Tag Archives: cats

Olympos to Antalya

1/1 – Happy New Year to all! The pansyion really filled up last night, with people out to celebrate. Met a nice couple from Ireland. We were invited to a party on the Olympos beach for NY Eve, but the rain was pouring down and the wind was blowing, not to mention we would have to wade across the inlet in the dark to get there, so we opted to stay relatively dry in our little cabin, with the electricity going on and off. We were fast asleep at midnight, when the loud firecrackers and cherry bombs woke us, then were eclipsed by even louder thunder, magnificent lightning and hailstones.

When we got up in the morning, many oranges had blown out of the trees, and a car formerly parked on dry land was under water. The inlet we had crossed at knee depth was now waist depth or more. Time to move on!



We thanked Meral for her hospitality and set out to catch the dolmus back to the highway.


After walking past all the other tree houses with no sign of the dolmus, we stopped in at the last pansiyon to ask for help. The proprietor said the dolmus had left without us, and there wouldn’t be another for two hours. He said we could take a taxi, for three times the rate of the bus. After a brief deliberation, we asked him to call the taxi. He went inside and came back with his car keys. He was the taxi!

After an exciting ride inching over flooded streets, we were back on the main road, waiting for the next bus, which arrived in ten minutes. On to Antalya!

In two hours we arrived at our new home, the Hotel Twenty. Antalya is a big, modern city, and we plan to get some things done while we are here, starting with getting some new boots.

Our hotel is a block from the water, and we have a view of the Mediterranean. The mountains are stunning. We are right next to the mosque, so we will not miss one note of the calls to prayer throughout each day.


We weren’t sure what would be open on New Year’s Day, an official holiday here, but we took a walk around our end of town to get our bearings. It’s a beautiful sunny day, in the 60s. We see several New Year displays that have co-opted what we would consider Christmasy things – presents, tinsel and wreaths.

Google Maps showed a hikers supply store, Tibet Outdoor, a mile down the main street, so we headed toward it. The windows were dark, but when we tried the door, it opened! The proprietor had just stopped in to check on something, and was happy to talk to us. Of course he doesn’t carry boots in Jim’s size 13, but he will order them for us. He carries Keen, my favorite brand. Things are looking good! We will come back tomorrow, when the store is open.

Antalya has its share of sleeping dogs, and hungry cats.


It also has an Umbrella Street, full of restaurants, reminiscent of the one we encountered in Portugal. We will eat supper here tonight.image

1/2 – Our hotel cooked us a lovely breakfast, and, fortified, we walked back to the Tibet Outdoor hiker shop. I am now the owner of new boots, black instead of green, and Jim has a pair on order that we hope will fit him. We also looked at cold weather jackets, as we head north next week, and a new raincoat for Jim. Next we visited a tailor, who replaced the broken zipper on Jim’s fleece, and a pharmacy to stock up on meds (which don’t require prescriptions here). Stopped at a camera store to replace my camera batteries that no longer hold a charge. Hmmmmm, what else can we take care of while we’re in town?

Enough errands for one day. How about a sunset?image

Kas – the Doric Tomb and the Ancient Theatre

12/21 – Another beautiful hiking day. Kas is on the Lycian Way, so we are continuing our day treks, wherever the trail takes us. Today we climbed up to a Doric tomb, 4th century BCE, freestanding and carved out of the bedrock, with a walkway all around. The sign said it was decorated with images of 24 dancing girls, but, try as we might, we could not see them. You can just make out some flowers carved inside.



There was room to sleep four – two slabs on each side. I tried to lie down for the full experience, but was a little too tall for the lower berth…


The trail wound down the hill to an ancient theatre, from the 2nd century BCE. It could seat 4000, and seated us while we ate our lunch.




Imagine our surprise when we were joined by a family of goats! The billy and the nanny really seemed to enjoy gamboling up and down the tiers.



The baby goat and Jim, checking each other out.


I’m still tickled to see flowers blooming in December.

On our way home, we found a sarcophagus and the ruins of a Hellanistic Temple, right in town.image



A man was feeding meat to the stray cats. He told us that he fed 100 a day. He asked for money to continue his good works, then was insulted when Jim only offered him two lira (about a dollar) and refused the money.

Another beautiful day.image



12/9 – Guess what? When St. Paul wrote a letter to the Ephesians, where do you think it was delivered? Right here to Ephesus! Today we took a minibus (dolmus) about 4km down the road to see the ruins at Ephesus. This is why most visitors come to Selçuk.

Ephesus was a huge, bustling harbor city back in the eighth century BCE, the capital of Asia Minor. Emperors had temples built to honor themselves here. The rich and famous lived here, and invested lots of marble and silver coins into making this a showplace. Then the harbor silted up and big ships no longer stopped here. Over time, and with the assistance of several earthquakes, the city was abandoned. For the last century, archeologists have been trying to reconstruct Ephesus, while hauling away any good bits back to museums in their own countries. The British built railroads and the Germans built highways in exchange for hauling away the best stuff. Modern Turkey is trying to get some of their stuff back, but not having much luck.

Here’s what’s left of the main street heading down toward the harbor:


There was a huge theatre that held 20,000 people for dramatic performances and community meetings. The acoustics are still very good, as demonstrated by members of several tour groups who couldn’t resist bursting into song. Here, the decision to exile the Apostle John was announced.imageimage

The showpiece of the ruins is the Celsus Library, erected in the year 110, and re-erected in the 1970s, thanks to the Austrians. It has more than one story intact, and four statues on the ground level depicting Wisdom, Knowledge, Thought, and Virtue. (Actually, these are copies of the statues – the originals were hauled off to Vienna.) The library once held 12,000 scrolls, and the walls behind the shelves were hollow to reduce moisture.imageimageimage

Lots of buildings and gates being pieced back together:

Here is the Goddess Nike. We overheard a tour guide calling her the Goddess of Shoes.image

Any ancient metropolis worth its salt had a good plumbing and aquaduct system. We stopped by the public latrines – marble seats, but not much privacy!image

The Church of Mary, with its cruciform baptistery and large fountain:

As we’ve seen everywhere in Turkey, lots of cats live here. Jim and I both got scratched by cuddly felines who thought they should have some of our lunch.

