Monday, August 11, 2008

5 places i love - #1 the northwest coast of turkey

having just bought tickets to istanbul last week on KLMs fab air sale, i am looking very much forward to going there in october. we'll rent a car in istanbul and head almost immediately down our favorite route over the dardanelles past the graves of gallipoli and the remains of ancient troy and winding down the northwest coast to eventually end up near ephesus. but we will definitely stop here along the way:

on the winding road between troy and on down to the bay of edremit the fields are full of ruins. an ancient column here, a crumbling wall there, an arch or two and the evidence of an aqueduct. it's all that remains of alexander troas, a city founded in 310 BC by one of the alexander the great's generals. to drive down the winding roads, encountering this evidence of antiquity left to crumble is a powerful experience. it's magical to imagine living there and farming that land, uncovering a marble column with your tractor now and again. one hot summer day a few years ago, we bought a sweet watermelon and ate it here in the shadow of the arch above. it was most definitely a moment of perfect clarity.

then we drove on to behramkale--site of assos. this is what remains of a great temple to athena built in 530 BC. it sits high on a cliff, overlooking the aegean. the island you can see out in the background is lesbos, which belongs to greece. it is a marvelous spot. if you listen closely to the wind that eternally blows across this place, you can very nearly catch the murmur of the wisdom of aristotle, who lived here for several years.

st. paul also passed through these parts and as you walk among the columns and gaze upon the marvelous view, you feel the weight of history. you have a strong sense of how temporary we are here on this earth. the columns overlooking the aegean have stood for 2500 years and will continue to stand long after we are gone. i love to think of the scenes they have witnessed and to lean my head against them and see if they will whisper some of their stories to me.

i really cannot wait to return in october.


Barb said...

What a gift to travel through such history and feel and hear the whispers from the past.

Canada is such a new country, so I cannot experience that but must rely on experiences of travellors such as yourself to imbue myself with those treasures.

My only pause in the newness of our country was a trip to Ethiopia (birthplace of mankind) ... what an absolute treat. I can still feel her hearbeat within my own. B

Gwen said...

When I was in Europe a few months ago, I thought how fabulous it would be to live so close to so much history. By comparison, the U.S. is pretty boring.

Apparently, my children agree, because the other day they were sitting on the couch watching the Olympics, and one of them sighed, "I wish I was in Mexico right now." The other answered, "And I wish I was in London." Spoiled much? :)

Your pictures are gorgeous!

tangobaby said...

I'm not sure if you can hear me crying, but maybe you can.

Right now I'm trying how I might be able to stowaway in your rental car when you pick it up in Istanbul.

I remember the thrill I had when I picked up a book about Heinrich Schliemann when I was in high school and discovered that Troy was a real place. I must have read the Illiad three times before my senior year and then to dream about going there...and then to learn so much more about that country.

You had better take like 5 zillion photos of Turkey or I'll have to send you back again.

ps. There's this food blogger I really like who's Turkish. You should visit his site if you haven't yet...he can give you lots of ideas of what to eat:

polona said...

sounds like a wonderful place to visit, full of history and character...

although i prefer heat, i seem to be more attracted to colder climes at present with scotland, ireland and iceland being high on my wish list...

julochka said...

barb--thanks for the reminder that it is interesting to be steeped in history. i remember when europe had a mystique for me as well, but now living here for ten years, denmark is just like another state in my mind. but i do love a good ruin.

gwen--i adore spoiled children since i'm raising one myself. we stayed in a hostel in slovenia last summer and our daughter came into the room, which was in an old very soviet-style school building and announced, "i'm NOT sleeping here."

julie--i will take a zillion pictures, tho' actually i'm surprised how well these taken 4 years ago with my ADVANTIX camera hold up. but, i would also be happy to go back again if you think i didn't get enough pix. also, you are welcome to meet us in istanbul. we get in rather late on the 11th of october. see you at the avis counter?

one more thing, troy isn't really that great. in fact, i've been there several times and the last time, the coolest thing was a giant steel & canvas sail-like structure that had been put up as a roof over a section of the dig. ya gotta like german engineering. the best part of the story is in homer and in the schliemann perseverance and discovery of it. they've even put up a cheesy wooden trojan horse out front that you can pose for pix in. but the setting on the plains there is quite spectacular.

polona--i get quite enough of northern climes with living in DK and frequenting norway, but now that you mention it, i'd also like to visit iceland. and ireland. scotland, i'll probably visit next week for a meeting. it is lovely.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

I feel like I've just been there. There's a palpable sense of beauty in this post- and your enthusiasm shines through.
"..fields are full of ruins. an ancient column here, a crumbling wall there, an arch or two and the evidence of an aqueduct." Oh, how lovely. The weight of history indeed.
"uncovering a marble column with your tractor now and again. " Everything about that line is perfect :) Enjoy when you do go again.
And keep us posted ;)