01 October 2003 Wednesday - Priene/Miletus/Didyma - 147 Photos
Today was a very busy day. After breakfast, we started out at the Roman city of Priene, which involved a climb up a pretty big hill. This hill was nothing compared to our climb at Termessos, but we were still pretty tired when we got to the top. When we got to the top, we found the site to be beautiful, nestled quietly in a pine forest.
Like Termessos, the place had little reconstruction, so there were lots of cool column pieces spewed about.
There were some restored columns though.
Priene was different from other Roman cities because it was square, with some side-streets, unlike most other Roman cities we've visited that had one main street, with huge stone pillars on each side. It even had a strange square meeting room called the Bouleuterion, or Council House.
Priene was a port city-a peninsula-back in ancient times. Over time, the river nearby deposited silt at the base of the huge hill, until now it's all farmland below.
Driving through the countryside, we saw vast fields of ripe cotton. Many migrant workers have come in to harvest the cotton.
We also saw huge wagons of cotton being hauled by tractors where farmers were waiting to get receipts for their crops.
Next, we visited the Roman city of Miletus, which was a very extensive port city, surrounded on three sides by water from the Aegean Sea.
Again, the river filled in the lands below. The city covered a very large area, and it had several features, including a theater,
a Byzantine citadel, a Caravan Serai (castle-like place where Caravan's parked at night.), a temple,
Roman baths, various arches and all.
In one building, I saw a snake crawl into a hole. I told Mete, and he went looking for it. He never found it again, but he thought it might be a poisonous viper, which are common in that area.
Another weird feature of Miletus is due to all the cotton farming in the area: a lot of the old stones were covered in thick cotton dust. It was so thick that it looked like a cotton blanket covering the stones. It was weird.
In one room, I found another tortoise. This time, I picked him up and asked Kathy to take my picture.
Then the poor thing was accosted by a group of German tourists who wanted photos too. It also had an old mosque, that had its minaret broken off. Kathy and I used flashlights to climb the stairs and we found ourselves on the roof. I think Mete was surprised because he had a phone call, and when he turned around, we were gone. He lent us a Talkabout radio so we can always be in touch, so he called us on the Talkabout and asked if we were okay.
Next, we ate lunch, and after lunch, we went to the city of Didyma, which is another important Roman ruin. Basically, this is just a big temple, but it was very cool.
Some areas seemed like a big field of broken rock pieces.
It had some huge columns, some of which were toppled like toys by an earthquake long ago.
I asked Mete what they did with all the cotton, and he said that they make all kinds of textiles, for example, Levi jeans, and it was also as soft as Egyptian cotton. We convinced him to take us briefly to a Levi jeans outlet store. The prices were very cheap (some pairs of jeans for $5.00 or $10.00) and the cotton was softer than any other jeans I've felt, but they had a very poor selection of jeans in my size, and almost nothing in Kathy's size. Therefore, we didn't buy anything.
After that, we told Mete that we wanted to go to a beach. He said that the public beach in Kusadasi was bad, but he offered to bring us to a beautiful wildlife park by the ocean that has beaches. It also has a lot of wildlife, including jackals, hyaenas and wild boars. The park was beautiful. We bummed around the beach for a long time, but the beach was too rocky to wade or anything, but Kathy got her feet wet anyway. The water was a beautiful deep blue.
When we were tired of that, we looked around for wild boars. Of course, because Mete is a boar hunter, he looked all over for them, but I found one first. We took lots of pictures of it. We dug some watermelon rinds out of a nearby trash can and set them in the grass. The boar came, and we were feeding it. It nearly took the food directly from Mete's hand.
Then Mete picked up a rock, and was going to scare the boar to make it squeal. But he got a little bit too close to the boar and it started to charge him. I thought Mete was going to be hurt, but he hurled that rock at the boar's skull and hit it squarely in the head with a loud "crack." The boar squealed, turned and ran in such a hurry that it ran head-first into a nearby tree. Then it ran into the woods. Boars have very thick skulls, but the stone hit him hard enough that it might have killed it. I felt terrible for the boar, but for Mete it was self-defense, and after all, he's a boar hunter, so how bad can it be?
We watched the sunset at the same park, and it was beautiful.
Today I filled up both flash cards, which is the first time that's ever happened.
Also, Kathy ran out of film for the trip, which is the first trip that we've ever run out. Tomorrow we must buy more film.