Constantinople / Istanbul - Ancient and Modern - Crossroads of the World

Constantinople / Istanbul - Ancient and Modern - Crossroads of the World
Istanbul/constantinople - Ancient/Modern - View of the Old City from across the Golden Horn, atop the Galata Tower.

2013 Pilgrimage News

We have ELEVEN wonderful Pilgrims going.
Registrations are now closed.
Thanks to all.  Keep us in your prayers. 

You can fill out a registration form online. Just fill out the form (one per passenger), print and sign it, and mail or fax it to 310-552-2622. Full payment will be needed by the last week of January.
A Pilgrimage e-brochure (PDF) is available. It has information you can easily print out and share with others.

Early Christian World Pilgrimage-Retreat  
Eighteen Days in Turkey with Fr. Tom Welbers
 March 31 to April 18, 2013
Cost: $5,495, double occupancy, including air fare.

This Pilgrimage-Retreat, under the leadership of Fr. Tom Welbers and an expert local tour guide, will include reflection and exploration of our spiritual heritage as we visit significant sites of Scripture and history. We will explore far beyond the “standard” Footsteps of St. Paul, to immerse ourselves in all dimensions of our religious past to gain understanding of the present-day reality of our faith.  We will celebrate the Eucharist almost every day, often at significant sites, and we’ll have time for leisurely retreat-like reflection and prayer, including a full day at the House of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ephesus. 

The cost will be $5495, including double-occupancy accommodations, breakfasts and dinners, hotel porterage/included meal tips, taxes, and group coach airfare (non-stop round-trip on Turkish Airlines from LAX, and two domestic flights within Turkey).  Not included is the cost of lunch on most days, optional activities (e.g., balloon ride in Cappadocia, Whirling Dervishes, and Folk Dance show), personal purchases, and tips for the guide and driver. A limited number of single rooms will be available at a supplemental cost of $995. 

If you live outside the southern California area, and need to make alternate travel arrangements to and from Istanbul, please contact Executours directly: or 800-323-7004 

There will be two preparatory gatherings for Pilgrims at Good Shepherd on the following Sunday afternoons: February 17 and March 17. We will be able to explore background information to help you to enter this Pilgrimage-Retreat experience more fully, as well as address specific questions about our travel. Some Pilgrims from past years will join us and will share their own experiences.  All are welcome.

Our Itinerary

Days 0 & 1 - Sunday & Monday, March 31 & April 1 - Arrival in Istanbul
We will leave LAX on Easter Sunday evening, 6:20 pm on Turkish Airlines Flight 10, non-stop to Istanbul. Arriving Monday afternoon at 5:10 pm, we will transfer to a hotel near the airport, where we will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving for the Pilgrimage, have dinner, and get a good night’s sleep.

Day 2 - Tuesday, April 2 - Flight to Izmir
After an early morning flight to Izmir (ancient Smyrna), we will go immediately to the historic Church of St. Polycarp for Mass and a reflection in the garden.  We’ll then have lunch in a wonderful fish restaurant by the waterfront, and have some free time. An hour-long bus ride will take us to Kuşadası, near Ephesus, where we will spend three nights.

Day 3 - Wednesday, April 3 - Ephesus
This will be a full day in ancient Ephesus, where we will visit the Roman ruins, the Terrace Houses (similar to those where St. Paul’s early Christian community would have gathered), the Double Church of the Mother of God (the site of the Council of Ephesus in 431), St. Luke’s Tomb, the Cave of the Seven Sleepers, the site of the Temple of Artemis, the Basilica and Tomb of St. John the Evangelist, and the Ephesus Museum. After this full day of touring, we will return to the hotel to celebrate Mass and have dinner.

Day 4 - Thursday, April 4 - Ephesus: Retreat day at Mary’s House
Today we will spend a full day in the peaceful setting of the House of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There will be several spiritual reflections, readings and time for prayer, as well as Mass. To end the day we'll have a little fun at a fashion show at a local leather goods production center, with, of course, an opportunity to shop for export quality leather goods at greatly reduced prices.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Kuşadası.

