Ok guys, so since I haven’t had too much to report from this summer I’ve been just reading everyone else’s posts, but since Jenny and I are about to head to Turkey in a week I figured I’d give y’all a rundown of where we’re headed when and such (don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you don’t want to read the whole thing, it’s definitely long and sadly there will be no pictures because I’m writing a post about things I haven’t done yet). Also on an unrelated note, we all need to play Settlers of Catan, when we get back to school, I’m very excited about it because I just won against my family and naturally I’d like to lose against all of you!
Ok so we fly into Istanbul on the 23rd and are going to spend 4 nights there (23-27). While there we will be meeting with professors from Okan University and representatives from the US Consulate. We’re also going to be visiting the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Hippodrome, plus other museums and restaurants and anything else we can think of to do (basically the history major is going to have a lot of fun on this trip!). We may try to visit the Museum of Innocence which is the physical manifestation of the one described by Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel prize winning author in his book of the same name, which just opened in Istanbul. It should be pretty cool, though as Jenny pointed out as she read the book, the main character is a bit weird and many of the artifacts in the museum he apparently sniffs a lot and then puts in his mouth so we’ll see how that goes…
When we leave Istanbul we’ll take a ferry across the Sea of Marmara (as ROD MILLER!!!!!!!!!! suggested) to Bursa for a night (27-28), a smaller town in which we will see the Green Mosque, but really Bursa is just a stopping point for us before we get to Bergama where we will be spending two nights (28-30) and seeing the Acropolis, Asclepion (an ancient medical center used for gladiators), and the Red Basilica, a pagan church devoted to the worship of Egyptian gods which was converted into a Christian church by the Byzantines and now houses a small mosque. Yay tons and tons of history!!!
From Bergama we’ll head down to Izmir for two nights (30-1), a coastal town on the Aegean (maybe some swimming without having to lifeguard!) with an ancient market created in the time of Alexander the Great. There are also some very interesting museums here as well as several other ancient sites.
Selcuk is our next stop on our tour, we’ll be there for two nights (1-3) again and see Ephesus (described by a Turkish man to me as “hot as hell”), one of Turkey’s more famous ruins, an ancient Greek city later occupied by the Romans and cited in the Book of Revelation (thats how you know its legit). Ephesus is home to the remains of the Temple of Artemus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world (I’m pretty sure theres just a couple columns left though haha). Selcuk also has St. John’s Basilica, a 6th Century church which is said to house the bones of St. John.
From Selcuk we’ll cut inland to Pamukkale for two nights (3-5) and see Aphrodisias, another ancient site and home to the Temple of Aphrodite which was converted into a Christian basilica under the Byzantines. I’m really excited about these buildings which have been repurposed over the years because I think they’ll give some good insight into the mixture of cultures and beliefs that have made Turkey what it is over the years, which is important because for some reason in the Odyssey proposal I thought it would be a good idea the specify that on our return I write a “lengthy reflection paper.” Damn you impressive sounding adjectives.
Antalya is next on our list for two nights (5-7). This is a coastal resort town on the Mediterranean. We’re not there so much for Antalya itself, but more for Termessos, a ruin located on the top of a mountain which according to ROD MILLER!!!!!!! is breathtaking and a must-see for Turkey (of course he thinks everything is a must-see).
From Antalya we head to Konya for one night (7-8), a smaller, more conservative town which is really just a waypoint for us. Near Konya, however, if we have time, we may go see Catal Huyuk, the largest and best preserved Neolithic site ever discovered. Also, just a side-note, by this time we will have taken like a million long bus rides and will probably be really tired as well as super sick of bus rides. I plan to complain about this a lot to all of you when I get back to Hendrix (even you Katie and Conner), so just a heads up!
We’ll keep moving east to Goreme, located in the region of Cappadocia for three nights (8-11). This will hopefully be a much needed few days to relax a bit. Cappadocia is known for its amazing natural rock formations and theres not much to do in Goreme but see these, potentially by hot air balloon (how cool would that be?!) though I have doubts about this because of the prices, and hike around. We’ve booked lodging in a cave hotel as well, so hopefully we’ll get a little R&R as we wrap up our trip.
Our final stop on this whirlwind tour of Turkey is Ankara, the capital which we will spend three days in (11-14) before we fly out. We’ll see things like Ataturk’s mausoleum (he was the founder of modern Turkey, his name literally means “Father Turk”) as well as a modern art museum and some monuments. I think there should be plenty to do.
On the morning of the 14th we will be getting up at a horribly unreasonable time to head home since our flight is at six and I’ve been informed that we probably need to leave three to four hours early to make sure we make it because of travel time to the airport and long waits for security (oh, I also plan to complain a lot about this, yay friends!). While this will be unpleasant I’m hoping that it will give me a jump on the jet lag I’m sure will hit me when I get home (it won’t). Our return flight bounces us through Munich and Toronto, so there’s two other countries I’ll be in before I get home.
Well I think that’s pretty much it, I promise I’ll take lots and lots of pictures and try to remember what they’re all of so I can show everyone when I get home. I won’t have a computer in Turkey, only my iPod, which will allow me internet access but won’t let me post pictures, so that will have to wait until my return. I’m really excited about the trip, a bit nervous, but Jenny will be there too and she has a TON of experience traveling abroad. When we were picking the trip I felt like it was hard to find cool places she hadn’t been. So hopefully everything will go smoothly and I’ll come back with some great stories. Let me know if you have any questions, suggestions of things to see, requests for souvenirs, or anything else.
Also, if you’ve read this far, you deserve a special reward, so I got you…. well I can’t think of anything yet, but I’m open to suggestions!