Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Izmir part of the trip has been non-stop touring until this morning when we have the luxury of nothing to do until check out at noon well, except do yoga, eat breakfast, enjoy the view and pack, but we aren't on a bus very early, so it feels rather vacation-like. It is also nice to have the few relaxed hours before traveling back officially begins.

It seems like we arrived in Izmir ages ago, but really only three days. The first evening  Jeff and I walked along the sea wall and had drinks at the first place we saw, then dinner at Efes house which was not so great, we both felt a little sick the next day, but still hard to beat the setting.

Tuesday we went to Pergamon. The tour guide chose this site first because Tuesday is the day all the cruise ships arrive and go to Ephesus. 4 cruise ships and something like 10,000 people pour into the site. We drove for about 1.5 hours through the city, then through some pretty lush farm land. Our guide, Nazim, gave us a thorough account of contemporary life in Izmir. There is less than 4% unemployment in this city, largely due to tourism, farming, and trade. 98 percent education rate. People really do seem happy living here. it might be like the Austin of Turkey. He also emphasized again the importance of Turkey being a secular state, between as he put, it "the deep, dark, Islamic countries" and  Europe. Great phrase, worth the trip in and of itself.
We also drove by an environmentally friendly oil refinery.  Well  as  environmentally friendly as possible.  Really there was a beautiful beach right by it, compare that to something like Bay Town.  Nazim said they spent over 20 million  making it where it had as little impact on the environment as possible.

I had the opportunity to see the Altar from the temple of  Zeus  many years ago when it was travelling from Berlin to NYC  but it in no way prepared me for the majesty of this site.  There are  pictures on facebook, but one thing we  did not get a picture of,  an owl flying right in front of  us  as we were looking down on the Temple of Dionysus. The owl flew from the direction of the Athena temple and library and  it really felt like we were being blessed by the goddess.  Incredible moment.

Things that struck me about the site, how many religions  exist over the centuries in  any one place. It is so difficult for me to see how anyone can believe one religion has a monopoly on the truth of religious experience.  The audacity of taking the Altar to Berlin  or  Elgin taking the friezes of the Parthenon to England.  The fact that people from so many walks of life were allowed in the high part of the city. The massiveness of the library and that it too was a holy site.

However, as  great as the Acropolis was,  Jeff and I were both even more amazed by the Asclepeion.

Wholistic  healing of  the ascelipion. 

Dreams  water, psycholgien

Hygiene and  regular medicine as well.

Pine trees,

Feeling of  the  air similar to one in Greece.

Theatre  in both  locations,

Ascelpion  even more interesting. 

Oldest    Isis  cultt. 

Dinner at  mezzaluna.

Guides  government  Turkish citizen   other languages. 

On the water.   People  knowing each other,  saw  dentist  owner of the restarunt.

People have  difference of  opion but not fighting. 

15 percent more fundamentalist.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Very Early Tuesday Morning in Izmir

Well, I've been meaning to write more regularly, but really there is so much to see and not much time to process it. This trip has definitely reawakened my love of travel, just seeing the world.  I spend so much time traveling to do yoga and philosophy, travel for the inner life (of the mind, of the soul) if you will, that I forget how amazing it is just to travel with out that as a specific focus. I'm reminded though about Plato's warnings about the dangers of image lovers, there is so so so much to see, one can definitely get lost in it and not see what is most important to see.  "What about someone who believes in beautiful things but doesn’t believe in the beautiful itself? (Republic  471e).  Now that said, I'm here in Turkey which in many ways is the birthplace of what we now call Western Philosophy,  Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heraclitus are all from this region, Pythagoras too  started off on Samos. (you can look all these people up on the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy .not to mention this is where the Trojan war, the cause of the Iliad and the Odyssey took place.... The Perseus Project is a great resource on all things greek and roman. 

  so I'm aware there's not really so much of a separation between inner travel and outer travel if you will, particularly if one is oriented to the inner landscape.  For example, our  tour guide for the first part of the trip,  Murat,  is Muslim and he shared much about his faith and how it shapes his experience of reality. He also gave an incredibly clear explanation of the Whirling Dervishes as well. 

Turkey definitely puts my love of the Greeks in a broader cultural context. For instances, seeing Hattusa, a bronze age site and comparing that to Mycennae. Turkey is truly the crossroads of world cultures of all sorts, philosophy, religions, trade, I think it would be great to add it to the World Cultures curriculum. It is the world cultural country.

But just to get the details down, some pics are on facebook, at least upto today and the underground city, but if I still can't sleep after blogging maybe that will get up also..

Friday we went to the ancient city of Hattusa. It was once the capital of the Hittites. Incredible stone works, they made wine, performed animal sacrifice, had walled cities, lots of lion images similar in many ways to Greek cities I've seen from other times, but at least the reconstructions of the upper walls is quite different in style.

Saturday we headed off to Cappadocia. Before that we went to the Museum of Anatolia culture in Ankara. Amazing museum.  Not  too huge but really gives a sense of the rich history of this part of the world and the building itself is stunning.  Ankara is a huge city and it was nice to get out to see the countryside in Hattusa but that in no way prepared me for the stunning beauty of Cappadocia.  Cappadocia was formed by a volcanic eruption many many years ago and the best way I can describe it is like the grand canyon with the most amazing rock sculptures scattered through out.  sort of like Sedona and the grand canon combined, but I'm not doing it justice.
We stopped by an enormous salt lake on the way there, saw several panoramic views

Sunday morning started early with the balloon ride at dawn over the landscape.  The whole process of the balloon flight itself is fascinating. I had no idea it took a whole team of people to  get one up, up and away and safely down.  Then a day long tour of various rock formations, Avanos where they make lovely pottery, a carpet collective run by the Turkish government and then the cave churches where very early Christians practiced.  Actually, Christians in the Byzantine period as well. As a western mainline protestant Christian, it is important to be reminded of the vast diversity within Christian spiritual history.  On the Cappadocian fathers see this site,   Sunday evening we walked to the top of the castle fortress and had a great dinner.

