Preparing to Cruise - While we wait for the weather to warm up a little in Central Europe, we are trying to get our trusty vessel ready for a new season of cruising, so she will be ready when we return with Bekah. Our land storage locker has been emptied, and we are floating low again. We have found new places to stow items such as anchors and have been ruthless in discarding gear that we haven't used in years. In our spare time the new CD/DVD writer has been kept busy making 'emergency' copies of entertainment CDs from Asia and elsewhere to occupy our evenings at anchor. Hopefully when we return in June, we will be out at an anchorage within the week.
End of Marina Bar-B-Qs - On April 18th Setur Antalya had the last of the Bar-B-Qs for the foreign cruisers. Beginning at Park Kemer in March with 100 cruisers, the flock then moved south to Finike is early April and this weekend was our turn. Buses brought friends to chat, eat, and drink while we exchanged stories and plans for the coming year. Setur had a great food spread - although some cruisers tried to overwhelm the supply by taking heaping plates of food, thus depriving those at the end of the line. The day was capped off by a belly-dancer - who was almost over-shadowed by an 8-year old who had the moves of a pro.
Beginning of our Spring Tour - By midday on Tuesday we were on the road heading for the hinterlands of Turkey on our way to Finland and the UK. By the end of the week we had been amazed at how many buildings from the Roman empire remain in Turkey. Our stops have included:
Alanya - Currently a tourist destination, it surrounds a peninsula with a fort and castle that date from around 300 BC and was modified and strengthened over the next 1000 years. From the top one can see enemy ships coming from a long distance. Near the harbor is Cleopatra's Boatyard, a Roman structure with 4 covered dry-docks for building and repairing ships - walls and domed roofs still stand today.
Dioceasarea - 150 miles along the beautiful south coast road is the small rural town of Silifke and a short jaunt into the mountains leads to Uzuncaburc. This is the site of a Temple to Zeus Olbios built by a general of Alexander the Great around 300 BC and renamed by the Romans as Diocaesarea in 72 AD. We roamed through the temple, marveling at the stone carvings and columns remaining from 2 millennia ago. Also at the site was an impressive stone gate to the city, a watch tower for protection, and a Roman theater - attended by Marcus Aurelis - how's that for name-dropping.
Silifke to Marsin - As we drove along the coast road, Roman buildings appeared on both sides, surrounded by sand dunes and beach hotels - this is the way Turkey has learned to integrate its heritage with modern demands for beach-front property.
Cappadocia - In central Anatolia one of the prime tourist stops is Cappadocia, a land of eroding sandstone and volcanic ash reminiscent of the interior of Australia or Southwest US. Deep gullies, high peaks capped with hard caps, and balanced rocks on needle peaks are everywhere. People over the years have discovered that housing can be carved into the soft sandstone, so many peaks have houses - some of which have expended to be entire cities. Commerce has not been far behind, so hotels have also been built into the cliff-sides and offer a unique experience of living underground. ..... more to come