Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Turkey - A Fabulous Adventure

Istanbul, In front of the Blue Mosque

  We feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to travel as much as we do.  When we got married almost eight years ago, we set some goals for ourselves and for our marriage.  Travel was at the top of our list and dare I say, we've been successful in fulfilling this on-going goal thus far.  Travel is a bug we can't quite shake and it's something that draws us closer together, puts life in perspective and provides us with a greater sense of global responsibility and understanding.  I can honestly say that Turkey is the most eye-opening trip that we have had and stirred feelings in me that I didn't know existed.
Delicious and fresh food


Throughout our seventeen day trip, we did our best to absorb the rich culture, interact with the Turkish people, and indulge in the fresh and flavorful food (can you say baklava!).  The weather couldn't have been better and we left feeling that we had truly experienced as much of Turkey as our bodies could physically handle.
Hotair balloon ride above Cappadoccia
What you can't hear are the whistles he's getting!
The extremely turbulent Bosphorous River fish boat

In front of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul
As an overview, we began our journey in  the metropolis of Istanbul, then caught a flight to Cappadoccia where we experienced the unique and majestic natural terrain (via hot air balloon and hiking).  After a couple of nights sleeping in caves (cave hotels are big in Cappadoccia), we flew back to the west coast and rented a car in Izmir.  We maneuvered our little Fiat down the coastline to Kusadasi and drove out to the ancient city of Ephesus.  Nothing can explain the feeling of standing in the same location where St. Paul stood (and was thrown out of) so many years ago!  We then made our way down the turquoise coastline where we explored the small and bustling beach towns of Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, Kalkan, Kas, and ended our Mediterranean adventures in the Old Town in the city of Antalya.  After a much-to-late night with the locals, we drove through the countryside to the Unesco World Heritage Site of Pamukkale and then onward to Istanbul for some last-minute shopping along the Bosphorus River and of course, more baklava.  It was an ambitious trip but we left feeling satisfied that no rock had gone unturned and that we had seen the best that Turkey had to offer.
Pamukkale (it's actually hot water and calcium deposits that look like snow)

I have a lot of other thoughts that I'd love to write about but perhaps at a later date.  Some of  the topics I hope to explore further are:
  • The role of women in Turkish society - their oppression was palpable
  • The role of the Muslim faith in Turkey - and how this influenced us, as Christians - - particularly during the call to prayer (5x's/day)
  • On a lighter note - the FOOD = delicious
  • The history - incredible and moving
  • The nightlife - particularly in Istanbul and Antalya