There had been a vague sort of plan to drop into the stadium at Magnesia on Sunday but it was dark by the time we got back there. So, on Monday, we struck out to Magnesia on the bike. It was an absolutely beautiful day, warm with bright sunshine and Magnesia is a favourite location. We’d been told that there had been quite a lot more excavation done on the stadium and that was, indeed the case. A lot more of the seating has been uncovered and what has been uncovered is incredibly intact.
We were rather hoping to see some orchids but it may still be early for them here in Izmir. We did see a great deal of camomile, asphodel and blossom. And, in the gymnasium, there were a whole load of lizards. Different ones. Hilary saw a flattish looking dark coloured lizard with very bright yellow spots. It looked very much like a Turkish Salamander (Salamandra infraimmaculata orientalis) but they are not supposed to live round here. We can’t find anything else even vaguely like it in the books. Perhaps it was a released pet. We did get photos of some of the lizards. And, in one, you can see an Agama which ran into the photograph just as Hilary pressed the shutter!
On Sunday a friend phoned us and offered us a trip to Eski Doğanbey. We’d heard a lot about this village and, a few years ago, we even almost walked there, but we’d never actually been.
We started off with a fish dinner in an excellent but top secret location then our friend drove us to the village. Once a Greek Village, it was taken over by returning Turks at the time of the exchange of populations. Most of these people (and their descendants) have moved to the towns, or into the new village and the houses (which need a great deal of maintenance) fell into disrepair. Many of them have now been restored to an extraordinarily high standard and we were fortunate to be able to see inside some of them. Lovely though they are, they are clearly designed for summer living and, off season the whole village was practically deserted.
We rounded our visit off with a visit to the Milli Park Information Centre where, after viewing the stuffed animals (sadly dusty as they are not in cases) we were shown a film about the history and wildlife of the area.
We now know the Turkish for long legged buzzard Kızıl Şahin (we see a great many of those but had not been able to give the Turkish name for them). There were cultivated iris in many of the beautifully kept gardens but wild iris growing up through paving and gravel everywhere…
Ducks at sea
What is a TÜVTÜRK you may well ask… Well, it’s a bit like an MOT in the UK – a kind of roadworthiness test that has to be taken by vehicles at regular intervals. Our bike needs one every two years and it’s now two years since we acquired it, the guy who sold it to us took it for a test before we could transfer ownership, so our test was due last Friday.
So, first we rode to Izmir, met our friend and got taken to the TÜVTÜRK istasyon in Bornova to make our appointment. We booked a slot for midday on Friday. We also had the bike pre-checked (for which we were not charged) by a friend of a friend. We will go back to him for a routine service as his place is very good (they even gave us tea and roasted chestnuts whilst we waited).
Friday saw us back at Bornova Istasyon ten minutes before our appointment. We were given a numbered ticket (keyed to appointment time) and asked to wait. At midday on the dot we were called up to a window where the bike papers were taken and we paid 84.75 lira for the test. We were sent round the back to wait for the test.
They have a real production line for the tests at Bornova. We waited whilst they tested a whole ‘batch’ of cars and a few trucks. This took about 45 minutes but it was interesting to watch the cars go over the ramps, have their headlamps measured, their spare wheels, safety belts and other bits and pieces checked out.
When it was our turn our headlight was measured, our indicators and brake lights checked, tyre tread (we have ordered new tyres but they haven’t arrived yet so this was a bit of a worry), frame number, engine number, suspension etc. etc. etc. then we went around the side of the building for our brake test. This involved Hilary running along beside the bike, translating instructions for Ashley.
We passed. Or rather the bike passed. We got our sticker. It was all very efficient and a great deal less complex that we had been led to believe. So that’s that for another two years.
One last post from our walking up the mountain experience. The flowers up there were different – more alpine. And we did get some decent photos.
Meanwhile, it has rained every day in March so far. But we’ve seen storks on the aqueduct. Fortunately the first stork we saw this year was flying. It’s a local superstition – if the first stork you see in the year is flying, then you will travel. If it’s sitting I guess you’re in for a dose of cabin fever come summer.
Tough choice this month. Three wonderful walks. Lots of spring flowers. So there’s going to be three.
From the walk up Silver Mountain
On top of the mountain.
By the lake.