It is said that water is the fountain of life, that it has the power to heal, to strengthen, and is the foundation of all living organisms. After the last two days we have seen a lot of water in various forms, from the natural springs of Pamukkale, to the healing spring outside of the Virgin Mary’s last home in the mountains of Turkey.
We started the day bright and early on the 15th of July in order to reach our first destination in Pamukkale. Like many of our days on this tour, we stop and take breaks along the way. One such stop was an early travel lodge called Sultan Han Caravanserai, which served as a way point for travelers along the Silk Road and also protected the people and their animals inside. The site was built in approximately 500 A.D. and was still in remarkable condition. Dave met a young kitten who he picked up and loved on. Kathy wanted to pack him/her in our luggage. The kitten, though, was content in their surroundings and scampered away to play with his/her sibling.
Next stop was lunch at a place just by the side of the road. Like driving on the thruway going from Saranac Lake to Buffalo. Big difference: the food was good! Kathy enjoyed chicken kebab and Dave some marinated beef strips in a wonderful sauce. All in all, a great meal – one of the best we’ve had.
Next stop was Pamukkale which is a series of pools and hot springs fed by the underground springs that are heated up from their journey through the center of the earth. The magma heats the water as it journeys to the surface of the earth. We walked around the pools, stuck our feet in the lukewarm water and just enjoyed relaxing for several hours in the soothing water. On the way out, we spotted one of the ubiquitous cats here in Turkey. This one had a bird in its mouth. It brought the bird to its litter of kittens hiding in the ancient rock walls. It was a big hit!
Soon we were at our hotel, with an early dinner and an early bedtime to round out our day. The next day dawned bright and early and we were off by eight a.m. to see the sights. A drive through the high mountain regions of Turkey was very reminiscent of being in the high desert of Utah. Our first stop was a leather shop that specialized in high end leather goods. Dave was chosen to model a jacket and, always the willing participant, walked the catwalk with the professional models. He cavorted down the runway and willingly danced with the beautiful female model. No, we did not buy anything other than this memory dutifully recorded on Kathy’s phone.
Next stop was the last home of Virgin Mary near Ephesus. Many people believe that the Virgin Mary was taken there by St. Paul and she lived there for 9 years until the end of her life. The site was venerated by ancient Turks. Muslims also consider this a holy site. We stopped to wash our face and hands in the spring considered to have healing powers. It was spiritually awe-inspiring to walk the same ground, go in the same house, and touch the same water source as the Mother of Jesus.
On the way, we drove by the tomb of St. John. It is on a hill with a castle looking structure over it. Biblical history surrounds us everywhere we go.
Next stop was the archeological site of the Ephesian’s and is one of the most intact ancient ruins. The site housed an amphitheater and an ancient library. It was interesting to note that as large as this site, was and intact as it was, only approximately 15% has been excavated at this point in time. We marveled at the detail and ingenuity of the ancient builders. The Letters to the Ephesians in the bible was written by St.Paul to the inhabitants of the city. Water was very much on our mind as the heat of the sun and the long walk through the ruins necessitated we get some water halfway through our long walk. Ephesos Archaeological Site | World Monuments Fund (wmf.org)