Antalya: "Miserable"


Antalya Province

The Turquoise Coast

Republic of Turkey

26 October 2009

12:30 pm

Mehmet: Please come in.  Please have a tea with me.

Jan: Thank you. I was just admiring your carpets

I am thinking: Tea sounds good. I am tired wandering around the cobbled streets of this hilly old town. Actually, Antalya is quite lovely, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Mehmet: Are you interested in hand woven carpets?

Jan: Yes. But I am not considering buying one now. 

Stay strong, Jan. This guy's a Turkish carpet dealer.

Mehmet: Please let me show you a few. Do you prefer hot tea?

Jan: Yes. It's chilly and I'm a bit wet from the rain.  

My water absorbent Old Navy jacket is not helping at all.

Mehmet: Since it's now the end of the season, I can give you a special price and ship the carpets at no additional cost.

Jan: Thank you Mehmet. Your carpets are beautiful. Please let me think about it. 

They really are. I am tempted, but....

Mehmet. Perhaps you will come back after lunch?

Jan: I am thinking about visiting the mountain ruins of Termessos this afternoon. Do you know a reliable driver?

Jan deftly changes the subject to the Termessians, a Pisidian people who were fierce warriors. They fought off Alexander in 330 BCE. The Romans accepted Termessos as an independent ally in 70 BCE.

Mehmet: I will call Nezi. He is known as "the doctor." But Jan, I recommend that you visit Termessos tomorrow morning. It will rain this afternoon. You will be miserable walking in the rain on the mountain.

Fethiye: "Drop Anchor"

Eastern Mediterranean

29 October 2009

My Dear Capitan David, Capitano Giovanni, καπετάνιος Πέτρος, and एडमिरल सिंह *

cc: Family and Friends

On your next cruise to the eastern Mediterranean, I recommend you explore Fethiye Bay (Fethiye Körfezi).  Drop anchor astride any number of idyllic islands: Yassicalar ( Flat Island ), Tersane Island, or Kizil Ada (Red Island ).  Swim and snorkel in the clear turquoise waters of Cennet Köyü ( Paradise Bay ) or Klopatra Hamami (Cleopatra’s Bath ). 

Give your cook a day off.  Sail into Fethiye Harbor and dock at the marina.  Sea-side and cliff-side restaurants serve delightful Turkish dishes featuring fresh fish and sea food. 

Steady your sea legs and wander around Fethiye (ancient Telmessos). The Tomb of Amyntas (350 BCE) is a Doric style Lycian temple cut into the rock wall of the cliff facing the sea.  Close to the harbor is a Roman theatre.

Is your crew busy scraping the algae off the hull?  Take a short ride into the mountains to the sorrowful site of Kayaköy (Karmylassos).

Pamukkale: Travertines, Sculptures, Sarcophagi

6 November 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

I had a wonderful stay in Pamukkale.

The Travertines are unique.* And while I was climbing up the slightly treacherous hillside and wading through the pools, I met a young Japanese woman. She encouraged me to keep climbing and when we reached the top we strolled around the ruins of the Hierapolis together. ** Finally we visited the Hierapolis Archeological Museum. ***

On my own the next day, a rainy day, I traveled to Afrodisias.**** The site is splendid, but I spent much of the time juggling my umbrella and my camera while trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, to keep the lens dry.

Ephesus: "Quite a Group!"

06 November 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

The "usual suspects" and several "unusual" ones are associated with the ancient seaport known as Ephesus:

Anatolians, Ioanians, Lydians, Persians, and Romans, and historical figures Androclus, Croesus, Herostratus, Alexander, Nero, Hadrian, St John, Virgin Mary, St Paul (Letter to the Ephesians) and Emperor Justinian. Quite a group!

I don't know how many tens of thousands of tourists visit Ephesus each year. I assume that many come for the day from a cruise ship docked at Kuşadasi. They come in groups with a guide who points out the many historical influences on what the guidebook calls "the best preserved classical city in the Eastern Mediterranean." Greeks, Romans, Christians, Jews, Muslims - all played a role in the history here.

I do not dare to describe the ruins of Ephesus. They are extensive and of course include all the "usual suspects" to be found in a classical city: walkways, columns, gates, fountains, temples, a gymnasium and baths, and a grand theatre that seats 25,000 people: each successive range of seating up from the stage is pitched more steeply than the one below, thereby improving the view and acoustics for spectators in the upper seats.


Selçuk: "The Market, the Basilica, the Citadel and the Locomotives"

06 November 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

After Ephesus, I took the day off to wander around Selçuk.

I found the Citadel, the Basilica of St John,* the remains of a Roman aqueduct and a colorful Market.

I took a bus to Çamlik to wander around the Steam Locomotive Museum.

Of course, I wandered into one or two pastry shops.

Izmir: The Agora and the Synagogues

08 November 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

I have decided on a final itinerary for my remaining time in Turkey: Selcuk – Izmir – Bergama – Canakkale – Edirne – Karacakoy – Istanbul. Now I need to pick up the pace and cut back a bit on my strolling and wandering.

The first decision is how much time to spend in Izmir (pop 2.6 mil). I decided, very little. Big cities have become less attractive to me. But Izmir, the ancient city of Smyrna, is known for its large Jewish community and I did want to see the old synagogues.