Wednesday, March 11, 2020
The Thrill of Exploration
When planning the Turkey chapter of our 'big trip,' I came across a photograph of the theatre at Termessos. It wasn't really near the places we wanted to see in Turkey, so I set to work finding new things to see on a path that would get us reasonably close.
The hub for our Termessos trek turned out to be the city of Antalya, right on the Mediterranean Sea coast. It's a fine city with a fabulous (if outdated) museum, good restaurants, and the friendly Sabah Pansiyon. Also worth seeing if you're around Antalya is Chimaera, home to a hill with a few dozen fires poking their way out of the ground.
But Termessos was our focus at this point. The Sabah rented cars so that was easy enough, and the route up to Güllük Dagi National Park also pretty straight forward.
"The drive north of Antalya is simple and beautiful. We’re driving in Turkey. And I’m not sure what we’ve done to deserve yet another sky that is so blue it seems to sparkle. Not far out of town, we begin to make the upward climb into those remarkable hills, where the drive becomes very dramatic, and not just because the road crumbles away from the edge and spills down the hillside. Not the ground beside the road, but the concrete that was once a part of the road. A never-ending stream of mostly-intact hairpin turns takes us in a continuously vertical direction, into Gulluk Dagi National Park, and past the set of outer walls belonging to the ancient city of Termessos." (From an earlier post describing our day at Termessos, http://artypeg.blogspot.com/2016/08/breathless-at-termessos-turkey.html. Check it out for many more photos.)
There are many places around the world where the atmosphere just begs you to stop, settle yourself, and listen to the centuries of history that have passed since Alexander passed through, places that, with more than a little sense of quiet urgency, invite you to ponder what once was, and how it ever came to end.
I didn't plan on taking this panorama photo. In fact, I had to sift through a couple hundred pictures to find the four or five that would make up this final one, that would come to fully represent our day in that ancient city, and one of a few that would encapsulate the thrill of exploration, and the wonder of this entire trip.
I could go on and on; in fact, I just erased several sentences of superlatives so that you could spend more of your time just looking at this picture.
Turkey's time in the travel spotlight has been up and down over the past decade, and it seems as though it's experiencing a bit of an upswing again. If you plan on going, do not miss this place. Get there early, and you will likely have the city to yourself.