Istanbul to Constantinople

The journey into and throughout Turkey took us back through millennia. Each of us explored every site from Troy to Pergamon through our own lenses, but the combined experienced makes the time we shared very special. The journey took us trough many parts of Western Turkey. We navigated both the Dardanelles and Bosporus Straits and crossed continents from Asia to Europe, and back. We followed the footsteps of many of the early apostles like Paul as he took the Gospel to the World. I will never forget the few days that let in centuries of knowledge and history. Turkey will hold a special place in my mind for a long time.

The Sultanahmet Mosque a.k.a. the Blue Mosque.

Entrance to the Disney-like Topkapi Palace complex in Istanbul. This place housed many sultans and the relics that are on display there attest to their very posh life-style.

Niçep, our stylish tour guide,  showing off his history and map skills. After getting to know Niçep a little bit better, I found out that he is married to a Finnish girl. It was really random, but hit home. I taught him a few smooth things to say to his wife in Finnish.

Shea-Z and I trying to get a picture at a hotspot overlooking the Golden Horn. We were all foreigners here so we decided to share the frame with some new friends.

The Bosporus Strait

The cavernous Basilica Cistern under the streets of Istanbul - you could start saying Constantinople since these are from the 6th century.

The Grand Bazaar provided many goodies, including delicious baklava.

The rivalry goes on: Turk style. (The kitty won.)

The B&W Collage from Turkey with Love. Thank you all who contributed: Classy Makara, Dane, BFF Madi, Hannah Honey, and Courtney-n-Jenni.

Troy was our first of many stops. Too many people were too excited about this "horse." The site is a lot smaller than you would imagine, but the history is as good as always.

Our first resort hotel in Canakkale. The fellas took their conversation away from the busy shores.

Lost in thought and awe: Boone, Courtney, and Abe.

Once the partying began all sorts of craziness happened. Davis foot happened to wonder off to far out into the shallow tide and onto some broken glass. The smashed dock lamp is completely unrelated to the broken glass found just off shore. His spirits were not dampened at all though and he cruched up and down those ancient tels (with a bit of help) for the rest of the trip.

Beach Amigos with Kython.

This happened long after the coals of the bonfire started cooling down. Bryson the New Kid, Megoody, and I were having too much fun for the camera to even capture.

The fun continued to our fruit plates as well.

Even the baklava baker was having fun. Best place for the most delicious baklava west of the Tigris. Thanks, Fatti.

Once you have that much sweet, sweet, sweet baklava you have to pay a visit to a Roman gymnasium and work it all off. The accommodations include olive oil, baths, and Letty-Bash weights. 

Looking good, Stu and Dani.

Assos didn't leave too many antiquities for is to climb on, but the view was prime. 

Adding to the view with Stu, Cam, and Kyler.

I call this the Pennster.

Some of the tels were better accessible by tram. Here we are on the way to Pergamon.

These are the remains of one of the greatest Byzantine churches - St. John's Basilica. Once again, not much remaining of the remains.

Back to Istanbul, not Constantinople, for the Hagia Sophia. This grand structure hailed as the largest church in the world for about a thousand years. Built by Constantine the Great, this wonder went through many transitions as a church, a mosque, and now a museum. 

The podium of the imam.

The third greatest library of the ancient world in Ephesus.

Making my own mark in the Bible dictionary (map 31) with the theatre of Ephesus in the background.

This was a lonely sarcophagus. I did not disturb any living nor dead in the capturing of this moment.

This ancient road led to the harbor which was just visible on the horizon. The silt from the river has been filling the bay up for a couple millennia so not the shoreline is few miles farther away.

Well, if you weren't sure, these are genuine.

Priene was an unplanned stop. It ended being one of the greatest secret treasures off the beaten path.

Priene had an unusually square-ish odeon, a Roman mini-theatre.

On route to Bursa we passes the largest horse farm in Turkey and it was LARGE. At sixty-five miles per hour or so it took about five minutes to pass it.

Bursa Grand Mosque. Along with some of the most beautiful calligraphy the mosque has 20 domes. "Impressive!" you might think. Well, the sultan who built it just weened out of building 20 mosques like he vowed to do.

Shopping for some of us never got old...

Last night in Istanbul with Dani and Megan.

Turkish hospitality included delicious, hot apple tea and some skilled selling techniques that made you feel like the biggest jerk if you decided not to buy anything. Although when one of the hosts could not find the green tie that I wanted he instead gifted with a nice slim black one.

Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia). Very few places, people, foods have left such an impression on me and I have been to some very amazing places. Turkey should be on your bucket list of places to visit. The culture is rich and inviting so try to live it up when you do get there. And the Turks will love you like no one else especially if you buy one of their ridiculously expensive rugs.