We went to Turkey!
|We stayed in the western portion.|
One of the reasons I hesitated to discuss it in advance was just that the funds came through rather last minute, after changing plans and back, and I didn't want to say anything just to have it all collapse again. Additionally, there is currently a travel warning to Americans, suggesting not to visit Turkey. Military stationed there are restricted to not visit certain areas.
That warning is a huge shame. Take a look at the geography of Turkey. Yes, there are some issues near its southern borders, where refugees are crossing over and ISIS (or is it the Kurds?) is trying to take control, but that is one small part of quite a large country!
We had no problems whatsoever, saw no hostility, only kindness and assistance as neither of us know the language! It is beautiful, if you can cope with the strange psychology of understanding NONE of the street signs or shop signs around you.
I must confess, as fascinating as Turkey is from a cultural and historical perspective, it may never have occurred to me to go there for vacation, were it not for the fact that my brother has been living there for the past seven years. His daughter graduated high school last week, and I've missed so many events in the lives of their kids that I really wanted to be there for at least ONE! So there you go. After the two bombings in Ankara (the capitol, and where my brother's family lives) this past spring, we discussed with them the safety situation. They (bro and SIL) stated that, while they personally felt safe, and continued with their daily life as usual, they would completely understand if we did not want to risk the trip.
Meh. If they're safe, we'll be safe. We continued with our plans. We rented a car and drove around the western coastline (on the Aegean) visiting historic and Biblical sites for several days, between arrival and returning to my brother's house for graduation. Below are just a few pictures from Canakkale, Izmir, Ephesus and Sardis.
|The Trojan Horse!|
|The actual site of Troy (Troas, in modern Turkey) is no longer on the coast. |
This is one tiny corner of the archaeological site, which is amazingly, the size of a city!
|Turkish coffee, my new addiction, and a salad in olive-country|
|Izmir, ancient Smyrna - on the Aegean coast.|
|St. John's Basilica, near Ephesus. If fully restored, |
this would be the 7th largest cathedral in the world!
(This is the model, standing on the ruins)
|The ancient Temple of Artemis.|
|The amphitheatre at Ephesus. Huge. HUGE! Can you see those little people?|
Even at this distance, when I stood on the main floor, Brett could hear me in this row.