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    Fall Break: Laodicea

    David and I had our third wedding anniversary in June. We take turns planning surprise trips, but this summer was too busy to get away. Instead, we took a belated anniversary trip this month. Our fall break coincides with Turkey’s Kurban Bayramı holiday. I was so excited when I found out David was taking me to Pamukkale!


    Ankara to Pamukkale map


    David made reservations at Bellamaritimo Hotel, but there were some issues with the booking. The owner called us, apologized, and told us he would coordinate accommodations elsewhere. We thought that was kind of him, especially since we were getting in around 10pm. He put us in Koçak Otel, which was the second grossest place I have ever stayed. We didn’t feel like there was much we could do, so we kept everything off the floor and settled in for the night. We did have a really nice view of Pamukkale in the morning, though! It looked like a snowcapped mountain:




    Kurban Bayramı is a sacrifice holiday. (Read more about it here.) Pamukkale is a small town with village houses. As we walked down the street, I looked to my right and saw a live sheep partially decapitated. Nothing like a little gore first thing in the morning! Preparing the meat was a family affair:


    Animal sacrifice


    Pamukkale opened later than usual because it was a holiday, so we drove eight miles south to Laodikeia (aka Laodicea). Entrance costs 10 TL or is free with the Müzekart. Laodicea is a UNESCO World Heritage site.


    Laodicea sign and Bible text


    Laodicea was one of the seven churches of Revelation:

    To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

    These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

    Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

    To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

    –Revelation 3:14–22


    Paul’s helper Epaphras brought the word here.




    We were so impressed with the ruins. This place is massive! We explored for two hours and could have stayed longer. They’ve been excavating since 2003 and there’s so much more to be done.


    David on the street in Laodicea


    Laodicea Temple A




    Column reconstruction of the agora:


    Agora columns


    Laodicea rocks


    Laodicea Theater


    Laodicea was leveled by earthquakes. Hardest. Puzzle. Ever.


    Laodicea rocks


    Pieces of the ancient water system were visible throughout the city. (Watch a great video on it here. It gives new meaning to the passage about the city being lukewarm!) Especially seeing all of the water not too far away in Pamukkale, it was surprising to learn how big of an issue water was for this city.


    Ancient water pipe


    One of our friends recently gave a sermon series that included a visual of a catenary arch. David nerded out when he found this one:


    David holding up a catenary arch


    Laodicea tile work


    Brick arch


    Can’t wait to share photos from our two (yes, two!) hikes up Pamukkale to Hierapolis!



    Our Second Anniversary

    Dear David,

    Happy anniversary! I love thinking back on our wedding day. Though our wedding woods has changed quite a bit from the outdoor chapel it was two years ago, the commitment and memories we made are alive and well.

    Life is so fun, full, and wonderful by your side! God has blessed me beyond measure and I thank Him every day for you. Wherever we go, as long as I’m with you I’m home.



    Farm Wedding / photo by Jenn Marie Photography



    First Anniversary Celebrations

    As I mentioned in a previous post, Leah and I decide to follow a tradition started by my parents to take turns planning a surprise trip for our anniversary. After a long drive on Wednesday, Leah and I arrived in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

    I made plans for us to visit Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s theme park. I had absolutely no idea how many entertainment options Pigeon Forge had to offer. As we drove through town on the way to our hotel, we both commented how much the area looked like a beach town. There were wax museums, putt-putt golf courses, outlet malls, hotels, dinner theatres, and a dancing plethora of pancake houses. There was even a museum inside of a Titanic replica. Keep in mind, this is all in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The amount of tourist traps were overwhelming.


    Dollywood highway sign


    Our first day in Pigeon Forge, we visited Dollywood’s Splash Country. It was a beautiful day to be at the waterpark, as it was in the 90s and sunny most of the day. We enjoyed many waterslides and the wave pool. I even jumped over a fence to get a four-leaf clover that Leah had found.


    Leah found another four leaf clover


    I made dinner reservations for that night at Lumberjack Feud. Lumberjack Feud is a dinner theater that stars champion ESPN lumberjacks. The show was very interesting and aside from some corny jokes, very entertaining. The most impressive part was when two lumberjacks shimmied up 90 foot poles, and came back down by practically free falling before digging their feet into the pole right before hitting the ground, all in a matter of seconds.


    Lumberjack Feud


    Our last full day in Pigeon Forge, we visited Dollywood. This park had the perfect balance of roller coasters and shows. When I purchased the tickets, I planned on spending most of our time at the shows because of Leah’s coaster-phobia. However, I was impressed by how many roller coasters she actually wanted to ride. She said that I caught her on a brave day.


    Gazillion bubble show


    While in the park, we saw a few small shows. One of the most impressive was the Gazillion Bubble Show with “bubble artist” Ana Yang. As funny as it might sound, Ms. Yang used her bubbling techniques to entertain and amuse a full theater. Leah and I found ourselves laughing and jumping out of our seats to pop fog-filled bubbles. We also enjoyed a stunt dog show and a bluegrass band. Leah won a free Moonpie and Coke from an acapella 60s group.


    Free moon pie and coke at Dollywood


    Those few days were fun and relaxing for Leah and me. From there, we traveled to Oxford, Mississippi to visit our great friends Devon and Noelani Newburn. We will post more on our time in Mississippi soon!


    One Year!

    I can’t believe it’s already been an entire year since our wedding in the woods!

    David – thank you for your friendship, love, patience, humor, and leadership. I am the luckiest girl in the world, and am excited for our many adventures ahead. Love you more.


    Outdoor wedding cathedral - photo by Jenn Marie Photography

    Our wedding in the woods - photo by Jenn Marie Photography

    Wedding fist pump - photo by Jenn Marie Photography

    {photos by Jenn Marie Photography}