Continuing on with my journey from Mersin to Istanbul on the 17th and 18th of August.
From Yenice I caught the 14:35 “Icanadolu Mavi” (‘Central Anatolian Blue’) for the approximately 18 hour journey to Pendik, an outer suburb of Istanbul. This train starts from Adana and terminates at Haydarpasa, Asian Istanbul.
The intercity train was air conditioned and modern with 3 seats facing forward on every row–1 on the left hand side and 2 on the right. Thankfully smoking was not allowed in the carriages except for the dining car. From front to rear, the train consisted of the following: an engine car, several cars with pullman seats, a dining room and then a carriage with single and twin-bedded private rooms for passengers who paid extra for a decent night’s sleep.
The train interior
The passengers looked conservative and displayed an abundance of headscarves. I believe this is mainly due to the train’s route via the traditional towns and cities through the Taurus Mountains’ Cilician Gates and along the Central Anatolian Plateau. These towns included Karaisalibucagi, Pozanti, Ciftehan, Ulukisla, Eregli, Ayranci, Karaman, Cumra, Konya, Afyon, Kutahya, Eskisehir and Izmit.
Train is Turkey’s cheapest scheduled form of intercity travel, making it attractive to poorer people. Many families with young children also took advantage of the greater freedom of movement train travel offers when compared to bus travel.
Towering Taurus Mountain cliffs before Pozanti
I saw 2 or 3 of these thin, tall buildings along the journey. This one was at Ciftehan. It is probably a grain storage stack.
An old engine on display at the side of the track
A shepherd and his flock of sheep and goats walking across a barren field
The Central Anatolian Plateau was very dry, reflecting the drought-like conditions almost all of the country is experiencing.
The rush to meet the train at Karaman station
My chicken with rice and grilled tomatoes and capsicums
In the evening I ate dinner in the dining car. Despite what their menu stated, they only had two types of chicken meals available. Although the meal was reasonably cheap (6 YTL), it was nouveau cuisine-like in its size.
By 9 am (slightly later than scheduled) Saturday morning I had arrived to Pendik, Istanbul and my longest ever single train trip was over.