To Hel and Back :: Edit your Template To Hel and Back: June 2004

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

A day to kill in Turkey

I was collected from our apartment by a small tour bus unfortunately full of German people. I pretended to speak no German out of principle and only Turkish! I was constantly mistaken for Austrian though this took some time to work out (Australian / Austrian) and I was getting very close to an outburst of “they didn’t win the war you know, when I cottoned on why I was being spoken to in German) Anyway we got on the road to Tekirova which is south of Kemer (the sweeping roads as the coast road from Kemer to Goynuk / Antalya with three lanes and changing right to overtake, for those who have driven it).

We had not gone very far from Kemer when we came around one of those fast corners and a bus slightly smaller than ours (about 8 seater) on its side all smashed up, women walking around the road with blood all over them and a small passenger car down the road also smashed up and people walking around the road. We were the first on the scene and it was so horrific because it was just like the kind of van and the kind of accident that could have happened to us. I made sure I got a seatbelt (they had never been used on the bus - had to take them out of plastic wrap) after that.

When we moved on to Tekirova we came across another accident, everyone ok but fuel all over the place (I wish these Turks would smoke less in these situations! Loved the man lighting up as he filled my car full of gas on the way to the airport… )

We passed through the region where they grow a lot of fruit and veg (Turkey is one of the few countries that grows in abundance of consumption - really I should be a tour guide!) and the towns looked so different from the trash of purpose built resort Kemer. The people outside the towns lived in small houses built of scrap iron and wood, but somewhere always a tv, the towns were functional and there were no more Russian girls teetering in ridiculous shoes. Though there were a lot of giant monuments to fruit and vegetables, which was a little strange.

We took a boat out around Kekova island, the water was so clear. The island was actually a Lycian base but it has all collapsed in the sea after many earthquakes - you can still see the ruins in the water. We anchored at a nearby bay and I went swimming.

Lunch was on a spit in the river, with little boys playing outside and diving into the river, showing off when I watched them.

The highlight for me was Myra, ancient Lycian rock tombs carved into the hillside. I had always wanted to see them. They were so well preserved, basically because of their location, tourists can't walk all over them like they did the amphitheatre, Russian girls posing in bikinis on columns and other classy things. Also eroded was the church of St Nicolas, apparently the St Nicolas who we now call Santa Claus, so strange banners of the jolly red fat man in the sweltering heat! The frescos were all faded, and the ancient Cyrillic script alongside modern graffiti - a shame. You can buy santa dolls alongside replica byzantine paintings...

And that really was my day except for dodging bombs at Turkish airports, hassling cats, eating finally a local meal and killing time watching the sunset until my midnight flight...

Photos from Turkey