Classics in the Aegean: Travelling to Turkey and Visiting Ancient Sites (Part 1)
A few months ago, I heard a few students students talk about a Quest trip to Turkey, where they would visit legendary sites of the Aegean and learn in the cradle of civilization. I am amazed and excited since I am very interested in such topics. For many years now, I have wanted to visit ancient sites in Turkey, learn about the culture and language, and also try Turkish food.
After months of planning and dreaming about this trip, the day finally came! I arrived at the airport late Wednesday evening and got on the first flight to Toronto. Throughout the whole flight I could not stop thinking about this trip and all the fun that we would have. I had previously known that my layover in Toronto was going to be very long, so I had made plans to meet my friend (Jake), whom happens to live in Toronto. I have been living in Canada for more than two years, and I have never explored another province but British Columbia. Which probably explain why I was so excited to see Toronto.
Jake and I, upon meeting, went to downtown Toronto. I found the architecture of the buildings to be very similar with those of Vancouver. However, Toronto was way bigger, busier, and more lively. We walked around the city for a bit, it was very nice to enjoy the morning breeze and explore such a beautiful city. Next we headed to the CN tower, which is a 550 m –high concrete communications and observation tower in Downtown Toronto. It was quite fascinating looking down at city from such a high tower. The cars and people were barely visible. We took (or better I took) lots of pictures! Jake’s mother, Olga, joined us for lunch. Since her family comes from Greece we talked a lot about that area of the world. Afterwards, I headed to the airport to finally go to Turkey.
It took about 11 hours to fly from Toronto and Istanbul. Afterwards, I met my friends Amanda and Kennedy at the airport and we caught another plane to Izmir. It was lovely to have good company while waiting for the airplane. In Izmir we met our tutor Darcy, Mehmet, and Quest friends at the airport and then headed to our hotel in Kusadasi, Turkey. After a quick meeting, where we got to meet Darcy’s colleague and our second tutor, Geoff, we all headed to bed to get a good night rest and get ready for a new day full of activities.
On our first day there, we visited three ancient sites: Priene, Miletus, and Didyma. In Priene we visited the Temple of Athena, and Daniel have a presenation in regards to this ancient site. Afterwards we headed to Miletus, which was as ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia. It is considered to be one of the greatest and wealthiest of Greek cities. Hannah gave a presentation about the location and afterwards, Amanda gave a presentation about Mileasian Philosophers. Finally, we went to Didyma, which is where the Temple of Apollos is located, which is considered to be one of the most breath-taking and famous historical sights in the world.
On our second day we went on a seven-hour long boat tour. We started in the Kusadasi Harbour and got to see lots of lovely sites along the Aegean Sea. Throughout the day the boat stopped in three different bays, so we got to swim and even jump from the boat. For lunch we ate in the boat, and the meal consisted of meat, pasta, salad, and of course bread. The boat was two stories, the first one had wooden tables and chairs where there was shade and you could feel a nice breeze. However, most of us chose to stay in the second floor which did not have a roof se we were able to sunbathe. During the boat tour, both Hannah and Alec have presentation about their essays (written while still at Quest) in regards to the Odyssey. We had such a fun and relaxing day!
On our third day we went to Ephesus, which was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, only three kilometers from the city of Selçuk. This site it is believed to have been built around 10th century BCE. In this site, Kennedy gave a presentation about her essay in regards to Heraclitus. It was truly amazing to visit Ephesus, since this size is huge. I wish there were less people though since sometimes it was hard to explore due to the large crowds of people. That day we had two workshops, a ceramic and a carpet making workshop. It was amazing to see what an amazing art people are able to create simply using their hands.
The next day we drove to Bodrum. Since the drive was very long we did not have much planned for this day, but this does not mean that we ended up not doing much. Upon arrival at Jasmine Beach hotel, we discussed our book the Odyssey and had lunch. This was an all-inclusive hotel, so we were able to help ourselves with as much food as we wanted. Afterwards most of us (the students) went to the swimming pool. We sunbathed, swam, tried the water slides, and played volleyball in the pool. Afterwards we decided to treat ourselves to a nice relaxing evening. So we made an appointment to go to a Hammam (Turkish bath), have facials, and even massages. It was so relaxing and very much needed after one year of school.
The next day we went to explore the city of Bodrum. We started with the Bodrum Castle, which is believed to have been built in year 1402. Next we visited The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, which was the tomb of the king, Mausolus. Dale, one of the students that joined us in this trip with Geoff, gave a talk which was followed by Christy and Rose talking about the biography of Galen.
Even though, by now we had explored ancient sites in Turkey for only five days, I was truly amazed by all the sites, temples, and building that we had seen during this time. I will continue talking about the rest of the trip in another blog, thus, please check the Admissions blog soon for part 2.