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TURKEY: ON THE HARD

November 24th, 2010 No comments

Just three days before Thanksgiving and about a month later than we left Croatia last year, Destiny is again on dry land and laid up for the winter at Marmaris Yacht Marina in Turkey.  The weather through November has been markedly warmer than Croatia in October. 

In turkey in November, hybiscus is still in bloom and palm trees sway in the breeze

In Turkey in November, hibiscus is still in bloom and palm trees sway in the breeze

The days are a balmy 75 F and at night a comfortable 50 F.  We can count on one hand the number of days that we have cranked up the heat to rid Destiny of an early morning chill, and have slept with the hatch in the master stateroom open most nights.  In the days leading up to our haul Kent worked ferverishly getting the boat ready.

Kent checked the rigging. . .

Kent checked the rigging. . .

and sanded. . .

and sanded. . . and taped. . .

 Then he applied cetol to the toe rail and strike rail.  No small job.

We have watched for the past two months as boats were hauled daily, sometimes until midnight and the parking areas no longer held cars but mega-yachts and more sailboats than we have seen on land in any one place in all our travels.  MYM has the capacity to store 1,000 boats on the hard, making it one of the largest in the entire Med. 

Mega-yachts. . .

Mega-yachts. . .

 

are supported by sticks and boards. . .we opted for a steel cradle.

are supported by sticks and boards. . .we opted for a steel cradle.

Parking lot is getting more crowded by the day.

Parking lot is getting more crowded by the day.

The yard has a 90 Ton (metric) lift and another that is 330 Ton—both working full-time.  Just days before we hauled a 100 plus foot sailing yacht came in for rigging work.  It took two cranes to remove and re-steep the mast and watching the work was a nail biter.

 

This mast goes on a very big sailboat

This mast goes on a very big sailboat

It takes two cranes several hours to step this mast

It takes two cranes several hours to step this mast

One step closer. . .

One step closer. . .

almost there. .

almost there. .

and now for the boom.

and now for the boom.

When our turn came we were lifted out by the 90 T travel lift, placed on a cradle and then towed on a special trailer to our winter storage spot—as requested near the restrooms. 

Destiny is dwarfed by the mega-yacht whose mast is taller than we are long!

Destiny is dwarfed by the mega-yacht whose mast is taller than we are long!

Destiny in the travel lift

Destiny in the travel lift

first a bath. . .

first a bath. . .

. . .then into the cradle

. . .then into the cradle

next the trailer. . .

next the trailer. . .

then off to our parking space.

then off to our parking space.

 Kent spent two full days covering the boat, which was tested last night by sustained 30 kt. winds and held.  We don’t know what will happen at 70 kts. which was recorded last year in January, but so far so good.

Jolie waits to get back on board.

Jolie waits to get back on board.

 After one night on the hard, and a beautiful sunrise, the weather deteriorated fast.  With rain approaching Kent worked very fast to cover Destiny.

Sunrise among the many masts.

Sunrise among the many masts.

Wind and rain threatened. . .

Wind and rain threatened. . .

but Kent got Destiny "buttoned up" in time.

but Kent got Destiny "buttoned up" in time.

But Jolie and I were hunkered out in one of the marina hotel rooms, attending to other important business.

Like getting all the boat yard dirt washed off. . .

Like getting all the boat yard dirt washed off. . .

and making her pretty to travel!

and making her pretty to travel!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we will be enroute to Istanbul first thing in the morning.  No turkey on our agenda this year, but much to be thankful for.

Categories: Europe, Turkey Tags:

OFF THE BOAT AND THE BEATEN PATH

November 16th, 2010 No comments

We recently joined several other cruisers from Yacht Marina and Netsel Marina (including Seattle friends Judy & Dave on Freebird and Chicago friend Carol, who with husband , Gus lives on Indigo) on a two day tour that went to several archeological sites that are somewhat isolated and therefore not visited as much as Ephesus, for example.

We had been assured by tour organizer, Gwen, that if we liked Ephesus “we would love Aphrodisias”, which was to be our first stop after a three-plus hour ride from Marmaris.

Along the way, however, we passed Tabae, an ancient site just off the Denizli-Mugla Highway which was founded during the Hellenistic Period and contains the remains of a Roman bath and Ottoman mosque.  

We wandered around the ancient walls

We wandered around the ancient walls. . .

and scattered remnants of Hellenistic glory.

and scattered remnants of Hellenistic glory.

A modern mosque now sits near. . .

A modern mosque now sits near. . .

the ruins of an Ottoman Mosque.

the ruins of an Ottoman Mosque.

