Sunday, November 30, 2008

Out of Order

So the other day I was updating the blog and realized I was no longer connected to the internet. It had gone down. Again. So I saved my file and planned to update later. Well Linda beat me to it. And now my post makes less sense but I am unwilling to change it. Interestingly, though Linda updated the blog she did not talk about any of the things I talked about. So I can still post my update without saying the same stuff. Here goes.
Well I finally got tired of waiting for Linda to update the blog so I am doing it. My wife is such a slacker. I mean she only has 4 kids (4 of whom had birthdays in the last three weeks and three of whom she has to drag to football practice everyday now) as well as her base responsibilities (she has yet to learn how to say "NO!" when people ask her if she will be the chairwoman for the Medical Spouses club, etc).
So we have had a busy month. We did find the opportunity to go to some historical sights though. On Nov 11 we went to Antakya, which was the city of Antioch anciently. At the time of Christ it was the third largest city in the western world behind Rome and Constantinople. It was a trip put together for the families in the Medical Group here (my military unit) and I was made the unofficial tour guide. Of Antioch, not much of its history remains what with the earthquakes knocking things down every few hundred years and the intermittent raids and sieges by Crusaders, Moslems, Mongols, Turks, Armenians, Mamluks, and the French (yes even the French got a piece of the action during WW1). But there is a very nice museum, a famous spring at Harbiye, and a famous historical church.

Antioch was where the followers of Christ were first called "Christians". And Peter, Paul, and Barnabus all taught here. The Church is believed to be one of the places where Saint Peter taught. This was during the Roman persecutions so the "church" was really just a cave in a hillside. A wall was built across the cave by the Knights of the First Crusade. It was neat to stand in this historical place and think of the people who had been there before.
In Haribye (the ancient Greek/Roman city of Daphne), we saw the freshwater spring which drew settlers as early as 1000BC. It is the site where Daphne, a daughter of a river god, was pursued by Apollo and, despising his advances, had herself turned into a Laurel tree. Thus the Laurel tree is sacred to Apollo and was used to crown the heads of victors both in sports and on the battlefield. At Daphne were both a famous Oracle to Apollo and an underground temple to Hades. Neither of which have been discovered. Most of the mosaics in the local museum came from the excavations of wealthy roman villas at Daphne. Haribye was a lush oasis in the midst of the otherwise arid landscape and the kids loved getting wet in the springs and pools.
We also stopped at Payas, an ancient harbor on the Mediterranean sea. There was a castle and caravansari (fortified hotel where caravans loaded with goods could stay the night without fear of being robbed) built by the Armenians and Ottomans respectively. Being newer (built in the 1570's) they were in pretty good shape. The castle being built on the flatland, as opposed to a hill or mountain, it is the first castle we have seen here with a moat. It was a busy but fun day and we are planning to do it again with some friends who didn't get to go.

For those of you who have not yet heard the news, we have received our follow on assignment. We have been "penciled in" (the military's way of reminding you nothing is definite) to a slot at Royal Air Force Base Lakenheath in England. While Linda is a little leery of going back to a cold place with dark winters (We will be at the same latitude as central Quebec) we are both really excited to be able to remain foreign while going to a place where we already know the language. While I have really enjoyed Turkey, it has been so very frustrating not being able to communicate when out there on our own.

On Thanksgiving Maryn and Dallen and I visited another castle. This one did not have a road to it so we had to do a little hiking. It was a Byzantine and Armenian castle and defended a pass through the mountains south of here. The castle is called Gokvelioglu Castle. I've included pictures.

Well thats it from the Carpenter Clan. We are having a great time. The winter here is really mild and in my opinion the best time to go explore places. We look forward to hearing from the rest of ya'll and hope everyine had a good Thanksgiving.


Davis Family 5 said...

Wow! What a rich history. I hope one day (when we're done with this life) we would be able to go to any place and any time on this earth. It would be so wonderful to see the sites as they were when Christ was on the earth. Perhaps we've already seen them though? We just don't remember. Ah, that'll be a great day; to remember the things we were made to forget. Thanks for the updates!

Blog Buddy said...

Thanks for the update Michael! Cam's pretty good at hiking around his area also. He's found some amazing castles and sites-just like you :)

Eric Player said...

You've inspired me to get out and go exploring around my own town--after all there is cool stuff around here, too!

Who am I kidding? Not that cool!