The bus deposited us in Ankara shortly after 7:00 a.m., and our loaded bikes emerged unscathed from the cavernous hold. Compared to other logistical moves we’ve made, that was really easy! Finding a map of Ankara was not, however. We made our way to the Canadian Embassy using a rudimentary sketch made from the Lonely Planet map on our computer, and getting directions from passersby. We wheeled our bikes much of the way since dealing with rush hour traffic at the same time as navigating would have induced overload.
We arrived at the embassy in mid-morning. I filled in a stack of forms and statutory declarations, and went by taxi to the recommended photo studio. I returned thinking that at least my new passport would show a fit, tanned, and (ahem!) slim version of the person who appeared in the old passport. (Note: Smiling is forbidden for a Canadian passport) I gathered my stack of forms when summoned by the consular assistant. He had a surprise for me, he said: my passport had been found under the bed at the hotel in Erzurum, and would arrive at the Consul in Ankara later that afternoon. Excellent news, despite the relative appeal of the new photo to my vanity!
Murat, the consular assistant, had called the hotel in Erzurum as soon as he’d received the reports faxed by the Bingol police the day before. They’d found my passport “under the bed” despite a final room check by one of us. Bless Murat’s efficient and thoughtful cotton socks!
We went to the hotel Chris had booked, did laundry and such, and returned as instructed by Murat to the embassy by just after 5:00 p.m.. The embassy was closed, but Murat had arranged that I’d receive my passport upon reimbursement to the security guards of the modest courier fee. So I’m now in happy repossession of my eleven-visa passport!
Now in Ankara, we’ve left our formerly planned route. We plan a day or two in Ankara, and our proposed new route will head southeast towards Kirsehir and Goreme, then southwest toward Konya, Beysehir and Antalya. There are lots of natural and historical sights to be seen in a relatively compact area, and daily distances won’t be the focus as we potter gently towards the Mediterranean Coast.