Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Back Home!

I'm back in the US now, after a very tiring, but AMAZING trip to the Biblical sites, plus more, in Turkey and Greece. I'm frantically trying to get ready for this semester and bring my life back to normal, seeing as how I returned at 9pm on Tuesday and start class at 9:30am on Thursday. AWESOME! Regardless, this was my last site of Greece on Monday evening before I went to bed. Our hotel was at the foot of the Parthenon, and this is what I looked at every night we were in Athens! Then it was up at 4am for our trip to the airport. I was up for about 28+ hours, so that is why I'm "recovering" now :) I'll add more news and pictures about my trip a little later!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Well we have officially arrived in Greece and it is fantastic. Turkey was great, and as soon as I can I will have to load some pictures about the last place we stayed before heading into Greece. Part of our itinerary included going to the contemporary city of Assos, Turkey which is the closest place with hotels to the ancient city of Troy (think Trojan Horse). However, our professor, and of course none of us had ever been to Assos, so we had NO idea what to expect. This little city was AMAZING! A SMALL fishing town on the coast of the Aegean Sea, we actually arrived fairly late, so it was very dark and hard to see where we were headed. When we drove out in the morning, we were actually ok with that though because getting into that town included driving up and down very hilly and steep terrain with scary switchbacks on a tour bus! At any rate, the town is so small, and quite old, so much so that their streets are not even big enough to fit a van the size of a 15 passenger van. So needless to say our tour bus would not make it into their streets. So we left our bus a quarter mile away and walked down a cobblestone path to our hotel. The hotel staff made several trips to our bus to get all our luggage. This town was amazing, just what you would expect from a little coastal Mediterranean town. The hotel was quaint, but fantastic, with an interior atrium with plants growing up the side of the walls and a courtyard where we ate dinner with fresh fish! In the morning we woke up to the most amazing sun rise where we could finally see that we were sitting RIGHT ON THE COAST! I'm so sorry that my pictures will not be able to do this place justice! Regardless, we continued that day onto Assos (Troy) and Alexander Troas before making our way to Canakkale, still in Turkey, but where we would catch the ferry over to the European part of Turkey in order to enter Greece. We are at our hotel now, and after a wander around the city of Kavala, we are to have dinner tonight and depart early tomorrow morning for the ancient city of Philippi (Think about Paul's letter to the Philippians). While we are in Greece we also go to Corinth and then spend one day in Athens before departing on the 23rd. We have to leave at 5:30am for the airport in order to catch our plane, which means that we will be traveling from 10:30pm on the 22nd Kentucky time, until 10:30pm on the 23rd when we land in Kentucky. It will make for a long day, but it will all be worth it!

My love and prayers to you all! We are still doing very well and feel very safe here, so no worries about that! Thank you for your prayers and thoughts up until now and hope to hear from or see everyone soon!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Pictures from Turkey

I'm safe and having a great time! It is currently 10pm on Saturday evening in Izmir, Turkey. We have traveled for four days and seen some of the most amazing sites ever! I've had limited email access and phone access, so I apologize to anyone who has been worried about me and our group after hearing about the bombing in Athens. We will be in Athens in about another week and our guide and our professor leading the trip both seem confident that we will be safe. They are both really knowledgeable about us Americans traveling around here in Turkey, so I'm not worried. Plus, its not like we had an invitation from the US Ambassador to have coffee or anything, so we won't be by the Embassy at all.

We traveled for the first day, spending about an entire 24 hour day traveling to get here and then basically collapsed when we arrived at our hotels. Life here in Turkey is amazingly Westernized and quite nice. The cities seem fairly "normal" and similar to what city life would be like in the United States. However, we haven't had much time to sit and wander around the cities because we are always on the go. We are always looking at ancient ruins or driving on our bus to see ancient ruins, or stopping to use the Water Closet (bathroom) and paying 50 cents to USE the bathroom! :) So far, we've visited Izmir, Thyatira, Philadelphia, Sardis, Laodicea, Pamukkale, Hieropolis and Ephesus. We still have to visit Pergamum, Assos, Alexandria Troas, Troy, and Canakkale before we head to Greece for the second half of our trip.

These are BY NO MEANS great depictions of the beautiful sites we're seeing, but I tried to update just a few pictures on to the webpage so you can see what I am taking pictures of! I've taken close to 400 pictures already - I think I may need to buy another picture card before the trip is over!

This was our first view of Turkey and Izmir. These are some of the lower class run down houses as we entered into the city of Izmir from the airport. Izmir and most of Turkey is very hilly and reminds me of Wellington New Zealand or San Francisco, because all the houses and buildings are built right into the side of the hills.

This is one of the pillars remaining from St. John's Cathedral in the Biblical city of Philadelphia. Our trip is mainly centered around the Seven Churches mentioned in Biblical book, Revelation. In that book, John sees a figure, who most assume to be Jesus, who addresses seven different "churches" or religious communtities in seven specific cities, and basically tells them everything they are doing right and wrong and how to prepare for the "end times" Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, is one of those cities, or churches!

These are what remain from the Church at Sardis. Because these Christian communities existed after the Greek and Roman cities were already there, many of their churches were built on top of Ancient Pagan Temples of that region. This is one such example, so these stone re-erected were originally a Pagan Temple that was changed into a church.

These are some ruins from the city of Laodicea. The city of Laodicea actually existed in the same place until the 1950's. At that point the government decided to move the entire city to another area so they could excavate the city underneath, the ancient city of Laodicea. They have now been doing this for years and have uncovered tons of amazing stuff, including these city walls!

I'll have plenty more to add later - I'll try to keep everyone updated as I can. Thanks for all your prayers and concerns - looking forward to catching up soon!