Early this morning (April 8, 2015) Donna and I left for Sanliurfa - a 2 hour jet plane flight to the SE, 30 miles by road from the Syrian border. Giant snow-covered mountains surround endless fields of various crops getting started. As we landed I could see the effect of being so close to a war zone: every 250m around the airport perimeter are watchtowers with spotlights. Here's a photo from our portable sauna - I mean bus - that transported us 20 miles or so to town. There were no openable windows and the temperature was 95 F or so with the heater running full blast. Outside: a comfortable 60 F.
We arrived at the end of the bus line (20L) then took a taxi (15L) to drop off our bag at the hotel, grab an early lunch, then a taxi to Gobekli Tepe!! On the way, we drove across a dam on the EUPHRATES RIVER - as in "Fertile Crescent" and "Dawn of Civilization".
The Jews and the Muslims don't agree on much. The Jews all descend from Abraham's son Isaac. The Muslims all descend from Abraham's son Ishmail. They don't agree which son is the elder. They don't agree on very much. But they do agree where the Patriarch was born. Urfa. All my adult life I thought that was Ur, as in Erech in Iraq. One American archeologist in charge of excavating Ur says that city is Ur of the Chaldes and that Abraham was born there. The Bible does not say where Abraham was born, but does say his brother was born in Ur of the Chaldes. But Urfa - recently (20th cent AD) having "Great" ("Sanli" in Turkish) added to its name, is here where Abraham was born. Today I went to the cave where he was born [photo]. Today I drank water from the spring coming out of that cave where Abraham - then "Abram" - was born. #1 on my bucket list for 30 years - done!!!!!!
April 8, 2015 AD. And, Shannon, last month we were in the Amazon River basin. Of course we are!! What a month!!