Day 5 - Friday, April 5- Hierapolis
Today we will drive to Hierapolis (Pamukkale), about 3-4 hours on the road, and after checking into the hotel, where we’ll spend two nights, we’ll tour the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis, including the Martyrium and newly discovered Tomb of St. Philip. We will celebrate Mass back at the hotel, and have a chance to relax in the famous thermal waters of Hierapolis before dinner and bedtime.

Day 6 - Saturday, April 6 - Hierapolis, Laodicea, Aphrodisias, Colossae
Today we will visit the ruins of Laodicea, still in the process of excavation and restoration, and then drive to the magnificent ruins of Aphrodisias, where we will see evidence of the early blend of pagan and Christian cultures. Following lunch at the rustic Doğa Restaurant, we'll visit the unexcavated mound of the ancient city of Colossae on the way back to our hotel.  After Mass at the hotel, we'll again have a chance to soak in the thermal waters, before dinner and bedtime.

Day 7 - Sunday, April 7- Antalya
Today we will drive about four hours to Antalya (ancient Attalia), where we hope to be able to celebrate Sunday Mass in a German Catholic “House Church,” St. Nikolaus Gemeinde.  We will also visit the excellent Museum, and check into our hotel where we will spend three nights.

Day 8 - Monday, April 8 - Antalya, Myra, Phaselis
Today we will visit Myra, the city of St. Nicholas (a three-hour scenic drive each way) and hope to get permission to celebrate Mass at the ancient Basilica of St. Nicholas.  On our way back to Antalya, we’ll visit Phaselis, a picturesque ancient Lycian city.  Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 9 - Tuesday, April 9 - Antalya, Perga
This morning we’ll drive an hour or so to Perga, visited twice by St. Paul and an early center of Christianity.  We’ll return to Antalya for lunch and a tour of other sites, including a boat ride from the old harbor, where Paul and Barnabas concluded their first missionary journey. We hope to visit and possibly celebrate Mass at the St. Paul Cultural Center, an English-speaking Protestant community in Antalya.

Day 10 - Wednesday, April 10 - Aspendos, Derbe, Lystra, Catalhöyük, Konya
Today we will travel from Antalya to Konya, approximately five hours total driving time.  The trip will take all day, however, because we will stop at Aspendos, site of one of the best-preserved Roman theaters, still in use for concerts and plays.  We’ll have lunch in a small village restaurant in the Taurus Mountains, and drive past the unexcavated mounds of Derbe and Lystra, sites of St. Paul’s missionary activities. Then, we’ll stop for a tour of Catalhöyük, a fascinating active archaeological site where a 9,000-year-old neolithic farming settlement is being excavated and studied.  When we arrive at Konya (ancient Iconium, one of the centers of St. Paul’s missionary activity), we’ll check into the hotel, and have dinner before bedtime after a long day.  We’ll spend only one night in Konya.

Day 11 - Thursday, April 11 - Konya, Cappadocia
We’ll leave the hotel early to get to the little St. Paul Church in the heart of the city for Mass at 8 am.  There we will have a chance to visit with Sisters Serena and Isabella and learn of their mission of presence and service with no resident priest and no permanent Catholic community.  Following a visit to the Tomb of Mevlana (Rumi), the 13th-century Sufi mystic, poet, and philosopher who founded the order of the Whirling Dervishes, we’ll drive to Cappadocia, about a four hour drive.  Along the way we’ll visit the Sultanhani Caravanserai, one of the many places of rest and hospitality along the ancient Silk Road. We’ll spend three nights in Cappadocia.

Days 12, 13, and 14 - Friday to Sunday, April 12, 13, and 14 - Cappadocia
We’ll have three days to explore the wonders of Cappadocia, which boasts one of the most fantastic landscapes in the world, as well as traces of ancient Christian and pre-Christian life.  The great theologians who helped to formulate the way we express our belief in Christ and the Trinity came from here.  Many rock-carved monasteries and churches, as well as underground cities, give witness to an as-yet not fully understood way of life for many centuries in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages.  One of the best ways to see Cappadocia will be from an optional, early morning, hot-air balloon ride.  Cappadocia is also a center for the revival of ancient village carpetmaking techniques and finely crafted pottery.  We will have the opportunity to attend an optionalsema of the Whirling Dervishes, and celebrate Mass in several cave churches. On Sunday, after a festive Mass and lunch at a small village restaurant/hotel with an ancient cave church on its own property, we’ll take a late afternoon flight back to Istanbul, where we’ll settle in to our hotel for four nights.

