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Wednesday, August 28: Day 128 – Our Guide, Ertunga!

This is a day of refection and travel.

When we arrived at the airport, I told the driver that we love Turkey.

He asked, “Will you be back?

“Someday,” was our reply.

“We will be waiting for you,” he replied.

Ertunga has taken us on an amazing 21-day adventure of Turkey. We had high hopes for exploring Turkey and Ertunga exceeded that expectation. Here is just a quick sampling with an attempt at alliteration:

  • Topped terrific theatres.
  • Treked to towering temples.
  • Stood atop stunning stadia.
  • Crawled through cool caves.
  • Roamed through Roman ruins.
  • Talked about tombs and tumuli.
  • Found fantastic food.
  • Crashed through colorful canyons.
  • Mused through magnificient museums.
  • Waded around wonderful waterfalls.
  • Yacked on yard-long yachts.
  • Bobbed on beautiful boats.
  • Plodded according to Paul’s ‘pistles.
  • Reached the real Revelation churches.
  • Wandered in wet weather.
  • Talked in tortuous temperatures.
  • Traveled through Turkey talking about their treasures.

Ertunga would make a great Minister of Culture and Tourism. This department does not give any money to archeological research. Other nations come to excavate but they are not sought out or encouraged. Very few people in Turkey study archeology because there are no jobs. Yet there are so many sites and so much to learn about ancient cultures.

Erunga has good ideas for developing tourism and advancing cultural knowledge. His idea is to contact universities who have archeology departments around the world and offer them an opportunity to participate in a dig. They would pay for this “study abroad” experience. They would be overseen by a Turkish official to ensure protection of the artifacts. It would be a boon to the local economy as they would need housing and food. What an experience and great opportunity for putting a real archeological dig on your resume. Everyone wins!

If a peasant like Justinian can rise to the top and become Emperor of the Byzantine Empire…

If a military hero like Mustafa
Kemal can transform a nation and become Atatürk, the Father of Turks….

If Zoilos, a freed slave of Caesar, can save the city by choosing the winning side and become Aphrodisias’ wealthiest citizen…

Then the best tour guide in Turkey, Ertunga Ecir, can become the Minister of Culture and Tourism!

Many of my Christian friends have been to the Holy Land or to Greece to see Biblical sites. Rob and I wanted to focus on Turkey only. Ertunga is doing that. A private tour enabled me to ask thousands of questions like “How do you spell that?” I wanted to understand the historical, geographic, and cultural context of the Bible. Now I will see when I read of Paul’s missionary journeys, it will have greater meaning. I was Ertunga’s student!!

If you want to see our video interview with Ertunga and learn more about his tours, ertungaecir.com.

Interesting Facts

Below are some random but not to be forgotten information about Turkey.

Attalus II, King of Pergamon, founded the city named Philadelphia since he loved his brother Eumenes II so much. Attalus II had a rare sense of family without rivalry. At one point, his brother, King Eumenes, was thought to be dead. Attulus became king and married Eumenes wife, Stratonice. It turned out that Eumenes wasn’t dead. Attalus gave back the throne and his wife. People offered to help him kill Eumenes but he declined. Two years later, Eumenes died. Attalus became king and remarried his sister-in-law. Their family gatherings were sure to have been awkward!!

Irrigation is used for vineyards, olive groves and orchards. Trench irrigation is the most used. There is lots of flat fertle farmlands.

There are two types of olives. One is grown for its oil, the other is grown for eating.

Also, cotton is grown. However, most unusual were pine trees that are more round than what I see in the USA. They were planted in rows and harvested for pine nuts.

While driving through the varied countryside, we saw a large herd of sheep. I am fascinated by sheep. But this time I noticed a ferocious looking dog with a collar of 3″ spikes all around it. Ertunga told me that it was to protect the dog from wolves while he was protecting the sheep. He said there are lots of wolves. Wow. That’s Biblical. (I don’t think that I would want to walk the Phrygian Way after all.)

While going into a tomb outside the city, I thought that I heard the call to pray in the distance. It turned out to be a fly!! This produced laughter from Ertunga and prompted the following funny story:

Ertunga was conducting a short tour with a group of English speakers. He usually asks first thing in the morning if anyone has any questions.

One hungover Irish man wanted to know who was yelling like Tarzan early in the morning!!

Rob is keeping track of the steps by Fitbit. It vibrates when you reach 10,000 steps. We thought that it was accurate until it indicated that we reached 10,000….when we were riding in the car???


Before a man can enter a mosque to pray, he must wash his hands to forearms, the top of head, face, nose and inside of ears and his feet to knees. In some of the earlier mosques, there is another pace to wash because one gets hot and may need a refresher.

Sunday holiday is a day off for everyone. We see many people on picnics, grilling and swimming.

Sad movies are the popular ones in Turkey. Not so in the USA. They always turn out with the good guys winning. We don’t want to be sad and people won’t go to that movie. It is all about box office ratings!

Thanks for the memories, my friend. Here are some pictures that made us laugh along the way:

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