A brilliant day!

Monday in Selçuk – St. John’s Church

12/8 – Today we saw the tomb of St. John, the one whom Jesus loved, the purported author of the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation, the caretaker of Mary after the death of Jesus, and the last Apostle on our list!

If you recall, we have been seeking out the tombs of the 12 Apostles of Jesus, or at least some of their relics. We found:

Thomas – Chennai, India, 2008
James the Greater – Santiago de Campostela, Spain, 2011
Matthias (replaced Judas) – Rome, Maria Maggiore Church, Oct. 2014
Philip – Rome, Church of Holy Apostles, Oct. 2014
James the Just / Less – Rome, Church of Holy Apostles, Oct. 2014
Bartholomew – Rome, Church of San Bartolemeo, Tiberia, Oct. 2014
Paul and Peter’s Skulls – Rome, St. John Lateran Church, Oct. 2014
Peter – Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica, Oct. 2014
Jude (Thaddeus) – Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica, Oct. 2014
Simon the Zealot – Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica, Oct. 2014
Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist – Salerno, Italy, Salerno Cathedral,Oct. 2014
Andrew – Amalfi, Italy, Basilica of the Crucifix, Nov. 2014
Mark the Evangelist – Venice, Italy, Basilica San Marco, Nov. 2014
John, Apostle and Evangelist – Selçuk, Turkey, Church of St. John, Dec. 2014

If you’re counting, that is more than 12, as some consider Paul to be Judas’s replacement instead of Matthias, and we included Mark the Evangelist as we also had Matthew and John. Luke the Evangelist wasn’t on our original list – with his remains divided between Prague, Padua and Thebes, we’ll have to catch up with him on another trip…

So today we walked across the street from our pension to the Ruins of the Church of St. John.




John was buried in a cave. The four pillars show the place of the tomb in the original church that was built over the cave.



The locked grate covers the tunnel dug to exhume the body of John during the reign of Justinian in the 500s, purportedly to distribute his relics. No bones were found, only dust. John is the only Apostle who does not have relics scattered around Christendom. The dust, also called manna, was gathered for many years, and was said to cause miracles.

Jim made friends with St. John’s cat.image

The baptistery had three steps down on either side to allow for total immersion. We watched several tour guides explain this at length to tourists unfamiliar with the concept.



At the entrance to the baptistery, part of the original mosaic floor was visible.

Three original frescoes, of Jesus, Mary, and an unidentified holy person are being restored in the Treasury, which also has its original floor. The frescoes are behind glass, so please excuse my reflection.



St. John’s Church was built here twice, with Justinian’s huge construction in the 500s the biggest church of its time. It covers the entire hillside. image

Here is a model of what it once looked like:image

When destroyed by an earthquake in the 1400s, the church was not rebuilt. Archeological reconstruction began in the 1920s and is still going on today. So many pieces to put back together!


Istanbul – Chinese Visa Update

12/5 – Today was our fourth and final (we dearly hoped) two hour journey to the Chinese Consulate, to pick up our passports and new Chinese visas. While walking to the Metro, we encountered a harrowing scene – a beggar woman being dragged down the street by men in black, while her two young daughters were dragged away in the opposite direction, screaming for their mother. We’ll never know the story, but it shook me to the core, and I found myself sobbing as I walked. The crowd bustled on, as if nothing had happened. We got on the train.

We had instructions to first go to a certain bank and deposit $280 in the Chinese Consulate account. We took a taxi to the specified bank, and waited patiently until our number was called. We handed over the form the Consulate had given us. We were asked for our Turkish Tax Number. What the what??

We explained that we were Americans and had no Turkish tax number. They politely told us they could not take our money without a tax number. Perhaps we should take a bus to another town where we could obtain a tax number. Not acceptable. We talked to several people with varying degrees of English and arm-waving. We marched upstairs to speak with the manager. There was nothing they could do. The Consulate was called. Someone from the Consulate instructed us to come to the Consulate right away. We caught a taxi and arrived at the Consulate within minutes. The guard told us no one was there and the office would not reopen until 3pm. We waited outdoors in the grey and rainy afternoon. There are lots of cats here, as we have noticed throughout Istanbul, independent and seemingly well fed.

When we were finally admitted to the Consulate we found the young woman we had met on the first day. We explained the current situation, and she went Back Behind the Door. She emerged with a solution – we could give her the money directly. Great! We had the cash, in Turkish lira. Not acceptable – they needed US dollars. She told us to go back to town and change the money. We explained that we couldn’t change money, as they were holding our passports! Eventually, the young woman understood our Catch 22 situation. She gave us one passport, and held the other. We caught a cab back to town, found the HSBC bank where money could be changed, got burned with a terrible exchange rate (what choice did we have?), took another cab back up to the Consulate and retrieved our second passport a half hour before the Consulate closed for the weekend. Whew! Success!

Then we looked at our new visas. We had furnished an itinerary that said we planned to be in China for three months. Our visa was good for two entries of 30 days each. Our itinerary said we would get to China by mid March. The visa said we had to be in country before March 1. Sigh. What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. Time to rework our plan. IMG_5082.JPG