|Back into the tour routine of getting up at 7am, washing and dressing, packing, and putting the bags outside the door before going to breakfast, then on the bus at 8am to start the days proceedings. Bev found it hard to leave as she had a sauna, massage and more importantly a room to herself at this hotel so she asked if we could stay here for a week and do day trips to the sites. The tour guide said this was not really practical and Bev resigned herself to what may lay ahead at the next hotel.
This morning, as promised, we went to the mosaic museum at Gaziantep. What an eye opener this was. The museum is not really open to the public as yet because the contents are being transferred for the old museum to this one and it will open about the 9th May. All the mosaics in this museum are from the site that was flooded by the Ataturk dam. But the interesting thing is that this site was found whilst excavating for the dam. The town that was found was very affluent and this is shown in the quality of the mosaics. Because they were preserved so well you get a real insight into the colours, patterns and pictures used. The museum also has some high tech toys such as a 4 X 6 metre projection of a mosaic fish pond on the floor near the entrance which has fishes and leaves. But the real fun thing is the leaves and fishes move away from you as you walk through the fish pond. The ladies on the tour were like school children chasing these leaves across the floor. I left them and had a look at the real exhibition. The mosaics and the layout were stunning and for anyone coming to Turkey I would suggest you put this on the must see list.
Next we went to Antioch about 3 hours drive with a short stop for tea or coffee on the way. It is our usual practice to tip at least something at all the places we stop. At this place which was little more than a roadside café attached to a service station we were greeted by a young boy who indicated that he knew a little English. He then proceeded to make sure that our order of tea and coffee went to the right persons. After we had finished I gave the money to the older man and he sent the boy back with the change. It had a couple of Turkish Lira and a fifty kurus (cents) in the change so I gave the boy a Lira (about 60 cents Aust) as a tip. I did not see it but Bev said he went straight into the shop and showed it to who we think was his father and his father indicted that he could keep it. Bev said he beamed from ear to ear. Great to see so little can make someone so happy.
We got to Antioch and went straight to the archaeological museum which also has a range of mosaics and other artefacts from 14 to 1st century BC. This was again a fabulous collection but I think lacked the real impact of the mosaic museum we had seen in the morning. Also by this time we were getting a bit hungry as it was around 2pm so we were all glad when the tour guide mentioned we were going to lunch next. Lunch again was well presented and fresh and a representation of the local food. The strangest item being the desert which comprised a baklava type outside and syrup around a sort of soft cheese?
The next stop after lunch was the St Pierre Churc (Church of St Peter, who in the bible was said to have visited the area). This church dated from the 4th century AD and was basically a church setup in a cave. The frescos and mosaic floor were all badly deteriorated to the extent you could not make out any forms or patterns but you could see they were there. This church was in use during the roman occupation and had a secret tunnel leading out up into the hillside about 300 metres away so the worshipers could escape prosecution . Bev of course wanted to climb it but was told it was not allowed. I am glad we hurried out as Bev being told it was not allowed is like a red rag to a bull. The church had been used by the Christians, crusaders and Muslims at one time or other, and was a place for pilgrimage for many years as the waters from the spring were said to have special healing powers.
We then had a three hour drive to our accommodation for the night at Adana.
Love Ed & Bev