The South East Day 9

So then, here we are; the end of a relaxing day of just ambling about the area. We started by going to visit what is claimed to be the very first Christian church, a cave not very far from here, where St Peter is supposed to have been so dismayed by the excesses and moral turpitude of the locals he thought he’d better set about giving them a few hang-ups and guilt complexes. When you think about it, he did that all right! Anyway, we got to the site, which is in fact a place of regular weekly worship and pilgrimage only to be confronted by three security guards and an entrance fee of TL8 each. Seems that the Turks have gone back to their old practice of excusing Christians, Jews and sundry assorted Atheists (I insist on having a capital too) from military service but then screwing a bit of extra tax out of them for the national coffers. And what a scam the place is as well, little more than scrape in the cliff face; the trickle of holy water that (they say) once ran into a baptismal pool (hole in the floor about the size of a pudding basin) has dried up because of an earthquake (Oh yeah!). On the upside there was the “Throne of St Peter” (circa 1923) and we were given three free leaflets. Oh! and Janet found a very nice Roman Snail that happily posed on her hand for a photo.

From here we drove around the back of the mountain and through the road works up to the top for  some spectacular views of the city and several vast mountain removal projects that pass as quarries. Again there is a positive side to that, there are a couple of villages in the next valley that are going to have a great view at some stage!

There’s the remains of a castle up there set amidst the forest with a sea of flowers awash in an ocean of rubbish . . . such a shame. There are rows of rubbish bins but no one bothers to empty them and the wind is strong and perpetual judging by the way the trees are all lying nearly parallel to the ground so the litter is everywhere. Hunting for flowers Janet found some nice fossils of shells and sea urchins. A bit further down I was delighted to find a couple of different Bee Orchids.

We returned to the town to explore the covered bazaar which is ramshackle and chaotic but much more fun than Sainsburys. We had a wonderful lunch in a tiny but very busy “hole-in-the-wall” place down one of the back alleys; the hulking great owners were delighted when Janet complimented them on the food they were making. They set about giving a “How to get more out of chickpeas” presentation that entertained us and the gathering locals who were interested in what the foreigners were interested in. Finally back to the hotel to rediscover what we have both missed so far on this trip . . . an afternoon nap!

Tomorrow we set out for home having covered much of what we wanted to. We’re both looking forward to some familiar ground, the attentions of our faithful animals and we hang on to the hope that there will still be some wisteria blossom left! This may be the last submission in this series depending on how the journey home pans out. (That last a quote from the late Capt. Titus Oates)