An adventure a day keeps the homework away…

…or at least that’s how we wish it worked.

As I sit back at my desk in Istanbul, fresh off of the plane and actively posting hundreds (no joke) of photos from the past five days I can honestly say I did not take enough photos but sometimes you’ve just got to step away from the camera and be present so I guess that’s what i did?

These past five days we (both undergrads and grads) traveled to the spectacular Turkish cities of Kusadasi, Ephesus and Cappadocia – yup, 4 plane rides in 5 days – but entirely worth it! Between being architecture students and being abroad we have certainly had no shortage on busy days/weeks but these past five days of spring break were jam packed – in the best of ways for sure though.

Unfortunately there were far too many adventures to share in a single post so I’m hoping the following images will at least give you an idea of some of the shenanigans that occurred within our few days away from the city.

welcome to KUSADASI


The view from our hotel!

This was our fantastic view from our hotel in which each room had a large overlooking balcony!

So excited for the beach!

Taking the bus to our first beach in months!

Natalia and Jess lucked out (in both hotels!) and were given the honeymoon sweet. They obviously were thoroughly enjoying it.

Natalia and Jess lucked out (in both hotels!) and were given the honeymoon sweet. They obviously were thoroughly enjoying it.

They were nice enough to share with us for a while.

They were nice enough to share with us for a while though. At one point we had all eight girls in this bed!

a morning in EPHESUS


The theater at Ephesus

The Great Theatre. The grad students had talked Brian into testing the acoustics by going to the stage and shouting “Are you not entertained” from the movie Gladiator, it was SO loud! A few of the undergrads then tried to think of a song to perform together but were unable to come up with one worthy enough of the act.

The Library at Ephesus

The Library of Celcus

Terrace housing at Ephesus

The Terrace houses. There is already so much to look at in Ephesus but it’s crazy to think about how much has yet to be uncovered (over 3/4 of the city). After all,  over 250,000 people lived in Ephesus back in the day.

Ancient toilets of Ephesus

Our trip to Ephesus would not be complete without a good gawk at the ancient toilets.

Nike!!

Nike!! Do you see the swoosh??

Hercules!!

Hercules!! That hair! who knew?

Round 2 at the beach! This time there was sand which was a nice change from the rocks for those of us without flip flops.

Round 2 at the beach! This time there was sand which was a nice change from the rocks for those of us without flip flops.

no place like CAPPADOCIA


Watching movies on the floor of the Istanbul airport during our 6 hour layover

So… in order to get to Cappadocia from Kusadasi we took a bus back to the Izmir airport, flew back to Istanbul and then had to fly to Kayseri and then bus an hour to Ürgüp where we’d be staying. Our flight out of Kusadasi was delayed 2 hours turning our 1 hour layover in Istanbul into a 6 hour layover in Istanbul. Several people paid 33 lira to spend their day in the lounge while the rest of us sat around at a restaurant using their wifi as long as we could until we felt awkward. After that you could find us lying on the cold, hard floor near our gate eating candy and watching disney movies without our headphones in.

The exterior of our cave hotel!

The exterior of our cave hotel! Each room was quite different and we had far too much fun running from room to room seeing who’s was the best. The Honeymoon suite of Jess and Natalia won once again.

Our balloon awaits!

After about 5 hours of sleep we all started our first morning in Cappadocia at 4:30am with the infamous sunrise hot air balloon ride. Our Istanbul balloon seemed quite appropriate.

Filling it up

Filling our balloon with warm air, making it rise!

Ready for take off!

Ready for take off! 18 people in a basket!

Sunrise floating over Cappadocia

The sunrise over Cappadocia

Casually floating

Casually floating

Hot air balloons within the fields!

Hot air balloons within the fields!

"Landing positions!"

“Landing positions!”

Deflating

Deflating our balloon

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After our balloon ride we almost immediately jumped into the bus with the grads to spend the rest of our day exploring the landscapes of Cappadocia. After so many weeks spent in crazy cities we were so ready for some fresh (dusty) mountain air!

King of the hill?

Our first stop was a completely fence free and stair free park (my favorite of all of our stopes), A few tumbles and some poor wardrobe decisions didn’t stop us from making the landscape our own private playground. King of the hill anyone?

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Probably a good 100ft up

Our first cave!

After running around for a while we spotted our first cave that actually looked accessible! We were all probably overly impressed and ecstatic.

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I guess this was technically a hallway? It connected the lower main room to an upper smaller room.

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Look out below!

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I can’t imagine doing this on the daily just to get to my room

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The only way down the front entrance was to crab walk/slide, some were certainly more graceful than the others.

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Gangs all here!

We ran around like children (per usual) claiming caves for our own. This was lunch at Lucy's place.

We ran around like children (per usual) claiming caves for our own. This was lunch at Lucy’s place.

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Believe it or not we did find a few places to sketch. 

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The Turks and Greeks inhabited these caves all the way to 1924!

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As much as we could appreciate what UNESCO did with the open air museum the park was much more fun off the designed paths and outside of the gates.

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“Adventure is out there”

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The roof of the Tokali Kilise (church of the buckle) right outside of the Open Air Museum

We were given two puppies!! Too bad the bus driver and hotel weren't as excited as we were.

We were given two puppies!! Too bad the bus driver and hotel weren’t as excited as we were.

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Not a bad spot to buy another Magnum bar (most of us are quite addicted) and post up for a while.

After climbing for a while we stopped in a patch of grass and daises on a ledge to enjoy the view, the sun and the art of flower crown making.

After climbing for a while we stopped in a patch of grass and daises on a ledge to enjoy the view, the sun and the art of flower crown making.

Instead of a nice lunch in a restaurant we decided to buy a watermelon and eat it in a cave.

Our last full day in Cappadocia we had a free day, we spent the morning as a group climbing through some more caves and constructing flower crowns out of the abundance of wildflowers. When lunch came around instead of a walking into a nice restaurant a few of us decided to buy a watermelon together and carry it up to a cave to eat. THE BEST DECISION I HAVE MADE THIS SEMESTER.

Digging in!

Digging in!

Eating out on the "porch"

Frank and Natalia aating out on the “porch”

Frank in his natural habitat

Frank in his natural habitat

We eventually climbed down and found some friends to share with

Still with some extra watermelon we eventually climbed down and found some friends to share the remains with.

Our new friends showed us around their cave home and their city. #selfie

Our new friends then showed us around their cave home and their city. #selfie

Since we couldn't communicate at all we passed on our knowledge of flower crowns and she made us flower necklaces!

Since we couldn’t communicate at all we passed on our knowledge of flower crowns and in return recieved flower necklaces!

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We always make ourselves right at home in airports.

I cannot believe we only have 3 short weeks left in Istanbul, time has gone by so fast! I want to cling to every second that’s left of this semester, we still have trips to the Blue Mosque, The Cisterns, The Galata Tower and the Topkapi Palace planned so the adventures are certainly not over! I can’t wait to continue to see what this city has to offer and I encourage you to grab some friends, explore your city and make some memories! #adventureisoutthere

2 comments

  1. Pingback: Highlights | University of Minnesota Rome -Istanbul Study Abroad Spring 2016

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