A jewel on the Meditteranean.
03.05.2013 - 03.05.2013 34 °C
We started our day this morning with a great breakfast, which included my first piece of Turkish Delight - for breakfast? Oh well, we're on holidays! We had brekky outside looking out at the spectacular mountain range just a few kilometres away. These mountains compare with those in Yosemite National Park in the US - jaw dropping, and so unexpected.
We took off at a very comfortable 9am and headed east for about an hour to the town of Aspendos. Here we visited a Roman Amphitheatre - build in 162 AD. It is the best preserved Amphitheatre in Turkey, and seats 12,000 people. Currently undergoing some renovations, we could easily imagine how it would have looked in it's heyday - it's in brilliant condition. The accoustics - perfect. The architect Zeon really knew what he was doing. I've learned something in our travels over the last couple of days. Greek theatres are built in to the lay of the land (into a hill), Roman theatres are free standing buildings (eg. Colosseum).
From Aspendos we drove on to Perge (pronounced Perger). Perge was a wealthy city but was abandoned in the 7th Century. Both Perge and Aspendos became victims of a silt problem in the port surrounding these cities. The area became very moist due to the build up of silt. This created a problem with mosquitoes which in turn spread the disease of malaria. The commercial hubs needed to relocate in order to be able to trade, therefore the population also needed to relocate.
The ancient city of Perge is really impressive. There are the remains of the Turkish baths complete with the underground heating system, a main road lined with columns and huge cobblestones, an Agora (marketplace), the entrance to shops and little houses. I stood inside the remains of a little shop and tried to imagine life back all those centuries ago. A perfect warm sunny day with no breeze, silent apart from birds chirping - magic moment.
After our time here we did a bit of cheap shopping from little stalls in the car park - irresistible! Then! We were taken to a jewellery shop like no other jewellery shop that I have ever seen! Colourfully ornate walls, ceilings, lighting (I would hate to have to pay the light bill!). This was a high class, EXPENSIVE jewellery shop - and way, way out of our league! We were given refreshments and the guy who was provding all the necessary information - an okay kind of guy - kept making references to our credit card with a big smile on his face. We (as in our group of 6) were polite but all left after about an hour without making any purchases. If I'm making a sizeable purchase I want to be able to associate a good feeling (happy memory) with it - not a feeling of being backed in to a corner. I was relieved to get out of there - this is one part of being on a group tour that I do not like.
Anyhow - back in the bus and to lunch at 3pm in the Food Court of a modern shopping centre. This could be the Gold Coast - it was interesting to mix with the locals. We did get some strange looks though. Who are you, where are you from and why are you here?
Then back to our hotel and down on to the beach for about an hour and a half. The 6 of us paddled our feet in the Meditteranean Sea on what is the hotel's private beach. The "sand" consists of large pebbles - quite hard to walk on and easy to lose your balance. Then back to Paul and Fleur's room for a beer and a wine, and then another lovely dinner downstairs out in the open. Antalya is a beautiful city.