Monday, May 25, 2015

Ataturk Mausoleum (Ankara, Turkey)

While leaving the train waggon from Izmir on his last stop in Ankara, the first thing I noticed were some very tall buildings, skyscrapers, wide roads and vast of asphalt all around the city! I thought to myself that I never imagined Ankara on this way while I was moving in direction of the nearest Ulus metro station from where I should go to the next hostel place near Kizilay. Wherever you are in Turkey it is almost impossible to skip observation how people are grateful to Atatürk (father of the modern Turkish nation). Perhaps this pride can be the best seen here in Ankara as every second skyscraper, house or regular building wearing the flag with Atatürk's picture and Turkish symbols on it.

Next to The Ulus Station by Igor L.
(Next to The Ulus Station, Ankara)
Photo taken by Igor L.

Kizilay could be eventually called center of the city and essentially in addition to numerous cafes, nice pedestrian baazar and many small shops it is not so much different from the rest of the Ankara. Nearby is also located a bus station for the public transport which will easily bring you to any part of the city for a cheap price. That day at the local university in Ankara (sorry I forgot its name) was held a special festival so I managed with the help of Turkish friends to visit students which are representing different sport, technical, science, artistic but and all other kinds of activities in their departments. After cup of black tea inside university caffee, students took me up to famous stadium where under the seats is written word DEVRIM. They explained to me that it has to dill with a certain revolution which dating back all the way to 1968 year but I did not find out any more details about event.

Ataturk Mausoleum in Ankara by Igor L.
(Ataturk Mausoleum, Ankara)
Photo taken by Igor L.

Yet not to be fussy Ankara in addition to skyscrapers have indeed many great cultural and historical content as it is the case for example with Atatürk mausoleum. Besides being a great general and reformer, Atatürk made from Turkey a better place for living, giving the many freedoms which people do not had during the past Ottoman periodThis mausoleum in Ankara was erected in Atatürk honor after his death and his remains now resting in building which you can see on the picture. I can freely say that this is one of the most beautiful historical museums I've ever visited with a great concept of paintings, weapons, maps, data and other stuffs so it has a huge recommendation to all of you who planing to eventually travel into Ankara and Turkey.

View on Hisar Castle Area by Igor L.
(View on Hisar Castle Area, Ankara)
Photo taken by Igor L. 

Among the other museums that I visited in Ankara I would especially like to note Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. Moving through the different years from prehistoric times you can see how people in Anatolia have developed together with their religion beliefs, art, manufacturing skills and tools which they used for farming or other manual works. Still under the large impression of unusual sculptures and explanations which I found interesting in the museum, I went on a small walk through the Hisar area, first to the castle and then heading to a little shops next to the road in nice old renovated district which can only give a frame of idea how Ankara had looked in some past times. In the meantime, I found the postcards that I bought and which I sent to a different addresses around the world while I was going back to the train station in the local post office.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Front Gate of Santa Maria (Venice, Italy)

As soon as I stepped into Venice (by the way it was early in the morning), Asian tourists have already flooded the whole plateau in front of the central Santa Lucia train station. They seemed to rush for making as much photos as possible with their huge cameras and selfie sticks which already went to my nerves since I am not a huge selfie fan but at this point I have no other choices except to accept my destiny. I did not had lot of time, maybe just a few hours until my departure for Bologna and because of that I went through the different Venice streets to enjoy sunny morning but also and to check out the couple of small nice shops, important cathedrals and eventually some museums.

Rio Del Malcanton by Igor L.
(Rio Del Malcanton, Venice)
Photo taken by Igor L.

Someone had already wrote a long time ago that if you are going to Venice for the first time ever simply be ready to accept that you will completely get lost in the labyrinth of its streets. In these situations regular tourist maps rarely helping but somehow it always turns out to be good and you can see the things which you never planed on a regular route. One of those streets that I particularly liked a lot was Rio del Malcanton and I even managed to find a good Pizza place next to it! In this ancient town everything is so expensive but if you go into the little remoter parts of the Venice you may have a chance to find a good souvenirs and food for more then reasonable prices.

