Tourist-Free Turkey

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of Turkey  , Turkish Aegean Coast,
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Finally after 2 days of cycling I feel that we're getting to the Turkey I've been wanting to see.  Away from the crowds and the destinations listed in the travel guides.  This is what I'm looking for.  Sites are nice to see, but I would like to see beyond them.  No more facade.  it may not look as glamorous on the surface, but I'm not looking for glitz. 

The terrain is changing.  Steep hillsides covered in olive trees as far as the eye can see.  These trees differ from the ones I saw in Greece.  They are larger and untamed since they are not pruned as severely.  Harvesting techniques are more relaxes as most are done by hand while donkeys loaded with bursting bags of olives navigate the tiny paths through the groves.  Very quiet and serene. 

It's almost like stepping back in time.  Shopping for food is done by road-side stand:  honey, olives, mandarins, gourds, and other fruits and vegetables that are locally grown.  I think that the oranges i bought were picked that morning.  Then the man brings his crate or two to the corner to sell during the day.  I got about a dozen oranges for 1 TL and the price was calculated with an old scale with weights. 

Rolling along, we were greeted with visions of old castles, abandoned monasteries, and ancient temples.

Euronos was one we were able to cycle up to.  After noticing several hints of the past along the road, I was pulled towards a peek-a-boo vision of columns in the distance.  Here, amongst a Shepherd and his flock of sheep, as well as countless olive harvesters, were the ruins of an ancient city:  crumbling walls, theater, temple, necropolis, etc.  Enormous pieces lie where they first fell.  No catalog numbers can be seen on the stones, and no museum displays the archaeological finds of the area.  No admission charges or line ups.  Just us looking at the pieces of the past. 

I hope to find many more of these places, towns, and peoples as we go!
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