Days 15-18 - Monday-Thursday, April 15-18 - Istanbul
These three full days in Istanbul have yet to planned in detail, but we hope to include if possible:
      Mass in significant Catholic churches, such as the St. Esprit Cathedral and St. Antoine Church.
      Great historic Orthodox Churches, such as the Hagia Sophia, St. Savior in Chora, Our Lady of the Mongols, Pammakaristos, Pantocrator, the cast-iron Church of St. Stephen of the Bulgars, among others.
      Great Museums, such as the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, the Topkapi Palace, and others.
      Meeting significant people, such as His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Archbishop Louis Pelatre, and Dr. Rinaldo Marmara (historian and secretary to the Turkish Bishops’ Conference)
      Visiting the Mosques of Suleymaniye and Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque)
      Other places and events, such as the Hippodrome, the Basilica Cistern, and a cruise on the Bosphorus.
      Shopping at the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar, as well as the famous upscale Istiklal Street.
Thursday, at midday, the Pilgrimage will end with Turkish Airlines Flight 9, non-stop to LAX, departing at 12:45 pm, and arriving the same day at 4:30 pm.

For more information about the itinerary or questions about the nature of the Pilgrimage-Retreat experience, please visit, e-mail Fr. Tom Welbers at,
or phone 909-367-4592 (Fr. Welbers' cell).
For information about registration, logistics, or other trip details, contact Executours directly.

TRIP PRICE -- $5,495
The trip price is based on double occupancy and includes round-trip group coach air from Los Angeles; lodgings per itinerary; Continental breakfasts and dinners; admissions to listed museums visited; and local guide.

Trip prices are per person based on double occupancy. Availability of single occupancy is limited and at additional cost of $995. All offers are subject to availability, are capacity controlled and may be withdrawn at any time without prior notice. Trip price does not include airline baggage charges, travel insurance cost, individual transfers, optional items or personal expenses, or other items not listed as included. Changes in fees, fuel surcharges, and taxes may result in surcharges. Lunches and beverages at meals are not included. Executours and/or Fr. Welbers reserve the right to cancel this trip for any reason in their sole judgment, including insufficient number of participants. We cannot be responsible for incomplete or inaccurate representations, which may not be under our control. In the event of a pricing error, misrepresentation or omission, we reserve the right to adjust pricing or make other corrections. Fr. Welbers and Executours may adjust, omit or limit itineraries, scheduled stops or activities, and/or substitute or change hotels or flight arrangements as circumstances warrant in their sole judgment. Information and pricing is subject to change without notice. Additional restrictions, terms and conditions apply.

$500 deposit per person upon application. Full balance due must be received by Dec. 31, 2012.

If written cancellation is received by Executours by the date(s) specified below, refunds and cancellation penalties are:

Dec. 14, 2012 – final payment deadline
By Dec. 31, 2012 - final full payment deadline.
By Jan 14, 2013 - refund of payment less $1,500 fee per person.
By Feb. 15, 2013 - refund of 50% of full payment per person.
After Feb. 15, 2013 - no refund.

Executours encourages you to purchase travel insurance, provided by Travelex.Based on a package price of $5,495, the estimated cost is $399.  Travel insurance must be bought before final payment is due. Terms, conditions, exclusions, and limits are governed by the coverage documents, which are available on request. Travel insurance payment is non-refundable.
A description of coverage provided by Travelex is available here. Executours makes no representations about coverage.

This trip requires walking (up to a few miles daily) on uneven surfaces, climbing stairs and inclines, and at times significant exertion in order to see and experience all aspects of the itinerary. The itinerary is not suitable for and cannot be accessed by persons with limited mobility, including persons who use a wheelchair or walker. Trip members should consult their personal physician for individual assessments and recommendations.  Each trip member certifies that he/she is fully fit and able to participate in the trip and all related activities and has no physical, mental or emotional condition that would create a hazard or detract from the trip for him/herself or other passengers.

