Drenching rains during the night brought us a crisp sparkling day at Fethiyue where we left our gulet behind and loaded into our bus for an overland trip to Antalya.
At our first pit stop, Usla chose a gas station, mini-store near a greenhouse. This grower grows tomatoes but the keeper puts in lettuces, radishes, green onions and a few peppers between the rows for his own use.
Tomatoes grow on what appears to be mini-trees. We’ve been eating them every day and they are crisp and flavorful, unlike the tasteless hot-house tomatoes we get off-season in our neck of the woods. We sampled them and asked questions of the keeper. All farmers, in outdoor plots or greenhouses grow only organic food. If they are caught spraying the farmer loses his license for life and the fines are heavy. Don’t we wish we could get such regulations in the U.S. to provide healthier foods? (Some imported foods, mostly available in big cities, do not have to be organic.)
At Myra, is a 4th century B.C. ruins, similar to others we’ve seen. The area here is heavily settled by Russians.
And because of the rain, the place was muddy and partly flooded.
A stone effigy of Medusa before the daughter of Zeus, Athena, out of jealousy, cast a spell that turned her hair to snakes and whatever her eyes touched, turned to stone. The God’s eyes we see all over Turkey are protection against the evil eye of Medusa.
I keep looking at the unique tulip patterns that favor the native tulip and resembles Arabic script for the word Muhammad.
Nearby, some real tulips. In this small Village, Owen found enameled eggs, a model Russian helicopter and a knife, his third knife. The “big spender” opened his wallet. He is very cautious with his money, an excellent trait, but I did tease him about it. I was sure he’d return home with nothing but knives.
The real importance of this stop is the fourth century B.C. Lycian temple tombs.
Broken and entered for their treasures long ago, writings and carvings tell the story of the Lycians.
One marble slab of script on this site, is compared to the Rosetta Stone. It gave enough information to decipher the Lycian language and from there, learn about the Lycian culture throughout Turkey and wherever they settled.
Our next stop was lunch at Demre where we enjoyed very good spring lamb, pizza, salad and a desert. Owen had chicken shish.
A specialty of the area is a pomegranate syrup used on salads along with vinegar and olive oil. Sweet with a slight acid taste of maybe lemon juice or vinegar, it was terrific. And with bread to sop up any left on your plate, I could see a number of uses for it, as a marinade and flavoring. Yum.
Usla also wanted us to try a special crumb cake kind of pudding that is typical of this part of Turkey. I’m not a sweets eater, so it didn’t really interest me, it was what you might think a cake pudding with ground, sugar-glazed walnuts on top might taste like.
The Church of St. Nicholas in Demre was built In the fourth century AD. St. Nicholas was the bishop of this area and was known as a protector of children, showering them with gifts at every opportunity. Later declared a saint, he became the model for Santa Claus or Sinter Klaus, or Father Christmas throughout many countries. Christians from Italy, Austria, Russia, Spain, etc. come here to celebrate a special annual festival Mass in his honor.
The Church of St. Nicholas was neglected and open to the weather far too long, and now restoration efforts are difficult and expensive. The “fresco” above suggests he was possibly a black man.
The frescoes are badly damaged, and few are in good condition. But, this important object sitting on a table between these figures suggests a story? And the faces show various color hues. Usla may have explained it, but if so, I do not remember.
The most protected frescoes are the under sides of arches.
I think these figures are the three wise men.
Usla explained to us that these images are not true frescoes where the mud itself is died before it is applied. The method used for these images was to paint the surface of the stone and then cover it with a protective coating of some kind, thus they are not true frescoes.
For me, the most beautiful part of the church is this broken marble floor, in the center of the church, under the center dome. The mosaic of marble colors is astonishing and beautiful.
And, the courtyard surrounding the church is interesting and friendly. I imagined it filled with green potted plants with clay or marble jars of seed and grain.
From Demre, our bus takes us through mountain views with a pit stop at a shop where we could see into the valley next to the sea. The shiny area in front of the beach is thousands upon thousands of green houses, like mirrors glinting up from the valley.
The Mediterranean coastal scenery is beautiful, with switch back roads, and glimpses of enticing coves, little islands and blue, blue water.
At last, our destination, Antalya, once a quaint fishing village. Now a huge resort town with and an interesting old town from a 2000 year old history.