|Ancient ruins at Pamukkale|
Since arriving in Turkey 2 ½ weeks ago, my view of Turkey has been limited to the busy, hustle-and-bustle metropolis life of Istanbul. Today, my view has been expanded as the global scholars have departed Istanbul for an overnight getaway to the province of Izmir.
We began our day before the sun rose at 4:30 am. Despite some hiccups, we all managed to make our 6:45 flight time from Ataturk to Izmir safely. Once we touched down in Izmir, we were quickly ushered into a coach bus for a three-hour ride to our next destination: Pamukkale Hierapolis.
As we rode along the southwestern region of Turkey, the landscape was breathtakingly beautiful. Mountains and fields lined the roads around us on either side, and I was finally feeling that Mediterranean vibe and weather typically associated with Turkey.
Our tour guide enlightened us on the basic history and demographics of modern-day Turkey as we rode. One thing she pointed out that was very eye-opening is the unequal distribution of wealth and opportunity throughout Turkey. She told us that the Eastern half of Turkey suffered from mostly infertile land making unemployment very high in this area. Those who are able will often leave these regions in the hopes they will have better job-opportunity in cities like Istanbul. This information coincides with Turkey’s status as a “developing” nation more so than what I’ve seen of Istanbul thus far.
|Calcified pools in Pamukkale|
After being allowed to explore on our own, we met back up at the bus for a three-hour ride to where we’d be spending the night – Kusadasi, a city near Ephesus. Our hotel had a waterfront view of the Aegean Sea which some of us took immediate advantage of. Watching the sun set while wading in the temperate water was the perfect way to end this busy day. Seeing Turkey outside of Istanbul has broaden all of our perspectives of Turkey and has better equipped us to understand what development means in relation to Turkey.