Pergamon Unclichéd II

Trip Start Feb 08, 2008
Trip End Sep 11, 2009

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Flag of Turkey  , İzmir,
Monday, January 12, 2009

In the previous blog I told of my cross-country walk to the north east, but starting southeast, around a reservoir lake which lies below the northern (backside) of the Pergamon Acropolis in Bergama, Turkey.

The following day I didn't walk so far. But, a really cold wind chilled me to the bone, especially as I walked some ways beyond and above the Asklepion just to see it from a unique viewpoint--and take some pictures. The Askepion is the ancient famed medical treatment center, and again, one can, if interested, get all the historical information from internet sources without my having to go into it here. All I offer is a picture or two from a vantage point that none or few others would take the trouble to go for. Even in good weather. Oh, I'm such a martyr.

I did get so chilled that I figured the only way to warm my bones was to go to a Turkish bath, get hot, take a nap in the sauna, and hope a massage would relax my knotted, hunched shoulder muscles.

The next day was a much nicer day. Sunny and somewhat warm, even.

I rounded the acropolis hill to the west this time. There was a highway running north. I walked along it for a spell, passing this guard dog. I had encountered a couple of other like-minded fellows elsewhere in my trampings, and got the hell away from them lest their tethers break. But this one was well tethered, and behind a fence, so I could dare to get a picture. Imagine what one of these fellows would do to you. . . .

Beyond and the steepness of the acropolis hill, and the dog there was a narrow band of cultivation and a stream. I crossed both, and headed up to a crest that ran to the north away from the acropolis hill, skirting the west side of the reservoir. Clicking on the map and zooming in, this topography is nicely presented.

The first picture is looking from the Pergamon acropolis along the hill tops of my hike route. The second picture is as I headed up to that crest from the left, or west.

On the ridge of the hill chain were remnants of a Roman aqueduct. These things are marvels of engineering. As Casey Stengel said, "Ya could look it up."

And, I might as well interject here that the stone work is one of my fascinations with the ancient world. I mean we see remainders of the mass and craft--the quantity and craft--of work. How did they do it?! I rolled a small block of marble a couple of days ago. It was about the size of a 5 gallon bucket. And it was HEAVY! You really have to wonder how they did the big stuff. The really big stuff. And not only just squaring and putting the stuff up. But, what about the whole  logistics of the industry? There had to be the design, the ordering of the materials, the quarrying and transport of the stuff. Sure, it was probably done a lot by slave labor, but . . . . Man, there is so much to learn about!

After nosing around two segment sets of those stones for a spell I continued along the ridge mostly, and beyond where there was no trace of the aqueduct. It was sheep--and ram--country. And here it must be said about how the various land segments are divided. Sometimes it seems that the only wild plants that grow in Turkey are thorn bushes. And those that aren't growing have been cut down and piled up to form fences between the fields of thorn bushes. If you're going cross country in these parts you have to weave through the living thorn bushes and find places and a way to climb over the thorn bush fences. I'll say it does leave its marks. And, remnants.

After getting to the top of a hill range at some distance from the Pergamon Acropolis it was time to head down to the highway which effectively ran parallel to my hill crest walk.

At the bottom, and before the close highway, there was the same stream to be crossed. Only this time, at a road crossing, there was no bridge or stones. So I had to bare foot it.

This time I was back to an easy enough walk to town--along the highway--and in time enough to do it before dark. I think it was only three or four miles.

But I was hungry. For, in my usual lack of consideration I had not taken along any food or drink. So, after about a mile along the highway I came to this lone little convenience store. And I mean little. It must have been of about 64 square feet--about 8' x 8' square, including the guy at his cash box watching television.

I went for a small bag of potato chips. Not the best of nutritional choices, but one does not have a lot of choices in these places. And besides, battling a slight sore throat I like to put a little salt in the tube. Nor did I have enough cash for anything more.

Well, then the Turkish Travel Pixies shook their wand over me again. Up until I got to the tiny store my attempts to hitchhike were refused by a succession of cars passing at something like 60 miles an hour.

Well, I stepped out of the little store a few steps, took out my knife with scissors and cut off the top of the little hand-sized bag. I hadn't even touched one chip when a guy in a big black SUV pulled up to my left, out of a side road, and signaled to me to join him for a ride back to town. That's exactly it. Go figure . . . .
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