A signed registration form (including Seller of Travel disclosures) is required from each passenger agreeing to the terms and conditions for the trip.
TO REGISTER OR FOR FURTHER INFORMATION  You can fill out a registration form online. Just fill out the form (one per passenger), print and sign it, and mail or fax it (to 310-552-2622) with your deposit. A signed registration form is required from each passenger agreeing to the terms and conditions for the trip.

For more information on tour arrangements or to book:
or call 
Executours at 800-323-7044

Virtual Pilgrimage Diary (Last Year, 2012)

Day-by-day on the Pilgrimage.  Make a "Virtual Pilgrimage" with us. Follow us each day by clicking on the day's link below.  I will be revising each day's itinerary with pictures, links and a diary with comments and reflections on each days activities. I hope you will check back often to keep in touch with our "Pilgrims' Progress."  I wish you many blessings.  Pray for us as we are praying for you. Allah'a emanet ol! (God bless you.) With love, Fr. Tom Welbers.

Day 0 - Sunday, April 8, 2012 - Easter Sunday Departure

Day 1 - Monday, April 9, 2012 - Arrival in Istanbul

Day 2 - Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - Free Day in Istanbul; Official Opening

Day 3 - Wednesday, April; 11, 2012 - Istanbul Orientation Tour: Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Bosphorus Cruise, Mass at St. Esprit Cathedral

Day 4 - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - Gallipoli, Troy, Çanakkale

Day 5 - Friday, April 13, 2012 - Çanakkale, Alexandria Troas, Gulpinar, Assos, Pergamum, Izmir

Day 6 - Saturday, April 14, 2012 - Izmir, Sardis, Kuşadası

Day 7 - Sunday, April 15, 2012 - Full day in Ephesus; Mass at Mary's House

Day 8 - Monday, April 16, 2012 - Aphrodisias, Hierapolis

Day 9 - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - Laodicea, Antioch-in-Pisidia, Konya

Day 10 - Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - Konya, Çatalhöyük, Silifke, Mersin

Day 11 - Thursday, April 19, 2012 - Tarsus, Antakya (Antioch-on-the-Orontes)

Day 12 - Friday, April 20, 2012 - Full Day in Antakya

Day 13 - Saturday, April 21, 2012 - Antakya, Cappadocia

Day 14 - Sunday, April 22, 2012 - Full Day in Cappadocia

Day 15 - Monday, April 23, 2012 - Cappadocia, Hattuşaş, Ankara

Day 16 - Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - Ankara, Yassihöyük, Bursa

Day 17 - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - Bursa, Iznik (Nicaea), Istanbul

Day 18 - Thursday, April 26, 2012 - Istanbul: Archaeological Museum, Topkapı Palace, Mass at St.  Antoine Church

Day 19 - Friday, April 27, 2012 - Istanbul: Visit with Patriarch Bartholomew I and other Byzantine/Orthodox sites, Friday Prayer at Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent, Final Mass and Farewell Dinner

Day 20 - Saturday, April 28, 2012 - Official End of Pilgrimage; First Day of Extension in Istanbul

Day 21 - Sunday, April 29, 2012 - Second Day of Extension in Istanbul: Mass with Chaldean Catholic Community

Day 22 - Monday, April 30, 2012 - Third Day of Extension in Istanbul: Synagogue and Jewish Museum

Day 23 - Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - Fourth Day of Extension in Istanbul

Day 24, Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - End of Extension in Istanbul: Return Home

Day 0 - Easter Sunday Departure

Sunday, April 8, 2012

For the twenty-one of us leaving from LAX, we depart from the Tom Bradley Terminal on Turkish Airlines Flight TK10, at 6:20 pm, for a 12-hour and 50-minute non-stop flight to Istanbul.

Boeing 777-ER300 -- our flight! -- taking off at LAX.
On the same day, six of us are leaving from other parts of the USA and the world.

