BC: DEPARTED | SPAIN | 28 Nov 2013 | MADRID, SPAIN
1: TURKEY | TURKEY | ARRIVED 10 NOV 2013 | Celebrating our one year anniversary on a grand adventure was a dream come true. Backpacks full and excitement high we flew to beautiful and historic Istanbul, Turkey.
2: Soon after we bought our tickets we discovered Brent was also flying through Istanbul on his way to Tajikistan! It was grand exploring Turkey together for four days before we both continued on. Our loads of luggage was a bit comical until we located a guest house to store it.
4: THE HAGGAI SOPHIA Early Sunday we stumbled upon this ancient cathedral in downtown Istanbul. First built in 500 AD as a church, then converted in 1500 AD to a mosque, and now a museum, this grand piece of architecture was stunning in the warm morning light.
6: dating back to | 500 AD
7: AYRES ROCK/ULURU the world's largest monolith and an Aboriginal sacred site is Australia's most famous natural landmark.
8: BLUE MOSQUE | The grand Blue Mosque stands just opposite of the Haggai Sophia as the most famous of landmarks in Istanbul. The Sultan Ahmed built the mosque as part of his own legacy. We joined the crowds of people in covering their heads, removing their shoes, and gazing at the huge domes that set this mosque apart.
10: ISTANBUL AT NIGHT Hot Turkish tea is served, the competing prayers bellow from the mosque loud speakers, and the dark sky is lit up with a million lights on the minarets.
12: EXPLORING | downtown | Turkish culture
13: ISTANBUL Previously known by the names of Byzantium and Constantinople this city is full of rich ancient history and culture. Cobblestone streets, the Marmara Sea, Turkish Delights, and friendly people make the experience of Istanbul one we won't soon forget.
16: IZMIR - Old Smyrna From Istanbul we traveled on a night bus to Izmir, or Smyrna as referred to in the Bible. Here is where martyr Polycarp lived and worked.
18: THE CROWN OF SMYRNA sits on the top of the hill and looks over the city and Aegean Sea. The church at Smyrna would have been able to identify with the message John gave them, "Don't be afraid of what you are about to suffer.... But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life." The castle to the right was built by Alexander the Great.
20: ANCIENT RUINS | Ephesus
21: Ancient Ephesus is one of the best archaeological digs in the world. We had fun exploring the Library at Celsus, terrace houses, mosaics, old writings, public toilets, and the amphitheater dating back to the time of the apostle Paul,
22: LIBRARY OF CELSUS and the old marketplace
25: Ancient History | THIS AMPHITHEATRE is mentioned in Acts 19 where the riot of Ephesus occurred. Matt went to the bottom and read Acts 19 in a normal voice and we could hear him clearly from the top. You can imagine the deafening noise of mobs yelling, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians" for two hours.
26: SELKUK | From Ephesus we found a little carriage to take us to the ruins of the ancient temple of Artemis. Along the way we picked a few delicious oranges. We also found a fun little cafe with delicious Mulberry ice cream located close to Love Street.
28: From the few remaining ruins of the Temple of Artemis, we spotted a castle on the hill. The Lonely Planet said sometimes "a boy" can be found to show you a way through the fence. So off we went...
30: THE CASTLE
31: CASTLE AT SELKUK is not open to the public but "the boy" was found and a few Lira later we found our way into these exquisite ruins.
32: Sunset We enjoyed the beautiful sunset rays from the castle walls overlooking old Ephesus. We missed our train but didn't mind a bit.
34: From the city of Istanbul we flew to Madrid, Spain and took the bus south. We spent most of the next two weeks with family in the small city of El-Ejido. We loved spending time with our nephews and seeing Marv and Char's world. | SPAIN | SPAIN | ARRIVED 14 NOV 2013
36: Mediterranean Sea | SPAIN
37: Marv & Char took us exploring along the coast of the beautiful and rugged Mediterranean Sea.
38: Adventures in beautiful Spain....
40: MOROCCO | From Spain we took a two day rendezvous to Tangier, Morocco just across the sea. We had a delicious time exploring the unique tastes and sights of the Old Medina. | MOROCCO | ARRIVED 19 NOV 2013
42: THE OLD MEDINA After wandering around inside the city walls we eventually came upon an old medieval looking door that led us into our beautiful guest house. The entire place was absolutely delightful but the rooftop terrace was our favorite.
44: The only thing to do in this walled city with no roads was to get hopelessly lost and enjoy yourself. And this we did gladly! With its tiny alleys, markets, friendly people, and robed men and women, this place seemed like a step back into the Biblical era.
47: THE ALHAMBRA | Grenada, Spain | NOV 2013