12 December ’04, Sunday. For the first night in “Bumble Bee” for a month, we both slept great !!! It was good to get back “home”. We stayed in bed until just before 9 and then we almost tossed a coin to see who was going to get up, start the heater and make coffee…I lost. The van is so small, it doesn’t take much for it to warm up (also to cool down as there isn’t much insulation to hold the heat in…). After a great cup or two of coffee and a warm breakfast we headed out to explore Kuºadasi. Kuºadasi is a town of about 50-60,000 and is right on the Aegean Sea. In the summer it is a huge cruise ship destination. A few real good ruins are not too far away, and the water front is all set up to handle the souvenirs and the beaches that they may be looking for. It is amazing how many 1960 Chevy Impalas here that are used for taxi services for them. Stretching out into the sea, but tied to the mainland by a causeway, is a well taken care of fortress that dates from the 16th century. There is a wonderful walk all around the grounds that is taken in by all the locals on a Sunday like this one…sunny, and a little cool (about 65 degrees). For us, we took most of the day with a long walk out to the island, then around the boardwalk, and through the “Bazaar” area where we sat and had a very nice lunch. Finishing, we headed back to the campground and off to the showers before they cool off too much. The best time for showering is about 3 in the afternoon as the sun has had a chance to warm the solar panels and stored enough of the water to keep it hot long enough to really enjoy a little pampering.
11 December ’04, Saturday. 10:10am and we were saying our “Good-bye’s” to our friends in Yalikavak. The last 30 days have really been a great addition to our journey and it wouldn’t have been the same if it weren’t for the people of Yalikavak and everyone else we have met in Turkey. I have said it once and I will say it again…”You’ve just got to take the time to visit Turkey if you haven’t yet been here !!! Of course there are always regrets, and ours is that we didn’t have a chance to visit the eastern end of Turkey… maybe some other time. Even though we have just left our friends, we have just finished one heck of a exciting day. The sun has been with us all day, but it has been cool and the wind has certainly made its appearance. I think it topped out about 65 and with the wind about 40 degrees. Other than that, we had a grand time. All the sites that we visited today, we were there by ourselves…no lines, no one standing in line of site for your picture taking, and no peddlers. We visited 4 sites and the total admission was 16 million Turkish lire ($11.00US). Our first stop happened just by chance…as we were heading down the highway towards Didyma, Louise just happened to see some Roman ruins along side of the road. Then she let out this “Hold it…Turn around !!!” Back in the woods there was a wonderful series of pillars standing high, and she wanted to see them. Euromos… The remains consist of 15 tall columns and some look like they were never completed. Most were fluted totally and others were partially or not at all. This was a temple that changed deities more than once. With the coming of the Greeks and then the Roman culture. The Romans worshiped the God of Zeus here. This was constructed by Mausolus in the periods of 376-353 BC. Mausolus was the King who moved the capitol to Bodrum and built the enormous white marble tomb for himself in Bodrum that we wrote about late last month. The remainder of the city is found further up and down the hill, but we opted not to explore any further as there apparently isn’t much left to see except a lot of ruins spread all through the olive trees now occupying the land.
Our second stop was Didyma. Didyma was the site of the stupendous temple to Apollo. Apollo has had a number of great temples dedicated to him, and we have had a chance to see at least 4 or 5 of them here in Turkey. This site was managed and lived in by the priests who specialized in oracular management. This temple was originally destroyed by the Persians in 494BC and then reconstructed by Alexander the Great. The temple porch held 120 huge columns with richly carved bases. Also there is a huge head of Medusa (she with the snake hairdo). There are two covered ramps that lead down into the court where the oracule sat and prophesied after drinking from the sacred spring…we can only speculate as to what the water contained to make the prophesies possible. Didyma is a very large site, but as the day goes along, we will see others that will make it look small in comparison. The enormous diameters of the columns, and the height of them was spectacular. You keep asking your self…”How Do They Do That ???”. The stone carvings of Medusa, the small details around the walls, the faces of cattle, and on and on…beautiful work even if it were done today with all the modern machinery and tools that we have available. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have a digital camera with me. If I had to make this journey with a “film camera”, I would either be broke and have to head home now or I just wouldn’t be able to take all the photos. I don’t know if you have any interest in the galleries, but I just keep filling the pages up. I feel I probably have too many pictures there, but I only keep about 1 or of 15 or 20 that I take.
Miletus (Milet)…the great theatre rises up to meet you as you approach. This is just the beginning of a grand city from the 7th century BC to the 7th century AD. This was a grand harbor city that unfortunately lost it’s harbor by it being filled up with silt, and the commerce dropped right off the cliff and dwindled to nothing. The theatre was originally a Hellenistic building, but the Romans reconstructed it extensively during the 1st century and it held about 15,000 people in the seats. As we walked out of the theatre, we saw ruins in every direction we looked. This was a huge city… The remains of the harbor, called Lion Bay after the stone statues of lions that guarded it. The Agaras, the vast Baths of Faustina, constructed for Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ wife. It was interesting, when we were visiting the Pergamum Museum in Berlin, we saw the “Northern Gateway to the Southern Agora” that was originally from this site. It was not only extremely beautiful, but is was so large it was another one of those questions…”How did they get it here ???).
