Monday January 14, 2008


This morning the group boarded the bus at 7:00am to start our journey to Antalya.  After a couple of short bathroom breaks, we went to a store directly across from a caravanserai.  The group was able to indulge in Turkish tunes and buy some great CDs. Yücel pumped up the tunes on the bus and we continued our journey towards Konya.  Eventually we ended up in what Emily and I thought to be Siberian snowy tundra.  Mehmet explained that in this area there is a lot of water under the land, which can create a sinkhole due to erosion. We were lucky enough to see Obruk, the largest sinkhole in the area! After exploring and capturing beautiful photos we boarded the bus and headed to a quick lunch at a restaurant in Konya.  After lunch we headed into the center of Konya, and were able to see a beautiful view of the ever-famous turquoise minaret marking the Mevlana museum that houses the tomb of Mevlana Jalal-ud-Din Rumi. The Mevlana museum was initially the Rose Garden of the Seljuk’s Palace. It was given as a gift in 1228 from the Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad to Mevlana, whose family was living in Balkh (Afghanistan). The Sultan gave the gift because he knew that Mevlana was highly educated and wanted him to educate his people.  Rumi eventually became known as one of the world’s greatest mystic philosophers. His poetry and religious writings are among the worlds most beloved and respected. After entering the “please pass” turn style we entered through into the courtyard of the Mevlana museum.  We covered our shoes with blue plastic booties and entered the magical mosque. Mehmet explained about Rumi’s Tomb and even taught us some Arabic!! As we stood in the entry listening, we witnessed worshipers passing us and praying in the mosque. While in the museum we saw so many incredible things such as the sarcophagi of Rumi and his descendents, which were all, covered by velvet cloth with a dervish hat and turban placed on the top.  Also in the Mevlana museum there are dervish cells, which are decorated with manikins dressed like the dervishes in everyday life, like a wax museum.  Half the group browsed through a tiny but extensive bookstore, while others viewed the kitchen building in the museum. Astonished by the beauty of The Mevlana museum we boarded the bus again greeted by Yücel with hot apple tea and a smile. We got back on the bus and headed south towards the Mediterranean coast.  On our journey we stopped off at a restaurant to get some tea and hold a meeting.  To my surprise the meeting was actually tea and a birthday cake for me!  Everyone sang in English and Turkish and I even received my first Turkish rug! We boarded the bus and rode to the Cender Oteli and arrived in Antayla!

Stephanie Lawrence