Logbook 4/22/2013 – Visiting Tarsus, Turkey

LOG BOOK 4/22/2013


Local Time:

Time Zone: Eastern European Time

How far did we travel this week? 300 kilometers roundtrip, or 187 miles

How far have we traveled on our journey so far? Many many miles

How did we get around this week? On a dolmuş (a small bus) and on a big bus.

What was the most interesting place we visited this week? It’s debatable, depending on what each individual values the most. The tomb of the Prophet Daniel, or Daniel of Daniel and the Lion’s Den in the Bible, lies in Tarsus under a mosque, and was recently uncovered during a renovation project. Daniel lived during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar in the 500 BC. We stopped by to see the tomb and the other ruins that have recently been uncovered. This is now a pilgrimage site for Muslims, so there were some women crying there. The site is still being excavated, so it was especially interesting to witness the process.


This Week’s Travel News: My friend, Madeline, is visiting from America with her ten-month old son. They are excellent travelers and are enjoying seeing everything. When she was first thinking of visiting Turkey, she asked if it would be okay to bring her small child. My response was, “Oh yes, Turkish people love children.” She could not be prepared for just how true this is. Everywhere we go, people swarm her and her son. Grandmothers, young children, men in business suits, teenage girls and boys, bus drivers—everyone seems to love small children in Turkey! They stop in the streets, they approach her on the bus, they leave whatever they are doing to coo over the boy and pinch his cheeks. In Tarsus, we were given candy, fruit and food because of the baby. People offered to entertain him while we ate. They offered to carry our bags. They went out of their way to help us in any way.


Weather Tally (enter the # of days for each weather type):

Sunny: 3 Cloudy: 1 Partly cloudy: 2 Rainy: 2 Snowy: 0 Windy: 2

What is the air temperature right now? The weather now is nice, in the 70s.

How was the weather this week? It has rained off and on, but after a rain the sun emerges and everything turns green, so it’s delightful.

What animals did we see this week? This week I saw horses, donkeys, sheep, chickens, dogs, cats, birds and sheep.

What was the coolest thing we saw in nature this week? There is a waterfall in Tarsus that is very relaxing. It is quite powerful, and the sound of the rushing water is soothing. Many years ago, in the 500 A.D.s, Byzantine Emperor Jusinian ordered the river to be rerouted to flow over a number of Roman tombs. Today, this causes some more interesting water flow. The Berdan River begins in the southeastern part of the Middle Taurus Mountains. The river flows through this waterfall area on its way to empty into the Mediterranean Sea.

This Week’s Nature News: I ventured to the waterfalls in Tarsus, where the Berdan River flows over ancient tombs. Berdan means ‘cold water’ in Turkish, and the water is indeed very cold! People don’t really go swimming in the waterfalls, but it is okay to put your feet in. There are a number of cafes and picnic tables overlooking the falls, so one can enjoy a tea or a meal with the relaxing sounds of rushing water in the background. It is a nice place to watch the sunset, and a popular spot for anyone visiting Tarsus.


What languages are spoken here? Turkish

What type of money is used here? The Turkish lira. It features the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, on every note. One lira is equivalent to $0.55 US dollars.

How much does a bottle of water cost? 50 cents

What was the best meal this week? Tantuni, which is kind of like a burrito. It contains meat and vegetables rolled in a lavash, which is similar to a tortilla. One difference, however, is one folds it into a U shape to eat it.

What music did we listen to this week? Ibrahim Tatlises is a classic Turkish singer that everyone is familiar with. I like him a lot!


What activity was the most fun this week? While taking photos of our tantuni being prepared at a local restaurant, the chef invited me to try my hand at the dish. (See the photo above!)

What did I read this week? The Yogurt Man Cometh by Kevin Revolinski, about the author’s time teaching English at a high school in Ankara, Turkey.

What games or sports did I play? I did a lot of walking around the city.

This Week’s News: Tarsus is the birthplace of St. Paul, theologian and founder of Christianity. Although it is not known precisely where he was born, there is a well in the city that is located in the courtyard of a home people think Paul lived. When Christianity was the main religion in Tarsus (it is now Islam) it was believed that the water in the well was holy and could cure anyone who drank it.  AaKCbsOVgW6b7fa1hIlNUsuAl0omJQzMMjIiRHF027Q

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