Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Emma's 8th Grade Trip!

When I homeschooled Spence in 8th grade, my parents invited him to go on a trip to British Columbia with them.   It ended up being a great trip and he loved having  the opportunity to go somewhere that he likely would not have been able to go if he had been in school that year.   We liked the idea of it, so when Cami got to 8th grade two years later, Glen took her on a trip to Denver.

Now we had two official 8th grade traditions--homeschooling and a special trip.  

We had a few years after Cami before Emma's 8th grade year rolled around, so there was plenty of time to concoct something big and exciting for her trip.   My sister, Heather, is an attorney who loves to travel, so we put her on the task of trip planning.  She got excited about Emma potentially accompanying her on one of her trips and thus began Emma's exciting 8th grade trip  plans!

Emma and Heather discussed at length different options for their trip, but in the end the super cheap plane tickets to TURKEY made that their winning destination.    And less than two full weeks after returning from New Zealand, Emma hopped on an 11-hour flight to Istanbul!

They just returned from their trip after enjoying an exciting 10-days there and although there won't be quite as much commentary as there normally is here on the blog, since I wasn't there, but here are some pictures from their amazing journey.

Since we were a little nervous about the two of them traveling in Turkey by themselves, we convinced our brother Tim to go along and be the intimidating male presence!


The first stop on their journey was Istanbul where they saw amazing sites like the stunning Blue Mosque...
Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

Here's the famous Ayasofya...

And yet another shot of the Blue Mosque!
Blue Mosque, Istanbul

The spice market for a chef like Emma was a colorful and exciting place to visit….
Spice Market, Istanbul

Getting a treat wasn't as easy as she expected...


Next they took an domestic flight (which are super, super cheap) to Izmir so they could visit  Ephesus…

Ephesus is an ancient city that over the centuries has been ruled over by the Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires.   The temple to the goddess Artemis, four times larger than the Parthenon,   is considered one of the "seven wonders of the ancient world."    

The ruins were spectacular, the carvings intricate, and they were amazed at the artisanship of the ancient people who had built this great city.

AFter Ephesus, they drove to Priene, which was also a cool ancient city full of ruins…

but Priene is a little more off the beaten path and didn't get the Mediterranean cruise tour group traffic that Ephesus did...

They loved how much less crowded it was there and enjoyed exploring the beautiful ruins.

Next they drove to Pamukkale where they saw the stunning, world famous travertine hot spring terraces...

The terraces are naturally created by the calcium deposits in the hot springs and can only found a few places in the entire world.  
Travertine Terraces, Pamukkale

Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone is an American example of it, but these terraces in Turkey are absolutely one-of-a-kind in the world because of their pure white color.
Travertine Terraces by moonlight, Pamukkale

They look like snow banks, but are in reality covered in warm running water (watch the video above to see an example of it).    Read here if you want to see where there are more travertine terraces in the world.  It's actually pretty interesting.
Travertine Terraces, Pamukkale

At the top of the travertine terraces is an ancient city called Hierapolis.  In Hierapolis they swam in  Cleopatra's Pool...
Cleopatra's Pool, Pamukkale, Turkey

According to legend,  Cleopatra's Pool was crafted by Marc Anthony and then presented to Cleopatra as a gift.  However sometime in the 7th century an earthquake toppled nearby columns into it, creating a unique blend of what are considered "healing waters" of the natural hot springs and ancient ruins all melded into a really cool one-of-a-kind place to swim all year round!    
Cleopatra's Pool, Pamukkale, Turkey

Next they drove to Aphrodisias to see some more cool ruins...


Then they ended up on the shores of the Aegean Sea in Bodrum.    Bodrum is a beautiful seaside town with narrow steep roads that made driving a harrowing experience.    
Bodrum Castle

They didn't get to spend a whole lot of time in Bodrum before taking off to their next destination, but they all raved about the beauty of the area and the clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea!

Aegean Sea on the Bodrum Peninsula  

Next they flew to Cappadocia where they stayed in a hotel cave.   Because of the naturally soft rock (called tuff) that formed from ancient volcanic eruptions, people have been crafting their homes out of rock for thousands of years.  
Cappadocia Region (Goreme Open Air Museum) 

At sunrise they took a little hot air balloon ride….
Hot air balloon over Cappadocia

…you know….just for the purpose of seeing the most gorgeous views in the universe!

They were a tad cold after their little jaunt in the stratosphere (or maybe it was the troposphere)….
After hot air balloon ride, Cappadocia Region

After that they stayed a little more down to earth and went for a little camel ride...
Cappadocia Region (Goreme Open Air Museum)

and visited some other beautiful places in the area….
Valley of the Pigeons?? (Cappadocia Region)
…by horse drawn carriage!
Cappadocia Region

Ihlara Valley (Cappadocia Region) 

The last thing they did in Cappadocia was visit the underground city, Derinkuyu,  which, in a City of Ember-ish sort of way, was carved in the aforementioned soft rock to be a place of refuge for the people in Cappadocia during times of war and danger.  
Underground City (Derinkuyu, Cappadocia Region)

Emma had a fantastic time on her 8th grade trip and will never look at the world through the same eyes again!    It was years of education all rolled into a week-and-a-half.  

The only problem with the trip was that it sets a pretty high bar for Adam who is already mulling over ideas for his 8th grade trip in a couple of years.   His top choice right now?    Antarctica!  

Heather and Tim, are you up for it?    



Andrea said...

How cool! I love the idea of an 8th grade trip! Great pics.

Jennifer McArthur said...

Holy cow! These pictures are amazing. Wow! What a trip! And right on the heels of your family adventure to New Zealand!

Rachel said...

These pictures are unbelievable! What an amazing trip! Emma, you look so pretty! Hot springs and a hot air balloon ride!! Wow!

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