I have been in Turkey for more than a week now and still have not eaten any Turkish delight! This is a serious omission and must be remedied!!
Although it is good to see the famous (and therefore popular) places that are the “must-see” destinations, it is always fun to go a little off the beaten track to see some sights that perhaps are a bit neglected by the average tourist. Today we chose to do what the locals (apparently) call a PMD tour. Priene, Miletus and Didyma. Lonely Planet recommended these three sites as significant and under appreciated, so that seemed right up our alley.
Dad invited his friend Dick Goldstein (from Minneapolis) to join us, so with our trusty GPS, hats and bottles of water (it was quite warm today!) we headed off. First port of call was Didyma. Didyma was the site of the Greek Temple of Apollo, dating from the 6th century BC. It was a major temple in its time, and according to Lonely Planet was just pipped at the post for one of the seven wonders of the world. It is one of the best preserved Greek temples in Turkey and you could get a real sense of how grand and imposing the structure once was. To my delight not all of the carvings had been carted off the foreign museums, so there was plenty to enjoy and photograph. Well worth the visit.
Intrepid explorers that we are, one site visit had us ready for lunch and a sit in a shady cafe seemed just the ticket. We decided to bypass Miletus (we looked at it from the road – does that count?) and found the perfect spot near Priene. The cafe was next to an old Byzantine aqueduct, and had more than adequate food to recharge our batteries. Not to mention a trout pond and a duck.
We forged onward to Priene, once a bustling Greek city in around 300BC perched on the edge of a craggy hillside. It was not considered particularly important, and thus was not overtaken by Roman settlement, leaving much of the city relatively intact. You can easily see streets, houses, the Temple, a (later) Byzantine church, the theatre and gymnasium amongst others. An evocative sight, you could probably spend hours exploring it. We had a good look around, but the many steps, steep climb and rough terrain were a bit challenging for my companions, and we were certainly grateful for the air-conditioning in the car when we were done.
After a welcome rest we ate dinner in the terrace cafe. I have never seen such an enormous buffet – it just went on and on. They have a different theme each night – tonight it was Far East, so there were some Chinese, Indian & Japanese dishes, as well as Turkish. Many ingredients I was completely unable to identify but interesting and mostly very tasty. Tomorrow is our last day in Turkey, and we have saved the best till last – Ephesus.