After stretching our legs, and giving Jolie a chance to run off leash through the grass, we were back on the road and heading for Aphrodisias.

Aphrodisias is a Turkish national treasure.  We started our tour at the museum which houses some of the most well-preserved antiquities that we have seen in this part of the world.  

Aphrodisias Museum displays many artifacts from the site

Aphrodisias Museum displays many artifacts from the site

As you enter the museum you are greeted by a near perfect statue of Aphrodite, the Greek “Goddess of Love”, also known as the Goddess Venus in Roman times.  With her flowing robes and hair, she epitomizes beauty and sexuality.  Many statues of Aphrodite show her in naked or nearly so, but this representation is elegantly clothed but still sensual. 

Aphrodite the "Goddess of Love"

Aphrodite the "Goddess of Love"

Continuing through the museum we saw many life-size, and bigger than life, statues many of which were nearly complete.  We have become accustomed to seeing human figures rendered headless and limbless by marauding invaders, including Christians who wanted to stamp out pagan worship, and natural occurrences like earthquakes.  More about earthquakes later.   

Larger than life. . .this statue is nearly as high as the museum roof!

Larger than life. . .this statue is nearly as high as the museum roof!

Nearly perfect life size statues. . .

Nearly perfect life size statues. . .

reveal dress of the time.

reveal dress of the time.

 

while others are a diminutive. . .

While others are diminutive. . .

at less than 24 inches.

at less than 24 inches.

What makes Aphrodisias remarkable is the amazing condition of many of the antiquities, including large carved panels that adorned buildings and have now been removed to the safety of the museum. 

Nearly life size panels of Gods, Goddesses and mere mortals fill one gallery

Nearly life size panels of Gods, Goddesses and mere mortals fill one gallery

Naked nymphs. . .

Naked nymphs. . .

and lovers. . .

and lovers. . .

and warring gods are captured in the marble panels.

and warring gods are captured in the marble panels.

Jolie was permitted into the museum as an accessory

Jolie was permitted into the museum as an accessory

The sculptured marble panels have been replaced with reproductions that now fill the void in the buildings that remain.

 

Reproductions of the panels replace the originals

Reproductions of the panels replace the originals

During Roman times Aphrodiasis attracted sculptors because of the abundance of marble in nearby local quarries.  Not only the sculptures but the buildings, such as the Odeon and Theater were made of marble. 

White marble came from local quarries. . .

White marble came from local quarries. . .

and became works of art.

and became works of art. . .

in the hands of talented sculptors.

in the hands of talented sculptors.

After the museum we next visited the Tetrapylon or monumental gate which dates back to approximately 2 A.D. and was constructed after the Temple of Aphrodite has was converted to a Christian church.

Our travel group in front of the elaborate tetraplyon. . .

Our travel group in front of the elaborate tetraplyon. . .

a monumental gate leading to the Temple of Aphrodite.

a monumental gate leading to the Temple of Aphrodite.

The Temple of Aphrodite dates back to the 8th Century B.C. when pagan worship was suspected to include orgies. But under the Byzantines in approximately 350 A.D. it was transformed into a Christian church and rebuilt into a basilica in 500 A.D. 

Temple of Aphrodite. . .

Temple of Aphrodite. . .

was rebuilt as a basilica in 500 A.D.

was rebuilt as a basilica in 500 A.D.

What remains now is sparse evidence of its real splendor, but is splendid just the same.

Many pillars of the temple still stand. . .

Many pillars of the temple still stand. . .

while others have toppled.

while others have toppled.

The Odeon is a small marble amphitheater like structure that was the seat of government.  The original structure would have been covered by a roof and not open air as it is now. 

The Odeon was the seat of government

The Odeon was the seat of government

The marble is pure white, with little sign of its actual age because it was buried in mud for centuries and perfectly preserved as a result.  Note the delicate carving of clawed animal feet decorating the rows.  This is a motif we have seen repeated in many similar structures of this time period.

Ornate claw carvings on every level

Ornate claw carvings on every level

One of the larger structures on the site is the Stadium which is an elongated oval 270 meters (nearly three football fields) in length and with 30 tiers.  It was built by the Greeks in the 1st Century A.D. to accommodate 30,000 spectators for athletic games.  By 400 A.D. the Romans controlled the city and gladiatorial combat and wild beast fights replaced athletic games. 

30,000 Greeks watched athletic games in the Stadium. . .

30,000 Greeks watched athletic games in the Stadium. . .

 

while Roman gladiators fought each other and wild beasts hundreds of years later.

while Roman gladiators fought each other and wild beasts hundreds of years later.

