Sunday, March 18, 2012

5,377 Stepperoos - I work out!

Today we went to Sardis
This site has a Jewish synagogue that is next door neighbors with a Greek gymnasium. 
Pillars from the synagogue

Mosaic flooring...absolutely beautiful

The gym was quite fun, and as we learned from Bro. Huntsman, it was more than an athletic center back in the day. School also took place here, it was a culture center, and a place where philosophers led discussions. 
But, we used it as a prime photo opp for some gym-esque pictures.
Carpe Diem.
We played around the gym - wrestling, working out, racing...The works!

We work out

GSG Club

So check us out...
Take that Mr. Neves

Then we got back on the bus and drove to the ruins of the temple of Artemis.
The pillars for this temple were GINORMOUS.
Reminded me of the California Redwoods...
Except these were concrete. And not quite as, tree-ish.
But beautiful none the less!

Ring around the . . . Pillar
Beautiful Ruins

We then boarded back on the bus and headed back to Istanbul!
We have been driving all over Turkey the past week, and it will be nice to finally touch back to our home base in Istanbul.
Next up? Hagia Sofia!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Good News: Saw more Turkey today! {10,709 steps}

Today we explored the ancient city Ephesus.
It is really amazing how much of this city is still standing. Yes, it was a lot of ruins and broken buildings and fallen pillars, but you could really visualize how it might have looked years and years ago.
Model poses with Ethan and Kyle. It felt right

Who needs pillars . . . 

When Ephesus was under the control of the Romans, it was the capital of the province of Asia and one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire.
Sam, Erin, me in front of the library of Celsus

The biggest standing structure at Ephesus was this Library. Beautiful, right?

Library Entrance

We saw another great theater today - It was bigger than the one at Pergamum! 
It is called the Great Theater, and could hold 25,000 spectators . . .
But...Pergamum's theater was much more beautiful, in my humble opinion. 
Sadly I do not have a picture of the theater at Ephesus. . .so you'll just have to believe me. Or google it.
Courtney Neves vs. Bailey Bradshaw. 

Seriously tho - Lions would enter the theater
through this opening back in the day

Of course, a highlight of the day was walking down this here street, which is pictured in our scriptures!
OH - if you look in the background of this pic, you can see the Great Theater - HUGE!
But, that's not the important part, look where I am!

So check me out

Little did I know that life could in fact get better, and we would visit one more site today - PRIENE!
There was yet another theater at this site - complete with sweet stone chairs - but my favorite part was the hike up to this ancient Greek city and its spectacular view.
It was up on these cliffs and we got a great view across the plains.
It reminded me of home a little bit. Just the green colors. Beautiful flowers. Hiking up. Oh, and seeing some sheep and a shepherd. Home sweet home.
 This was a great site, with a little theater, small Christian basilica, gorgeous temple to Athena, and a council hall. 
My best friend

Vladi and me with some HUGE pillars

So stoic
The group in the pillar graveyard

While we were in the theater, Bro. Ludlow taught about Paul's final visit to the elders of Ephesus. He talked about farewells and reunions, and how important it is for us to stay true to our faith. I almost felt like crying during his little devotional, as I thought back to Sterling leaving the center, and then thought forward to the little time that I have left here. It is so important to make the most of ever moment, and to always live in a way that you will be proud and happy about.

Love the life you live, live the life you love!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Turkey Trottin' {6,266}

Today we went to two sites - Assos and Pergamon!

First on the schedule was Assos.
We parked the bus at the bottom of a hill and walked up a beautiful cobble stone steppy path through houses and shops up to the site.

Once we reached the top, we saw one of the most beautiful panorama's.
This site had some stunning views of the Aegean sea . . .  and the island of Lesbos.
Tribute to Dani!

All that is left of Assos is a couple of standing pillars from the ancient Athena Temple.
This was a special site to visit because Paul visited and preached to the people here.

My favorite part of being in Assos was Bro. Huntsman's devotional about Paul's visit to the area.
I feel so blessed to be able to visit these sites that are talked about in the scriptures.
We sang "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go, Dear Lord" and I was just filled with the spirit, and the desire to go and serve wherever the Lord directs me. It was a beautiful experience.

Next up on the list was PERGAMUM.

We drove a little over two hours to our lunch spot, then we took a TRAM {SO FUN } up to Pergamum.

Riding up to the tippy top!

We played around the Temple of Trajan and then decided to explore the underground vaulting platform which supports the temple. This was super cool, and relates to Jerusalem because it is very similar to the vaulting below the Temple Mount...who'da thunk?!


Vaulting beneath

My favorite part of Pergamum was its theater! Not only was the spectacular view of the valley below beautiful, but the stone theater was just stunning to see. It is built on the slop of the hill, and contains over 10,000 seats. This is the steepest seating of any known theater in the ancient world.

Monday, March 12, 2012

TROY in 6,381steps

We started our day off bright and early so that we would catch the ferry across the Dardanelles on time.
I love ferry rides.
Sweet Jen and me
Lovely ladies of 303

Ferry's are so very merry!

Once we were across the Dardanelle Strait, we climbed back aboard the bus.
After hours of driving on the bus - We finally got to Troy!
We climbed into the giant wooden horse and took pictures to our hearts delight.

I'm in a horse
Once we finished horsin' around, we walked through Troy and read all about the history of this ancient port city and the people who had lived there. There are nine different settlement levels at Troy, the earliest dating to the Early Bronze Age (3,000 B.C.). It was fascinating to walk around this site and see the different levels that had been uncovered.

The highlight of the day was our hotel.
I was completely caught off guard and pleasantly surprised with the beautiful hotel we stayed in. Right on the beach. The sand was perfect. The water was freeeeezing. The sunset was beautiful. The dock was, a dock. The weather couldn't have been better. Bailey was happy!
E-ster + beach + twirling = JOY
Chillin with Sammy Sosa

Toes in the water
Most beautiful place on EARTH

Meet my beautiful friends!
Walking on water
Good times. Great friends
Piggy-back on
da beach
Can life get any better?

Oh - and just when I thought I couldn't be any happier, our sweet tour guide Fatih announced that he planned a bonfire dance party for all of the students. On the beach. Dancin' the night away.