Up at 6:00 and down to the buffet breakfast. Most of the folks who were going on the optional tour were there – not as much stuff as the dinner but the basics. Minna got a soft boiled egg that turned out to be hard boiled. Then another. Then she decided to just peal the egg and eat it but that one turned out to be soft boiled… One final attempt and the soft boiled was again hard, so a funny breakfast. Most of my stuff was normal.
Back to get our stuff and meet on the bus. Big news was that it seems that tomorrow the “other half” will get their own bus and our tour will be only 15 people for the whole bus. Quite an interesting bit of news. Apparently this is the first time in her 27 years as a guide has Neslie run into something like this. The group were having a good time but they were in a world of their own – which made it tough for the rest of us. We’ll see how it works out.
Off we went through town to the Eastern end. We drove through the town and saw the much commented on air conditioned bus stops. In the high summer it gets to be 110 or more (it got up to 100 today – 38C). All in all about 45 minutes on the bus.
Then we arrived at the site of Perge – a Roman ruin that stretched for over 400 years. Across from the main city is a huge theater that is under repair so we didn’t get a visit. Once off the bus we passed under a huge mulberry tree and into the “craft” area – mostly junky stuff – then into the park. The first visit was the stadium – a huge expanse with surrounding seats that was used for athletic events mostly until the later Roman era when gladiators and the like were a part of the entertainment. The complex was made possible by the Roman invention of the barrel vault – strong arches that supported the surrounding seats. The barrels themselves were used as shops.
After passing through the stadium we entered the main gate of the city – a three arch structure that was quite open originally but two of the arches were later closed when the Roman peace started to fall apart. Just inside the gates were the baths – a cold bath, medium bath, and hot bath or “caldera” finishing the complex. Quite an elaborate structure that was used almost exclusively by men.
Then down the main road with their line of columns – and lots of grooves of chariot wheels. There were a number of stone carvings indicating who had donated to the building or rebuilding of the particular structures – both from Roman times and also those who have currently donated to the reconstruction of the city.
Next to the main road was the business district – with small shops – a door on one side and a counter on the other – there was even a sign for a butcher shop still at the site. In any event it was really hot so we headed back toward the bus. I paused and watched a crane hoist a large block from one side of the main gate to the other. There was archeological work going on at several spots at the site.
Back on the bus and we were supposed to visit a huge Roman theater (Aspendos) where they still hold concerts, but it was being restored and won’t open until next month. Instead we went to a small park called Kursunlu Natural Park. It’s main attraction was a large waterfall – more like a big seep. The traditional gift shop/café was right before the path to the falls and one vendor selling ice cream (Turkish – like a mixture of ice cream and taffy – very thick) was singing and holing up the ice cream. We had some on the way out. Anyway we wandered down to the waterfall and it was nice, but other than the fish in the pool not that exciting. Some of the signs were interesting. On our way out we passed a newly married couple who were heading down for some photographs. While waiting on the bus a tourist in full burka walked through the parking lot – quite a contrast to the wedding.
Then off to the Antalya Archeological Museum. On the way we passed huge numbers of greenhouses – mostly devoted to strawberries and flowers – a main export of this area. We also got a great view of the beach and resort area along the way. Which reminded me that they banded us when we got to the hotel – purple means breakfast and dinner only!
The museum was fairly small but covered the Paleolithic through more modern times (19th century) with a primary focus on the Roman period. There were a number of statues retrieved from the ruins of Perge as well as elaborate sarcophaguses and some smaller items. A relatively brief visit but quite interesting to see how ornate and seemingly accurate the statues were.
Back to the hotel and we decided we needed some supplies so off to look for a grocery store. We passed a couple interesting places on the way. We finally found a place but realized we didn’t need much anyway, so back to the hotel.
We decided that we needed to go see the Mediterranean so we wandered down to the beach. Not a lot of sand – most of it was small pebbles that immediately got into our sandals. The water also dropped off quickly so feet in the water – rocks in the sandals – hobble up to the shower to wash them off, and back to the hotel.
After dinner we visited with Rachael, Joanna, Daniel and Erika up on the rooftop patio of Rachael. We though we had a nice room - her balcony was bigger than our room! Nice view of the mountains. We sat around and talked until exhaustion set in. Up at 5:30 again tomorrow.