One week ago Sunil and I returned from one of the greatest adventures we've ever taken: exploring the ancient cities of Turkey and Greece! As with all world travel, it's a breathtaking experience and SO hard to describe! You learn so much about other cultures, how big the world really is, and become overwhelmed with the history of other nations. (If you've never left the country, DO it. It's an incredibly world-expanding experience!)
I, of course, took my camera along with, and (as always) took way too many photos. :) SO many photos, in fact, that I'll have to break up my trip photos into three blog posts! This is the first installment and covers the first several days of our trip in Turkey.
We were uniquely privileged to travel with a group from our church (I'm on the media team there) and the main purpose of our trip there was to record on location footage that will later be developed into some upcoming sermon series for our church! We visited and filmed on the locations of the 7 churches written to in Revelation 2-3, as well as Athens, Corinth, and Ephesus!
A few other friends and family decided to join us on our big adventure and I was thrilled when my mom took a risk and joined our crazy, sarcastic little bunch! (Traveling with people you know and love is the best.)
Our first stop was to the ancient city of Pergamum, and included a troupe of wild puppies waiting for the tourists who inevitably feed them snacks... Just look at their adorable faces! (PUPPIES!)
Traveling with friends means you always have someone who will give you a hug. Or two or three. :)
As always, photos will never fully capture the views perfectly or accurately....
The ancient temples were exquisite!
As a musician, it's become one of my life goals to perform in an ancient theater... check out those seats!!
Some people (I won't say who) were surprised to learn that the food in Turkey is excellent, delicious, and inexpensive.... ;)
And their bread is amazing!! #GlutenFreeOnlyWhenInAmerica (I had to try all the things, and my body cooperated! All the praise hands!)
Our next step was the ruins of Thyatira - smack dab in the middle of a modern city.
It was fascinating to imagine the people and places that once existed here!
Americans? What Americans? We never stick out. We perfectly blend in always.
The following morning (after some evening adventures involving bathrooms, blood, and stitches... it's a long story!) we woke up early to catch the sunrise over the ruins of Smyrna which is now the modern city of Izmir.
It's such a peaceful and beautiful city!
Archways for days!
The sunrise was gorgeous!
As I mentioned, I was part of the crew that filmed several talks for some upcoming sermons at our church. It was an amazing challenge to arrive at a location you've never seen, quickly learn as much as you could, then pick a location to set up your equipment and shoot for as long as time allows! Our team did an amazing job - and we all got quite the adrenaline rush!
Next, we headed towards the city of Sardis!
An extensive amount of ruins and buildings remain in tact!
Nearby Sardis is one of the ancient Temples to the god Artemis (we later visited the famous one in Ephesus!).
The peaceful mountains nearby and the glorious views quickly made it one of my favorite stops.
Our sweet guide, Shebnem, kindly offered to get us a group photo - and I love the series of photos she captured!
(I think this is us being sad?)
(Striking a modeling pose?)
(Mostly just being all sorts of crazy...)
Pay no attention to the tape and gauze on the back of Aaron's head. Remember that whole blood and stitches thing? Let's just say he's a trooper to not only sustain a head injury but to carry on with the trip as though nothing happened. #LikeABoss #HeISMyBoss
When in doubt.... travel with your friends. And the more friends the merrier. Next time, I'm taking my whole tribe of people! :)
Also, always make sure to travel with a friend who is a photographer.... ;)
The ancient location of the church of Philadelphia was small... but still beautiful and inspiring!
Even if some people were sleepy... :)
Stay tuned for photos from our next few days in Turkey - and my personal favorite: the ancient city of Ephesus!!