All to meet in Istanbul tomorrow late afternoon.

Did you know? Turkish Airlines, a member of Star Alliance, was awarded "Best Airline in Europe" for 2011  by Skytrax.

Day 1 - Arrival in Istanbul

Monday, April 9, 2012

After a 12 hr 50 min flight on TK 10 from LAX, twenty-one of us arrive at the Ataturk International Airport (IST) in Istanbul late Monday afternoon at 5:10 pm.

Because of our travel over nine time zones from west to east, it is now ten hours ahead of Pacific Daylight Time (Turkey is on Daylight Saving Time too).  Our bodies think it's still 7:10 am -- the folks at home are just starting their Monday morning.

Here's another video of landing at Istanbul, with a tour through the airport. Looks a lot like most other airports.

After disembarking from the plane, we must first purchase a visa, good for 90 days, which costs US $20 (cash).  The visa is a sticker placed in the passport, then we go to passport control, where the sticker is stamped with the entry date.  From there we go to the baggage claim area, pass through the customs (where nobody has yet been stopped or questioned), and through the doors into the arrival area where someone from Orion Tours will be waiting for us.

There are, of course, opportunities to change money here.  Although you might feel better having some Turkish Lira in your pocket, it's not advisable to change very much money at the airport. There are a lot of trustworthy banks with ATMs near the hotel, and plenty of opportunity to get cash tomorrow.

The other six are all arriving within an hour or so of our flight, so we can all meet at the airport, and travel together in a bus provided by Orion Tour to the Madison Hotel in the Beyoglu District, our home for the next three nights.

After getting settled in the hotel, it is still be early enough to take a brief walk in the area around the hotel and perhaps get a bite to eat.  It's safe, but don't walk alone.  You'll be spotted immediately as a tourist, and fair game for slick hucksters to sell you anything from cheap souvenirs to expensive carpets.

This will be the last night for the next three weeks you can sleep without the anticipation of an early wake-up call!

Did you know? Istanbul, with approximately 13 million people, is the third largest city in the world, following only Shanghai (17M) and Karachi (also 13M). The Brookings Institute rated Istanbul as the #1 most dynamic city in the world following the 2009 global recession. Istanbul was also voted #1 of the New York Times' "Best Places to Go" in 2010.

Day 2 - Free Day in Istanbul; Official Opening

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

This first day in Istanbul is unscheduled to relax and get adjusted and oriented, as well as to shop and explore.

After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, you may want to set out and explore the Beyoglu neighborhood. Unless you're really brave, I do not recommend going out alone. It's easy to get lost in a new and unfamiliar city, and you'll be spotted by merchants of varying degrees of legitimacy who are very skilled at separating the unwary from their money.

Historic Trolleys on Istiklal Caddesi.
One of the things to do today will be to visit one of the nearby ATMs (there are many reliable banks in the neighborhood) and get some cash. I recommend getting about 200-300 Turkish Liras (see converter widget on the right sidebar). On all the ATMs you can choose "English" on the first screen, and then you're prompted for you PIN number and the amount in Turkish Liras you want to withdraw.

Armed with some cash, you might want to explore Taksim Square and walk down Istiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue), a 1-1/2 mile pedestrian street with the historic little red trolley running down the middle. Lots of browsing and shopping (as well as snacking and people watching) can be done here.

About halfway down the street, don't miss the Church of St. Anthony, the largest and most famous Catholic Church in Istanbul. In the courtyard is a new statue of Pope John XXIII, beloved of the Turks because of his loving and positive attitude when he was Papal Nuncio to Turkey during World War II. It's always bustling with visitor, and you may also notice a significant number of young Muslims coming in to pray.

If you continue a little beyond the end of the street, you'll find the Galata tower. Don't miss climbing to the top. The view is breathtaking on a clear day.

I plan to take this walk, probably late in the morning.  Anyone's welcome to come with me if you want.  I'm not sure where I'll go from the tower. Possibly I'll take a tram to the Sultanahmet area to visit Dogan of the Terrace Guesthouse, where we will stay for the extra four nights at the end of the Pilgrimage.

