I had every intention of writing a post about my parents’ trip to visit us. Though I have many legitimate excuses why that didn’t happen, I’ll just skip that and get on to posting pictures and stories!
First of all, my parents are troopers. The flight from Minnesota to Ankara usually ends up being 20-24 hours all told. My parents arrived in the afternoon and we were in Ankara
long enough for a short nap, a short shower, a dinner and then we were on an overnight bus to Selçuk. Overnight buses are not easy to sleep on, and I know we all struggled for rest. It seemed when my body finally gave in to exhaustion, I was woken by the bus driverbecause we reached our destination. *check watch* Yep, we arrived over an hour earlier than scheduled. It was surreal to wander the streets to the sounds of roosters crowing.
We found the hotel, dropped our bags off and went in search of anywhere that might be open for food. We did and lentil soup (mercimek çorba) has never tasted so good.
The trip to Selçuk included a day at Ephesus and a day on a Mediterranean boat tour from Kuşadası. Ephesus (Efes) was amazing. To think of the cultural center, some of the Biblical events that happened there (if you’re interested in that) – it was phenomenal. The library at Ephesus is one of the coolest sites, I think. We also saw one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, the Artemis Temple. It basically consisted of one standing column, some water and other fallen columns. It felt like a bucket list visit.
The boat tour was amazing. I love the history of the area, but you can’t really go wrong spending a day on a boat. Our boat was called ‘Çoban Yıldız’, which is a reference to the North Star. That speaks to a Minnesotan girl’s heart. We spent the day cruising from bay to bay, putting the anchor down and testing our daring by jumping from the top of the boat. It took me until later in the day to accomplish that feat. We had a lovely lunch on board, drinks in the afternoon and exploring whenever we were close enough to land. The only thing to ruin the day was … it was my first real experience with European bathing suits thongs for men. Gross.
After the few days we spent in Selçuk, we made our way back to Ankara via another bus – during the day this time. We saw a bit of some mountains (at least, taller hills than Ankara or Minnesota) and even some fairy chimneys!
The plan was to return to Ankara for a few days. Andy and I had teaching to do, then we would take a long weekend trip to Istanbul. Due to some illness, that didn’t end up happening as planned. Later, the plan was to send them by themselves, but that didn’t end up happening either. The result – we stayed in Ankara. As much as I was bummed that they weren’t getting to see Istanbul, I really appreciated how much they learned about how we live. I took them to some of the sites, and we brought them to our apartment and just … lived. It felt normal and I was very, very sad to see them go. They got to deal with the hills, go to a Turkish church, experience delicious food and to figure things out for themselves when we had to work.
So Mom and Dad – thanks for coming! (and for bringing chocolate!)