Day 25 – Istanbul

I woke up at 6AM.  I couldn’t believe today I had to be at the airport.  WHY!??!!  I need just one more day to say good-bye properly.  As I plotted ways to miss my plane, to figure out a way to wash dishes and afford an apartment, I said my goodbye’s to the lucky remaining students bound for Greece and Italy, and boarded the shuttle to the airport.

Luckily, I had company on the bus to talk to to keep my eyes from wandering off to look out the window at the Bosphorus, Mosques, Palaces, Businesses, and people.  I think now in hindsight, I would have teared and went into a mad frenzy in order to be deemed un fit to fly so that I could have another day or two there.  :-p

At the airport, I checked my bags.  It was official, I was leaving and had no other way out.  I hugged our tour guide Deniz, telling her not necessarily goodbye….

Somehow, I know I’ll be back…

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Day 8 – Lake Country

Up and on the bus by 8AM.  We’d be journeying through lake country for 8 hours to arrive at our destination.  Miles of lakes and green landscapes, mountains and volcanoes would make me feel as though we were in a country that was untouched if I didn’t see lthe city of Konya.

Bye Bye Konya

We’d pass farm houses and small communities of people who wake up every morning to gorgeous mountain and lake views.  We’d also pass by various unoccupied home communities that are a part of the 2023 project for Turkey.  2023 marks the 100 year anniversary of the Turkish Republic.  They plan to fully rebuild the communities devistated by Earthquakes past, but the mot important thing is to be prepared for the future.  Turkey is a country that looks at the big picture. 

Houses under construction - Turkey

Turkey is a green country.  I don’t mean the miles of green, but also nearly every home hassolar panels and water heating systems in order to keep the air clean and also the costs down.  Every hotel thus far has been green.  The lights and electricity for the rooms are disabled when the room key is not in a slot.  Napkins are not given or even readily available in mass quantities.   When it comes to keeping the country as untouched as possible, the Turkey has done a wonderful job.

Lake Country Turkey - My favorite pic so far

We stopped at the Esrefoglu Mosque in Beysehir.  Outside we were greeted by women merchants who were eager to tie our scarves in their manner.  The hospitality was enough to win us over, but this mosque is  by far my favorite.  The columns were still the original ones and crafted from cedar.  The green carpet paired with the hand organic painted beams made me feel as though I was walking into a rain forest.  The Imam (minister and keeper of the mosque) was kind enough to sing for us the Call to Prayer to illustrate the wonderful acoustics of the over 900 year old Mosque. 

The mosque has wonderful secrets and puzzles exist in it’s hand crafted architecture.  “Made by Jesus” is a signature left in the Minbar (Pedastal steps) and someone even had the audacity to punch through the Mehrab in order to retrieve legendary gold coins buried within it’s walls.  There is no word on if the coins actually were there or even exist.  But sitting in this temple, made me feel as if I were in a scene from Indiana Jones.

Esrefoglu Mosque

Here’s a video of the Imam singing the call to prayer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVpCxpxxmog&feature=youtube_gdata

We boarded the bus and made one more stop before arriving at our final destination.  The ancient Hitit Spring, Eflatun Pınar, a fresh water source left behind an ancient empire that existed in biblical times.  It was a peaceful place and it’s neighbors I’m sure take advantage of it as a place to read or weave.

Hitit Site - Eflatunpinar

After 8 hours, we arrived at the Richmond Hotel.  It looks like a slice of Miami.    An oasis in the middle of the mountains.

I’m pool side now enjoying a margarita after an unforgettable day…  See you tomorrow!