Pamukkale, Permagon and up to Istanbul

We hopped along the coast to Kusadasi and met up with David and Sarah on Wandering Star.  From here we took a trip to Pamukkale. (Cotton Castle).   Pamukkale is famous for its travertines which look like snowy hills but they aren’t.  The travertines were formed when a spring with a high content of dissolved calcium bicarbonate flowed down the cliff.  Once cooled it left hardened calcium deposits creating pools and ridges.  Three of us took a dip in one of the pools which were hot.  You are not allowed to wear shoes walking on them and they do hurt your feet a bit. The others didn’t think so but I’m a sensitive soul!  They can be slippery in places. 

At the top of the Travertines is Hierapolis.  It was a bit of a trek to the top, at least for Ian and I, not for David and Sarah, this was nothing to their usual hikes.  The theatre at the top was definitely worth the uphill walk as it was stunning.  It could hold between 12,000 and 15,000 people.  We’ve seen a lot of piles of rocks over the last five years and this was a good un!

Virgin Mary’s house

On the way back we thought we’d visit the House of the Virgin Mary.    It was a very small church.  A Roman Catholic nun, Anne Catherine Emmerich, had a vision that the Virgin Mary returned to Ephesus with Saint John.  Anne gave a detailed description to a German writer, Clemens Brentano, of the Virgin Mary’s return, her life and the house even though Anne had never been to Ephesus.  Clemens Brentano published these visions in a book after Anne’s death.  In 1891 priests and historians from Izmir read about the vision and discovered the building which matched with the nun’s descriptions.  Catholic pilgrims visit the house based on the belief that the Virgin Mary was taken to this house by Saint John and lived there until she passed away. 

We had the pleasure of some dolphins on a number of occasions and they are still magical, no matter how many times you see them.

We next made our way to Ayvalik which is about 130nm from Kusadasi stopping at a few anchorages on the way.  There are lots of street animals, cats and dogs, in Turkey and they are generally quite well looked after.  It always astounds me how they sleep anywhere with everything going on around them, they don’t butt an eyelid.

We met up with Colin and Maggie on Serafina and took another trip inland from Ayvalik to Permagon because it was on the list of places you should visit in Turkey.  We hired a car and then took the cable car for the final part of the journey to the acropolis.  Pergamon was founded in the 3rd century BC as the capital of the Attalid dynasty. It was an important cultural, scientific and political centre.    The city came under control of the Romans in 133 BC and was the capital of the Roman Province of Asia.  The theatre is very steep and it was suggested it could accommodate up to 10,000 people. 

In the distance we could see the remains of a Roman aqueduct from the second century AD.  It supplied the growing population of Pergamon and the Roman baths. 

Next stop was Morto Bay at the entrance of the Dardanelles where we’ve anchored before with lots of Jellyfish.  This time we anchored in a slightly different place, big mistake!  There was lots of swell overnight and so neither of us had a very good night’s sleep. 

We left Canakkale the next day and the landscape reminded us of going along the Thames, it is  so similar.  The last time we came along here in 2020 the 1915 Canakkale bridge was under construction.  It was now open.  The bridge spans 2,023-metres and symbolises the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey.  It is the sixth tallest bridge in the world and the longest bridge of any kind in Turkey.   The height of the bridge at 318 metres is a reference to 18th day of the third month, and 1915 in the name represents the Canakkale Naval Victory on March 18th, 1915 during the Gallipoli campaign.

To give you an idea of how big it is.  The container ship “Oscar” was going under it.  Oscar is 395.4m long, 59m wide and with average 14tn containers it has a capacity of approx. 14,000 TEU.  (TEU is a measure of volume in units of twenty foot long containers).  When Oscar was launched in January 2015 she was the largest container ship in the world, she lost that crown some time ago.  But you get the picture she is pretty big, I’d say enormous!

Another place we didn’t visit in 2020 was Marmara Island.  This is well known for its marble quarries.  We moored up in Port Marmara which was rather quaint with trees lining the harbour and fishermen mending their nets and drinking tea.  We thought we’d take the bus to Saraylar at the top of the island to visit the marble museum.  It was very dusty as a result of the quarries.  Despite our best efforts we never found the museum or at least how to get to it.  We thought we’d try a taxi but the only one we found was empty and we couldn’t find the driver for love nor money. 

We’d at least had a ride around the island so off we went to the bus stop where we waited and waited and waited.  The scheduled time for one bus came and went as did the next one.  We waited for over two hours still no buses.  No taxis either.  A guy from one of the houses across the road came walking towards us, we asked him If he had a number for a taxi, as it looked like we weren’t going to get a bus.  He didn’t, so now what were we going to do, it was a long way back.  Anyway as luck would have it the guy said it’s ok I will drive you back.  We were so grateful and we gave him a good drink for his kindness. 

We headed to Istanbul where we met our friends Gary and Shelley who were staying with us for a week.  We visited the sights of Istanbul and had a great night out in Kadikoy, which is where we catch the ferry to Istanbul.  Found a bar serving Guinness and playing music and got the DJ to play lots of requests for us.  It was a late night/morning.

We didn’t have long now until the Black Sea Rally began but first Cuffysark needed a lift out to have some work done and clean up her hulls.  So, we spent a week in West Istanbul marina.  We weren’t allowed to stay on the boat here, so we had to stay in a room on site.  The most uncomfortable beds ever. 

October 2022

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