The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Turkey is Huge

Hi again:

I had not realized just how vast Turkey is. It seems like I have to do a lot of riding to get to the next interesting thing on the agenda. This was not true of Western Europe (France, Germany, Etc.) where the attractions are close together in a much smaller country.

After a long ride down the European side of Turkey, I finally had gone as far as I could go without water wings on Odysseus. So, time to get on a ferry and cross the Hellespont (Dardanelles) to Asiatic Turkey.

Does Odysseus look to you like he enjoys ferry crossings? He has certainly done a bunch of them in his short life.

I knew that the Dardanelles are a fairly narrow strait, but I had no idea that they were this narrow. We were across them before I could finish a coca-cola.

One of the first things I wanted to do on the Asian side of Turkey was to go to ancient Troy. Let me warn you -- there is nothing there except piles of stone. They did have this cool horse model though.

That horse is huge. Were the Trojans really stupid enough to drag something that big into their city? And surely they would have taken a quick look inside. I think Homer made the horse up for his story.

The horse may be modern, but the rest of Troy looks like this today. Gotta' stretch your imagination, boy.

I spent the night in Izmir, which is a huge, spread out place, and from there it was a short hop this morning down to Ephesus. There are a bunch of cheap shops set up just outside Ephesus. They are there to prey on the hoards of tourists that visit the place. I liked this guy's sign. I wonder if it helps, or if it hurts his business.

This was one of the main streets of the city. I can just picture Saint Paul, who lived there three years, walking this road with some of his buddies, going to the church of Ephesus.

I was at Pompeii last year. That place is almost like new, having been buried in volcanic ash for 2,000 years. From being there, I know that on both sides of this road at Ephesus there were shops set up. Ephesus is only about 15% excavated. Kind of makes you wonder what else is there waiting to be found.

The archaeologists are still hard at work in Ephesus. I watched some of them as they carefully used brush and water to clean debris from a house wall.

After they get done cleaning, it is time to work on putting the original "wall paper" of the house together. It is like a jig-saw puzzle.

After the archaeologists get it all back together and up on the wall of the house, it sure looks pretty. I can imagine what the house must have looked like when it was new.

Even the floors of the houses were nice.

Gotta have a souvenir picture of myself a Ephesus. The building behind me was the entrance to the library.

And here, the huge theater. I wonder if Saint Paul ever went to any performances in the three years he lived here. Maybe I need to reread his letters to the Ephesians. He might have left a clue there. Ha.

This is the main street into the city from the harbor. Surely Paul walked up it. He must have sailed to the city. There is a trail across Turkey called the "Saint Paul Trail" but I can't believe he walked it. It is hundreds of miles long.

That street from the harbor must have been something to see at night. They kept it lit up (with torches I assume). It is as smooth as can be. It is paved with huge perfectly flat and perfectly square marble "tiles". Maybe this is where they got the idea that the streets of heaven will be paved with gold.

Saint John wrote his books here, and tradition says he had this house built for Jesus's mother, Mary, and that she lived in it until she died.

For all you animal lovers, here is an Ephesian cat for you. There was a bunch of them around the place, mostly doing what a cat does best: sleeping.

Here is my hotel for the night. Odysseus would probably have liked to stay in Troy, but I guess he will have to be content to spend the night on the street.

It is Ramadan here, and everybody is fasting until sundown. I am not sure how they figure when sundown is, but when it came time, the hotel opened the door to the buffet and the party began. Everyone was sure eager for that food. After the meal, the dancing began.

One guy even did an impromptu fire dance.

It was all a lot of fun, and it went on until midnight. But now, as I type this, it is 8 a.m. and I am ready for breakfast. I have been up and wandering around for hours, but everyone else in this place is still asleep. I think I will try to find out again if they will feed an infidel his morning meal.


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