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    • Day 3

      Izmir, Turkey

      June 21 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 88 °F

      Izmir is a major seaport and Turkey's third most populous city after Istanbul and the country’s capital of Ankara. It has a population of over three million (metro around 4.3 million). Izmir (as Smyrna) was established in the early-11th century BC. In the late-7th century BC, the town was devastated by the Lydians, restored in the 4th century BC by the Macedonians, and later conquered by the Romans. Smyrna was part of the Byzantine Empire starting in the 4th century AD. In 1415, it became part of the Ottoman Empire. After WW1 (1914-1918), Greece claimed Izmir, but in 1922 the Greeks were driven out by the Turkish forces. We visited the shrine to the Virgin Mary (her house) and Ephesus. The Virgin Mary House is located on the Bülbül Mountain, near Selçuk. It is known that John brought the Virgin Mary to Ephesus about four to six years after the death of Jesus. In 1891, the Lazarist priests, upon the dream of the German nun A. Katherina Emerich, discovered that house (the foundation of it) where the Virgin Mary spent her last days. There was a line to get in for a mere two-three-minute walkthrough! We never did see the four fountains supposedly close by for health, wealth, happiness, and whatever because of being rushed to our bus, although Shirley lit a candle outside the house for her and Jane for their health. Ephesus (Efes) is an ancient city in Turkey’s Central Aegean region, near modern-day Selçuk. Its excavated remains reflect centuries of history, from classical Greece to the Roman Empire. We spent an hour on the hillside in 103-degree heat and no shade. When we got back on our bus, a lady in our group said: “That was a nightmare!” We then had another fascinating rug-making demonstration (tea or a fruit drink is traditionally always served beforehand) and a lovely lunch. Another small fact: Green and black olives come from the same tree, just at different ripeness levels.Read more

    • Day 13

      Off to Bodrum

      September 17, 2021 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

      Actually, we’re off to the seaside village of Boğaziçi, about 20 miles outside the better-known seaside town of Bodrum. We’re going there to spend time with Mui’s sister, Işıl, before she closes out the beach season. While we’re at it, we’ll do a few days of sightseeing. Mom and Deniz have joined us for this latter reason.

      To get where we are going, we are on a bus operated by Kâmil Koç. We’re one hour into the three-hour+ drive. All’s going well. There’s maybe 10 people on the entire bus … which can accommodate four times as many passengers. Not complaining. A low pax count is a good thing during a pandemic. Everyone is masked up … also a good thing.

      The bus is pristine; the service is good. We’ve already been offered — twice — the traditional lemon cologne used to welcome people. With its high alcohol content, it serves a dual purpose … refreshing and disinfecting. Water has been delivered to our seats; more available on demand. A cart filled with a variety of cold and hot beverages and snacks has been rolled down the aisle … tummies are happy.

      There’s in-seat entertainment, but I neglected to bring my ear buds so I’ll just pass the rest of the time reading my Kindle.
      Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Karacaoğlan, Karacaoglan

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