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 11 – Seljuk

We left Pamukkale early in the morning.  Running a little late because of check out procedures (The Vegas Hard Rock generation has a hard time remembering to turn in the key to check out), we hit the road eager for new accommodations.  I personally felt the hotel was a bit over priced.  I had a good time until I checked out of my room and found I had been billed $3.50 for a cup of tea and $26 for a margarita.  *Sigh*  The good news is that all the MBA’s had some great ideas to improve the Richmond Hotel and many of them involved offering cheaper drinks.  🙂

After a couple hours, we arrived in Afrodisias.  The city dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of love.  Afrodisias at it’s height was a city of love when it came to the arts.  It cast a large spell on the archaeologist Kenan Terim who found it.  He chose to be buried at the site.  Walking amongst the ruins and watching the excavation continue on what seemed to be a enormous site was fascinating.   Afrodisias also features a large stadium that is eye popping.  Simply imagining a race or even a battle with lions is a heart racing event.  One of the undergrads, Leandra raced Christopher through the tall grass that now overgrows what once was a race track and two football fields.  Leandra had a strong lead, but Christopher paced himself for the win.

Afrodisias

Stadium at Afrodisias

The Afrodisias museum featured pieces and duplicates of what was found during the excavation.  Lots of Greek and Roman art pieces including Socrates and pagan gods.

4 Ladies posing like the statues

Afterwards, we headed to The Anatolian for lunch.  The food was really good.  The great thing about the food in Turkey – FRESH!  This restaurant also had a local guitarist and his bird perform for diners. Outside, it we even found peacocks nesting in their coops.

Parrot Dance

Unfortunately hitting the road also means unexpected delays.  We made it to Seljuk in time to visit the Ephesus Museum, but not St. John’s Basilica.  The good news is that we’ll see St. John’s tomorrow.  The Ephesus museum featured pieces from Ephesus that pre-dated Christianity that were fully entact as well as statues of pagan Roman and Greek gods.  We’re going to Ephesus tomorrow and I can’t wait.  It’s a pretty large and memorable site.  Millions of Christians pilgramage through Ephesus and it will be interesting to see the level of emotion and reverence in comparison to the Islamic sites we’ve visited thus far.

In the Afrodisias Museum

Tonight we checked in to the Marina Hotel.  The ocean view is amazing and the staff is really nice.  Gina, a Woodbury Alumni joined us for our last half of the trip.  It’s her birthday so we bought her cake and took her out to a local Irish pub for a drink.  The girls and I were a little longer getting ready, so we got to the pub late and partied with the locals and people from Greece (50 minutes away).     The people who worked in the pub were all about dancing and created several line dances to accompany the different pop songs that were played.  The staff passed out free t-shirts and jerseys to the guests and were very involved in making sure that everyone had a drink or was dancing.    Strangely, there were only men that worked in the bar…  But that works for me!  :-p

Marina Hotel View

Kipenzi & Yaneva

Hanging with the Locals in Turkey

Logging off!  Until tomorrow… 🙂