May 17

Waking up the next day was not a fun affair. I had slept for about three hours and had not at first realized where I was. Waking up on an airplane is never fun… I looked out the window and realized that the sun was rising and we happened to be flying over the Prime Meridian so we were only a few time zones off from Turkey. I decided to be up for the rest of the day.

The rest of the flight was fairly simple. We began descending with about 45 minutes until landing. When we came onto final approach we saw how high up on the plane we were. As we came down we seemed to hover over the landing spot but really we had touched down. The chief flight attendant came onto the intercom and said, “Welcome to Munich”.             Everyone applauded loudly.

The Munich airport was really interesting and not so huge as Chicago was. We found a fresh café and had fresh fruit, bread, and hot chocolate in a bowl. It was delicious.

Our last flight was a Lufthansa to Izmir. It seemed uneventful except when we came to a point when the clouds seemed extremely bright in fact…blinding light. I looked over and saw the Alps! My heart exploded in joy, I was seeing what I’d been hoping to see for a long time! The snow capped aligned peaks coming far through the clouds. The clouds were translucent enought so I could see lakes and villages in the valleys. It was truly spectacular!

For the very special 10 minutes that I saw them, I enjoyed the marvelous mountains. When they passed I fell into a deep sleep for 15 minutes.

Descending was not simple. Izmir and Kusadasi are surrounded by marvelous but turbulent mountains. The wind aerially was around 50 mph, not ideal landing weather. We came in very violent turbulence. Our pilot took us out around the sea and then back around towards Izmir. As we came to our final descent a particularly violent burst of wind hit  the plane. The plane swerved and banked into the wind as it came to a final landing. That was when half of the plane could be heard gasping and grabbing their seats. The plane continued in its path coming very close to the ground. We finally made it onto the runway when a large gust of wind hit the right wing and the plane wing suddenly banked severely and almost hit the ground! For the first time in my life I was scared. The pilot got the plane under control and taxied in safely. I was shaken.

After the flight we continued through the airport and found our driver and left for Kusadasi. The drive was only about an hour and we saw the scenery of mountains finally breaking into the beautiful, perfectly blue Aegean Sea. It was a wonderfully scenic drive.

We arrived at the hotel around dinner time. We decided to stay at Hotel Derici. This hotel was cheaper but we found out soon after settling in that this hotel was not great. This hotel was where all of the stuck-up American tourists stayed. They got off there shuttle buses, complaining about everything that was not exactly the same as the US. These people that were not on the buses came to the hotel to be in their rooms and smoke at night and during the day these sat in packs in the lobby and had beer during the day. Is was the least of our problems.

Later, to our great joy, Mom and Dad showed up. It was a wonderful reunion even though we were jet lagged.

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