What was booked as a boutique small group tour became a very personal trip with an extremely articulate and knowledgeable Turkish guide called Adam! Why? Because I was the sole member of the group. We set out in extreme dry heat in a small Fiat that Adam hurled around the highway at breakneck speed (downhill at least), thus gaining enough momentum to cough and splutter up hill. Those highways that we travelled were impressive and dual carriage way, although this did not stop the occasional farmer’s tractor, kid on a bike or mangy dog from tempting fate by simply being on the road or worse still actually travelling against the flow of traffic. For a while I pictured myself back in India.
We were to visit three ancient Greek cities. Whilst Ephesus is the jewel in the archaeological crown in Aydin, I had visited the site 40 years ago, so opted for these amazing cultural heritage sites. Adam and I, not pushed for time or hindered by straggling or complaining crowds, meandered between sites. We visited Priene, Milet and finally the Temple of Apollo in the village of Didim.
The other memorable aspects were the abundance of figs! Roadside stalls sold baskets of yellow and purple figs, unblemished, huge and beautifully sweet.
We had lunch at a local roadside Cafe where the food was laid out as a smorgasbord of typical Turkish mainly vegetables. Adam ordered a fresh sea Bass grilled with fresh lemon and salad which we shared. Oh and by the way the tomatoes were sublime – rich red and so flavoursome.
3 photos of the ancient city of Priene, founded around 350BC. It was at settlement, by the sea! But the silt of the River Meander over the centuries pushed back the sea level. With global warming who knows in a few more centuries, the water level may return to ancient levels!
The monstrous amphitheatre of Milet and the fantastic Roman baths.
Several pictures of the Temple of Apollo