Spring Travel Updates!

Well I guess I haven’t updated this in quite some time! Over the last couple months I’ve been traveling all over Turkey just about every weekend. It has been a lot of fun, although also really exhausting. Some of the cities I have visited are: Didim, Davraz, Laodikya, Eskişehir, Bodrum, Konya, Kapadokya, Hatay, Gaziantep, Çanakkale, Troy, Bursa, and Efes (Ephesus). I think it’d be hard to write about each trip, so instead I’ll just write a little about some of my favorite places. 

Kapadokya (Cappadocia) 

The Open Air Museum

Kapadokya is probably one of the most beautiful places in Turkey. It is famous for its numerous valleys of unique rock formations of volcanic deposits that have eroded over time. There are plenty of valleys you can hike through, and underground cities to visit. I actually stayed in a cave hotel! It sounds adventurous, but the hotel is actually equipped with modern furniture and bathrooms.

Unfortunately I only had 2 days in Kapadokya, which is really not enough time to see the whole area. My roommate from Denizli and I met up with a few other Fulbrighters and visited the Open Air Museum (a complex of old monasteries in caves from the 10th-12th centuries, covered with frescoes inside), hiked through some of the valleys, and watched the hot air balloons doing sunrise tours over the valleys.

The balloon tours are really expensive, but I decided to wake up early and take some pictures of them flying over the valleys, and even though it was at sunrise, it was definitely worth it for the pictures that I got! Next time I visit (and hopefully I can before I leave Turkey!), I plan to hike up a hill and get a better view of the balloons.

Sunrise hot air balloon tours
Sunrise hot air balloon tours

My friends and I hiked for a couple kilometers to get to the Rose Valley and Red Valley, exploring other really cool rock formations along the way. And then this was our view when we finally got there:


The Rose Valley (in the front), and the Red Valley (in the back)
The Rose Valley (front), and the Red Valley (back)

And then later my roommate and I went hiking through the Love Valley:

The Love Valley
The Love Valley

Kapadokya is quite a unique place, and there is still so much more to Kapadokya that I haven’t seen yet, so I hope to go back there sometime soon!

Efes (Ephesus)

Like Kapadokya, the ancient city of Efes is a very popular place for foreign travelers. It was once the capital of the Asian Province of the Roman Empire, and was also home to one of the seven churches of revelation in Christianity. Sometimes it’s actually a nice break for me to be around tourists for a change, since it’s the one time that I don’t get as many questions about where I’m from, what I’m doing in Turkey, and how long I’ve been here. So it was a nice trip for me 🙂

The site is pretty big, and even though it seems like there are a lot of ruins to see, still only about 15% of the site has been excavated!

One of the main attractions of Efes is the amphitheatre, which is believed to be the largest in the ancient world:

The theatre at Efes
The theatre at Efes

My favorite part of the ancient city was the Celsus Library, built in the second century AD for the Roman senator Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus. He is also buried underneath the library. Only the façade remains, but the designs and inscriptions on it are really neat.

Celsus Library
Celsus Library
Close-up of the library
Close-up of the library

Another favorite of mine from Efes was the Church of Mary, which was the site of the Third Ecumenical Council in 431:

The Church of Mary

Efes is only a 3 hour train ride from Denizli, so I decided to make it a day trip and have Sunday to relax before the week started again. I left at about 7:30 am and didn’t get back to my apartment until 9:00 pm, so I was very exhausted!

Tomorrow I am leaving for Chios (a Greek island close to Izmir) with a bunch of the other Fulbrighters. It is Orthodox Easter this weekend, and apparently they have an all night rocket war between the different sides of the island, so it should be an interesting trip!






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