Today you get to see the second part of our journey to Turkey, and it includes my favorite Turkish location - the beautiful ancient city of Ephesus!
Before we get started, I have a quick side note: It was like a lovely DREAM as a photographer to visit another country and be able to photograph the beautiful sites we saw! Seeing as this was only my second trip overseas, I still had a lot to learn about traveling with my camera and deciding when the best times were to take photos or to set down the camera and simply BE in the moment.
That being said, I have a whole list of tips I'm putting together for those of you who want to take better photos on your vacations and trips! I can't wait to share them with you in an upcoming blog post, and I hope they're helpful! If you have any questions about traveling with cameras, how to take the best photos while still being present, or anything else that sticks out to you, be sure to leave your questions in the comments below! I'd love to hear from you. :)
Side note over! Let's get going!
One of the most interesting locations we visited was the Hierapolis in Pamukkale. Its hillside is white because the spring water has calcified on the slopes for so many years.... and from a distance, it totally looked like snow!
My mom is so cute. :)
There are friendly stray dogs everywhere, and this one decided to join us for a photo. We giggled that it felt so at home with us! :)
See those people on the top of the hill by the trees? That's where we were headed!
Some hot springs still exist today, and it was a glorious view!
Once we were level with the springs on the top of the first hill, we hiked up further to see an ancient amphitheater. You couldn't see inside the theater until you were up at the top, and the big reveal once you walked through these doors made it a stunning sight!
With the little bit of time we had remaining, we decided to hike up even further to see the St. Philip Martyrium where the apostle Philip is said to have been buried.
The hill, hike, and weather were all gorgeous, but I almost died... :P I'm not a mountain climber!!
So I just stopped often to "take pictures" while I caught my breath... see how sneaky I am?
Down below us are the hot springs pictured earlier, and below the hot springs is the lake in the first few photos! It was quite the hike and the view!!
Aaron (our friend, pastor, and leader of our troop) had been doing some research on a lot of the water systems in that area and how it related to some of the talks we were filming. Every time we saw pipes we made sure to point them out to him, and it happened so often that we may or may not have become a little sarcastic! ;)
We hiked down a ways to put our tired feet in the hot springs. Check out that view!
It was lovely.
The next area we visited was the ancient city of Laodicea!
To finish out the day, we were given a tour of a charming company that weaves authentic Turkish rugs!
They showed us how they dye the silks and the process that they use.
This cool dye turns deeper and deeper blue the longer it's exposed to oxygen!
Silk worm cocoons!
Rugs can take years and years to make and experiencing the process gave us such appreciation for the art form of rugs!
Of course we stood, touched, felt, and laid on them ... :)
The hospitality they showed us was truly a delight, and we loved them so much we wanted to buy ALL the rugs!
Our next hotel was located in Kusadasi, overlooking the Aegean sea.
We got to eat breakfast on the rooftop!
We dedicated one entire day to visiting Ephesus - there's so much left to explore, and the architecture and design of this ancient city was exceptional!
Our whole group listening to Aaron talk about Paul's visit to Ephesus.
Check out those paved streets!
There was an extra portion that we got to see which included the homes where the ancient rich families lived. Pretty sure they had nicer homes than we do now! ;)
And my personal favorite - the library of Celsus.
It was a magnificent structure!!
Each day, our guide would take us to local restaurants and help us pick out the best food. We often tried new dishes and were always well taken care of. I think Nicola found out that the lemons in Turkey are just as sour as the lemons in America. :)
Close to Ephesus is the Basilica of the Apostle John - he's said to have been buried there!
We found an old baptismal and tried it out.... ;)
We were a little tired... it had been such a long week already!
What the Basicilica used to look like!
Wherever we went, local vendors would approach us and offer their products. We were clearly tourists and when a local seller came to us with these unique musical instruments, mom and Melba couldn't help themselves!
Our last stop of the day was to see what was left of the famous Temple of Artemis. Only one pillar remains from its original structure, but it was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world!
Sunset photos across from our hotel! There's something about watching the sun set in another country... it's such a cool feeling knowing that it's the same sun that sets in our own country.
Turkey was beautiful and we were sure nothing could beat it - until we went to Greece. :) My last installment of photos from our entire trip comes next week!! Can't wait to show you Greece!