WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is available for Lycoming College alumni and friends who have a passion for history and adventure. You are invited to take an archaeological tour of coastal Turkey on an exclusive private yacht with personal guides - Lycoming's world-renowned archaeologists and faculty members - Drs. William Dever and Pamela Gaber. The two-week excursion, titled "In the Footsteps of St. Paul," is scheduled for May 28-June 10.
If interested or for more information, contact Lycoming's Office of Alumni Relations at (570) 321-4134 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is Dever's recollection of a similar tour he guided.
"In the spring 2002, I led a two-week tour of the south and west coast of Turkey for a small, select group. Of the dozens and dozens of trips that I have taken and escorted during more than 30 years, this one stands above them all.
After a two-day tour of Istanbul's sites and museums, we flew to the picturesque port of Fethiye on the south coast to board our yacht. The first week we spent on a 'gulet,' a modern replica of a 19th century wooden sailing vessel. The boat, 90-feet long, had a crew of three and took 16 passengers in comfortable private cabins, each with full bath. The food lived up to Turkey's formidable reputation for an eclectic blend of European and Mediterranean cuisine.
We were under way each morning, by sail when weather permitted, anchoring in a quiet cove for a swim, lunch and a siesta. Afternoons were spent ashore, touring fabulous ancient Classical ruins with expert local guides. After a splendid dinner and a résumé of the day's activities by me, we bedded down for a quiet night. (This spring, Pamela will be able to add her art historical insights.)
Our itinerary for the weeks at sea began at Perge, with its magnificent stadium, theater, agora and baths, visited by Paul. It was then on to the extensive ruins of Sidé, with its fine museum. At Aspendos, we visited the only fully restored Roman theater anywhere. Xanthos, the capital city of Lycia, presented us with elaborate rock-cut cliff side tombs. Patara's seaside location against the background of the hills gave us a glimpse of a half-buried Roman theater. Anchoring at Kalkan, we went up-river by small boat to the sprawling ruins of the Hellenistic city of Caunos, where one could have spent days. The next day we anchored in the ancient Roman harbor of Knidos and spent hours among the vast remains. Our last call was the home port of our vessel, Bodrum, where we visited the magnificent medieval castle and fort.
The second week of the tour was by modern air-conditioned bus to a number of sites up the west coast of Turkey. We saw the magnificent 6th century BCE marble temple at Didyme. At Priene, nestled at the hillside among fragrant pines, we wandered around the ruins of the best preserved Roman town anywhere. At Miletus, we stood near the theater at the harbor's edge and read Paul's farewell address to the elders there (Acts 20:17-38). Ephesus is one of the Classical world's largest and best preserved sites, with a theater seating 2,500 people, where Paul spent some three years and addressed a large crowd and caused a riot (Acts 19:23-41). Pergamon has been extensively excavated and reconstructed, its crowning glory a three-tier Roman theater set into the hillside. A side trip inland took us to Sardis to view its splendid Jewish synagogue.
All along the land tour we stayed in 5-star hotels, usually enjoying a lunch and dinner buffet that seemed endless. Expert local guides accompanied us, and on the bus we had time to discuss issues of modern life in Turkey.
I have done the yacht tour along the Turkish coast two more times, with a slightly varied itinerary. Each time has been a delight, especially with our old friend and guide, Suleiman ("the Magnificent," he says smilingly).
To the passengers who will be lucky enough to accompany me and Pamela, I say: 'Welcome Aboard.'"