Aphodisias also has a marble theater, complete with column lined stage that seated 25,000 people.  The theater is located near the highest point on the site and it is a bit of a climb to reach the top.  From the upper reaches of the theater you can see out over the ruins and the mountains in the distance as well as just marvel at the beauty and size of the structure.

The theater has a marble seats, stage and decorative columns

The theater has a marble seats, stage and decorative columns

In the van enroute to our hotel we were able to do a video Skype call with granddaughter, Elizabeth, for her fourth birthday and watch her open her present from us.  Thank goodness for netbooks and 3G internet dongles.

By 6 p.m. we arrived at our hotel in Kusadasi in need of a cocktail and some dinner. 

Tranquil view of Kusadasi Harbor from our 4th flr. balcony

Tranquil view of Kusadasi Harbor from our 4th flr. balcony

Back in our room after a group dinner, we were jolted by several tremors from an EARTHQUAKE.  Gwen had promised us some “surprises” on the trip, but an earthquake was not one of them.  Kent had felt two minor tremors before the one that had the walls of the room moving violently and sent us scurrying into to the street.  At first I thought he was kidding when he said “get dressed we are getting out of here”.  The shock lasted only a few seconds, but never having experienced an earthquake, it was scary. 

After about thirty minutes sitting at a café along the harbor front and watching people strolling by, seemingly unconcerned about what had just transpired we went back to our hotel.  The next morning, everyone had a lot to talk about—including the fact that a group of Turkish doctors and their families who were staying in our hotel for a conference had moved out in the middle of the night to another hotel that wasn’t eight stories.  Yikes!! Glad that piece of information wasn’t available the night before.  The epicenter of the 4.5 earthquake was in Ephesus about 10 km from Kusadasi, but no damage was reported—except to our sleep

 

Our hotel is still standing. . .thankfully

Our hotel is still standing. . .thankfully

We awoke to gray skies that threatened rain the next morning with two more major sites to see, and were on the road again by 9 a.m.

The main attraction at our next stop, the ancient city of Miletus, is its Great Theater.  Originally built during the Hellenistic period the 15,000 seat theater was reconstructed by the Romans in the 1st Century A.D.

 

Great Theater in Miletus

Great Theater in Miletus

Tunnels under the seats

Tunnels under the seats. . .

and multi-story arches are architectural delights.

and multi-story arches are architectural delights.

There is a Byzantine fortification constructed at the very top of the structure.

 

A Byzantine fortification tops the Great Theater

A Byzantine fortification tops the Great Theater

Standing next to the upper part of the theater you look down on other partially restored structures. 

Partially restored temple at Miletus

Partially restored temple at Miletus

By the time we were leaving Miletus, the sky was more threatening but the rain had held off. 

November sky threatens rain

November sky threatens rain

Our final stop before heading back to Marmaris was the seaside town of Didym, site of the Temple to Apollo and site of an ancient oracle as important as the one at Delphi, which we had visited in Greece.

As we trekked up yet another hill, Kent commented that he had seen enough “ancient rock”.  Then we saw the remains of this spectacular structure and he was awe struck.  The temple porch originally held 120 HUGE columns, only three of which currently remain standing, although many have lost only there top portions. 

Historical Drawing of the Temple of Apollo

Historical Drawing of the Temple of Apollo

Temple of Apollo at Didyma

Temple of Apollo at Didym

 The grounds are covered with sections of the columns that have fallen, and fragments of ornate carving.

Pieces of history

Pieces of history

Our guide, Tas in front of a Medusa sculpture

Our guide, Tas in front of a Medusa sculpture

The bases of the columns were approximately 5 feet in diameter with ornate carvings around the perimeter. 

These columns are the biggest. . .

These columns are the biggest. . .

we have seen ANYWHERE!!

we have seen ANYWHERE!!

Ornate carving on the base of columns

Ornate carving on the base of columns

and along the walls.

and along the walls.

There was an open air courtyard where the sacred spring was located (replaced by a well when the spring went dry) where priests drank from the waters and then prophesied. 

Open air staircase leads to main altar

Open air staircase leads to main altar

Lions and

Lions and

Pairs of Griffins. . .

Pairs of Griffins. . .

and floral motifs adorned the temple.

and floral motifs adorned the temple.

Just as we were leaving the Temple it started to sprinkle and by the time we gathered in a nearby restaurant for lunch the skies had opened and we were treated to a thunder and lightning show fit for the Gods.

Categories: Europe, Turkey Tags:

TURKISH OIL WRESTLING

November 3rd, 2010 2 comments

While everyone in the U.S. was celebrating Halloween on October 31st, we spent the afternoon enjoying a Turkish tradition dating back to 1065 B.C. when Persians first introduced oil wrestling to this part of the world. 

