Sunday, 25 November 2012

Turkish Delight - Ephesus

If you've seen the pictures of Somerset on the news you'll understand why we didn't venture out today. I'm longing for some heat and sun after the days of torrential rain so got out the pictures of Turkey again to remind myself that there are parts of the world that are sunny and hot.

So this is Ephesus  - high on the "must visit" list of every visitor to Turkey and jam packed with bored cruise liner passengers who quite clearly would have been happier to stay on board their floating hotels judging by snippets of overheard conversation.

In any event it was busy - very very very busy. This should give you an idea. This is the main street. Fortunately the cruise liner parties started at the top and headed straight down to the bottom and back on to the waiting coaches. This did mean that the side streets were much less crowded and almost pleasant.

Trying to photograph Ephesus was hard - I'd get a shot lined up and in the time it took to click the shutter someone would have inevitably walked in front of the lens. So I bought a guidebook for some decent pictures. I did get a few though that I quite liked.

This is Nike - the winged Goddess of Victory. Part of the drape of her robe is the famous "swoosh" of the training shoe brand.

The Library - there was said to be a tunnel linking the library with the local brothel across the street. This was to allow the town worthies to hide their true destination from their wives....

 They did have some very grand public lavatories - obviously it was a communal event!

Much less crowded were the terraced houses. These are  a fairly recent excavation and are covered with a huge protective structure. They are also the site of the biggest jigsaw puzzle in the world as a team try and replace the beautiful marble cladding on the hall walls.

Entry does cost extra but it was well worth it. The preservation of the mosaics and wall frescoes is second to none.

and a close up shot.

Here as elsewhere Ephesus has been "reconstructed" by the frankly bizarre habit of just stacking random bits of stonework on top of each other. Here is a fairly typical example - I guess it gives the impression of a third dimension but I'd really rather they didn't!

More random stacking.

Looking up certainly bore fruit at times but I'm not sure that this bull actually belongs where he's been put.

You'd almost think we had the place to ourselves looking at this picture!

and lastly the amphitheatre - I managed to avoid most of the crowds but not the crane. I may need to develop some Photoshop skills and get rid of that :-)

So a whistle stop tour of Ephesus - the crowds did rather spoil it for me and it was probably my least favourite ancient Turkish city. 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Portus Adurni ( Portchester Castle)

After blitzing the seasonal shopping yesterday ( how could it have taken 8 hours??) in Chichester it was time to head home.

WE'd come up on Friday night and had to abandon the motorway and take the old A27 route instead. Spotting the signs to Portchester Castle I realised that I had never been there despite many years of living not that far away.

With the idea planted it seemed sensible to detour on the way home.

Portchester Castle is understood to have been built in the later part of the 3rd century CE  by the Romans and is considered on of the best preserved Roman forts in Northern Europe. There are tantalising but unconfirmed hints that in fact it is earlier still.

Lots of the original Roman stone and brickwork survives alhough it has been extensively repaired and augmented over the last 1700 years or so.

This is a seriously imposing construction with a medieval castle now taking pride of place in the middle of the walls. Like most castles this was based on earlier castles and grew and evolved over the years.

The Keep is huge. And solid looking. It was used for a gaol for prionsers of war on more than one oaccaion - the last time being in the late 19C for French prioners from the Napoleonic war.

Conditions inside must have been grim. Additional wooden floors were inserted above the medieval hall to house them all and the wall paintings and grafitti they left can still be seen.

It is a long long way up the Keep and the last bit is by a rather narrow spiral stairway. Fortunately it was very quiet when we visited but I think the last part could be potentially "very interesting".

The view from the top though over St Mary's Church ( 12C) which is within the fortifications was worth  a few rather scary moments.

That is the modern city of Portsmouth on the

Would have been nice to see the reputed equine ghost though....

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Turkish Delight - A city to launch a thousand ships

Ever since I read the tales of this city it is a place I have longed to visit. As a child I never thought I'd ever have the opportunity so whilst in Turkey this was the must see and personally the highlight of the whole trip.

Where then? Well if the post title hasn't given it away then this will...

 Yes - unmistakably Troy. This (rather dreadful) horse was put up to give the visitors something to photograph... You can if you want to climb up inside and stick your head out of the body. We didn't bother but it took a while to be able to get a clear shot like this.

 With some high anticipation I was half expecting the site itself to be a bit of an anticlimax but it was far from that.

True, the remains are less spectacular than some of the sites but given the quality of the "reconstruction" we saw elsewhere this was no bad thing.


The site is huge. And overgrown. But that didn't matter.

We saw red squirrels playing in the trees and tiny tortoises bathing in the hot sun.

Some areas are much tidier - a testament to the destructive archaeology of some of the earliest excavators who were seeking the legendary treasures of Troy.

Troy was indeed fabulously wealthy thanks to it's control of the shipping in the Aegean. If the winds were unfavourable as they often were, ships would have to remain in  port at Troy until they were able to proceed - sometimes months. This added to the wealth of the inhabitants.

Troy is actually multiple cities, in fact 9 of them, all piled on top of each other and the archaeology is confusing. Even the pros have to label each layer!

How anyone could say that there is nothing to photograph beats me  - this is the ramp into the pre homeric Troy 2.

and of course the inevitable amphitheatre! (Roman, Troy IX)

Monday, 5 November 2012

5th November

And its Guy Fawkes night here in the UK. Various Bangs and whooshes going on all around tonight. Mercifully it isn't even raining tonight after the awful weather of the last day or two.

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
I see of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot...

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Rye Smiles

Pun intended by the way ( having seen an author recently mix up "wry" with "rye" I'm taking nothing for granted any more...)

Right across the other side of the country this week with some friends - to the old Sussex town of Rye on the south coast. Far too far away for a day trip, we had a nice long weekend despite the weather.

Rye itself is somewhere I have not visited for many many years. It has quaintness in spades. 

The town itself  is lovely. The Landgate dates from approx  1340CE during the reign of Edward III.  It was built of stone rubble and was a way in through the city walls. Rye was built to be defended against the risk of French attack and eventually was almost burned to the ground by the said French in 1377CE.

 Rebuilt soon afterwards it is a maze of stone cobbled streets ( hard on the soles of the feet) and quaint little cottages. Today most of the said cottages seem to be tearooms catering to the tourists. It did seem to be very popular with the French this weekend ( easy trip from Calais).

Anyway enough of the town. Friday night was stormy but Saturday seemed to be OK so we headed out to the nature reserve at Dungeness to see what we could find...

 ... and we found - a nuclear power station! It does rather dominate the landscape. The birds though in the nature reserve don't seem to mind. I did take some pictures of the avian residents but without the ability to zoom in on the PC, they are rather dot like.

On the birthday present wish list is now a telephoto lens.

It was definitely a bit brisk but the bird hides provided shelter and I was able to amuse myself by taking a number of "creative" shots. This was one of my favourites.

 Dungeness is also famous for its pebbles which are used for road building and for gravel carparks. Where you have flints you also get flints with holes in them - I managed to add another pocketful or two to my collection.

 Sunday was planned as a nice leisurely drive home. stopping off at a couple of places. However to say this morning was wet would be a bit of an understatment  so we headed straight home. I admit through I wasn't expecting to be met by snow once we got there. Snow is rare for us and even rarer to have it so early. I wonder what the winter will bring?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...