I may make more typos than usual as this keyboard is a( Turkish and b( very worn so many keys are invisible!
We are in Selcuk and have spent the day visiting the ruins of ancient Greek cities. I have finally walked the same streets as Alexander the Great! We went to Priene, Didimus and Miletus. I had major Mary Renault moments in Priene = we were the only group there and it was very quiet. We wandered through the temple to Athene and the agora, with the sun harsh on the stones, and shade under scattered olives and pines very welcome. The site felt very "human" sized and I felt I could comprehend the concept of city state far better. The site spills down the hill with the acropolis stunningly located at the peak of the hill. From there the columns truly crowned the hill and we could see far into the distance.
We also trudged around Miletus which was an important centre, with much larger but less well preserved remains. It once had 3 harbours which are now silted with alluvial deposits. I relished seeing the caravanserai from later Selcuk times which was in very good condition. We finished by gawking at the attempts to create an enormous temple at Didymus which still has a couple of very tall columns and the original thermal spring which began the sacred importance oif the place.
We have learnt to recognise what our guide told us were testical symbols which represented the fertility of the bull, Athene,s animal. As D said (although in relation to the mighty building not the encircling ovals) these were the people who invented the concept of hubris.
As we drove there we ran alongside the Aegean Sea = the local muezzin has just begun outside= and actually went through Kusadasi to pick up 5 Italian and French people who joined us on a minibus. Wow! Hillsides of apartments and a giant cruise ship in the harbour.
We arrived in Selcuk on Saturday afternoon, hot and bothered after a bus trip, 2 planes and a taxi, to find it was market day. Forget the Grand Bazaar= this was a real farmer,s market = I can,t find how to make an apostrophe on the keyboard= towers of scarlet capsicums and tomatoes, mounds of green and pink striped beans, cucumbers, onions, and assorted greens, not all recognisable. There were piles of green and red grapes, melons, peaches and even Gala apples. One section specialised in white cheeses, and yoghourt. The market was packed, with peopel walking under canvas shades erected over the streets. It was a grteat introduction to Selcuk. We did not buy Armani shirts or (tempted!) one of the 9 types of olives or interesting ground spices, just some ripe figs and grapes for tea. Our pension is right onto the market place so we sat in the verandah and watched the whole thing being dismantled and all the dresses and shoes packed away. Next morning the square was pristine.
This place is a bit of a shock after Goreme which was truly a village. We were reluctant to leave and some of that was obviously the comfort of finding a pleasant place to stay and beginning to know our way around. But it was so peaceful, and the elements of traditional village life visible in the streets so interesting.
The weather has been consistently very hot, always in the mid 30s. Now we are near the coast again it is also humid. By 3 oclock we are flagging. It is also bloody hilly.
I can proudly state that I can tentatively sequence Doric, Ionic, Hellenic,Seljuk,Ottoman but when they throw into the mix Hittite times and blithely comment about early Anatolian mother goddesses I start to reel. It is really extraordinary to contemplate the millenia of settlement of some of these sites.
One enjoyable side to our travels have been the friendly and interesting people we talk to = some local and some from all over the world. Today, I chatted wiht a trio of Italian teachers who teach Italian by immersion in Turkish schiol. One year for results! We agreed that teachers are not paid enough anywhere but they said Italy was very poor.
Looking forward to another 2 days here then back to Istanbul briefly. Today I have been given the address of a special mosque to visit with stunning Byzantine mosaics in a previous church, apparently as good as Ravenna!