Stuff I Know

Just stuff by me about me and my life, such as it is.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Side and a Side of Some Caverns

No, that isn't a typo in the title. That first "Side" is actually pronounced 'see-day' and is the name of an ancient costal town in Turkey.

Arches around the theater. Some arches around the outside of the theater.

Side is a small resort town, but it is probably more famous for the seventh century port town. Or more correctly, the ruins of that port town which was an important center of trade in its day.

Ruins along the coastline. Ruins along the coastline.

There are lots of ruins to explore such as the theater and the agora (open marketplace), but maybe the most iconic ruin is the partial reconstruction of the Temple of Apollo. It sets on the edge of the sea and must have been quite a sight to sailors of the Greek era.

The temple of Apollo. The Temple of Apollo.

Additionally in this photo set are some pictures from inside two caves near Alanya, Turkey. The closest cave to Alanya is sometimes know as the 'asthma cave' due to the belief that spending time breathing the humid air of the cave can reduce the symptoms of, or supposedly cure, asthma. This interior of the main cavern is a large room with few of the traditional cave accoutrements such as stalagmites and stalactites. There really is just the one main room in the cavern, but it is interesting and offers a respite from the sun of the seashore.

Small stalactites on the ceiling. Small stalactites on the ceiling of the 'asthma cave.'

The other cave complex is about 20 - 30 minutes east outside the main city and up in the hills. There is a bus that goes that direction, but during the winter it only goes as far as the cave once or twice a day and doesn't allow for a lot of time to look around. I take what I can get, though. The road winds back and forth as it heads up the canyon to the cave entrance. If you get the bus driver I had, you may want to keep your eyes closed seeing as he tends to use one hand to hold his cellular phone and the other hand to talk with (gesture) leaving no hands to hold the steering wheel.

Stalagmites in the larger cavern. Stalagmites in the larger cavern outside of the city.

You walk down down some stairs into the cave and then have a choice of going left or right. Go ahead and go left first, since that trail is shorter and then come back to the stairs. Following the path to the right leads you off into the cavern, up and down ramps, and through some spectacular cave scenery.

Lots of cave structres to see. Looking back through the cavern.

I had the whole cavern to myself on my visit. I didn't have a lot of time to explore, but I do think I saw almost everything and did make it all the way to the end of the cavern. The views of the canyon and coast in the distance are also quite nice.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some Downtime in Alanya

In just saying the name of this costal town, you get the impression that it may be a bit different. The name just flows off the tongue more smoothly. And in fact the town itself is a bit different from the other towns in Turkey I had been to previously. Life seems to have a slower pace there. Things feel more laid-back.

The main harbor. The main harbor, near the Red Tower.

And I expect I am not the only one to feel that. Alanya is a top destination for Europeans, and many people have gone there to set up a second home or as a place to begin a new stage in their life. After visiting Alanya, I can see why so many people want to spend time there.

The castle and town. Looking back over the castle to the town.

My main reason for going to Alanya was to visit a good friend. I also took advantage of her hospitality to just slow things down a bit and relax the schedule I had been on. Though the main attraction of the city is probably the beach area and its associated nightlife, there are other things to do and see in Alanya.

My friend Maryanne. My good friend Marryanne in Atatürk's house.

Up on top of the hill near the marina is Alanya Castle dating from 1226. There are some interesting ruins at the top of the hill that are great to explore.

Castle ruins. Ruins of a Byzantine era church within the castle.

Down at the bottom of the hill is the Kızıl Kule or (Red Tower). Again, another imposing structure that offers some magnificent views out over the coast.

The Red Tower. The Red Tower at night.

Alanya also boasts of Atatürk's House and Museum. Though it was never actually his home, he only visited there for a while, the house does offer a glimpse into early 20th century Turkish life and information into the life of the man known as the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

A bust of  Atatürk. A bust of Atatürk in Atatürk's House and museum.

Around Alanya there are also some Greek/Roman ruins, waterfalls, and a couple of caverns. I'll mention those in the next post.

The city is full of Turkish culture, good food, and nice people. Real estate prices are rising in Alanya with the influx of foreigners, but if I had the money, I would definitely consider it as a location for my own "retirement."

Here are some photos of the area. As a bonus, there is another rare picture of me in this photo album of Alanya. Enjoy the pictures.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Twofer

I am including two cities in this post just because one of the cities wasn't that interesting. Well, it wasn't that interesting on the day that I visited.

Calcium cliffs. No, that is not snow or ice, and I am not in Dover.

Pamukkale is probably a nice place when the conditions are right, but I arrived late at night and the next day was gray and rainy. Gray skies are not the best conditions in which to see the white travertine cliffs that make the city famous. The cliffs tend to take on the color of the sky making everything look faded and worn.

More calcium. The springs bring up the calcium which deposits as the water cools.

The showers didn't help either. I am sure the place is nice most of the time, but wandering around in the rain with nothing but a small umbrella for protection did not make for a nice day. You may be saying, "Gosh what a wimp. It's just a little rain." True, it may have been just a little rain, but it still was the winter season, and not having a place to dry wet clothes, it certainly is no fun hauling around one's wet garments.

A pool fed by the springs. A spring at the base of the cliffs. It's not warm, though.

Anyway, I saw the main attraction but missed the local ruins. That means I do have a reason to visit again some day when I can maybe see the city in a better light. Literally.

On to Antalya. Now Antalya was a very nice city. Its seaside location makes for a beautiful back drop to the sites and the old city with its warrens of older buildings.

An old building. Old buildings yet to be restored into shops or hotels.

The museum is very nice too. It has some very nice pieces. Several of the larger items are really incredible. And I hate to bring this news, but ...

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. But he is dead.

The bones of Santa Clause. It kind of spoils Christmas when you see Santa Claus' bones setting in a museum case.

Saint Nicholas is the person credited as being Santa Clause, and there are his bones displayed for everyone to see.

The beach. No one is swimming because it's February.

The city has a nice beach area. It is a pebble beach, but the rocks are small enough not to be uncomfortable. And you can wander up and down the beach and find wonderful stones that just beg to be picked up. I had to stop myself so I wouldn't end up carrying too much weight around.

Shiny, pretty stones. Lots of interesting stones.

And again, the water has an unbelievable blue/aquamarine quality to it. I never failed to be amazed by it.

The beautiful blue. Makes you want to take up cliff diving.

Enjoy the rest of the few pictures I have.

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