Priene…an important city from 300 BC. It was definitely smaller than Miletus (Milet) and it didn’t have the importance of Miletus either. The advantage to this was, the buildings did not vanish beneath the newer Roman ones. Of the buildings that remain, the 5 standing columns of the Temple of Athena, designed by Pythius of Halicarnassus. The Priene site sits high on a hill looking out over the flat plains which once were the back waters for Miletus and are now plowed fields of agriculture and the Aegean Sea far off in the distance. The Priene is interesting, but what will probably stick with me most, is the setting of the ruins beneath the steep Mt. Mykale and, the finely carved front row seats for VIP’s in the Grand Theatre. Who else in history sat right there in that very seat that I just sat in ???? By the way, it was still warm…
The day was a full one and it is getting to the hour that we had better start looking for our next “camp-site”. Ralph and Susan from Calgary has emailed us about a campground that they stayed in at Kuºadasi which was about 35 minutes away. It was about 3:30pm then, and the sun just doesn’t last too long this time of year. As we pulled into Kuºadasi, we were surprised as to it’s size. Finding that campground just could be a bigger challenge that I had wanted for the first day out. According to them and our book, it was about 1 km north of the marina, now to find the marina. We took a left…after about 20 minutes, we found we were wrong on that decision, so back to that same intersection and go right. As luck would have it, we did find a campground and just as it was getting dusk, we were able to plug in. After setting up we walked into town and went looking for something to eat. Today was a GREAT DAY, and it continued through dinner. We had a wonderful Turkish dinner and it didn’t cost us an arm and a leg either. The atmosphere was good, service wonderful and the food…wow…
7 December ’04, Tuesday. What started out as just another sunny day in Yalikavak, ended up with even more. We were out of bed by 8:30, had a great breakfast and walked down the stairs to see Emrah for a Turkish Shave. Now, I’ve mentioned getting a Turkish shave before, but every time I have one it makes the last one less memorable. For me, it is like….well, close anyway, maybe…well, not quite that good…but you’ve got to try one. One of the benefits of being in a small village is you get to meet a lot of people really quickly. If you haven’t met them, you still know them by reputation or rumor. Anyway, the other day when I was in to see Emrah for a haircut (shave) and a shave, I was introduced to Hakký (Hacurr). It just so happens that he gets a double shave (head and face) every third day, and there I was in the chair getting mine. Hakký is about 26-30 and is one of the lead crew members on a 75’ yacht here in Yalikavak. His boat is registered in Istanbul and is a beautiful craft sitting out here at the marina. Anyway, he invited us out for a tour after lunch. Louise, Emrah and I were on our way. Hakký was waiting for us at the gangplank and made us feel as if we were “the honored guests” about ready to leave for an extended cruise. We toured the boat from top to bottom, stern to bow…it was and is “BEAUTIFUL”. We were also entertained by an electronic grand piano while we enjoyed “Cay” ( (Chee) Turkish Tea) and a long talk. Then, we had to get back to the apartment, because Emrah was preparing a sit down dinner for Louise and me. This dinner was absolutely wonderful, and he had prepared it all on his own, under pressure of time and business demands (his shop was still open and he was “on call”). We ate until we were ready to burst and then Emrah and I had to leave for a soccer match in which Hakký was playing. This match was played on one of these soccer fields that is enclosed in a fence. It was a good time. The team Hakký plays with, was right on, and finished the game with a score of 9-0. Hakký scored 3 of the 9 goals. It was a good game, and the opposing team was better than the score showed. Tomorrow…more of the same….
3 December ’04. Friday. One of the problems that I am having now is the short days… It seems that we no sooner get out of bed and then, it is evening, dinner is done and it is almost time to surrender to the comfort of our bed again. I know this will get better as the days start to get longer, but right now…. Another problem that I am having, is getting behind this computer and keeping this web page up to date. Since we moved into the apartment our daily “adventures” have most often been no more than a nice long walk, a day fixing or re-upholstering the van, laundry, or just sitting by the sea and feeding the fish. Now there is nothing wrong with any of this, but it is much different than what we were and will be doing once we get back on the road of our journey. Yalikavak is not only a small resort village that is filled with people from all over the world during the “peak” season, it has a small fishing fleet as well. Each morning anywhere between 3 to 6 am you can hear the small diesel engines start up and head out around the rock jetty in front of our apartment. Wednesday, Louise and I were out for a walk around the boardwalk and feeding the fish from the piers, and we came across one of the fishermen sitting around a basket loading the fishing hooks that surrounded the basket with strips of squid. He was telling us that each line with hook was 3 meters long and 3 meters separation from the next hook. Overall, there were 500 hooks and bait in each basket and he has 4 baskets. He was baiting each hook the afternoon prior to the morning launch. Yesterday we just happened to be there when he came back in….he did really well. All up and down the boardwalk and the jetty, we see people of all ages with a fishing line wrapped around a spool, twirling the line in a large arch, and catapulting the hook and bait out into the water. The bait is just bread. The fish that they are after, are what we would call, “fingerlings”. They range from 2-3” long and are small. They are prepared whole (without cleaning ), dropped into flour, and pan fried. Each serving is about 12-18 fish, and they are really good. You must eat them head first !!! The fish “mongers”, sell most of the fish whole and again, they again are not “cleaned”. It is the responsibility of the buyer, to clean their own fish. We now have just 9 days left here. Soon, we will once again be on the road and not only seeing new and amazing sites, but we will be searching for that allusive winter campground. I’m looking forward to it…