Early Friday morning, I will be flying to eastern Turkey with my program. We will visit two cities, Van and Kars. Here is a map of Turkey:
These two cities have much to offer in terms of cultural experiences, because Kars is very close to the Armenian border, and Van to the Iranian border. For those reasons, we will be visiting NGOs and organizations which deal with issues resulting from those proximities. Turkey and Armenia have a complicated and often contentious past, and not until recently have the two countries begun a reconciliation process.
It should be a whirlwind trip, as we have a very busy itinerary:
Friday 23 April
04:00 Bus transfer from Koç to Sabiha Gökçen Airport (on Asian side)
06:40 Sun Express XQ9476 flight to Van
08:30 Arrive in Van. Van kahvaltası (Bak Hele Bak Yusuf Konak)
10:00 Visit Van Times (local newspaper printed in Turkish, Kurdish, Farsi, English)
11:00 Visit VAKAD (Van Women’s Association)
12:30 With guide, explore Van Kalesi, Akdamar Adası & Armenian church
(we will have group picnic lunch)
18:30 Leave Van for Doğubayazıt.
20:30 Check into hotel. Group dinner.
(Students are restricted from leaving hotel at night for security reasons).
Saturday 24 April
7:00 Breakfast at hotel (with views of Mt. Ararat)
8:00 Leave for Kars. We will visit Ishak Paşa Sarayı on the way.
12:30 Arrive in Kars. Group lunch then head to Ani.
13:30 With guide, explore Ani ruins.
17:30 Check into hotel. Free time to explore Kars
19:15 Meet at hotel to walk to dinner.
19:30 Group dinner at KAMER (women’s center) restaurant for local specialties.
Sunday 25 April
06:30 Breakfast at hotel
07:00 Depart for Boğatepe Village (40KM NW of Kars)
08:30 Visit Boğatepe Village and learn about how they are protecting traditional plants, food & ecology. We will break up into smaller groups and have breakfast and chat with villagers.
11:30 Leave village for airport
13:45 Sun Express XQ9429 flight to Istanbul
15:50 Arrival in Istanbul at Sabiha Gokçen airport. Bus transfer to campus.
Anyway, I will surely blog about the experience soon afterward. Have a good weekend!