Tuesday 31 August 2010

Piraeus to Aqaba - Log #004# - (Marmaris-Oludeniz-Fethiye)

Marmaris is a harbor town that swells to over 200,000 people during summer. Lord Neslon organised hiss fleet in this natural harbour to attack the French at Abukir in 1798. The marina is full of gulets (wooden boats) that you can charter for a cruise with friends.

The surrounding hills and mountains of Marmaris hide excellent routes for bike rides.
Koycegiz is upon a beautidul and serene Lake Koycegiz.

Karmylassos is an eerie town of 2000 stoned houses that lie abandoned after their orthodox Ottoman inhabitants were exchanged for Greek muslims after the WWI. The vlllagers moved to the outskirts of Athens and founded Nea Levissi.

Kabak is a remote beach community that used to be the place for mellow turkish students in the 90's and now with 12 camps around its bay has become a bit of an ex-Paradise on earth. It lies at the end of a spectacular Gorge.

The Scamp ia the best place to unwind and enjoy the hospitality of Suleyman and his family. Suleyman is an extremely hospital and laid back guy who runs a camp of bungallows and log cabins, growing at the same time his own organic food. He has the best view on the sea and he is just a 10 mins walk from a nice cove with turquoise water. If you are looking for a week or so to relax and recharge your batteries Suleyman is your man.

Eray, Deniz, Suleyman, Vassilis and Melek.

Myself and Meryem from the Netherlands a very nice woman with an extremely interesting religious and ethnic backgound.

Scamp's balcony in the rain.

After the rain.

Scamp's relaxing area.

Oludeniz is near Fethye and shelters Blue Lagoon and a long sandy beach. Lots of paragliding on offer too.

Daily Distance: 200Km
Total Distance: 1000Km
Pros: Eken family,Meryem
Cons: null
Soundtrack: The Crowded House, Weather with You

Piraeus to Aqaba - Log #003# - (Kusadasi-Dilek Peninsula-Mugla)

On the road to Mugla you find some of the more heavily touristic places in Turkey.Kusadasi and Bodrum are for the package tourists and the are fairly spoilt from the masses of sun-fun seeking revellers. Below you see Bodrum from its marina.

On the way to Mugla it is worth it to stop near the Zeus Magarasi a cave with extremely chilled waters that used to be worshipped from the pagans as one of Zeus resting places and then it carried its mystical status through the years to the worshippers of other religions and that is why you see once again the rags and ribbons of muslims's wishes and prayers.In Dilek Peninsula lies the Dilek National Park a mountainous natural reserve for horse riding and walking.

Riding to Mugla there are plenty of Kofteci places serving local delicacies like Sucuk (turkish sausage).

Mugla is proud of it been the first province to appoint a female vali (governor).

Murat and Mustafa helped me to find a pansion when I arrrived late in the night. Lovely lads.

Mugla is a quiet, authentic, provincial city with fine Ottoman whitewashed traditional houses.

Daily Distance: 100Km
Total Distance: 500Km
Pros: The lads
Cons: Motorbike broke down, trivial damage 80 Turkish Liras (40e)
Soundtrack: George Harisson, While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Sunday 29 August 2010

Piraeus to Aqaba - Log #002# - (Izmir-Selcuk)

About 50 Km from Izmir on the road to Aydin you find Selcuk an exclellent very laid-back city. Seltcuk can become your starting point for visiting Sirince, Ephesus and Pamucak.

Seltcuk also hosts the Efes Museum which is extremely popular.Other folklor you can experience in Selcuk is Camel and Oil Wrestling (pehlivans).

This is the entrance to the last place where Virgin Mary is supposed to have lived.
For Muslims Mary is Meryemana, Mother Mary who bore Isa Peygamber the Prophet Jesus, so it a place of pilgrimage also for Muslims. The ribbons and rags are prayers and wishes of Mulim pilgrims.

The chapel on the place on the spot where Mary spent her last years.

Ephesus is the best preserved classical city of the Meditteranean basin.

This is Celcus library, built by his son to commemorate him, it used to hold 12000 scrolls. Under the library is Celsus' burial site. The four statues represent the four Virtues.

Ennoia (Thought)

Areti (Goodness)

Sofia (Wisdom)

Episteme (Knowledge or Science)

Camp site in Selcuk nice and green.

Pamucak beach huge and uncroweded.

Ephesus used to be a place of pilgrimage for infertile couples because of the ancient temple of Anatolian Goddess Cybele, that became Artemis during the Ancient Greek times and then Diana during Roman years. This is the statue of Artemis, the breasts represent fertility and the statue is clearly infuenced by the Anatolian Cult of Cybele.

This is the statue of Emeperor Augustus, note the cross that early Christians engraved on the Roman statues to "Christianise" them.

Sunset from the mountains ahead of Sirince. Sirince used to be a Greek speaking village of the 15th century built by Greek freed slaves who named the village Circince (Ugliness) only to be turned into Sirince (Pleasantless) by the governon of Izmir.
Then during the population exchange of the 19th century it was populated by muslims of Salonic.

The old school of the village has been transformed into Artemis Reastaurant with breath taking view into the valley and reasonably priced food.

In Selcuk you will find the tomb of St John we took care o Jesus' mother and brought her with him to Minor Asia and Ephesus when he was assigned the role of promoting Christianism into the Minor Asia Territory.

This is Dino and Nina from Torino, met them by accident in Selcuk after our meeting in Chios.
Daily Distance: 100Km
Total Distance: 250Km
Pros: Dino and Nina
Cons: Heat
Soundtrack: The Talking Heads, Road To Nowhere (Thanks to Yiannos for sending the Html, youtube.com banned in Turkey)