Turkey – Week 3

So here goes – the end of my 3 week adventure in Isparta/Gonen (and the start of my 1 week adventure in Istanbul).  I will post a few pictures from Istanbul tomorrow!

I somehow messed up my day numbers but trust me we are up to Day 14.

Day 14 – Sunday
When I left off I had just gone to bed in a nice hotel in Antalya.  When I awoke I went and did the Turkish bath thing which was crazy!  First they put me on this very very hot stone and after leaving me there (where it feels like you are melting with the sweat just pouring out of you) they then come back and pour really hot water on you – which would hurt but the stone is so hot it feels cool against your skin.

They then grab a scouring pad and exfoliated my body and then covered me in giant bubbles and massaged me.  When that was over they sat me down and rinsed me first in hot water then in ice cold the in hot and then in cold.  My pours were like “Make up your mind!”  They then sat me in a chair and had me relax and drink some water which I did.

Everyone else was going to stay in the hotel and go swimming but not me – not when its 104 degrees and 95 percent humidity.   I went out.

My first stop was the old city and to see the Hadrian Gate (which was cool) and then to walk through the town.  As I said it was very hot and there were no tourists so everyone wanted to be my friend (and sell me a carpet).  The first place I stopped to buy some water the guy asked me how much I made per month (next!).  The prices were much higher than I had seen in Gonen and Isparta and I was warned ahead of time (which is why I got my scarves in Gonen).  Everyone as I said wanted to sell you something and I did let the guy with the Hawaiian Ice sell me some of his product.

The old city is full of ruins and authentic buildings and I loved The Korkut which was a roman temple, a church, and then a mosque (now a ruin).

As I continued through town I met a man who asked me to teach him photography and I jokingly gave him a few tips.  He didn’t try to sell me a rug – it turns out instead he is a designer and we had a really long talk on how carpets get made and designed (and he really didn’t try to sell me anything).  He insisted that if I had time on the way back that I have a drink or a meal with him.

As I headed further towards the sea it turns out that there is a Castles in the old city!  Very nice round town on a square base which was great fun and then I walked down a path that led down to the Mediterranean Sea itself where people were fishing (and some were just making out).

On the way back my friend at the carpet store had me sit with him and I had a nice snack and a drink and we promised to stay in touch (we already are friends on Facebook).

I went back to the hotel (after taking pictures of more of the old walls) and found that everyone was ready for me – that they replaced the brakes on the van (which had started acting up on Saturday) and then we went to dinner where everyone had the lamb meatballs and I had my first of many meals of oh so yummy lamb chops!

We picked up the students from their hotel and headed back to Gonen.

It was a long trip back and Paul is a great diver – especially at night – one black cat did try and cross our path but – well lets just say the next day we could see it on the road still.

Day 15 – Monday
On Monday I had to finish shooting at the Museum (we did the same setup again) and I was nervous because there was a field trip in the afternoon that I didn’t want to miss so we made sure to shoot in a hurry.

That afternoon we were going to Antiochia to see another archeology team in action – the site itself is open to the public and visitors but we were going to be taken around.

Andrea drove us there about 90 minutes and then dropped is off as he had another errand to run.  He told us exactly what to see and do before we left.  When we got to the gate however they wouldn’t let us in – it was strange because if we were tourists it wouldn’t have been a problem.  Instead they made us take off all of our cameras (which we did) and leave them with security and then took us to their field house.

At the field house we waited (they did offer of some instant coffee) and waited and waited and after about an hour Andrea came back – apologized for any confusion and they took us on a very nice tour of the site (though no photography – unless you are sneaky with your iPhone) and the day was rescued.  I learned an awful lot on this one and even though it was a strange start it was a great end.

Day 16 – Tuesday
In what turned out to be our last excursion – Andrea wanted to go out to the site of an old Roman road that he had been told about by the director of the Museum.  He had gone out earlier and told me that the farmers had called the Gendarme (presumably because people were poking around – though more likely because real archeologists cut into their business of looting and selling on the black market).

When we got to the site we found that part of the road had been covered by an illegally laid gravel path but enough was still visible that you could really make out the grooves and such.  As we walked around trying to see where it went we stumbled on an old necropolis (ie some open stone cut graves).  They had been emptied a long time ago as we could see trees growing out of some of them.  We spotted at least 15 graves.  It was really cool – we discovered a previously unknown ancient necropolis!  Some farmer kept driving back and forth giving us dirty looks as we walked around but the cops never came (and we had papers so they could have anyways!)  Andrea also showed me another ancient city up on a mountain – whose name eludes me at the moment – and it was pretty neat overall.

When I got back and checked out my GPS logs and the satellite photos it was funny because you could clearly see where the Roman road turned into a more modern dirty path and though we didn’t have time we need to go back next year and check it out.

The last stop of the day was based on a tip Andrea had gotten on another stretch of Roman road near the railroad crossing.  We found the crossing – parked the car – and then just started to hike – we found…. nothing.  And that’s quite often the way that stuff goes – Andrea talked to another farmed and has another lead but again that is for next year.

Day 17 & 18 – Wed and Thurs
With so much data collected I really needed to post process – I had set Karyn up with a small photo station in the lab where she was shooting Shards of pottery.  She shot 1300 photos I needed to post process and I needed to post process the 106 museum objects (with multiple views).  While I was editing – everyone else was packing – not just our stuff – they had to dismantle the field house back into a school!

Day 19 – Friday
Friday was chaos as they took apart are beds and packed everything up.  We would be staying a hotel Friday night (since our beds were gone).  We said goodbye to Gonen and headed into Isparta.  That afternoon Bilge (the Director) took us to a mountain stop cafe where we had lemonade and said our goodbyes. Then we checked into the hotel we saw that they were setup for a wedding!  Then we found out that the hotel had no AC and that the wireless barely worked from our room.  The three of us proceeded to lay in our beds quietly sweating without Internet and listening to the wedding until about midnight when we fell asleep.

Day 20 – Saturday

We got up at 4:15am on Saturday to catch your flights to Istanbul.  My bags were  overweight since I was ONLY flying to Istanbul and I talked them into only charging me about $30 for them.  The flight was less than an hour but they served us food!

Karyn headed into Istanbul, Paul and Adam headed to their flight and was going to have to wait until 3pm for Jenny to arrive.  For 3 weeks I had been in Turkey working and now sitting alone at the airport I was getting ready for my vacation to begin.

I watched a movie on my iPad.  Had a Whopper at Burger King (Don’t judge me! It was my first in 3 weeks and at least I didn’t eat at the Popeyes!)  got a shave – got a haircut (said goodbye to the ponytail after over a decade!) and waited and waited.

Jenny arrived and we headed into Istanbul for the next leg of the adventure!

Coming soon – Istanbul!

[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]