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02 August 2018 Thursday

I set my alarm to one past seven to be able to do some jogging right before the breakfast. In hot areas, people are tempted to eat less and sleep longer. So, I decided to discover Dalyan also this way, while people were sleeping. While running I came across to the banner of my job right in front of the former municipality building in the center. Which says; “would you like to work for the best job in Turkey?” It is located right at the heart of the town, makes me realize once again what a great opportunity it is that I have.

I got back to the BC Spa hotel for the breakfast. While I was trying to finish my meal quickly, I saw some kids throwing bread to the canal, to feed the fishes but I didn’t really pay attention, until an African softshell turtle (Trionyx triunguis) came to hunt those fishes for his own breakfast. These turtles are a bit different than loggerhead turtles, they have longer noses and sharp nails, and they live in rivers and lakes. It seems like they are kind of under the shadow of loggerhead turtles in Dalyan.

In a snapshot, I move from the world of turtles to the magical world of Dalyan and I go cross the river with a paddle-boat, which brings me right under the rock tombs. I find myself at someone’s garden. They invite me right away. After having some Turkish tea, I continue my way to climb to see the rock tombs to see them closer. I end up hiking some sharp hills with rocks and bushes all around. I say to myself “it is like a torture to pass between those bushes and all that but the reward is worth it”.

According to the famous philosopher Nietzsche, sometimes we need to suffer to receive some happiness. It is known that the philosopher came up with this idea while he was hiking on the mountains of France and Switzerland. It is hard to climb but it feels good when you arrive to the top. His philosophy “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” defines exactly this and I understand him even better when I arrive to the top. When you actually climb that hill, it is not difficult to see why the people of Kaunos build those rock tombs. These hills are so unique that they are most probably the best place to rest in peace.

I arrive to the ancient city of Kaunos on foot after my stop at the rock tombs. Excavations are still ongoing at the area and so far they found a relatively well protected ancient theater with a capacity of 5.000 people, Roman bath and a church from the 6th century. When you continue towards the lower part of the ruins, there are plenty of areas which are not in as good condition as the upper part. There I meet archeologists working on a new excavation site right near the ruins of the temple of Aphrodite. They inform me about every detail and I learn that they only excavated one quarter of the city, so far. That’s evident that it is such a cautious work therefore it takes time.

Kaunos is an important trade center during the ancient times but, later when the sea level went lower, the town lost its value and the city that was found approximately 3.000 years ago was abandoned.

According the writings of Geographer Strabon, Kaunos has a port gate that can be closed. It must have been impressive for that time. I wonder how it looked actually. Maybe these new excavations can give us some clue, one day.

I will continue learning about this impressive ancient city of Kaunos while I am staying here but for now I will turn my back to the sun, that sucked all my energy and return to the civilization.

I stop by at the Çağrı Pide & Pizza restaurant to eat some nice and healthy food. Well, there are a lot more places to see in Dalyan and I need some energy for tomorrow.

Night Notes

I take a night safari tour with Kaunos Tour agency, to reach our first destination we climb up to the radar hill with an old Land Rover Defender. I believe that old cars always have some kind of soul. Seems like, getting old on the road actually gained our yellow car a character. I am at front, next to me sitting our guide and driver, Alper Semerci, who gave up his life as a successful stock exchange broker in Istanbul, to live in Dalyan and at the backside of the car, a crowded family from England, is sitting.

Our first stop is a view point, right on the way to the top. From the view point you get to see the whole iztuzu beach, a mesmerizing view and unbelievable panorama. Because of the amazing view, I couldn’t find time to chat with the tourists that were with us. I went all the way to the far end to see this breathtaking view, maybe a thing that I can have a chance to do once in a life time.

Our second stop is the peak, where you get the best spot to see the sunset. But right away I discover that there is even a better spot further at another corner. Right after passing through some rocks and bushes, I leave the group behind and check the view from this amazing point until the sunset. I spend my next one hour by chatting with the English tourists. You actually feel very proud, by their compliments about Turkey. Each of them had a visit to Turkey 3 to 5 times and one couple among them even said that they have been visiting Dalyan for 4 years in a row, now. They count few countries and one of them ends the speech by saying “well, we always end up coming to Dalyan”.

We continue to the kargicak bay with our old jeep. You drive by cliffs and arrive to this garden of heaven. There is no light around which is really nice to see the clear sky. This looks like stars shine like holes opening to the universe.

While we are leaving I note down that I need to see this place on day light.

I start a deep chat with our driver Alper, on the way back. I could actually tell that there could be an interesting story about him, since he left his well paid, nice job as a broker in Istanbul and moved to Dalyan to live a simple life at a house with a garden. With the way he dresses and his mustache, I tell him that he looks like the cartoon character Asterix. He likes the resemblance. He is one of those people who don’t care how they look. In other words, he is a kind of man that I like. He is doing something that many would actually want to do. He lives in the real nature, with the nature. When he says that he is 49 years old and he tells his extravagant life in Istanbul. I tell him “well my friend, you would have been dead if you continued living in Istanbul”. I tell this joke when we are driving by the cliffs. Without minding the danger of the road, Alper turns his head and takes a glance and tells me “I was actually rotting but I was not even aware of that”.



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