Front Gate of Santa Maria by Igor L.
(Front Gate of Santa Maria, Venice)
Photo taken by Igor L.

Among the other things, main reason why I decided to first stop into the Venice, except the famous water channels and other attractions is that I was previously been able to often see Santa Maria Della Salute cathedral on a variety of images, postcards as well as to read about it in some prospects but also and in one very popular poetry from my country that deeply engraved into my memory from a young age. Plan was to go directly to the place where cathedral is, so after a little bit of walking and getting lost on the opposite side of the channel I was finally in front of the Santa Maria Della Salute where I took this great photo of sculptures at the front gate entrance! Cathedral was unfortunately closed and my disappointment was huge...

Old Faded Facades in Venice by Igor L.
(Old Faded Facades , Venice)
Photo taken by Igor L.

Since I did not succeed in my primary attempt to get into the Santa Maria Della Salute cathedral, I was very sad and went back to the plateau of Saint Mark's where I spent some time around together with pigeons army and tourists who waited in the line to enter into the Basilica di San Marco. Before my departure back to the Santa Lucia station I passed a several beautiful squares, churches, I saw the faded facades on homes and cruise ships that are docking and unloading people which particularly annoying local Italians who are struggling with this scenes already for a long time. Back then I had no idea that life will bring me back here again in a just few years to see everything that I had missed out on this day and even something more but about that story I will write more in the next few posts.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Scary Gravensteen (Ghent, Belgium)

If anyone had ever asks me which town will come to my mind if they mention word "student" I will immediately replied that this will be definitely Ghent in Belgium! Back in the summer, I bought my cheap airline tickets much earlier then usually and I gave to myself more free space and time for discovering whole Belgium, before festival to which I had planned to go. Maybe it's weird but immediately after my landing in Brussels airport I did not stayed in capital and instead I headed directly towards the Ghent of whom I only knew how it looks like from some of pictures which I searched on the internet couple of days before my flight.

Beautiful Little Lake in Ghent by Igor L.
(Beautiful Little Lake, Ghent)
Photo taken by Igor L.

One super clever thing which I've done this time is that I bought my train tickets on the internet and they works just great around the Belgium + I got student discount on each ride (so buy the tickets online)! Back to Ghent, when I arrived on its train station, first thing I had notice was how everything was clean and that there were not even a single piece of paper on the streets! From my friends in Belgium I learned a lot about ecology, although I'm after convinced that everything is not quite as perfect as I tough in my first impression. Anyway parks and nature are very well preserved and Ghent although small even has its own lake where people are swimming and enjoying on rare sunny days which you can see in the picture above.

View on Ghent Belfry by Igor L.
(View on Ghent Belfry, Ghent)
Photo taken by Igor L.

Old cathedral bells are ringing while I walked down the street and the Sun also smiled to me that day which is not a very common weather phenomenon comparing to the standard rain with dark clouds. Students, universities, beer, young people, bicycles, parks and trams are everywhere! Another fortunate situation for me was that in the town at that moment was held some kind of festival for which I even did not know that it would happen, so in addition to already positive groove there were a lot of other activities and of course lots of fun with a good live music and local people that I meetGhent Belfry was decorated with flags, so the next morning I took great opportunity to photograph this building that is now under the protection of UNESCO and which, believe it or not dates back to the ancient 14th century when construction was finally completed.

Scary Gravensteen in Ghent by Igor L.
(Scary Gravensteen, Ghent)
Photo taken by Igor L.

I can admit that I was always fascinated with a different medieval castles, especially with those that are pulling a certain scary mysteries inside of their quarters. Although during the sunshine day, Gravensteen castle can look like a front side picture from some Disney park, at the night this become strange building in a whole new dimension and it can be really considered as a great place for a horror movie scenery. The original medieval castle of Gravensteen dates back all the way to the 12th century, but over the many years it was built and damaged upon again and again while eventually it passed with a complete reconstruction process in the late 19th century so that today it is one of the main attractions of Ghent and the whole Belgium.