May 27, 2013 by brasiersarah
This is the Soumela Monastery, a perfect example of human history clashing with Mother Nature creating a picture perfect view. Perched high upon Melá mountain it has seen the rise and fall of several religions in the region. In it’s final days before being used as a tourist hotspot it was used as a school for girls. Can you imagine that? I would be the perfect student and attend every class if I could go there, the only problem being that I would be a boy at an all girls school I don’t think that would go down to well with the nuns.After wondering through a 1500 year old school you take a leisurely stroll 3km down a mythical like trail. Something straight out of Lord of the Rings, it was awesome.Housing bakeries, natural refrigerators, and store rooms Soumela monastery was its own little existence that didn’t need any outside help.
This is very common throughout Turkey, the scratched out faces of the people that contradicted the beliefs of whoever was in power at the time. This is another example of the fear of religion or maybe I should say the religion of fear. The most effective tool for conformity and specifically directed anger is fear, and used correctly it is better than any other driving force. Throughout history and all the way to the present, fear has been a constant tool for moving the masses. This is not specific to religion now but everywhere from political messages to product advertisement. Used correctly you can make people feel as though they are making their own choices, their own choices are based on carefully selected information fed to them. It’s a very clever way to govern people and the only way to fight back against fear is education, education of people, education of the world and the best and quickest way to educate yourself is to travel.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” –Mark Twain.Jesus still exists in Islam but not as the Son of God but a profit. The belief of Islam is that Allah is not a being, he is everything all around us therefore Allah could not have a son. Just variations on variations.
This was the chapel of the monastery a beautiful little place tucked away in the cave of the cliff face.This was where we Couchsurfed, a university mixed dorm. With free breakfast, great people, cheap laundry and a rock-climbing wall it was great! But there was one problem. Men and women are to be kept separate so Sarah and I would have to farewell each other every night before bed and while she got a whole room to herself I had a wierdo that didn’t know how to clean the toilet.Beers and cards at the Effes pub.It was about that time when your belly is itching for a beer, something some might call alcoholism but I call it a good time keeper. It was beer o’clock. So we whipped out the “trusty” lonely planet in search for a good pub. There were two options: one we go to the Efes pub an apparent seedy bar that drunken Russian Sailors go to. Two we go to the Cingil a “cozy” bar located in the heart of a shopping centre recommend for ladies. So after an hour of searching we stroll in to the Cingil and immediately regret it. I would say “where dreams come to die” would be an accurate description of the place. Note: this is not the Cingil bar in above picture. We much preferred the Efes pub… as you can see.
Two days later we decided to brave the Effes pub only to be confronted with some of the friendliest bar staff and a cleaner appearance than most pubs I have been to. We comfortably drunk several litres of beer and then went out with CouchSurfing Host Sedat to meet his crazy friends and drink Rakı.This is where we surfed and in the middle is the host, a maniac that goes by the name Superious Armpit Uncle. He was one of the bests hosts because he just let us do our thing and was always there when we needed him. Sarah and me called him the Turkish Sarge after a close friend from home and not without reason. He loved bikes, was a tad crazy, had an infatuation with traveling and stories and loved to hang around young girls ……oh yea and guys.With not much in the town to do we had a great time once again with the people. You set out to travel and see the sights and experience new things and some of the best times we have had are with people. Sitting on a bus it’s easy to imagine the Sumulea Monastry or the beaches of the Mediterranean but you can never conjure up images of the ever so important but intangible connections that you may make at your next stop. Maybe because their not measurable or something you can capture in a picture that you hold them less important or don’t anticipate them. It is natural to want to find companionship as a human, thats one of the main reasons we have evolved to the point we are. But we never anticipate them, how can something so important not be in the forefront of our minds? I guess It’s like all great things, the fact that you never anticipate them is the reason they are so amazing. It’s so hard to sit here and write about it because I know how important it is to me but I can never tell if the words I have put down would do it justice. The moment you make a connection with someone is one of the best things you can do, it’s a feeling that comes from within you. Think about it next time you have a connection with someone that you have just met and how out of 7 billion people you were lucky enough to meet them and have that connection. Cherish it as I will from now on because without everything else, all we have is each other.