Friday, June 14, 2013

Turkey Day 10: The Trip Home

Turkey in 10 Days
1. General Remarks
2. What to Bring
3. Day 1: Traveling There
4. Day 2: Troy
5. Day 3: Pergamum, Thyatira, Philadelphia, Sardis, Smyrna 
6. Day 4: Ephesus and Laodicea
7. Day 5: Colossae and Perga
8. Day 6: Galatia: Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra
9. Day 7: Derbe and Tarsus
10. Day 8: Cappadocia and Nicaea
11. Day 9: Chalcedon and Constantinople (Istanbul)

12 Day 10: The Trip Home
We woke on Saturday morning to a lovely breakfast on the top of our hotel overlooking Aya Sofya and the Blue Mosque. We had no problems getting our car out of overnight parking (17 lira, I believe) or finding the airport.

One thing I haven't mentioned is what good care the Turks seem to take with keeping their cars clean.  On the way to Istanbul we found a couple places at rest parks where teenagers washed cars.  Going up country we had also come across large hoses pouring water, dangling from roofs for cars to pass under for free.

We cleaned out the car next to the medieval city wall and drove in the rest of the way to the airport.  We had no problems with checking in, no problems with security.  We had some final tea while Ross and Dave brainstormed entrepreneurial ideas like there was no tomorrow.  Reminded me of the old days at IWU before we became premier. :-)

Uneventful plane ride--a few big bumps because some heavy storms had just been through the midwest.  Keith and I drove home from the airport, since Ross and Dave had been the drivers in Turkey.  Plane arrived in Chicago around 5pm its time.  We were home by 10:30 our time.

I will be eternally grateful to Ross for pressuring Keith to go and of Keith for pressuring me to go and to Dave for taking the time away from family to go.  Somehow it doesn't seem right for a person to teach Bible and not have visited the actual places they teach about.  Infinite thanks to Wilbur Williams for taking me to Israel and Greece on earlier occasions.  My only other visit to Turkey was a three hour shore leave at Ephesus from a cruise ship that was part of his Greece tour.

My biggest take away then was the sheer immensity of ancient cities, a point that Ephesus makes emphatically.  My biggest take away this time should have been obvious--Turkey is far more significant to Christianity than had ever really sunk in before.
  • If Matthew was written in then Syrian Antioch, that's in Turkey today.  
  • "Luke" joins up with Paul at Troas, which is in Turkey.  Is that where he was from?
  • John was possibly written or at least finished in Ephesus, which is in Turkey.  Revelation was written from Patmos, which is off the coast of Turkey.
  • Acts tells of Paul's first missionary journey, which was mostly in Turkey.  Paul wrote Galatians to these churches, which are in Turkey.
  • During Paul's third missionary journey, he spent almost three years at Ephesus, which is in Turkey.  He wrote 1 Corinthians from there.  I personally wonder if Paul wrote Philippians from there. He wrote 2 Corinthians on a journey out of Turkey, with Romans quickly following.  Colossians and Philemon were written to Turkey. 
  • Ephesians is named for Ephesus, which is in Turkey.  1 Timothy addresses Timothy at Ephesus. 2 Timothy indicates that Paul is somewhere in the vicinity of Troas, which in Turkey.
  • 1 Peter is written to places all over Turkey--Asia, Bithynia, Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia.
  • All of the seven ecumenical councils took place in Turkey.
That pretty much beats out Rome, Greece, and Israel as being most significant for the New Testament.

As far as sites, Pergamum and Laodicea were big surprises.  I had almost no expectations, only to find some pretty significant findings.  A lot of cloudy things became clear, things I vaguely knew or almost knew, like how rich Romans heated their houses.  I actually bought a book on Engineering in the Ancient World when I got back (I don't recommend it--I had to look up about 5 technical terms on the first two pages--not a good way to entice a reader).

Turkey also went from being a "foreign" question mark to being a possible friend. We'll have to see how the struggle between secularism and fundamentalism goes but I found a great many Turks to be very friendly.  I've gone from thinking there's no point in me learning Turkish to thinking it might actually prove to be useful.

I'm seriously thinking about organizing a tour in May of 2015.  Right now Dave and I are thinking students, but others have suggested I do something a little more along the lines of a Wilbur Williams.  We'll see...


Paul Tillman said...

Really enjoyed the travel log, and I as I read your blogs I got the same take-a-way from your reports. I hadn't thought of Turkey as a place of Christian historical significance, and would have more likely voted for a tour Medieval architecture in Europe. I can now put Turkey on my bucket list.

Rick Dykema said...

I would be very interested in your potential tour in 2015.