Earlier this week a friend phoned and suggested a spontaneous expedition to Notion. This is a ruined Hellenistic site about fifteen kilometres down the road, just before our favourite beach. It was a beautiful day (though rain was forecast for ‘later’) and we readily agreed – just as soon as the cake was out of the oven.
The site is pretty broken up. You can sort of make out structures and what probably used to be the agora, but without deep study or access to academic papers, it’s hard to make out much more. The surrounding scenery is fantastic and it’s a haven for wild flowers.
Except we noticed that people had been digging. We speculated – someone with a metal detector looking for coins or gold, perhaps? Or other artefacts because there is a definite trade in illegal antiquities? Maybe they were digging up şevketi bostan (a sort of thistle which is a winter delicacy and goes for a decent price on the market)?
Ashley finally solved the mystery. Feeling around in one of the shallow and obviously deliberately dug depressions he came up with a piece of salep bulb. The bulbs of these beautiful orchids are used to make a popular winter drink. They do fetch a good price and, obviously, it was well worth someone’s while to dig them up…
A pity though.
We walked, the clouds thickened and, eventually, we decided to go home before the heavens opened. Though it didn’t actually rain here till quite late in the evening.