The first map to the right shows how huge Turkey is in relation to its neighbors. By comparison, the entire country of Greece has about 11 million residents (excluding illegal aliens), while metropolitan Istanbul alone has 13 million people.
The above banner mural is painted on a wall at the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Note Tȕrkiye, the way it's spelled in Turkish. For the Ottomans who occupied Greece for over 400 years, Greece was just another "stan" in their empire, and Turks still refer to their neighbor as Yunanistan.
Turkey lies in Asia and Europe. See Map #2 While in Istanbul, perhaps the only city in the world straddling two continents, the Transcontinental Marathon was taking place. Regrettably we hadn't known in advance or else we would have registered to run half of it.
Cat flew from New York to Frankfort to Athens to rendezvous with Colleen -- a hectic encounter because the Greek air traffic controllers were on strike and Cat had no cellphone. We finally hooked up and two hours behind schedule our Turkish Airlines flight flew into Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport. There a pre-arranged vehicle transfer was dutifully waiting to whisk us off to the Saruhan Hotel located in Sultanahmet, the old city on the European side. See Map #3
From Istanbul’s secondary airport, Sabiha Gökçen Airport, we flew to Kayseri, then had an hour transfer by vehicle to Goreme in Cappadocia. See Map #4, our flight routes Ambling through the airport we stopped to read a tribute to Sabiha Gökçen whose story mesmerized us. At age 23 she was the first female pilot in the world and Turkey’s first female combat pilot. In1996, the U.S. Air Force published a poster of the 20 greatest aviators in history and she was the only woman included. Gökçen, whose name means “belonging or relating to the sky,” died in 2001 at the age of 88.
From Cappadocia we flew to Izmir where we rented a car and drove south along the western Aegean Sea coast, spending the first night in Selcuk. See Map #5 The next day we toured ancient Ephesus, then continued south to overnight at adorable Kapikiri. An hour's drive from there is Bodrum where we spent two nights.
From Bodrum, we headed east into the interior. See Map #6 It was a three or four hour drive to Pamukkale where we spent two nights. Next on our agenda was Afrodisias and then Nysa which is where Colleen's disaster happened, forcing us to stay all night in Aydin's public hospital. The next morning we drove an hour to the Izmir Airport, flying Pegasus Air back to Athens.