This will be our last post from Turkey for a little while as we have hauled “Sunday” at Kas Marina while we travel to The Netherlands for our daughter’s wedding and to do some land travel (Covid permitting).
A few days before leaving we decided to have a day off from “winterising” the boat and had a fantastic morning at the ancient Lycian port of Andriake and then later at the Museum of St Nicholas in Demre (see my last blog entry).
In the afternoon we decided to drive back towards Kas and on through Kalkan to Patara, where the ruins of another important Lycian city lie.
Patara was famous for its temple and oracle of Apollo, apparently second only to the oracle in Delphi. Later, in 333 BC Alexander the Great captured the city. After many occupations and invasions it was eventually annexed by the Roman Empire in 43 AD.
The ruins of the city which was deserted around 1340, are numerous and spread out over a wide area.
Visiting them in the late afternoon with that beautiful light that you get around sunset in Turkey, we found the ruins to be really atmospheric.
The amphitheatre, built in the time of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius (born 86 AD) was in remarkably good condition. It was only excavated in 2007 having been buried under tonnes of sand for hundreds of years.
Even more impressive was the “bouleuterion” – the parliament building where the elected representatives of the Lycian League (the first federation in history) met.
The building has rows of stone seats arranged in a semicircle. Its stone-vaulted main entrances are intact, and so is the thronelike dais where the elected Lyciarch, the president of the League, sat.
While we wandered up and down the rows of seats it was easy to picture the chamber full of representatives from the 23 city states (one, two or three from each – depending on the size and importance of the area) listening to speeches and debating important issues.
There were many more beautiful buildings and a stunning column-lined Main Street to enjoy.
While we were wandering around we heard the tinkling of bells in the distance and soon we saw a small herd of sheep stepping daintily along the dusty pathway.
Watching over them was a beautiful massive but gentle dog – we think it was a Turkish Kangal, otherwise known as an Anatolian Shepherd Dog. These dogs are specially bred to be flock guardians rather than as herding dogs. They live with their flock of sheep and actively fend off any predators.
We were fascinated to see a 14-metre boat made almost entirely from reeds on display in front of the bouleuterion.
The boat was built by German archaeologist Dominique Goerlitz, as part of an experiment to show it was probably on this type of vessel that Egyptian traders reached the port of Patara and other ports in modern day Turkey in in ancient times. It was modelled on the Egyptian reed boats seen in paintings from antiquity.
The trip back to Kas along the incredibly winding coast road – just as the sun was dipping into the ocean – was fantastic.
The wonderful sunset views over the sea would remain firmly in our memories while we were away from Turkey in the coming weeks and months.
Back in Kas there was as always, a flurry of activity at the end to get our boat prepared for the haul out. Some things had to be done just before we left, like deflating the dinghy and storing it inside (it takes up a lot of room so that was very much a last minute thing!)
Haul out day finally arrived and fortunately everything went very smoothly and the workers were extremely professional.
Jonathan did a great job of steering into the narrow pen (with just a few centimetres to spare on either side) and very soon we were settled in our spot propped up safely on the hard.
Despite all our preparations we were still working until the very last minute, flushing out the toilets, bringing in anything and everything that was on deck that could either blow off or be lifted off.
We also had to run around paying our last bills, chivvying the marina to turn our water on, looking for our sails which were meant to have been delivered and doing lots of last minute jobs.
Finally it was time to flop into the taxi that was taking us to Dalaman Airport.
On the way we stopped for a quick break and had some delicious gozleme filled with spinach and feta cheese.
Soon we were up in the clouds and on our way. Up, up and awayThe trip wasn’t too bad, people were generally good at social distancing and everyone wore masks.
We stayed the night at the airport hotel in Istanbul and the next morning we took off for Amsterdam and an emotional reunion with our soon-to-be-married daughter and her partner.
The flight was made so much more pleasant because no one was allowed hand baggage and passengers had to stay in their seats until the people in front were on their way out. There was no leaping up immediately the plane had landed, no pulling bags down on top of other people’s heads and no one’s back packs shoved in other people’s faces! One good outcome of Covid!
It was such a relief to arrive in the Netherlands in plenty of time to enjoy the lead up to our daughter and her partner’s wedding. With the expected second hike in Covid infections we could have so easily found ourselves stuck in Turkey and unable to attend this very important event!