet much because the scenery you enjoy along the route, makes you forget about the social media. Think of this journey as an inner journey you go on for yourself. Each scenery is distinct, every destination is unique, and like our moods, the view constantly changes. Colours continuously go through transformation. For this reason, getting bored is out of question.
If you take the journey for the first time, we recommend you go on March and April because it is best to choose a date when days are long as you cannot enjoy the view after sunset. Of course, keep in mind that there is still snow. If you are planning to make a one-way trip, we recommend Ankara-Kars route because you can enjoy the view better. On the return route, you pass by the scenic destinations at late hours when it is dark. If your travel dates coincide with a full moon, you can also enjoy the view at night. The moonlight reflecting on the vast snow-covered lands is perfect for a night trip.
Your journey is over and you are now in Kars dating back to Neolithic Period which is the bridge between Anatolia and the Caucasus. Be prepared to observe Baltic architecture closely; you often come across monumental stone buildings around the city. Kars Castle is the most impressive historical monument in the city centre. For a short historical journey, you must visit Ani Ruins. 8,000-year-old city walls, mosques and churches greet you with their spectacular gates. In Kars, that awaits you with its natural wonders as well as its historical beauties, you should go on a small tour on sled on frozen Çıldır Lake.