Sunday, 10 June 2012

In which there are trains and planes and sisters and sunshine

I've been away from the internet for the past 10 days or so, as I've been away on holiday in Turkey with my sisters, and for part of the time, with D, my sister K's soon-to-be sister-in-law.
We had a great time, and I really enjoyed being able to spend time with my sisters, and getting to know D.

I think it will take more than one post to cover it, so will take me a few days, but here goes!

Our flight out was on Tuesday evening, from Gatwick, so my younger sister E drove to mine for lunch, then we went to K's home where we left E's car and all 3 of us got a trian to Gatwick.

As we were going on holiday, I'd come prepared, and once we were safely on the train produced cans of G'n'T, slices of lime, and ice cubes (it's harder to transport ice cubes secretly and with no cool bag than you might think) so we all had drinks in style.

We then met D at Gatwick, and spent 4 hours on a charter flight filled with fractious children! Once we got to Dalaman, however, things improved - we picked up out hire car, and K bravely drove us home, in the dark (Both Turkish roads, and Turkish driving, tend to be.... interesting!

K's fiance owns a flat in Fethiye, which is where we stayed. It's about 25 mins walk from the centre of the town, slightly up on the hill, so it's a little cooler, which is nice.

We spent our first morning stocking up on food, then, as one does, we headed out to the Hamman (Turkish Bath). We decided, on the advice of some of K&C's friends, who had visited just before us, to try a new hamman at one of the local hotels - it was very modern and shiny - and instead of the traditional cold shower after the sauna and scrubbing there was a very cold plunge pool, instead. It was fun, and very relaxing,but all of us who'd been hamman-ed before agreed that we preferred the less slick sand more traditional city hamman, and resolved to go there for our next scrub! Although the hamman proved, once again, that no matter how well you believe you've exfoliated, the Tellak (masseur) will prove you wrong. I do wish that there was a Turkish Bath near me at home!

The following day we decided that some Proper Culture was appropriate, so we drove to Patara, which is a Lycian site - it was an important naval base around the time of Alexander the Great, was mentioned in the Iliad, was visited by emperors Hadrian and Vespasian and was the birthplace of Nicholas, Bishop of Myra (AKA Santa Claus).  It was eventually abandoned after the harbour silted up, any many of the ruins were hidden, and preserved, by the sand dunes.

Parliament Building, Patara
There has been a lot of archaeological work going on over the last 20 years or so, including, most recently, the excavation and partial reconstruction of the Parliament Buildings - there were the headquarters of the Lycian league, and the archaeologists have partially rebuilt it using some original and some replacement material, and leaving parts as they were found, so that in the seating, for instance, you can see the original ruin, how the building was constructed, and finally the finished article, faced with marble etc.
Patara amphitheatre
There is also an amphitheatre, which has not been rebuilt, 2 bathhouses (one of which is currently propped up with a good deal of scaffolding,

Harbour Baths, Patara
And the triple-arched 'Arch of Modestus' (who I can't help feeling may have been misnamed) and, of course, several of the pointy topped Lycian sarcophagi which I have come to associate with this part of Turkey (there is one in the post office garden, in Fethiye, for example..)

Lycian sarcophagus and arch of Modestus, Patara

 Oh, and did I mention that as well as these spectacular classical ruins, Patara just happens to have a rather nice beach?

I have to admit, that being able to swim and sunbathe on a beautiful white beach in between sessions of exploring ancient Greek/roman and Byzantium ruins does add something to the experience!

After leaving Patara, we went on to Letoon, but that will have to wait until a later blog, as I need to sleep, now.

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