|22nd May 2012:
Weather is good, and we are on the bus at 8am. 15 minutes later we arrive at destination. The first sight that we encounter at Troy (Troia or Iliad- the city had 2 names back in the 8th century BC) is a hugh wooden horse in keeping with the Greek Poet/writer 'Homer's' famous tale of the Trojan War (centered around the abduction of Helen of Troy and the judgement of the Trojan Prince Paris by the Gods) and the resulting myth that led to the saying 'Beware of Greeks bearing gifts'. Myth and Political reality over thousands of years together with the city's location by the shores of the Bay of Edremit (strategic location between Europe and Asia) has meant that the site has been rebuilt many times after devastating events have destroyed it. Consequently the ruins display evidence of the continual renewal of Troy not only as a city but as a National Historical Park that encompass an enormous area. To aid visualization of the ruined structures which have been uncovered at the Archeological site, computer representations of the plans of the city are displayed at strategic points along the way and our Guide takes time to reinforce the important historical aspects which may be overlooked by tourists with limited background knowledge. Wayne and I both thoroughly enjoyed exploring the ruins of Troy. We are even beginning to catch on to some key Roman words such as Agora which means market place and Odeion which is the semi-circular seating area, Theatre or Stadium (often cut into the hillside) with a stage area for presenting, among other things, musical performances.
Something we did however notice was the unkept appearance of the fields in which the Ruins lay. They were somewhat over run by vegetation (workers with wiper shippers were attempting to clean up the area just as we boarded the bus). Perhaps preparations are just beginning for the up and coming High Season. This could be one of the down sides to traveling in the Shoulder Season.
It is 9:30am and time once again to move on. We have a number of hours on the bus (Isert our guide puts on a documentary about Troy to help pass the time and to reinforce what we had just seen and heard) and a lunch stop before we arrive at our next destination the Esclepion (Asklepios) which is a shrine to the Greek Gods of medicine. A street is preserved which joined the Sanctuary of Asklepios to the ancient city. There are also rooms for the patients, fountains and sacred pools surrounding 3 Temples. Above this (NW) is a 3500 seat Roman theatre, to the NE is a Library and E of the courtyard is the new temple of Asklepios constructed using similar methods as those used to create the Pantheon in Rome. The Archeological findings at these sites provides a wealth of knowledge and most of the valuable finds are moved to Museums nevertheless the weight and size of many of the building remains enables these Sanctuaries to retain enough of the artifacts on site to make them tourist magnets. Out here, on site, we get to touch and feel the objects which gives everyone a wonderful sense of connection to the past. I wonder what Wayne was thinking as he gazed down from the top row of the Roman Theater????
Onward to Pergamum an ancient centre for learning and the arts to visit the Bergama Museum. This Museum is somewhat smaller than others that we have been to previously and we have time to move on to a local Jewelery factory where we are shown beautiful Turkish samples. Wayne and I decide to buy Kerryn's thank you gift for looking after our, mail, house, cars etc. we elect to purchase a bracelet with the blue eye good luck symbol utilized in the design. By now some members of our Tour are anxious to get to the Hotel a little earlier to make us of available facilities. We are half way through our Land Tour and the pace is beginning to take it's toll. The Accommodation has also been very up market so it will be nice to spend a little longer enjoying this tonight. We arrive at the Kismet Kusadasi (our Hotel) and we are not disappointed. It is on the coast overlooking the Ocean and a beautiful Bay. The Marina is amazing (many expensive vessels here).