Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lunch stop includes train museum surprise

It was time for lunch and after a buffet of every imaginable kind of lovely fresh salad, we had a stroll around the grounds. What a surprise. In the back of this restaurant was a huge outdoor railway museum of vintage steam engines and rolling stock dating back to the late 1800s. Most of the German-made engines were in good condition. Funnily enough, the mechanical  accessories for the trains were built in England.

The really interesting find was Ataturk's private rail carriage that he used in traveling around Turkey. Now for those of you who have forgotten your history lessons Ataturk was the father of modern day Turkey. There is a statue of him in every town. He was a great admirer of all things European, and was largely responsible for Turkey becoming the modern, secular state it is today. Complicated Ottoman scripts were replaced by by the Latin alphabet. Dress codes changed and surnames were adopted. More importantly, schools and courts based on religious laws were abolished. After a few bumps along the way, European leaders have agreed to open EU membership talks with Turkey. it will likely be a long road to Turkey's full membership in the EU but it is slowly moving in that direction.

Back in the private rail carriage it was interesting to see Ataturk's conference table, sleeping quarters and kitchen with marble counter tops and even a fridge. But now it was time to move on.

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