It’s been a bit difficult to keep up a steady blogging pace, resolutions notwithstanding. I’ve fallen behind, and certainly won’t catch up tonight. (Once again, I’m tired. Curses!) But I’m determined, at a minimum, not to fall further behind.
Several of us got up at around 4 AM this morning for a balloon ride over Cappadocia. (Our company’s name was “Kaya,” and they were very, very good.) Take a look at the slides here — you’ll have to wait as they replace one another — to get a sense for the experience, which included a beautiful sunrise. We sailed along just above weird rock formations, down into valleys, and, for part of the trip, up more than a thousand meters above the ground. It was very smooth. Except for the landing, which was both rough and comical.
Then, after returning to our hotel for a quick breakfast, we boarded our bus for a visit to the ancient “Underground City” at Kaymakli. It’s a remarkable place — a seven-floor complex of tunnels and storage areas and kitchens and sleeping chambers carved into the volcanic tufa of the area in order to provide shelter against invasion. (There are several such “cities” in the area.) Getting around in it was sometimes a bit difficult, especially for the taller members of our group (e.g., yours truly), as three of the tunnels were rather long and very low. But I managed not to hit my head — until the very end, when, in an excess of relief, I clobbered myself at the very exit. I can promise that the “soft” tufa isn’t really all that soft. As one of Murphy’s Laws that I saw in Ireland a couple of months ago has it, you should always remember that the light at the end of the tunnel may actually be the headlamp of an approaching freight train.
After an excellent lunch back in the regional city of Kayseri, we caught a flight to Izmir (the ancient Smyrna, traditionally the birthplace of Homer, about an hour north of Ephesus) and then went to our hotel, the Crowne Plaza, a tall cylinder adjacent to the Gulf of Izmir where my wife and I have stayed before. The room that she and I have offers a gorgeous ceiling-to-floor view of the Gulf. I think that everybody in the group has a similar room. (We tried to ensure that, anyway.)
In the evening, Kristian Heal, Morgan Davis, and I did a joint fireside consisting of three brief, consecutive, individually chosen talks. I spoke on the resurrection account in John 20 (the apostle John came and resided in Ephesus, according to ancient tradition) and the list of witnesses to the resurrection supplied by Paul in the first verses of 1 Corinthians 15 (which was most likely written from Ephesus).
Posted from Izmir, Turkey.