You're welcome to come along with me, but you also may want to arm yourself with a map and explore other parts.

Be sure you're back at the Hotel by 5:00 pm. That's when we will celebrate the opening Mass of the Pilgrimage, which will be followed by an opportunity to meet Aydin Eroglu (our guide), as well as, we hope, Ersan Atsur, the owner of Orion Tour, and some of his staff.

l-r: Fr. Tom, Ersan Atsur, owner of Orion Tour; Aydin Eroglu,  our tour guide

This will be followed by dinner at the hotel, and some leisure time before bed. Tomorrow starts early, just like almost every

Day 3 - Istanbul Orientation Tour

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
8:30 am-Depart the hotel  and visit Hagia Sophia at its Opening
After breakfast, we board the bus and first pray Morning Prayer. Each Pilgrim has a copy of the April "Give Us This Day" (Liturgical Press) as the basis of our common prayer. This takes about five minutes, which is about the time it takes to drive three blocks from the hotel.   Our route to Hagia Sophia takes us across the Golden Horn and under the Aqueduct of Valens to the Sultanahment area where all the places we visit today are located. Aydin points out many historic sites and landmarks along the way. We begin our visits with the Hagia Sophia, at the eastern end of the large park that marks the site of the ancient Hippodrome.

We will only be able to spend about an hour at Hagia Sophia. Not enough surely, but you can get more out of this brief visit (as well as the short time we spend at other places) by exploring and finding out more in the internet beforehand. If you are staying the extra four days, I suggest you plan to spend at least half a day exploring this wonderful place in greater detail. For now, these two web sites, each with panoramic views from different locations within and outside the building, can give you a good sense of the wonders that await you. (Note these may be slow to load.)

360TR-Panoramic Tour of Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia - 3D Virtual Tour

In Turkish it's called Ayasofya and today is a mosque-become-a-museum. Do you wonder what it may have looked like in the days of the Byzantine Constantinople? YouTube has several excellent videos of 3-D recreations of the building in its glory days as the premier Christian Church in the world.

Newly revealed image of an angel
on one of the pendentives.
The first one has the exterior and general views of the interior. It features some of the artwork that remains today, but one needs to imagine that the gold-colored wall surfaces were probably covered with glorious mosaics and/or frescoes at certain points in its history. Here is a more detailed view of the sanctuary. The Baptistery is located to the left of today's exit passageway. It's a mausoleum for Ottoman dignitaries today, but the baptismal font is on display in a small patio outside the building. This reconstruction gives a good idea of the layout of a Byzantine baptistery, with a large font for full immersion. Finally, this one begins with a sequence showing the computer model being built, followed by a slow-moving series of exterior views from every possible angle.

This 15-minute video (part 1 and part 2) gives a somewhat one-sided depiction of the Emperor Justinian (482-565), who built the great church in just five years (532-537), emphasizing his brutality and despotism over any other qualities. But it has some fascinating computer generated reconstructions of the building of both the Hippodrome and the Hagia Sophia.

10:30-11:00 am -Visit the Basilica Cistern

11:15-12:15 am -Visit the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art.

On the north side of the Hippodrome is the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, a fascinating collection of carpets, books, furniture,and artifacts. (More pictures.) Here Aydin explains in some detail the various kinds and patterns of Turkish carpets. There are also displays of the life life of the various peoples of Anatolia.

12:15-1:15 pm - Lunch in one of the many restaurants in the area

1:15-1:45 pm - Hippodrome

Today, what's left of the Hippodrome is a big park, with two obelisks and the serpentine column (originally from Delphi), but what a structure, and what a history!

1:45-2:45 pm - Blue Mosque

3:00-5:00 pm - Bosphorus Cruise (on a private charter boat)

Our orientation day concludes with a cruise on the Bosphorus. It's an opportunity to relax a bit and enjoy the beauty of one of the most historic and important waterways in the world.

The Asian shores of the Bosphorus used to boast of some of the most expensive homes in the world. No longer. It seems Beverly Hills now has that distinction.

