GeneralActivityMachine Learning

We Talked Data Science at DevFest Konya 2022 – Konya Trip

While checking my e-mails, I saw an email from Google’s Developer Groups. I knew about these formations before, but they weren’t doing a public event due to the pandemic for 2 years. On December 3, 2022, I received an e-mail stating that the GDG Konya team was holding an event in Konya and they wanted to see me as a speaker among them. I couldn’t attend public events for a long time. I didn’t have the opportunity to do anything while I was busy with my work and my master’s thesis. However, as far as I learned, there were more than 3000 participants who filled out the form. Frankly, this made me very happy. When I think about it, I was excited to tell 3000 young technology lovers and to have a small place in their future planning. With a little weekend getaway, I thought that I would visit Konya, which I have not been to before and which I was very curious about, and also talk to young people in the field of Data Science.

Departure to Konya

I immediately made my preparations and bought a ticket from Istanbul to Konya by high-speed train on Friday, December 2nd. My wife accompanied me during this process. My train journey from Istanbul to Konya took approximately 4 and a half hours. It was my first trip with the high-speed train, so it was a much more comfortable journey than a bus ride. We arrived in Konya in the evening and left my luggage at the hotel and went to explore Konya. The place I was in was Karatay District and I learned that it was the center of Konya. Just across from my hotel was the Mevlana Tomb. I think it is one of the must-see places in Konya. Mevlana Tomb can be visited without paying any fee. Right next to it, Selimiye Mosque and the square look amazing. Maybe a thousand young people were walking around the square wearing imam’s robe. When I was curious and asked, they said that they were hafiz, that’s why they met to get permission. Everything I had heard about Konya until now was within the first hours. Then we visited Aziziye Mosque and Alaeddin Hill. Well, we’re hungry. What to eat in Konya? When asked, the first thing that came to mind was meat bread, I had meat bread in mind for dinner. As for my first experience, it was obviously extremely oily but the taste was very good and delicious. When I went out after dinner, it was dark and the crowd of the day was gone. Although it was only 19 o’clock, most of the tradesmen were closed and the streets were empty. The weather was starting to cool. While looking for a place to drink coffee in the vicinity, it caught my attention that cafes are always like mansions. When I learned later, there weren’t many young people in this area, so there were no cafes filled with the usual noisy, crowded groups of young people. While sipping my coffee, I took one last look at my slide on Data Science, which I will be covering on Saturday, December 3rd, and went back to the hotel and finished the day.

Event Day

In the morning, I had our breakfast at the hotel and came to the Karatay Youth Center, where the event would be held, and there was a long queue at the door. Immediately, those who followed and recognized me on social media showed themselves and we greeted each other. My speaking time was at 16:20 and there was more time. We had pleasant conversations with other speakers during this time. I walked around the stands for a while. Since I was known on social media, young people did not leave me and asked what was on their minds, talked about their future plans and asked for advice. I was always with young people, almost until the time I spoke. There was no space in the hall where the speeches were made, it was very crowded inside. This really excited me. During the lunch break, there was the meat bread gesture of the Karatay Municipality. When I ate here, I got the taste and taste of the first day.

It was finally my time to speak. Although the event had been going on since the early hours, the hall was still very crowded, there were no empty seats. In my speech, I touched on Data science 101 and the benefits of networking. It had a very attentive audience. When I finished my speech, they presented a basket containing soda, cream, perfume, food, etc. made of lavender, which was a gift from Karatay Municipality. We agreed to take photos with the young people and not to break our communication. Maybe we chatted with young people outside the hall for longer than I did. When I returned to the hotel in the evening, there were 100s of follow and connection requests from LinkedIn. This made me very happy.

The GDG Konya team had planned a dinner with the speakers and the team after the event. We had nice conversations here too. We discussed the analysis of the day and about future plans. It was a very nice and friendly environment. Then I went back to the hotel and fell asleep immediately with the tiredness of the day.

I’m Exploring Konya

Now the event was over and I could start visiting the must-see places in Konya until 16:30, when I return to Istanbul. I had breakfast at the hotel at 8 am and set off. I couldn’t rent a car because I didn’t have my license with me. Unfortunately, I had to go everywhere by public transport. I had determined a route for myself in order to travel as much as possible in a short time. First of all, I was going to go to Kyoto Japanese Park by train. Transportation in Konya is very cheap, the ticket price is 2.5 TL, and it is possible to pay by credit card with contactless payment method, there is no need to buy a transportation card. There is not much to see in the Kyoto Japanese Park, there were Japanese houses in the park and many colorful fish known as koi fish in small ponds. While I was taking a photo here, someone came to me and said, “Oh, Zeynep, how are you? I came to the event yesterday, I wanted to talk to you, but it was too crowded, I couldn’t talk.” I wasn’t happy again :).

Then we went to Ecdat Park. Here, too, there was a park with miniatures of important works made by our ancestors in Turkey. They were surrounded by walls. We had coffee in a coffee shop inside.

Now, what intrigued me the most was the Konya Tropical Butterfly Garden, which is not found anywhere else in Turkey. As the name suggests, it is a place where many butterfly species have lived in the Tropical Butterfly Garden. Tropical Butterfly Garden entrance fees were 25 TL for Adults and 7.5 TL for Students. Due to the 80% humidity inside, it is extremely hot. Even though we were wearing T-shirts, we were still drenched in sweat. Many butterflies swarm around you, landing on you if you’re lucky. Frankly, it was a different experience. Then we came back to Konya Center and naturally we were hungry. We ate one of the local dishes of Konya, Fırın Kebab, and then we tried the sacarası for dessert. They were extremely beautiful.

When I told my family that I would go to Konya, they told me to buy Moldy Cheese on the way. I heard for the first time that moldy cheese is inedible, I was thinking how to eat it, this cheese is extremely popular in Konya. I bought some moldy cheese from the ladies’ market.

The train departure time was approaching. Konya is a really beautiful city. When I first heard that there were 5 Universities, I was very surprised. Everything is flat, not even a small bump. I saw people riding bikes in many places. There are not many chain stores in the city. There were grocery stores. I was going to buy water, but I looked for a market in quite a few places. Taxi fares were more expensive than taxis in Istanbul. In short, when it comes to the question of whether I will go again, yes I will.

Event and Photos from Konya

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