Saturday, August 17, 2013

More Ross Hoffman Stories

Tomorrow afternoon is Ross' viewing in the sanctuary of College Wesleyan Church in Marion from 1-4.  Then the funeral is Monday there at 1pm.

I was trying to think of stories about Ross from the trip to Turkey that perhaps I hadn't shared, and I welcome Dave Ward and Keith Drury to add theirs here.  Ross and Karen went to Greece with Keith several years ago, so some may like to share stories from those adventures too.

Ross loved people.  The highlight of our trip for him was not so much the archaeological sites or following the path Paul took.  It made no sense to him--and may not make any sense to many of you--that Keith, Dave, and I wanted to follow the long path of Paul north from Antalya (Attalia) up the mountains to Antioch of Pisidia (Yalvach) only to come back down again the other side through mountains to Tarsus.  You see, Tarsus was only a few hours down the coast from Antalya.

Ross wasn't really too interested in mounds of dirt in the middle of fields--which is the current state of Colossae, Lystra, and Derbe, all places we visited.  What he cared about was the people.  Probably the highlight of the whole trip was having chai (tea) with Memesh and his wife near the mound of Lystra.

Memesh took us all over the site, exclaiming with distinct hand motions things that only Dave Ward seemed to understand.

In Cappadocia, we found a baklava place with another garrulous proprietor.  Ross was in his element and had a wonderful time talking to the owner, who was pretty good at English. I don't know how many different kinds of baklava we sampled, including spinach baklava.  I think most of us agreed that we would have been fine to stick with the "normal" kind. As we left, we remarked that we would have to remember where that place was if we ever came back.

Stay away from the green ones
Early in the trip, Ross was also quite struck by Troas, of all places (there are only tall weeds over random stone--although we did jump a fence to get in).  He wanted to put his feet in the water that Paul had crossed heading west to Greece.  It was a really special moment for him early in the trip.

Ross looking south toward Troas
I've mentioned how good Ross was at bargaining with hotel owners for our room rate. One of our best hotel experiences was at Hierapolis, where Ross skillfully maneuvered the owner into the cheaper rate for the more expensive rooms. We had a great dinner too.

Notice Ross desperately trying to connect to the internet on his iPad
waters flowing down from the natural springs of Hierapolis
There were also the fun personality differences on a trip like this one.  Ross is a planner.  In his perfect world, he would have known exactly where we were going to stay each night for the whole trip. Frankly, we had a couple nights of wasteful driving around (including one down a suspicious alley in Izmir) that no doubt justified the concern. By contrast, on these sorts of trips, Keith likes to see where we end up and find something on the spot.

The last morning, as we were driving to Istanbul, Ross was unusually quiet.  When we got to Istanbul, it was clear that finding parking and a hotel were the top items on his agenda. After we found parking, he disappeared for a few minutes with Dave only to return with his usual exuberant personality back in place. He had found an incredible hotel whose roof looked out on this--and at an unusually good price. :-)

Aya Sofya
Ross and I paired up to go through Hagia Sophia (above) together and he took lots of pictures. We paired up a couple times to see things Keith and Dave passed on.  We went through the terraced houses exhibit at Ephesus together.  I lent him a book on Roman engineering after we got back. After Hagia Sophia, Ross went to the palace in Istanbul alone--and took lots of pictures. 

Ross in Hagia Sophia
Here are some pictures that stood out to Ross in the palace:

Here are some other pictures he took:

Random wedding in the ruins of Sardis
Bag lady at the side of the road :-)
Here are some more great memories:

Just after arriving in Istanbul
Baptismal pool, Church of St. Mary, Ephesus
South of Troas
Out of order, Sardis
Library of Celsus, Ephesus
Lake Egedir
Great, great memories...

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