Tuesday January 15, 2008

 

Day 8 started in Antalya with loading the bus at 9:00 am for a ride to Perge. Along the way, we practiced our ever increasing mastery of the Turkish language. Mehmet will say a phrase and we would repeat it, Good morning. Good evening. How are you? Fine. Please. Numbers, time, days of the week. Rather than having day names for Saturday and Monday, they are known as the day after Friday and the day after Sunday. At one point Mehmet had to point out that we could stop repeating what he was telling us and start answering the questions. We try, but for the most part, our pronunciation is atrocious.
Mehmet explained that cities along the Mediterranean coast were built inland to protect from pirates and attackers. We learned that the original trade of Antalya was citrus fruits, and enjoyed some wonderful oranges and tangerines along the way. Antalya is situated right on the Mediterranean coastline so tourism increased it’s population rapidly. Around 7 million tourists visit per year, with us, 7 million and sixteen.
Arriving at Perge, a great example of a Greco-Roman city built by heroes of Trojan war.  We were greeted with a view of a tremendous theatre, which is not open to the public. Barnabas, Saint Paul and Mark are believed to have visited and convened in this city.
Perge has been excavated within the last 60 years and a theatre, coliseum, agora and many other buildings have been found. The grounds and examples of architecture are beautiful and interesting to view.
After leaving Perge, we were able to make a post office stop (Post cards on the way Mom, Pops, MPV!) and a few girls jumped into a pickup soccer game with some local schoolboys.
We then visited nearby aqueducts built by the Romans around the 1st or 2nd Century AD. They transported water over long distances to supply it to the cities. Several of the girls climbed to the tip of one of the towers. Once Jessica discovered a climbing opportunity, we knew we’d have trouble corralling her again! The existing remains of the aqueduct are more than 50 feet high.
Following this, we faced the gladiator at a Roman theatre also built in the 2nd Century AD. Mehmet told us a story of how the governor of the region challenged two men vying for his daughter’s hand to build structures in competition. One built the magnificent aqueducts and the other built the theatre. The theatre is a marvel as it seems acoustically perfect. Stephanie Lawrence gave a rousing performance of both Aretha Franklin’s “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” and Brittney Spear’s “Give It to Me One More Time.”
Lunch was at the Belkis Restaurant on the water. After a selection of food that again offered wonderful fresh vegetables and fruits, a light rain was falling. We took the bus a little further to the Aspendos Köprücay Bridge, which was built by the Anatolian Seljuk Emperor Alaadin Keykubat. It was built on the ruins of an old Roman bridge and was restored in 1996-1998.
When we returned to the city we went by the Old Town section and saw Hadrian’s Gate which was built around 130 AD.
The group separated for a while, resting, taking breaks and some of us went walking. We trekked to the nearest ATM, which was conveniently located by a walk out to the sea. We strolled back from the cliffs and Sarah B. convinces us to stop for gelato. I am still in sugar shock. We have an early day tomorrow though, and the English Pub next door is calling, so signing off…..

Linda Lambert