5:00- return to hotel to refresh before Mass

6:00 pm - Walk to St. Esprit Cathedral for Mass 

Pope Benedict XV: "Benefactor of all people,
regardless of nationality or religion."
The Saint Esprit (Holy Spirit) Cathedral is set in a modest courtyard of the French Notre Dame de Sion High School. Its most striking feature is a monumental statue of Pope Benedict XV, erected by the Turkish government in 1923 in the last days of Ottoman rule, commemorating his peacemaking efforts during World War I.

We hope to be able to arrange a brief visit with Bishop Louis Prelatre, the Apostolic Vicar or a brief talk by one of the other priests.

Following Mass, we can exit the back door and walk down Papa Roncalli Sokak to the  Akcanlar Ocakbasi, Restaurant for dinner, and then walk back to hotel (This is a very favorite restaurant of mine near the hotel and the Cathedral.)

Day 4 - Istanbul via Gallipoli and Troy to Canakkale

Day 4, Thursday, 4/12 - Istanbul via Gallipoli and Troy to Canakkale

6:30 am - Breakfast at hotel
7:00 am - Departure from hotel for Canakkale.

9:00 am - First facility stop at Tekirdag (15 min)
11:30 am - Lunch stop at Gelibolu (Gallipoli) ($)

View Larger Map

12:30 pm - Drive to the Anzac landing area
1:15 pm - Visit the War Museum (if open)
1:45 pm - Anzac Landing at Anzac cove
2:00 pm - Drive to Chunuk bair.
2:15 pm - Visiting the Chunuk Memorial.
2:30 pm - Drive to the ferry .
3:00 pm - Ferry across the Dardanelles.
3:30 pm - Drive to Troy.
4:00 pm -Visit Troy and a refreshment break.
5:30 pm - Leave Troy for hotel
6:00 pm - Arrive at Hotel
7:30 pm - Dinner
(1 night in Canakkale. at Tusan Hotel)

Day 5 - Cannakale to Izmir

Friday, April 13, 2012

6:15 am - Breakfast at hotel
7:00 am - Depart from Tusan hotel (Canakkale)

View Larger Map

7:45 am - Visit the ruins of Alexandria Troas.
8:15 am - Drive to Gulpinar and visit the Temple of Apollo.
Temple of Athena, Assos
9:15 am - Drive to Assos.
9:45 am - Visit the ruins in Assos.
10:30 am - Drive to Bergama (Pergamon)
1:00 pm - Lunch in Bergama ($)
(Aydin needs time for Friday prayer)
Acropolis at Pergamon from the Aesclepion
2:15 pm - visit the Acropolis (to 3:30 pm)
3:40 pm - Photostop for the "Red Basilica"
3:45 pm - Visit the Aesclepion
5:00 pm - Drive to Izmir
7:00 pm - Arrive at hotel for dinner and the night
(1 night in Izmir at the Kaya Prestige Hotel.)

Day 6 - Izmir to Sardis and to Kusadasi

Saturday, April 14, 2012

7:45 am - Breakfast at hotel
8:45 am - Depart from the hotel for St. Polycarp Church for Mass
10:00 am - Drive to Sardis.

11:15am - Visit the Temple of Artemis.
12:00 am - Visit the Synagogue and the Gymnasium.
12:30am-Return to Izmir
2:00 pm - Lunch on the waterfront ($)
3:15 pm - Drive to Kusadasi
5:00 pm - Arrive at hotel in Kusadasi for dinner
(2 nights in Kusadasi at Pine Marina Hotel.)

Day 7 - Kusadasi: Full Day in Ephesus

Sunday, April 15, 2012

7:00 am - Breakfast at hotel
7:30 am - Depart from hotel to Ephesus
8:00 am - Enter ancient city at top gate
Morning will include not only regular tour of the ancient city, but also the newly excavated "Terrace Houses," and the Double Church of the Theotokos. Also the Cave of St. Paul, not open to tourists, if we can get permission.
12:45 pm - Lunch (included) and fashion show at the Leather Factory Showroom.
2:30 pm - Basilica of St. John and Ephesus Museum
5:00 pm visit Mary’s House and celebrate Mass.
7:00 pm - Drive to Hotel in Kusadasi for dinner