Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Home Again!

It was a long journey - approximately 29 hours from our 4:30 a.m. wake up call in Bodrum Tuesday morning to our 1:45 a.m. arrival back at Augsburg College on Wednesday. AND no lost luggage, instruments or equipment - What a wonderful performance tour to Turkey!

Incredible musicians!
A few more photos attached from the last evening of tour ... yeah for high speed internet!

Meghan K enjoying the farewell dinner
Liz N & Victoria G
Jami K - enjoying the fun night!
Tommy J & Carley O
A birthday surprise for Liz N
A tearful thank you from list for a wonderful tour & birthday!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Final Day in Turkey

Today was our final day in Turkey and the band had a free day in Bodrum. Everyone probably enjoyed having the option to sleep in and not have breakfast at 7 or 8 in the morning. The day started out sunny and beautiful, a perfect day for the beach; until it started raining. I don't know what everyone else did, but I know me and a group of people ended up in an Italian pizza restaurant to wait out the storm. It was a fun adventure. The storm passed and then we all finished our souvenir shopping and came back to rest up before our farewell dinner. The farewell dinner was at the club that we had our last performance and it was amazing, especially the dessert which was frozen chocolate mousse! The night was free and now everyone is either sleeping for a few hours or hurriedly packing before our 4:30 AM wake-up call. So for now, I say good-bye to Turkey and hope to visit again soon. We'll be back in the states soon everyone!

A chandelier that we saw while shopping
The Crusader castle

A mosque we passed by

Watching the workers try and get water off the roof
Calamari- it's an actual octopus

The AMAZING chocolate mousse!

Emma, Nakisha, Chris L, Amber, Ender, & Michelle at farewell dinner

Farewell Dinner

What a finale to our Turkey tour ... A fantastic farewell dinner at the Marina Yacht Club (the same place we performed last evening)!

...More photos to come (but the WiFi is still really slow !!!)

Turkey - Day Seven - Ephesus and Bodrum

The band got on the bus at the early hour of 7:40am today, with a 6:30am wake up time, and headed off to Bodrum, our last stop for the tour.  Along the way, we saw the ruins of Ephesus, an ancient city which has stood the test of time and was quite a remarkable sight to see.  The city had who parts to it, an upper and lower section.  The lower section was the most interesting for a few reasons.  Firstly, the lower section was where most of the markets and houses were in the city.  It was basically the downtown area of Bodrum.  It had an enormous library at its start, and it was fun to imagine the hundreds of thousands of books which may have been there at one point in time.  The other major attraction of the lower section of Ephesus was the Amphitheater.  This huge structure housed an enormous amount of people at it's prime and its said that famous Christian speakers, such as the Apostle Paul from the Bible, spoke in this very place.  In total the place was crazy to be in and it was tons of fun to witness the history behind this place.

We left Ephesus after two hours and went to a rug weaving place for lunch.  After we ate, we got to see how real Turkish rugs are made and what time and energy goes into them.  The salesman gave a very good presentation of the rugs for sale and about a fourth of our group left with a rug either in their hands or ready to be shipped to the U.S.  The women who create these rugs spend four hours a day for anywhere between a few months to two years to create this genuine works of art.  It was an impressive display and left us all with a feeling of appreciation for the work they did.

Our last stop before Bodrum was witnessing one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World: The Temple of Artemis.  The place, however, was mainly in ruins and there was very little to see.  Much of the temple is under a swamp which has buried the structure over the years.  While the sight itself wasn't all that impressive, it is still cool to be able to say that we saw one of these wonders of the ancient world.

When we finally arrived in Bodrum, the group had about two hours before we performed at the Marina Vista Yacht club across from our hotel.  Some of the band swam and relaxed while others ventured around Bodrum for an hour or so.  We all met up around 7:00pm, set up the stage, and the Concert Band performed their pieces, which took about 45 minutes.  The final performance went very well.  There was about an hour and a half gap between the Concert band and the Jazz band so the Concert band left while the Jazz band stayed and hung out at the club.  One of the members of our audience who especially enjoyed our performance was this sweet old man.  He recognized some of the pieces we played and got really into the performance.  He turned out to be performing himself in the restaurant of the club on violin.  Members of the Jazz band watched him perform and he did about six pieces memorized which were very impressive.  After each song we would applaud him and cheer and he would look so happy that we watched and liked his stuff.

At 10:00pm, the Jazz Band performed and as a member of the Jazz Band myself, and I'm sure the other members would agree, we absolutely nailed our performance.  The entire band was on for most of the show and as Bob would say, "We sparkled."  It was an awesome way to end the year musically and our tour of Turkey.

Performance in Bodrum

Our final performance for both the Concert Band and the Jazz ensemble was right on the beautiful Marina in Bodrum - Just steps from our hotel.

Concert Band - Final Performance
A wonderful back drop for the concert
Augsburg Jazz final performance

Turkish Rugs

Learning about the looms
Chris L learning how to tie the knots
Only women make the rugs by hand. Working only 4 hours a day a rug may take over a year to complete!
A fun display of rugs!
Kelly P, Kyle B, Victoria G ... Posing behind a beautiful rug on display


We departed Izmir for Ephesus - One of the most complete Roman cities that has survived.

A view from upper to lower Ephesus. The columns mark the "main highway."
Michelle G & Amber W
Walking towards downtown Ephesus
Nickolai P
A view of the famous Ephesus Library
The second largest Roman Amplitheater
Dr. Buck, Dr. Stacke, Dr. Hendrickson @ Ephesus