Hagia Sophia

One of the churches that we went to see was called Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia is ancient. It was built in the 3rd Century A.D. At the highest point it is 180 feet tall. One of the guides said that the Statue of Liberty could do jumping jacks on the inside! It is an amazing structure.

When we got in we saw the book of minutes inscribed upon the wall.

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The antechamber was 45 feet high. This seemed extraordinarily high at first.

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We finally saw the dome. Walking into the room was immensely, unimaginably, stunningly, spectacular! It was like walking into a golden sky. The ceiling seemed to go up forever and we saw inscriptions of creative calligraphy upon the walls. There were windows around the dome and it seemed to be glowing!

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The mosaics on the upper level were equally stupendous.

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As you can see, this church converted into a mosque, is spectacular. This was one of our highlights…

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The Blue Mosque

On our second day in Istanbul we went to the Blue Mosque. The Blue Mosque was a mosque built in the time of Constantin Opal. This mosque was very big and held many paintings on the inside of flowers and designs, predominantly using white, blue, and red. This really was wonderful.
See for yourself.

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The last of these pictures shows four pillars and a dome. These represent the five pillars of Islam. The fifth of which is the dome.

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Chora Church

In Istanbul, there is a very old, traditional church called the Chora Church. The Chora Church is a church that is filled with mosaics. These mosaics tell the story of Jesus from birth until death.
Let me show you…

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Cave Churches

In Cappadocia, there is a lot of history. One of the parts of original churches is that they were in caves. Here are some pictures.

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Welcome to London

On very elaborate trips that especially encompass flighing there is always a problem. We have been extremely lucky. Flights get cancelled due to weather, planes have mechanical problems, a plane gets over booked, a flight is delayed. There are many things that could happen. We so far have had only small problems until now… Let me explain.. Upon our arrival we quickly realized that our flight had been delayed for one hour. Typically that wouldn’t be so bad except that hour was part of the hour and a half we had to get to our next flight to South Africa. We now only had 40 minutes if our first flight took off squarely on time. We waited the time to board. This delay had been caused by a plane switch because the original plane was physically impaired in some way. So to keep as much on schedule as possible they switched planes but they were still late by one hour. We still thought we could make it. We were all nervous but we thought we could. During the flight the flight attendant received an e-mail from the crew of our next flight. They tracked where our plane currently was and they rescheduled us. The flight attendant informed us and showed us his list. It looked like it could be half of the plane that had to be rescheduled. Upon our arrival in London we tried to find the flight connections desk. We realized with kind of a dreading feeling, that we had landed in Terminal 5. Terminal 5 is the biggest terminal in the airport. It takes up three buildings! There is a tram connecting them. We finally reached the flight connections desk and talked to a kind woman who said that unfortunately there was not a morning flight to Johannesburg but there was an evening flight. So she booked us into the nicest hotel that belongs to Heathrow. She was very apologetic but gave us three meal vouchers for all of us. She also gave us bus passes and had the luggage people find our luggage and bring it to us. By this time it was 10:30 at night (London time). This was 12:30 in the time zone we were used to (Istanbul). We then went to baggage claim after entering the country. We then got in a bus called a hotel hoppa and went to our hotel. This hotel was called Hotel Raddison. We then fell asleep almost instantly.

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Our Balloon Adventure

We had an immensely interesting experience on our second day in Goreme, Cappadocia. We had a chance to fly. Not literally, but simply in a balloon.

Cappadocia is the home of fairy chimneys and beautiful landscape. This landscape has been shaped into beings by natural forces like wind and water. These forces usually leave a typical trend as shown in many places in the world. For example, the United States has two extremely predominant mountain chains. The Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. With these two chains you have an older and a younger. The older tends to be the healthier and sometimes the milder in the end. The younger begins rocky and jagged and not as healthy. Conductions of air currents cause unpredictable and a lot of times severe weather. The older of the chains starts out that way. The Appalachian Mountains started way before the Rocky Mountains. The Appalachian Mountains used to be taller than Mount Everest is today. Mount Everest is 29,029 feet today. The Appalachians were usually around 40,000 feet at the median of them all. As many years passed, wind and water went over the mountains. Thunderstorms, severe wind, snow, ice! All of these forces wore the mountains down until they are as they are today. They are rounded, healthy, and simple. The Rocky Mountains are far newer. At their fault they arose, tall and jagged as they are today. As these mountains are newer they are extremely jagged and risky and many people find them more adventurous and daring. Soon enough natural forces will wear the Rockies down until they are the same as the Appalachians.

These are natural forces that I speak of. This is the trace that is left from the known history of the terrain. In Goreme, landscape is fairly new. There are valleys and plateaus and these fairy chimneys. Jagged rock sticks out from the ground created peaks of rock everywhere. These fairy chimneys and peaks of rock are the most curious when it comes to the erosion patterns and weathering patterns that have been used on the rock. They have been eroded in the shape of a house. This is with a very pointed roof and circular living area.

Goreme wants to show its visitors the beauty of the landscape. They take advantage of this by creating a balloon industry. This industry turned into many industries with an image of prospering. These companies hire balloon pilots and bought balloons. They used these tools to send visitors into the skies. For a fee the companies pick you up at your residing hotel and take you to their headquarters. They serve you breakfast and bus you to the site of the balloons.

At the site you watch them fill the balloons with at and you get in them by climbing over the sides. You also have to weight it down so that the balloon doesn’t fly off on its own. Once you are in you wait for the balloon to fully fill up with air and then you’re off. Our pilot on our flights’s name was John. He was from southern England.

Once you let the balloon go into the air you seem to glide up into the atmosphere. It’s almost magical how simple it was. We went up for a few minutes in higher atmosphere and then he let us go down. We finally got so close to the ground that we skimmed the trees! We were seemingly about to touch the ground when suddenly we were out in a majestic, colorful valley. We saw farms and orchards and pidgin homes. It was magnificent as the light caressed the rock gently. The word seemed to be at peace and in restful beauty.

After sailing through the red and rose valleys we ascended to a very steady level for a while. John could sense that there was a little bit of nervousness flowing through the balloon so he started making jokes. He really had a lot a comedy in him.

Seeing Goreme from such a height was truly wonderful and magnificently spectacular. Itwas an experience that I will never forget.

Thank You Joyce for sponsoring us to have this truly phenomenal experience.

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Itinerary

As with detailed posts, I’m quite far behind but I will continue to post simply what we are currently doing on this daily itinerary. I will continue to post on this post as I have time.

May 18

Morning: Meli picked us up at 10:00. She took us to a mosk on the outskirts of a town called Secuk. She taught us about Islam. She talked about the five pillars and her opinion of the religion.

For lunch we went into Selcuk to a restaurant with Manti.

Afternoon: A carpet shop to see how carpets are made and buy one.

May 19

Morning: We went to the Ephesus Museum. Meli talked to us about the history of Turkey. She talked about Ephesus and its purpose. It turns out that there were four Ephesus structures built. When seeing the museum Meli would take an object and put it in context. She told an imaginative story about everything.

Lunch: For lunch we ate at Meli’s family farm. Her sister and her husband were there. They cooked for us and served us a typical Turkish lunch.

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Sabbatical

This is the site where you will be able to see into what we are doing and what we are contemplating. As the sabbatical begins we will continue to post.

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