Monday, August 17, 2015

Lycian Ruins

We couldn't visit Southern Turkey without seeing some ruins of ancient Lycian civilizations.  The first ones we went to were a place called Patara on Anna's birthday, August 7th. You pay to drive in and for a while I was hopeful that you could see the ruins from the comfort of your air conditioned car.  You can see some of them, but eventually you get to park and walk around for a better view. There is a huge amphitheater.  You can climb up it and imagine what it would have been like to watch a Greek tragedy there on a hot evening. There is a partially reconstructed assembly hall where the Lycian League met. We put on a mini talent show on the stage while Kip judged from the judges' seats. There are two bath houses. With how miserably hot it was, I could see why they needed those.

We dragged the kids around the ruins until they couldn't take it anymore. There was a lot more we could have seen, but the heat had bested us. We went to the beach.

Patara Beach is another sandy beach. It is a larger beach than Kaputas. This is one where you rent the chairs and umbrellas. We paid and chose ours and then Kip and I went to change to swimsuits. Yes, I had actually worn regular clothes for this sightseeing adventure. It was a mistake. My clothes were so soaked with sweat when I went to change that I could have rung them out. The sweat was dripping off my face as I struggled into my swimsuit in the stifling heat of the changing room.

Another excitingly hot thing about this beach was the sand. It was like walking on fire. Ok, for any of you that have actually walked on fire I realize this is an exaggeration. But it was insanely hot. It was hot enough to illicit a cry of 'Crikey!' from an Australian woman in front of Kip at one point.  We all left our flip flops and sandals back at our chairs and ran over to the water. Running was the only way to do it.

The water was delightful. The perfect temperature. Cool but not cold. And pockets of warmth would embrace you every few minutes, just for a second or two and then they were past.  The only problem was getting back to our seats when we decided to get out.

The next Lycian ruins we visited were Xanthos the day following Anna's birthday. Xanthos was a Lycian capital city. It had another big amphitheater, again frequently visited by goats. At Patara there had been goat droppings at the top of the amphitheater. At Xanthos there were actual goats. And a lot more droppings. Kip and the kids put on a little show for me and Wendy and Ferdinand, then we displaced the goats by trying to join then in the little bit of shade at the top of the amphitheater.

After getting our fill of the shaded, goat-smelly seats, we moved on to the necropolis. We climbed the hot mountainside and had a look at the tombs of the ancient inhabitants. The tombs we peaked into are filled no longer with the bodies of Lycians, but only with the strong scent of goat droppings. Those goats!

There's no beach in Xanthos. It's built above a river. So when we couldn't take the heat anymore, we decided the other sites of Xanthos were not for us. We climbed in our cars, cranked the ac, and drove home to our cool swimming pool.

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