Turkish oil wrestling has little in common with the Olympic sport of wrestling.  First, it is dripping (quite literally) in tradition. 

The atmosphere in the small Turkish village that hosted this event was carnival like.  Crowds of people, many in traditional attire, walked along the road that lead to the grassy field where the tournament took place.  Our van arrived in the village just behind a band that was comprised mostly of drums and cymbals played by men in Ottoman attire.  As they marched down the street, the townspeople and visitors (us included) marched along behind to the rhythmic beat.  The air was electric with excitement.

An Ottoman band led the way to the festivities

An Ottoman band led the way to the festivities

Ottoman Band led the way to the festivities

. . .and added both music and color to the day.

The matches took place in a grassy field that had been roped off and was surrounded by several flatbed trucks, brought in by locals for a premium viewing platform and white plastic chairs for other spectators.  The “officials”, including politicians had premium, covered seating on the far side of the field. 

 

Officials and VIP's gathered under the Turkish flag

Officials and VIP's gathered under the Turkish flag in a formal reviewing stand. . .

while hundreds of spectators, like Kent & tour host, Gwen, sat on plastic chairs around the periphery of the field.

while hundreds of spectators, like Kent & tour host, Gwen, sat on plastic chairs around the periphery of the field.

Hundreds of people waited anxiously for the games to begin, as the wrestlers sat in the grass waiting for their matches after being doused with olive oil.

The olive oil is poured on waiting wrestlers from large urns, and reapplied as needed.

The olive oil is poured on waiting wrestlers from large urns, and reapplied as needed.

Oiled and waiting

Oiled and waiting

The wrestlers are all dressed in identical leather trousers that are tightly bound at the waist (important for reasons that will be apparent) and stretch to just below the knee.  Large urns of olive oil are liberally dumped over the bodies of the wrestlers as they prepare for their matches, leaving the pants dripping with oil and their bodies glistening in the sun.

Because of the thick coating of olive oil on their bodies, holding onto your opponent is tricky business.  Unlike conventional wrestling where grabbing an opponent’s clothing is forbidden—here the leather pants become the means to the end.  The strategy, as we determined after watching several matches, is to slide your hand into the opponent’s pants and use the pants to leverage him into submission.  I am told that there is a rope inside the pants that they grab onto, but you can’t prove it by me.  When an arm is up to the elbow in the pants, it doesn’t take much imagination to grasp the situation. 

Gotcha!

Gotcha!

I know there is a rope here somewhere!

I know there is a rope here somewhere!

Having said that, this is a challenging sport, and the men who compete are strong and well-muscled.  Preliminary to each match the competitors march in opposite directions across a field swinging their arms.  They stand side-by-side in the center of the field with arms linked and then kneel briefly in front of the reviewing stand.  Returning to the center of the field, they pass each other with a brief hand on the backside before getting down to the business of wrestling.

First walk the walk. . .

First walk the walk. . .

then arm in arm to show respect. . .

then arm in arm to show respect. . .

then the passing tap. . .

then the passing tap. . .

 

and finally they're down to the business of wrestling!

and finally they're down to the business of wrestling!

During the day there were times that more than one match was taking place on the field at the same time, each with its own referee.  The referees would stop the matches to allow wrestlers to wipe the oil out of their eyes or reposition them on the field when their movement was toward the crowd.

Stand off or Hand off?

Stand off or Hand off?

Time out. . .can't see

Time out. . .can't see

Watching the crowd was as much fun as watching the wrestlers.  Groups of Turkish men would set up tables covered with food and glasses of Raki (a traditional Turkish drink, like Greek Ouzo).  When I took the following picture, they joked that I owed them 5 lira, but settled for me taking a swig of Raki with them.

That'll be 5 TL

That'll be 5 TL

This was very much a family occasion, with many babies and small children.   

Babies. . .

Babies. . .

women and children enjoy the fall festival atmosphere.

women and children enjoy the fall festival atmosphere.

In fact, Jolie accompanied us and attracted children like a magnet—they couldn’t get enough of petting her.

Everybody loves Jolie. . .

Everybody loves Jolie. . .

and wanted a picture taken with her.

and wanted a picture taken with her.

There was a large media turnout for this event, and Kent and I were even interviewed by a local TV station.  Although wrestling was the main attraction it reminded us of a harvest festival in New England–steeped in tradition and enjoyed by all ages.

The media gets up close and personal on the field

The media gets up close and personal on the field

All in all, it was a lovely fall day.

And then it was over. . .until next year.

And then it was over. . .until next year.

Categories: Europe, Turkey Tags: