Archive for May 2014

Mount Nemrut

As it's been a full month since my trip to Turkey, during which my computer was out of commission but then magically back in commission again and I have also spent a week in Berlin and a few days in Munich, I feel a bit silly expounding on it as a recent memory while simultaneously ignoring more recent gossip. But on the bright side, I have plenty of blog fodder for the upcoming weeks so perhaps I'll get back to regularly posting again!

Mount Nemrut is an ancient tomb and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in southeastern Turkey most well-known for the carved heads seen above and the artificial rubble mountain standing behind them.

If we're being honest, we were rather underwhelmed.

If you google image Mount Nemrut, a multitude of magical photos resembling Easter Island with smurf hats shows up. In reality, the heads are blocked off and are no taller than we are (see here). For us, the easiest way to get there was to bus from Diyarbakir (our previous destination from which I have apparently lost all the photos) to Kahta, the nearest city. We stayed at the Kommagene Hotel, the most highly rated of the three hotels in Kahta by Lonely Planet and most definitely just a hostel in a lodge. However, it was clean, comfortable, and affordable, and so if you must see Nemrut, I would recommend it. (But make your own breakfast arrangements because it was too sub-par to fill me up.) As part of our hotel package, we also booked a tour, which we negotiated down to 90TL/person for 3 people, or about USD$45 each. Decent deal for a day-long tour and beds and crappy breakfast, I think.

What is to be said for the tour, which did actually make a few other stops, is that the landscape was lovely, and in that sense it was worth it - especially at such a price. The best part, though, was traveling with these girls. We've all been living abroad this year (Turkey, Armenia, and Germany) and it was so great to get back in touch with our American-ness. I don't think I've ever been so shamelessly loud. And gawsh have I missed people who actually laugh at jokes (I'm talkin' to you, Germans).

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Antalya

I've got two pieces of good news and one bad.

We'll start with the bad news: Photoshop has suddenly decided I no longer have license to use it (even though I actually purchased it legally - like an idiot) and so my delicious Turkish breakfast is looking much darker than intended.

But the good news is that I am finally kind of learning to use my camera, so the rest of the photos are less than disastrous even without my normal liberal use of the Photoshop curves function. The second piece of good news is that my fickle computer companion has decided to function today, and so I bring you the first of my Turkey posts: Antalya.

Antalya is a beautiful city nestled in the mountains on the southern coast of Turkey that has been around since Paul was running around preaching the gospel. (I know this because he ran through Antalya a couple of times.) It also happens to be where one of my close high school friends is teaching English for the year, and so it became my landing point in Turkey. Fortunately, said friend and I share a passion for baklava and more nerdy pursuits such as academic Bible study, so you can imagine all the crazy shenanigans I got up to on these cliffs. By crazy I mean tame, and by cliffs I mean holy wow will you just look at that sunset.

This Turkey trip really tested my capacity for travel - I don't think I have ever been so many places in so little time. It's the first time I have truly traveled on my own to a new and unfamiliar place, and it was simultaneously terrifying and self-affirming. It also whet my appetite for Turkish everything, so look out Turkey because I'll be back.

Plus it turns out I'm going to need a whole lot more than a single afternoon of study to get Turkish down - I literally spent my whole first day in Antalya trying to nail "thank you", urgh.

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