We’re headed to Paris tomorrow morning for a few days and then Slovenia for 3 weeks. As we wrap up Turkey I can’t help but thing that we’ve learned A TON in the past 21 days. A quick recap of the highlights:
- Always carry the address of the place we are staying, ALWAYS! You just never know when you’re going to head out for a quick run and get lost while in Germany!
- The boys can really only travel for about 4 days straight before hitting a wall.
- Whit can subsist on pasta alone.
- We are no longer a hot mess going through security lines at the airport. It’s not streamlined per se, but more along the lines of organized chaos.
- The Turkish people will invite you to tea, and they actually want and expect you to accept. Nevermind that you speak zero Turkish.
- In Izmir, there’s no chance you will find a place to get laundry done on Saturday and get it back Sunday.
- Izmir Independence Day is September 9th. Yesterday. Expect lots of police surrounding the area as well as plenty of pomp and circumstance. And by police I mean riot gear ready with tear gas and water cannons.
- People litter all the time, Reece was exasperated and appalled that a woman in full burka dropped her trash on the ground as she was walking with her kids.
- Surprisingly, trash collection happens seemingly all the time, there are always garbage trucks on the roads
- There are few garbage cans, and the cans that are around are very small and usually overflowing.
- And then there are the vacuum guys:
Turkey was a great jumping off point for out family. Plenty of interesting food, the experience of not speaking the language at all, different customs and religion, and learning to not drink the water. The beaches were great, the weather was warm, and the people were incredible welcoming. We saw exactly 2 sets of Americans and we can’t figure out why?! More people should come see what Turkey is all about!
Here are a few of the locations where we were:
A few more pics of the fun:
Ataturk is a big deal, we sat on his lap:
Today we we started in Izmir. The Air B and B was bigger and drier than our last one, but not as clean. It was right on the strip. There was a nice little seafood restaurant in the street that our back windows faced. They love totally ’80s every night.
Sarah observed that Migros, the grocery store is busy right before dinner time, just like HyVee.
We were the only people with kids at the store, and our kids were bouncing all over the place, like usual.
We spent 2 days in Denizli with a friend Inci from Servas. Inci is a Prof of Ancient Architecture and an archeologist in Denizli. She was fantastic with our boys. Her laughter and patience with Whit, Norm and Reece was continuous. She also refused to let the boys not eat Turkish Eggs, “eating the food of the culture is the crux of the matter” regarding traveling abroad…. perfect!
On our way out of town we hit a super cool cave Inci told us about. The water was everywhere. It was like Pamukkale but underground.
We had a good time at Pamukkale/Hierapolis aka Cotton Palace.
We spent most of the time in the Antique Pool (swimming with ruins).
The amphitheater is pretty amazing. It is very large and well restored.
Hierapolis is also the site of St. Philip’s church, the 3rd church of Christianity.
We have been on the move for the past 19 days. We have done a lot and have blogged about a little. I am going to try and cram some of the missed days into this post and try and be more chronological going forward.
We spent 4 days in Istanbul where we met a wonderful guide, Serhan http://www.serhangungor.com/ Who showed us the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Basilica Cistern and other gems of Istanbul. The boys (and Sarah and I) learned about the 3 elements of Islamic art, Floral (heaven), Geometric (the stars), Calligraphy (the word of God).
We celebrated Reece’s birthday at a wonderful cake shop on the main drag in Istanbul. He is 14 and all kinds of awesome! We love you Reece!!
Next we went to Izmir. Beaches, Ephesus, Servas friends (other post), hiking in the mountains (we found a little stream under a tree to have lunch, the boys thought it was the best thing ever).
Sarah and I were up late with our neighbors trying to work through what today. Google Translate is a game changer and really helps get through the language barrier. We tried to go on a cable car ride, but the operator was on vacation. Luckily, thanks to our neighbors, we had a plan B. Cecme Turkey.
There is a beautiful beach there, clean clear water, nice sand, adequate parking.
We had dinner with Servas friends, the Bolaks. Wonderful warm people. Exemplary Turkish people.
We only spent a half day and one night in Frankfurt. We got lost at least 3 times. Then we left.
We woke up at 4am (jet lag sucks, but has its advantages sometimes). The boys were in for a surprise. Ballooning in Cappa
docia is a thing. We had a great time, it was spectacular. This will be tough to beat. After the balloon ride, we went back and caught some zzz, and then headed out for touring of the historic area. Fairy Chimney’s, Pigeon Ballets, and Ancient Monasteries.
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