#9 Turkey, May 9, 1999

Dear Everybody,

Jim, Jerry and I set off for Bodrum.  On the way when we bought gas, we gave the car a shower. At some gas stations here, there are showers of continually running water under which you drive your car for a good rinse!






On the way we stopped at three archeological sites, Priene,







and Didyma. They were most dramatic being Roman ruins from 2000 or more years ago.










Bodrum is a seaside town and has some interesting old stones. Our first order of business was to view the town from our hotel rooftop terrace while drinking a bottle of Kacaklidere Cayaha white wine—remember that name so you can tell your local liquor store which one you want! We toured the Crusader’s Castle the next day and viewed the actual remains of an 11th century ship that was wrecked nearby, goods from a 6th century wreck and the stern half of a 7th century shipwreck. Then there was the skeleton of Queen Ada from 360-325 BC that had lots of gold jewelry.


I went to see the remains of the Tomb of Mausolus, one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. Obviously this is where our word ‘mausoleum’ comes from. It was built by his wife, but there really was only a scattering of stones here, too. There was a model of a conjectured Tomb, which was really beautiful.





A Roman Amphitheatre overlooked the city—my there were a lot of these! There were also windmills at Bodrum.

The next day Jim and Jerry went off on their way and I left for the village of Yalikawak. I walked around town but there were mostly tourists there, so I went on to the village of Gumusluk nearby. Since it was my birthday I had a mammoth dinner. Starters of watercress/yoghurt/garlic and aubergine/tomato; main course of fish, chips; Turkish coffee and a half bottle of Cancaya wine required a nap afterwards.




After breakfast with the BEST honey, I drove to Bafa Lake and the town of Kapikiri which is in the middle of the ruins of Herakleia and Latmos.










I walked up to the Temple of Endymion and also to the Byzantine castle in the lake, Athinat Temple and lots of Roman walls and a striking Roman arch.



Now out in the country, I stopped at Euromoos where there was a fairly complete 2nd century Temple of Zeus, right out among the olive trees.

I wound up at Milos where I saw the Ulu Cami (1378 mosque) and the Baltali Kapi, a Roman gate with a doubleheaded ax. Two little boys helped guide me back to my hotel.

I saw the Roman Tomb, Gumukesen, before leaving Milos, from the 1st century AD, which was thought to have been modeled on the Great Tomb of Mausolus. Next was the town of Antalya where I had been before with Jeanne. Since she only had three weeks, we hurried through a lot of these places and now I am repeating some of them that were most interesting. Ah, the luxury of time!



The Antalya Harbor dates from the 2nd century BC.

I spent the next day just R and Ring in Antalya. I stayed at a pensione that was just right for this.








The following day I took up sight seeing again, and visited Hadrian’s Gate, Kesik Minare (the broken minaret), a mosque that had been a Roman temple, and Yivli Minare, the ‘fluted’ minaret. I actually went to a movie that evening, seeing Robin Williams in “Patch Adams,” in English!

More archeological sites—three of them this day. First Perge, a beautiful site with a fairly complete theatre, gates and a stadium. Then Aspendos which had a beautifully restored huge theatre, being visited by a group of young women.

Third was Side with its theatre, other buildings and a beautiful beach, which I made use of.

Sometimes one needs a little routine of ‘home,’ and so the next morning I read the Herald Tribune while listening to my Julio Iglesias cassette. Following that I taxied to the local museum which had wonderful statues from Perge. I took the tram back!

After breakfast I left for Kutayha on a beautiful drive in perfect weather, listening to my Willie Nelson tape playing in my little car. That evening across the street from my hotel there was a celebration going on with amplification that was awesome—a band, a speaker, a singer and lots of shouting!

The Kutayha sights were the wonderful Kutayha Museum, the Tile Museum, and the Ulu Mosque.

I perused the bazaar and had a sweet dessert with ‘dry yoghurt.’ Then I bought a special very large plate.







Later I drove 60 miles to Aizanoi to see a well-preserved Temple to Zeus and Cybele along with ruins of the theatre and baths, which had lovely mosaics.  There was also an old Roman bridge, still in use, although the ‘sides’ of the bridge were new.  The old ones were on display, though!




I drove to King Midas’ Tomb, which was hard to find, but I did find it. Yes, there really was a King Midas of the Pharygians in about 600 BC. It seems the ‘gold’ story originated because they had a special process for making bronze that produced very shiny gold metal and hence ‘everything turned to gold.’ I got a little lost on my way to Aphon, but then went on to Konya.

Here in Konya there was much beautiful Seljuk architecture from the 13th and 14th centuries. The Meviana Museum, a wonderful monastery of the ‘Whirling Dervishes’ was beautiful with its tourquoise colored tiled tower. The Dervishes did (and still do) twirl until they get into a trance-like state to commune with God. I went on to the Selimiye Camii from the 16th century, then walked through the Ucler Mezarligi, an old cemetery to the Koyunoglii Museum and a century-old house.







After a nap I toured the Great Karatay Museum displaying wonderful tiles from the Budakya Palace from the 13th century. The building dated from 1251. Next there was the Konya Fuari—I don’t know what that means but there were many vendors charcoaling ground lamb patties so I had a sandwich for lunch—a large French bread with tomatoes, parsley and six little lamb patties. I shared it with a little beggar boy. There were many, many more landmarks that I saw—mosques, a seminary, old buildings—for one mosque the man wanted me to put a skirt over my jeans as well as a scarf so I just peeked in the doorway. What a wonderful city!

Tomorrow I shall push on to Aksaray. I’m still enjoying it!


This entry was posted in 1999, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, & Turkey. Bookmark the permalink.

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