Pergamon and Assos

Trip Start Nov 09, 2007
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Trip End Feb 03, 2008


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Monday, December 3, 2007

We awoke to wonderful sea views and a town that was stirring much earlier than most here in Turkey, and this was Sunday! We headed off early for Bergama, just 30km up the road and found our way through the narrow streets to reach the road leading up to the ruins of Pergamon. The ruins sit atop a mountain perched above the town and the road leading up is very narrow, steep and winding.
Pergamon was a Greek city that supported Rome and apparently ruled with generosity and enlightenment. A nice thought. The ruins were interesting and fun to walk around. The sun was shining so even though it was only about 6 degrees it was very pleasant.
On our way out of town Jess saw something she wanted to buy in an antique shop out of the window of the car, so we turned around (no mean feat in the narrow streets!) and Jess did some heavy negotiating, not so much on the price, but on how much she could get for the price. It was an interesting technique but seemed to work.
We were headed for a very small coastal village called Assos which had been recommended to me on the TurkeyTravelPlanner website. The drive was easy and we found the turn off for Assos with no difficulty thanks to my wonderful navigator. The last 20km of the drive were around a very small road right on the coastline, really very nice. Another town, Barhamkale sits above Assos and the road into Assos is extremely steep and basically one lane. We were pretty sure that we had wrongly turned down someone's private driveway.
Assos is perhaps the prettiest seaside village in Turkey (but of course I haven't seen them all). The pictures will tell only part of the story. We wandered about the old stone buildings, mostly hotels or restaurants now, keen to choose some accommodation. We decided to blow the budget a bit and stay in the nicest hotel in town, the Kervansaray. For 250 lira we got two rooms with dinner and breakfast included.
Assos was an important Greek city. At one point Aristotle lived here and founded an academy. We will visit the ruins tomorrow, but in the meantime we explored the harbour, watched the men fixing the fishing nets and the fishing boats going in and out. The girls and I had a delicious 'special waffle' from an ice cream shop. The waffle way shaped like an oyster, with the ice cream inside. We watched the sun set and went back to our hotel. One of the big attractions of this place for the girls was an indoor heated swimming pool. The three of us (Jess demurred) went for a swim and then back to our rooms to get ready for dinner.
We weren't sure what we were going to get for an 'included' dinner, but it turned out to be a feast, Turkish style. Far more than we could eat unfortunately, and the girls didn't like a lot of it so Jess and I spent some of the time pushing the food about on the plates to make it look as if we'd eaten more than we had. Sadly there wasn't any lettuce we could hide it under.
After dinner I went for a solitary wander about the town. The air was crisp and the town had gone to sleep. In the distance, out to sea, I could see fairly lights twinkling - signs of other towns, other places.
It's morning now, and from my window I can see the small café offering cay and gozleme. Its not open yet. Behind it, the gentle waves of the Aegean rhythmically caress the shore. In the distance I can see Islands, mysteriously cloaked in sea haze, waiting to be explored. Another day.
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