Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Some Turkish Delight...

Istanbul. What a… strange… city. It is gorgeous. It is a lot of fun. It has some wonderful places to explore and offers great treasures. But it is still rather bizarre. The thing about Istanbul is that there is just no other place like it in the entire world. It really, truly feels like the meeting point between east and west. As our time in the city wore down, it seemed to accelerate. The last few days absolutely flew by. However, they left their memory mark. I don’t think I have ever seen a sunset like the one I saw from the roof of our hotel.  It was kind of eerie to be at the same level as the calling balconies on the minarets. It does give a stunning view, though. As we left the city for the inner country, two of our professors and their daughters left us to go home early. Their third daughter has been battling a case in the U.S. immigration court, and they had to come back to settle the ordeal once and for all. The night before they left, I bought them all (the three professors and Kristin) a round of drinks. We ended up sitting and talking for about an hour. Naturally, we talked about parts of the trip, and people on the trip. It’s too much fun to get a professor’s opinion of students, let alone the opinion of professors who have been living with their students for three months. That interaction made me miss last year a bit. The whole RA position lets you in on so many different people’s views on the situation, and there’s something unique about an authority figure’s opinion. You just gotta love that.
Anyway, we left the city for the country. Landed in Cappadocia. Apparently, it’s pronounced cap-ah-doe-key-ah, we’ve been saying it wrong this whole time, and no one told us. It’s basically the Turkish version of Utah. Obviously, this entails some very cool things. Like churches built into the sides of mountains. Think Petra, but on a caveman scale. They also have things called “underground” cities. It’s a huge underground network of caves and tunnels. They were built by early Christians escaping persecution. We explored one of these cities for probably an hour. I was like a little kid. I was jumping off the trial, into random corners and unlit caves. At one point I had my head dangling out of a hole scaring people coming through a tunnel, at another I was talking through a small hole to a girl as the voice of God.
Basically, I had a real good time in Cappadocia.
We took off after two days in the desert and headed for the beach. We literally ended our semester with a vacation. We were beachside in a five-star resort on the Aegean coast. The town is called Kusadasi, and it’s Turkey’s Cancun.
We were there off-season, which is a real good thing. You could just feel how the streets would flood with drunken university students during high time. The only bad part of being there in the late fall was a closed hot tub. Course, the sauna, spa, and Turkish Bath made up for that ;) Like I said, it was a vacation. We spent four days poolside, spa side, and threw in just a hint of touring. I mean, seeing Ephesus was no big deal right? Sheesh… It’s going to be strange to read about these places in textbooks, and, well, the Bible, now. I mean, we stood on Mars Hill where Paul spoke to the Gentiles, and we sat in the Ephesian theater where he addressed the city.
That’ll bring the Bible to life, eh?
So, that was Turkey. One of my favorite stops on the trip. And once Turkey was over, we headed to…

We headed home. Or rather, I headed home.

It’s over.

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