For what is supposed to be a relaxing holiday, today was very busy. So much stuff packed into one day!
Picked up by coach and dropped on a wooden jetty, we started the day with a short boat ride across a wide river. We were taken to some natural hot springs that were bringing up a mineral rich mud.
Supposedly, this special mix of muddy ingredients would make you feel 10 years younger if you smothered yourself in it. I call Aimi my old lady, so I took great pleasure in making sure every inch of her was covered in this dark grey mud… You never know.
After application, we stood like amature Covent Garden human statues made of concrete. We weren’t very good, we kept moving and laughing at the feeling of the mud solidifying on our faces. Some bald chaps had really gone to town and looked like monsters, covered, domed head to wrinkled foot, in the stuff.
Once we had baked in the sun for 20 mins we washed it all off and went to the next stage of the rustic spa treatment, the Sulphur Pool. This was the source of the eggy smell that lived in the air. Getting in the water with about 20 other people, it was a balmy 35 degrees like stinky bath water. You couldn’t take any bare metals into the area because they reacted with the sulphur supposedly. So there are no photos of this because we didn’t fancy paying for them…
Another short boat ride later and we landed at a gigantic restaurant that was deserted. It was deserted but almost immediately filled with about 10 different tour groups, so about 500 people. It was pandemonium but the quality of the food was surprisingly good for the chaos.
Up the river a bit we floated to a stop in some reeds and saw the rock crypts that had been carved into the cliff face. As with any decorative cultural construction, anywhere around the world, , the more important you were the bigger (— dick—) crypt you got. They built about <insert year here > which is a really long time ago, so I was surprised they were still in one piece.
The river, carrying us on this journey, has a Turkish name that means “tears of the heart”, so named after a princess that fell in love with her brother. He settled the town here and each year she came and professed her love for him and he rejected her, filling the river with her tears.
We landed a bit further downstream and a tractor with a cart picked us up and dragged us up a rocky hill to an old settlement. This was over 6000 years old, way before the sea sediment had filed the inlet line today. This would have been on the foremost hill looking out over the bay, commanding the tactical position. There was also a circular stone dias rising in steps on the top of one of the hills here. It was inscribed with actuate circles and segments with greek looking words. This was not a set of steps up into a great building, but historians think it was a huge weathervane showing which way the wind was blowing. This would allow trades ships to navigate the harbour safely, this increasing trade. This particular structure, and the Coliseum was built by the Romans who over-built the city in their image during their reign.
The Coliseum was magnificent. It rose about 15m of curved solid stone wall with a huge archway entrance. Up the steps through this arch lead you to the middle tiers of the Coliseum which could hold over 5000 people. The limestone rock must have been pretty weak, as in places it had crumbled or deeply pocketed with the weathering. I still tried to experience a bubble head* echo, to little effect. Aimi left me to it, making baa noises trying to me the centre… I think she was embarrassed.
My only criticism of the whole tour was that we only stayed here for 20 minutes. The site was massive and had loads of ruins and plaques explaining what they all were. I was disappointed to be moving on already because you could easily spend a whole day here, but back to the boat we headed.
Our last stop before heading back was turtle beach. A British lady (altho I think her nationality changes depending on which nationality the tour group consists of) who lived in luxury touring the world came here and found the turtles heading towards extinction. She immediately gave up her life in favour of building a turtle sanctuary and prevented a German Hotel being built on the beachfront.
There wasn’t much to see here except a nice shallow beach and a few markers stopping people putting their towels down on the turtle nests. We swam in the sea for a while but soon got bored and headed back to the boat so Aimi could have her special crab snack. It was very tasty, but mostly was used to attract turtles. After not too long we found them and got an amazing view of them poking out of the water, crunching down on the crab bits thrown in. They are such massive creatures, moving so slowly and gently, it was a treat to sight them.
A long lazy river boat ride took us back to the coach and back to the hotel and then straight the bed… Knackered
*bubble head echo is my description of what it sounds like when you stand right at the centre of a perfect semicircle of steps. The echo back from your speech all returns at exactly the same time giving you the impression you are speaking inside a goldfish bowl or bubble.