Hitchhike from Ankara to Samsun
Hitchhike from Ankara to Samsun
The key to hitchhiking out of Ankara is getting beyond the ring road that surrounds the city. Generally, Turkish people have a ‘live and let live’ attitude to stopping in dangerous places, but hitching a ride is much easy if you position yourself on the roads after the orbital.
Our hitchhiking experience
We struck gold in reaching our hitchhiking spot. After receiving help to pay for our Uzbek visa, a lovely man named Cengiz drove us directly around Ankara’s ring road to the east of the city. Jackpot! The first ride ended when our driver (who incidentally expressed some slightly questionable anti-Semitic views) got a puncture (karma, perhaps). The man who stopped to help him was our next lift. He was much nicer and even bought us lunch. The third lift was a bubbly minibus driver who offered to let us sleep in his bus if we went out with him and his Georgian girlfriend to drink rakı. With darkness approaching a young couple took us a few kilometres further down the road before our final lift with a man who, I think, was trying to sell me a prostitute (without worrying about the fact that Ania was sitting at the back).
Number of lifts: 5
Estimated journey time: 5h 30m
Estimated waiting time: 20m
Alternative transport costs: Bus: 40TL
Despite being Turkey‘s capital, Ankara will forever live in the shadow of its more flashy brother Istanbul. It is less beautiful, less historic and contains infinitely more concrete. But, those who use it as a transit point to the natural wonders of Cappodocia and beyond are missing the point somewhat. Ankara is of huge significance to Turkish people as the place its new era of secularism took root. What was a flat backwater has grown into a university driven arena, frequented by young urbanites, boasting one of the best night-lives anywhere in the country. The liberal, social atmosphere is unique in this mainly tradition land and makes a nice contrast that is definitely worth hanging around for. Furthermore, there are also a few monuments worth poking around: Anıtkabir, the imposing mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is almost a place of pilgrimage for Turks and shouldn’t be missed. The excellent Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is arguable one of the finest museums in Turkey and contains artefacts dating back to the Palaeolithic period. And within five minutes walk from each other the Hacı Bayram Mosque, Ankara Castle, the Augustus Temple and some Roman Baths all mean there is plenty to see in the city.
Despite being the largest city and port on the Black Sea coast, Samsun’s turbulent history has robbed the city of many real points of interest. Its grid patterned streets are home to a million people, however, and the novelty of seeing a city in Turkey not often visited does make a nice change from the tourist laden destinations common all over the country. It is of historical importance to Turks as the base from which Atatürk began his quest for independence and a replica of the ship he arrived on, the SS Bandırma, and the Gazi Museum, which is dedicated to his time in the city, might be of interest to Turkish history buffs. If that doesn’t float your boat, the central square Cumhuriyet Meydanı is nice enough and there is a pleasant walk along the sea front to enjoy.
What to visit on the way?
Hattuşa, the remains of the once great capital of the Hittite Empire, dates back to the late bronze age and is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site. At its zenith the city spread across 1.8km2 and was demarcated by inner and outer portions surrounded by still visible defensive walls. The inner section contained a citadel, royal residence while the outer regions numerous temples and administrative buildings. The gateways were once decorated with reliefs depicting warriors, lions and sphinxes and modern estimates put the population between 40,000 – 50,000. The ruins are renowned for their urban organisation, the range of buildings and their rich ornamentation. Admission costs ₺8 and a good jumping off point is the adjacent town of Bogazkale.
How to reach the hitchhiking spot
① In the city centre of Ankara locate Atatürk Blv and the busy crossroads with Talatpaşa Blv (on the south-eastern edge of Gençlik Parkı close to Ulus metro).
② Take the #398-3 or #354-3 (eastbound) to Samsun Yolu 20 Durak. The bus will have Ortaköy written on the front.
Take a dolmuş from the mini-bus centre Ulus next to the Julian column heading in the direction of Kırıkkale. The dolmuş will have Mamak written on the front.
③ Along the Ankara / Kırıkkale highway there will be numerous petrol stations. Ideally you want to hitchhike from after the city ring road.
Written by: Jon