Istanbul, Turkey. Since I spent considerable time in Istanbul, I didn't have to ask someone random for a pic. She is a very good friend of mine. :)
There was a knot in my stomach as I walked past clothing shops displaying life-jackets for sale. Inflatable rafts, some designed to carry two people, three at most. Diesel motors lined-up on the street outside shops that sell tourist souvenirs inside. While the rest of the world debates the migrant/refugee lexicon, in Izmir the inflow of Syrians has decisively created a multi-million dollar "raft economy" that supplies provisions for their sometimes fatal exit across the border into the European Union.
This city is naturally breathtaking and historical. People are so kind and welcoming. Although it is Turkey this city speaks mostly arabic with a beautiful accent.
Antalya – Situated on the coast, provides one of the most breathtaking views – the turquoise waters with mountains in the background.
After an early morning flight, we reached the capital city of Ankara for a city tour. Ankara is one of the fastest growing cities in the world with a history that can be dated back 3000 years. We visited the Anatolian Civilisations Museum, which also exhibits the remains of Catalhoyuk, the Neolithic village dating back to 6500 BC. We also went to the Mausoleum of Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.
A port city along the coast of the Black Sea, Samsun is located between two rivers, Kizilirmak (the Red River) and the Yesilirmak (the Green River), both of which were crossed during my drive through Samsun. The River Mert, which meets the sea in Samsun, was another river we crossed.
Selcuk – A quaint little town which houses the Ephesus, the Temple of Artemis (one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world) and the house of Virgin Mary (it is believed that Mother Mary spent her last few days here when St John brought her to Turkey after the death of Jesus). It’s also just a few hours away from Pammukale (the cotton castle with the hot springs and travertine) and few minutes away from Kusadasi which is one of the biggest ports in Turkey where most of the cruise ships halt.
Since my hike through Turkey to Georgia followed a route that straddled the Black Sea, Ordu was another port city on the Black Sea coast that we passed through. The only landmark visible from the road while driving through was the Boztepe Hill.
Perhaps the last large port city of Turkey before entering into Georgia, Trabzon was also a point on the ancient trading route - the Silk Route. Passing through it, we left almost all of Turkey behind as we inched ever closer to Georgia.
Day 4: Adana - Tarsus - Cappadocia. After breakfast and a short drive to Tarsus, where St. Paul was born, we pay a meaningful visit to St. Paul's well, believed to have healing properties. After a short visit to the gate of Cleopatra, continue to Cappadocia for dinner and overnight. Includes: (Breakfast, Dinner)