Walking where the ancients lived

Trip Start Aug 19, 2012
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Trip End Ongoing

Flag of Turkey  , Turkish Aegean Coast,
Sunday, December 9, 2012

Kusadasi is a touristy seaside town along the coast of the stunning Aegean Sea.  The water is green, and beautiful to behold.  And seeing locals spending a quiet afternoon fishing along its shores, with bags of fresh crusty loaves of bread and other goodies to keep them sated by their side, was sort of magical to witness.  We love catching moments of "realness" among the touristy sights we see.  Sometimes those moments are more special than the tourist attractions themselves, and we often wait in anticipation to catch them.  It's part of what makes this entire trip so special to us.  Happening on unexpected real moments of life around the world.

Don't get me wrong.  We loved walking along the ancient streets of Ephesus, and feeling the weight of centuries upon and around us as we touched the ruins of a once epic society.  We love walking through ancient ruins, whether it be in Cambodia (Angkor Wat), Thailand (Sukothai), China (The Great Wall), or here, in Turkey.  We feel taken back in time, and can almost feel the bygone eras surrounding us.  To be able to imagine the difficult cultures and peoples around us as we walk through these precious, crumbling, and magnificent man-made structures is humbling and awe-inspiring at the same time.  I definitely don't get the same feeling as I walk through Vancouver structures such as Pan Pacific or Gas Town.

One of the neat things about Turkey that has not disappointed is the mixture of the many empires that have conquered this valuable land.  When we were at the Temple of Artemis (no longer standing, and only marked by a single column that was implanted from a far away location), we saw 3 different cultures, 3 different centuries/millenia, and 3 different religions represented all in one snapshot.  These were all embodied in the Temple of Artemis, the Christian church, and the Islamic Mosque.

Turkey's complex past is also embodied by its current people.  Within the first few days, we saw Turks who looked like they could have been from Russia, China, Mongolia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.  It's surprising that you never know how a person from here will look.  They can be as pale as any Caucasian person, or as dark as an African.  It's quite beautiful.
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