Tuesday 18th September 2018
Our hotel was inside Ankara's impressive new train station building
Tuesday morning was officially free time, but a large group of us took an optional visit to the site of Ankapark
The park was a few stations down the line from central Ankara - Faruk kindly helped buy the train tickets for us
It didn't take too long for the train to arrive
We began our walk in search of the park
I spy a big wheel and a rollercoaster!
The story of Ankapark is bizarre - the theme park was initially announced in 2013 and the 27th mayor of Ankara championed construction.
Following a series of political wranglings and after spending billions of Lira on the project, the park had yet to open when we went to see it.
Casually walking along the side of a motorway, as you do.
The giant park is laid out over 1.3 million square metres of land - it's over a mile from one side of the park to the other!
The park contains an incredible seventeen rollercoasters, including an Intamin ten inversion coaster similar to Colossus at Thorpe Park
Sitting unopened in the Turkish sunshine
All we could do was look over the fence
Ankapark is mainly finished, and being maintained in the hope that it will open someday
This is Ankapark's main entrance gateway
A couple of days after our visit, it was announced that an operator had been found and the park would be opened in 2019, leased to GBM Ticaret-Çelik for 29 years.
It was time to head back to the station
We caught the train back into the city centre
This is the shiny inside of Ankara's new railway station
Ben and I opted to get some traditional Turkish treats for lunch from Simit Sarayı
We ate delicious Simit (ring shaped bread covered in sesame seeds), stuffed crispy rolls and pastries
After lunch we all met back on the coaches ready for an afternoon visiting some of Ankara's smaller parks
Before those though, we had a surprise first stop ...
... a Wacky Worm factory!
We were warmly welcomed into Guven Lunapark's workshops
Work in progress
We even got to try out one of the rides setup in the factory!
Getting ready for a spin on the Sambaa Balloon
The ride was being tested before being sent out to its new owners in the UK (unfortunately none of us!)
Of course we all wanted a go ... only to make sure it was properly tested, you understand
There was a Wacky Worm loaded onto a trailer ready to be shipped out
Guven Lunapark manufacture around fifteen rollercoasters each year
Taner, the big boss at the factory, proudly showed us the big wheel they were building
A few brave souls gave it a try
There was a small Wacky Worm style rollercoaster called Crocodile
The coaster featured a giant crocodile head at the front
It was a major milestone coaster for Bruno and Daniel!
There was a great pirate ship
We also had some fun on the dodgems
Midas tried to board a zebra instead of the coach
It was time to leave and make our way to the next park
Göksu Park is a large public park in north west Ankara
We made our way through the beautifully landscaped grounds
We were there to ride Dağ Kizaği, Göksu Park's alpine coaster
It isn't often you get to ride an alpine coaster in the blazing heat right in the middle of a city!
Unfortunately the gently sloping hillside didn't lend itself to a particularly fast ride, but it was fun nonetheless
Indeed, some of our group pushed the speed to the limit ... Mary and Darren forgot to brake at the end and went crashing into an empty sledge in front, causing a member of staff to be rapidly dispatched to the end of the ride to ensure everyone else slowed down, preventing the smell of burning rubber wafting over too much of Ankara!
We took the opportunity to get some food at one of the little restaurants in the park before leaving.
There was some confusion over orders, with burgers seeming to appear no matter what had been selected from the menu, but it didn't really matter.
The ride op from Dağ Kizaği also came over for a chat - unfortunately he didn't speak any English and we didn't speak any Turkish, but we managed quite well using our phones and Google Translate!
We seemed to pass the station and our hotel inbetween every stop on our tour that day - sometimes multiple times!
Tour guide Faruk joined in with the hilarity of the situation, announcing it every time we passed and jokingly offering the group the opportunity to get off the coach!
The next park on our schedule was 50th Year Park
Unfortunately the park had closed for the season just one day before.
It's almost impossible to know when the small luna parks will close, as they are largely governed by the local schools reopening after the summer holidays, and there's often no information on their websites.
None of the group seemed to really mind though!
It at least gave us more time to battle through Ankara's insane rush hour traffic
Our last stop of the day lay within Gençlik Parki
The park looked very attractive with its nighttime lights
There was a short wait while tickets were sorted out, which gave us time to appreciate the park's lighting packages
We were expecting there to be three rollercoasters at the park, but unfortunately we found that one had been removed a few years previously and one, a Mack Powered Coaster, was in a section of the park which had closed for the season the previous week.
This left one coaster to ride, but there was a long line of coaster enthusiasts waiting in the queue so we opted to try the park's Treno Fantasma ghost train first
We weren't the only ones!
Similar to many dark rides in Turkey, there were a lot of long dark corridors and not many scares, although this one did have a spiral lift. The highlight was probably the unnerving clanking noises that accompanied the cars' descent between levels!
The observation wheel gave some nice night time views over the city
Oh look, there's Ankara train station again!
It was time for a ride on Galaxi, Ankara Luna Park's SDC Galaxi rollercoaster - one of few left in the world
Galaxi proved to be a superb ride
We wearily returned to the coach for the short ride around the corner back to the hotel - it had been a very busy, fun and tiring day and it was definitely time for some sleep!