Istanbul, Turkey


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Unlike any port we have sailed into yet, the cosmopolitan Istanbul was very capable of entertaining, educating, and amazing us every day in port. I had the pleasure of joining a few friends to the unparalleled land of Ephesus, and with faith in a friendly stranger in the airport terminal to Izmir we decided to include in our travels Pamukkale: one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

With our faith in the advice of a friendly stranger at the Ataturk International Airport of Istanbul, we found our way unexpectedly on a train from Ephesus to Denizli onto a bus to Pamukkale. Unsure of our exact location in Turkey, we stepped off the bus in Pamukkale to find ourselves in what could barely be distinguished through the ocean of fog as a rural area of Turkey. As we walked down the rocky road, fantastic ruins and sarcophagi dating to the second and third century would unexpectedly emerge from the mist only meters ahead of us. As our trail came to an end the blanket of fog gently lifted to unveil the cliff we were then standing at the edge of leading straight down to a deep valley. The valley, both lush and dry in nature, connected the horizons with humble farmland resting on the landscape; ancient techniques for diverging water were evident in the carved mountainside forming a natural aqueduct to the farmers below. The magnificent carbon hot springs that Pamukkale has become well known for consumes a large portion of the vast mountainside on an otherwise barren mountain face.

The entire experience to Ephesus and Pamukkale was among my favorite so far as part of Semester at Sea. It was a fantastic journey with a good group of people, and all the plane, train, and automobile arrangements just happened to work out for us by the end. I'll never forget it, that's for sure.

Nick Sutton -- University of Denver
Kaneohe, HI