This was the first major trip I took during my Peace Corps tour, for three weeks in late July and August 2003, after I had already been teaching in Kazakhstan for a year. I loved my work, my academy, and my students, but I was ready to experience something new. Turkey was the perfect destination. Like Kazakhstan, it is a primarily Muslim country with thousands of years of history. Unlike Kazakhstan, it was never Sovietized, and its history is well preserved. Istanbul is a living museum. It quickly became, and remains, my favorite city in the world. From there I made a great circle around the western half of the country, heading down the Aegean coast to Bergama and the ancient city of Pergamum, then to Selchuk (and its ancient counterpart Ephesus), then to Antalya and the mountain ruins of Termessos. My final stop before returning to Istanbul was at Goreme, with its Flintstones-like dwellings, in the fairytale region of Cappadocia.
Click on each photo to view in in its entirety.