Hanging in Eskişehir

(written by Dave)

Pretty quiet day here in Eskisehir.  We were both so tired that we didn’t hear a single train overnight.  Nancy had read a couple of reviews on this hotel that mentioned the trains are particularly loud on the 1st floor, on the side of the hotel that we happen to be in.  Well, there were trains but we didn’t hear them.  Guess we needed a day off.  That’s not to say we missed the 4:30 call to prayers – it woke me up at least for a minute.

Our room is nice.  The building is an old grain silo so the outside all is sort of rounded.  We’ve slept in bird house, cave and now grain silo so far on this trip.  We are really ticking off some of the biggies on our bucket list with our accommodation choices on this trip.  By request, I’ve included a couple photos of the room today – enjoy.

We are staying here again tonight but it was close.  Nancy almost got busted pinching walnuts and raisins from the all you can eat buffet breakfast bar this morning.  We needed a re-supply for our oatmeal and they have giant bowls of various nuts, apricots, raisins, etc.  The trick is to get them wrapped up in a napkin before they come to clear your plates.  I think we’re good, we’ve not seen the hotel manager – yet.  Yesterday they made us park our bikes outside, in a somewhat unfenced carpark, which I wasn’t too happy about.  Tonight, with the threat of rain, I convinced them to let us put them in their 100% empty luggage room.  I wasn’t going to take no for an answer, especially when I discovered that they water the grass where the bike rack sits with automatic sprinklers – wonder what bright spark decided on putting the bike rack there.

We had a bit of a look around old-town Eskisehir this afternoon.  Old town has lots of old Ottoman era wooden houses and buildings.  The energetic mayor of Eskisehir has taken on lots of projects to make the town more than just an air force base and train stop.  From 2006 to 2010 they restored many of the buildings to original condition – painting them snappy pastel colours as well.  There are a couple old mosques also, dating from the 15th century.  Being old town, there were more women in traditional clothing and the requisite groups of old men sitting around drinking tea.

The mayor’s efforts have not put an end to the air force base however.  All day today we watched or listened to fighter jets, in pairs, roar over the city.  Just like yesterday, we look up when we hear the roar, and all the locals don’t even seem to notice.  I read on the Turkish Air Force web site that they have 54 F4 fighter jets based here and that they upgraded them recently.  It seems that they need lots of test flights to make sure that everything is working out.  I counted 3-4 groups of planes every hour before I stopped counting.  All I could think of was all that jet fuel being used up.  You can’t really hear anything when they go by, and they often fly very low over the city.

We are now about to head out for dinner.  Last night I tried the Pad Thai at the Travelers Restaurant.  It was good but had absolutely no peanut sauce.  Nancy’s spotted another restaurant near the hotel that also claims to serve a Pad Thai.  This might be a mistake but I’m going to give them a go.  I’m craving a good Pad Thai.  Maybe they don’t like to cook with peanuts in Turkey.  Check back tomorrow for a report.

Tomorrow we head for Inegol. We will be in Istanbul in a couple days time. Today we mapped out the next few days and a rough plan in Istanbul.  We also re-verified our plan heading north.  We are hoping to meet a couple of Nancy’s sisters in Sweden in August and it still looks like a doable plan, without too many 100 mile days or lots of buses.

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