"In the Footsteps of the Pope" OR "Walking Turkey"

At a quarter past midnight tonight, I am doing something I have never done in all 41 years of my life: I am travelling outside of Australia. Yes, dear Readers, your well informed informant is nought but an imposter, an arm-chair traveller, who has never been OS.

All that changes today, as I board the plane bound for Istanbul via Turkey. Courtesy of the Archdiocese, I will be on a ten day Intercultural Study Tour with an Australian Turkish Muslim group called the Australian Intercultural Society.

In many ways it will be for me a kind of pilgrimage, for besides visiting many places of Turkish and Muslim significance (such as the Blue Mosque in Istanbul) and schools, hospitals and businesses run by Muslim charitable organisations, we will visit the Church of the Hagia Sophia, Smyrna, Ephesus, the House of the Virgin Mary, and Nicea. In addition (and of great significance for Australians) we will be at Gallipoli for the Dawn Ceremony on Anzac Day (25 April).

Our tour guide is Emre Celik, a native of Smyrna (modern day Izmir), and Executive Director of the AIS. I am travelling with five other: Gavin Faichney of the Uniting Church Ecumenical Affairs Committee, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ken Lacy and his wife Chris, the head of the history department from Essondon Grammar, Tom [? I’ve still to learn his surname], and Kevin Pope, the headmaster of Meadow Heights Primary School. A very neat little group.

I will blog on my journey whenever I can get to an internet terminal, so check regularly to do a “Where’s Wally” (or at least this particular “Wally”!). Please pray for me on my journey, and pray to for strengthening goood relationships between Australia and Turkey, and Muslims and Christians.

Here’s a run down of my itinerary:

Saturday April 21, 2007
Arrive Istanbul International Terminal Sat 2:50pm (9:50pm Melbourne time)
Overnight stay in Istanbul.

Sunday April 22, 2007
Visiting to historical beauties of Istanbul:
“Sultan Ahmet Center”, heart of the “Old City” from where the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires were ruled
“Hagia Sophia”, one of the greatest marvels of architecture, constructed as a basilica in the 6th century by emperor Justinian
“Blue Mosque”, facing to Hagia Sophia, famous with its blue Iznik tiles and unique with 6 minarets, built in the name of Sultan Ahmet
“Hippodrome” center of sportive (chariot races, athletics)
Obelisk of Theodosius, Serpentine Column, and German Fountain of Wilhelm II are the monuments decorating Hippodrome
The sixth-century Byzantine cistern
Dinner at the PASIAD-Asia-Pacific Social & Economic Solidarity Foundation
Overnight stay in Istanbul

Monday April 23, 2007
Breakfast in a business person’s villa at the hill of Camlica
Visit to STV station
Visit to Dolmabahce Palace-last Ottoman Palace-
Yacht tour in Bosphorus and lunch in the yacht
Visit to Uskudar Kizkulesi
Dinner at private Coskun Colleges
Overnight stay in Istanbul.

Tuesday April 24, 2007
Visit to private Fatih College and Fatih University,
Bus travel to Canakkale/Gallipoli (325 Km)
Stay in the hotel till 2.00am

Wednesday April 25, 2007
2.00 am early morning b/fast then heading to ANZAC Tribute site
Breakfast at Rainbow College
Short sightseeing of Gallipoli’s historical sites
Visit the Anzac war memorial, lone pine and 57th Turkish Regiment war memorial
Dinner with Gallipoli’s community & business leaders
Overnight stay in Gallipoli

Thursday April 26, 2007
Visiting historical places of Troy and Asoss
Bus travel to Izmir/Smyrna (316 Km)
Overnight stay in Izmir

Friday April 27, 2007
Visit to Ephesus, Seljuk
Visit to St Mary Church, Seljuk
Dinner at the Sifa private Hospital
Overnight stay in Izmir

Saturday April 28, 2007
Visit to Izmir’s city attractions
Lunch at the Korfez Private Tutorial centre
Visit to Izmir old city and castle
Dinner at Yamanlar private College
Overnight stay in Izmir

Sunday April 29, 2007
Bus travel to Bursa (322 Km)
Dinner at Bursa’s old town with together with members of BUGIAD-Bursa Business of Chamber-
Overnight stay in Bursa

Monday April 30, 2007
Visit Great Mosque, Green Tomb, Silk Bazaar
Visit to Iznik/Nicea-historical site for Christian Ecumenical Council-
Dinner at private Bahar Hospital
Overnight stay in Bursa

Tuesday May 1, 2007
Bus travel to Istanbul (343 Km)
Visit to “Topkapi Palace” which was the first Ottoman Palace.
Dinner with Istanbul’s business and community leaders
Overnight stay in Istanbul

Wednesday May 2, 2007
Visit and shopping at the Great Bazaar-Kapali Carsi- world largest shopping centre-
Lunch at the Zaman Newspaper-Turkey’s leading daily paper-
Depart: Istanbul International Terminal 4:10pm

Thursday May 3, 2007
Arrival: Melbourne Terminal 2 International 7:35pm

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4 Responses to "In the Footsteps of the Pope" OR "Walking Turkey"

  1. Dixie says:

    Well, gee, when you do decide to go OS…you don’t play around and just go to Auckland (where I will be the first and second weeks of May on business, incidently…no Hagia Sophia on my agenda!). I am quite envious of the sites you will see on your trip.

    Have fun and bon voyage!

  2. Schütz says:

    Dixie, I will say a prayer for you and all my Orthodox pals while in Hagia Sophia. Sotto Voce, of course. They get a bit thingy about people trying to pray in the “Museum”–Christian or Muslim. It has something to do with a fear of us trying to “claim back” the great building as a Church. Nevertheless, I intend to sing a soft “Regina Caeli” while facing the great icon of our Lady which is visible in the building. You know what? I might even do what Papa Benny did, and say a prayer in the Blue Mosque too!

  3. Dixie says:

    Thank you very much for your prayers. Each Sunday we pray in the divine liturgy For travelers by land, sea, and air, for the sick, the suffering, the captives, and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord. I will keep your travels in my prayers during this time.

    Speaking of…here is a story I heard. Someone was complaining about how the Orthodox never change anything and an old yia-yia vehemently denied that…she said, “Notice we pray for travelers by land sea and air. You think St. John Chrysostom included that? There was no air travel in St. John Chrysostom’s time.”

  4. Schütz says:

    Good po?nt. You w?ll have read my blog about Hag?a Soph?a already. It was an awesome exper?ence.

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