While Laura has been blogging her socks off, I haven’t gotten around to putting much up in a while. So here goes: a photo update on where we are and what we’ve been up to.

Broadly speaking, we are making our way down the Aegean coast of Turkey. We ducked inland at places like Bergama and Pamukkale, but will be staying closer to the coast in the next few days (weeks?) as we head around the southeastern corner of the country and continue along the Mediterranean coast, before going inland again to visit Cappadocia and Eastern Turkey.

Bergama (site of ancient Pergamon)

We hiked 5km uphill to the akropolis of Pergamon. This was one of the views that rewarded us near the top. The ancient ruins are dramatically perched on the top of a mountain overlooking modern Bergama. We enjoyed the ruins and the modern city very much.

The gravity-defying theatre at Pergamon, with modern Bergama far below. You can see our hotel if you look closely. It's the one with the red chimney... Okay, no you can't. But still, it's down there somewhere.

The neighbourhood we stayed in was a maze of streets like this one. It was charming, if a bit confusing to navigate.

Another street scene in Bergama.

And another. This time with Bonus Old Lady!

Pamukkale and Hierapolis

Pamukkale was like a bit of vacation from our vacation, as it were. Hot springs, walks in the Turkish agricultural heartland, being chased by an enormous barking sheepdog–with his taut muscles, big teeth, and eyes like  a rabid werewolf. Yeah, it was bliss.

Laura dips her feet at Pamukkale. We ducked inland to visit this site, where Roman ruins lie at the top of a magnificent ridge covered in built-up calcium deposits from thousands of years of natural hot spring activity. Yeah, it was as nice as it sounds.

One of the travertine pools on the Pamukkale ridge. Pamukkale translates as "cotton castle," for reasons too obvious too explain.

The "Antique Pool" among the Hierapolis ruins of Pamukkale. Although it cost us about $15 CDN on top of the $15 we paid to get into the site, we had to swim in the naturally warm waters of the pool among the submerged stones and columns. These collapsed into the waters due to an earthquake about 1300 years ago (if I'm remembering correctly). Because we are traveling in the off-season, we had the pool to ourselves for a bit.

Laura dips her feet, AGAIN. Sheesh. She's always taking breaks. The water was a pleasant 30 degrees or so. It was magic.

Some couple enjoys the view from the theatre at Hierapolis, above of the white travertine ridge. I like this shot.

We saw some tombs overlooking the valley. This one was the first mound tomb I've ever been in. Spooooky!

Tombs down low. Tombs up high. There were tombs all over the place. I think I may have more to say about tombs in another post.

The next day, we struck off blindly into the Turkish countryside for a bit of a hike. We saw several flocks of sheep and their shepherds. As we were walking through the barren scrub, we suddenly crossed a line and were in green, irrigated grass. I turned around and shot this in the direction from which we came.

I'm no Ansel Adams, but here's another black and white landscape from our walk. For the photo nerds: the vignetting is from stacking an ND8 filter with my CPL.

Another landscape from that day. Believe it or not, these are all separate olive trees.

I've never been the greatest landscape photographer but I hope to get better. We found this cairn at the top of a long, gently sloping farmer's field. We speculated whether it marks someone's grave. I think it probably does. From here, we could see all the way across the valley, some 60 to 100km away. I can think of worse places to be buried.

Afrodisias

We took a daytrip from Pamukkale to visit an ancient city called Afrodisias. Named after the (Greek?) goddess of love, Aphrodite, the place holds the remains of a once great temple where all sorts of sordid orgies and whatnot went on. All in the name of religion, of course. The Christians converted it into a church in the first millennium sometime, and must have had a few sleepless nights purifying the place. Anyway, I’ll let Laura put up some of her pics from there of the ruins and whatnot. I was more interested in taking pictures of things like frogs and trees apparently.

In all honesty though, you can only find ancient ruins photographically inspiring for so long. Eventually they all start to blend together a bit. It is much more interesting to put the camera down and instead try to imagine what the place may have been like in ancient times.

We found these frogs in the flooded bottom of the Odeon. There were dozens of them swimming among the maple leaves.

Dozens, I say!

Another Ansel Adams wannabe shot.

And one last ancient ruin: The stadium of Afrodisias is certainly one of the best preserved Roman stadiums in the world. This thing is HUGE. Laura is the tiny black spec you can see just to the left of centre in the open green space.

Here's a crop of the last picture to show you I'm not joking. The place is huge. Like, 'it-could-seat-80,000-people' huge. By the way, they held gladiator games here. Men and beasts competed on the field of battle for the glory and esteem of the people. Or maybe it was just gruesome entertainment. Either way, it was pretty badass.

That’s all for now. See you next time! We finally have enough experience (and photos) to put up a post about Turkish food. Mmmmmm.

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