Monday morning we went to an underground city founded in Hittite times, about 550 people lived in it and there are apparently over 300 such structures. Complete with stables, kitchen, bedrooms, winery, ventilation shafts.  Never seen anything like it.    Then our  driver took us to Kayseri to catch the flight to Izmir.     Izmir is much larger than I expected and after the calm natural setting of Cappadocia, I am finding it more than a little jarring.  I'm looking forward to seeing Ephesus and Pergamon in the next two days.

Anyway, I definitely want to come back there's so so much here to see and learn. Istanbul  Nemrut, Troy Miletus....

and the food is fantastic. 

I would totally come back to Cappadocia and just stay there for a long time. In fact, it was very hard to leave. The beauty of the place is stunning, and has a very calming, relaxing effect on the psyche. 

So that's a summary of my life at the moment,  maybe I can sleep now.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thursday Morning in Ankara

Well, jet lag is hitting both of us pretty hard. Some of it has to do with starting off the trip a bit sick.  Lots of people at Feathered Pipe came down with very similar  cough, congestion sorts of conditions. Then travel and then it seems pretty smoggy.  I've been using turbo blaster instead of the neti pot.  But anyway,  I digress.  Luckily,  I am  starting to feel better.

Yesterday, we  did manage to make it over to Anit Kabir  I am pictured at it.  According to Wikipedia,  "it  is a mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence and the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey."   It was really hot  yesterday and even hotter with all that marble reflecting the sunlight.  Last night, we ventured out of our immediate neighborhood and went to a lovely Greek place called Laterna. All the waiters wore t-shirts  "OUZO- connecting people."  The drink of  choice in Turkey, however is not OUZO,  is a similar beverage  called  Raki.  It also seems to connect people.  Out of about 20 tables, Jeff and I were the only table who did not order a bottle of Raki.  Anyway, the food was  great.  Jeff had  shrimp saganaki and  I had a meze platter. 

Today, there is  a bit of  cloud cover and so we walked around a bit this morning (pictures posted on facebook)  and  will probably go to the pool and sun deck and  are hoping to be fully recovered by tomorrow.  The driver will pick us up very early and take us  to  Hattusa,   then Saturday morning we leave for Cappadocia

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Settling In

Let's see. First of all, it is very hot and very hilly in the little area we are staying in. We are staying in the banking district lots of fancy shops and embassies. In fact, we are right near the Iranian embassy which is sort of a strange entity to walk right by. Yesterday, we took a cab across town to Cankaya University where I gave my paper. The paper went well, though there were not many in attendance. The workshop I am a part of is run by Ann Ward. She and her husband Lee were students of my colleague at Baylor Mary Nichols. So small world there.

After that, Jeff and I walked around a bit, and got out of the heat for awhile. It is really so hot that it is difficult to stay outside for very long until the sun goes down. For dinner we went to a yummy mediterrean place near the hotel. The tabouleh was particularly amazing, think the opposite proportions of grain and herb than in the normal tabouleh you have in the US. Also a nice turkish wine. Then I went swimming in the Sheraton pool which was totally fabulous.

We may try to brave the heat and go over to the Ataturk masoleum. There's more of the conference to take in as well and jet lag to continue getting over.

Friday I've arranged for a car to take us to a Hittite town not far from here and then our tour of Cappadocia and Izmir begins on Saturday.

I've posted the pictures so far on Facebook. They are easier to upload there than on the blog. but here is one

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Well, we made it

28 hours in transit. We started off in the Austin airport, a brief layover in Dallas, then a 8 hour flight to Frankfurt. We had a really long lay over there. And then a three hour flight to Ankara. A long and winding shuttle ride to our very swank accommodations. Not that we can afford to eat or drink much in said accommodations, except for the amazing breakfast buffet which luckily is included in the price.

Anyway, Now we are off to find the conference venue so I can give my paper, titled "Sing, Muse: Socrates, Self-Mastery, and the Critique of Homer."

Pictures to follow.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Anne in Turkey

Well, this blog has been dormant for a while, but I thought I'd reactivate it while Jeff and I are traveling in Turkey. I am giving a paper at the International Society for the Study of European Ideas. The conference is in Ankara Turkey

Then we will travel to Cappadocia

and Izmir

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Well 2010 is off to a good start. I'm having a productive time writing this week, I've been back on weight watchers for a while now and have lost about five pounds. I'm excited about teaching Greek Philosophy for the first time in three years. Having tons of fun playing with Milo and hanging out with Jeff. Recent highlights include a trip to Houston for Boxing Day, a lovely bottle of wine New Year's Eve and a great dinner at Asti last weekend.

I also had six people in my Satuday morning class on inversions. Since I'm traveling a good bit for yoga and philosophy this semester, I decided to run my ongoing class with specific themes for the weeks that I'm there. So the first four weeks in January - Inversions,

Then I'll be gone doing yoga or philosophy or the studio has a workshop until Feb 26 then I'll do six weeks of backward bending. Then more travel/ workshops and I'll do a two week learn the ropes focus April 30 and May 7

and then a three week Forward Bends and Twists the last two weeks of May first week of June, that's about as far in advance as I can plan.