Joined a day tour this morning, got picked up from my hotel and first headed to Side. It’s pronounced SEE-duh. It’s a total tourist trap of a beach town, but I guess I can kind of see why. The main attraction is the Temple of Apollo, the gleaming white marble ruins right on the beach. The deep blue water behind it really makes everything sparkle! But then you have overweight, scantily clad, leathery European women traipsing around, wandering into your viewfinder. Sigh. It was worth a day trip though.
Next up was Aspendos, one of the best preserved ancient Roman theaters. Sorry, I don’t have much to say about that one. I ended up leaving early and hanging out with the driver in the car listening to techno. These Turks, man they love their techno!
We stopped by a natural spring to refill our water bottles before heading off to Perge (PER-geh). This was what I was waiting for all along. It’s a HUGE place, earliest inhabitants probably came around 1200BC. It was taken over so many different times throughout the centuries, but the most prominent, excavated remains are those of the Romans’. The level of detail is spectacular and yet, you still feel like you’re one of the first to rediscover it. This was especially the case in the ancient baths, where the natural greenery of Anatolia grew in and snaked through all the cracks and openings of the ruins. Along the main walkway, you can still see tracks in the cobblestones where chariots had made their marks. At one point, I even came across a small herd of sheep munching their way along the pillar-lined street towards the Nympheum. Did I go back in time??
I leave Antalya tomorrow and head to Patara. Below, crappy iPhone pics of Side and Perge.