Chapter Fifty One     January-February, 2009

We have transitioned nicely from tourists to laborers. Well, OK, we have squeezed in a few side trips. All work and no play makes Johnnie a dull boy.

 But it was only because we were lured by our new friends. Tom and Robyn came to Turkiye last fall on a tour and fell in love with Fethiye. Within two days they decided on a beautiful spot overlooking the bay which they have since purchased and decorated (Turkish style of course), all in a matter of weeks. These people know what they want and then they go after it. Our kind of people. We have made a routine of touring the local markets together, cooking together and even playing our favorite Turkish board game, Rumi Kub, together.

 John finished servicing all the winches and so off we went on a day trip to Xanthos. It’s just 65 km from home and we started out early. Xanthos was once the capital and grandest city of Lycia (pre-Hellenistic) with a fine Roman theatre and pillar tombs with Lycian inscriptions.

            

Pretty impressive, don’t you think?

 Exiting Xanthos we stumbled upon a local market where there was not only exquisite local produce, but tools! Now this was a real bonus for the boys. We wandered through the collections and lingered long enough to become hungry for a picnic lunch of local olives, tomatoes, cheese and peasant bread. And then we headed for Patara. Patara is a small rambling village with ruins and a long white sandy beach. It just so happens to be the place where St. Nicholas was born so we figured you should know about it. Yes that St. Nick, the 4th century Byzantine bishop who turned into a legend later on! Patara’s ruins include tombs, baths, a theatre and a cistern! All in a day’s tour!

     

We returned to work and within days our friends convinced us to join them on a trip to the nearby resort town of Bodrum. We tried to refuse but they just weren’t buying it. So we acquiesced. Such devious friends, they are!

We have passed by Bodrum during sailing season but the noise level never prompted us to stop. Bodrum is deadly by summer and delightful in February. Considered by some the “Monte Carlo of the Aegean”, Bodrum is chic and green with its palm-lined streets and waterfront homes draped in bougainvillea. A real charmer.

  

But the real treat is the Castle of St. Peter standing over the town’s twin bays. The Castle defended Bodrum (not always successfully) until the end of WWI. The views from the top overlooking the bay are spectacular.

  

We spent hours roaming the premises. The museum of Underwater Archaeology is here with an extraordinary collection of glass bottles and other artifacts pulled from shipwrecks along this coast. But what really grabbed us all was the Bronze Age shipwreck including Canaanite gold jewelry and the gold scarab of Queen Nefertiti of Egypt. It was recovered from a ship that sank off the coast nearby in the late 13th century B.C. Very impressive. And beautiful!

       

And amphora collections, too. These are large jugs buried in the ship holds to transport wine, olive oil, beans, wheat and other food stuffs. Really beautiful. It is the biggest collection in the world, some dating to the 14th century B.C., all recovered from the southwest waters of Turkiye.

       

The garden statuary was some of the best we’ve seen. And in superb condition.

            

There was an interesting mating ritual going on in the garden, too. 

       

Our final stop enroute home was Iaossis. We had visited during the summer but now there was extra time for more photo-taking. Ioassis was originally built on a hill at the tip of the peninsula framed by two picture-perfect bays. Today it is a sleepy fishing village set amid the tumbled ruins of the ancient city. Excavations have revealed the city’s agora (center), gymnasium, a basilica, a temple and numerous other buildings. It was all exhilarating.

  

OK. Back to work.