The call to morning prayers woke us early this morning . . . around 5 am. The muezzin’s Sabah in loudspeakers broadcast filled our room. It ıs quite a jolting reminder that I am not in Idaho.
Shuffling down to the hotel kahvalti (breakfast), I feasted, sampling all kinds of cheeses, örgü peynir (a string cheese), tulum peynir (a dry crumbly cheese of cured goat’s milk), kaşar peynir, beyat peynir, etc.
There were tables, filled with pastries, sliced meats, olives, cucumbers, cereals, boiled eggs, and nuts. Delightfully, I munched through a pile of hazelnuts, washing it all down with cherry juice.
Giving you our exact location, we are at Hotel Ozkaymak. Nalçaci Lad. Otogar Karşisi. Konya – TÜRKIYE.
Today, we drove to Pisidian Antioch, heading west from Konya. Actually, our driver got a speeding ticket, fined 1o8 Turkish Lira. Ouch!
We followed green fields. Fields after fields. Trees and tractors dotted the agricultural landscape. The snow-capped Taurus mountains lay to the south. And to think that Paul and Barnabas walked a lot of this. Could we estimate that the apostle covered 10,000 miles on missionary journeys? Perhaps 20 miles a day? I imagine that it was a lot more forested in his day.
We passed grape fields. Men & women were cultivating and pruning in the fields. Small donkeys pulled wooden carts.
My pulse quickened as we entered Yalvoç (pop. 35,400), the Muslim town nestled in the valley below Pisidian Antioch. I liked this town. They serve some excellent Turkish pizza and mercimek combasi (lentil soup). The residences are colorful, rows of bright pastel multi-story apartments. Balcony railings are used for clothes lines.
The children wear uniforms, every girl in a dress, and every boy in a suit and tie. Wait till I tell my children about this. I suppose the clothes eliminate economical distinctions.
Most of the women wear head coverings.
I really had no idea of the biblical geography, the ancient city of Roman times, bursting with 120,000 people, sprawled out on a hill with the highest point at 1236 m. Mountains spiked all around us, the Sultan Mountains to the north, Kılzıldag (Red Mountains) to the southeast, Kirişli Mountain and the northern shore of Lake Egirdir to the southwest.
On top of the hill in the Christian church complex built on top of the ancient synagogue, at the very timing of all the muezzin calls ringing in the valley, we were reading Paul’s sermon and singing hymns. I will never forget this experience.
Discussions were interesting, today. Some of the guys were passing out Christian literature. This is highly offensive to the country. We had a serious talk about this.
Secondly, most Muslims in the rural areas believe Christians are polytheistic in the West. Worshipping multiple gods . . . the Father, Jesus, etc.
Some more to share . . . but I need to check out of this Turkish internet cafe, prompto!