On Sunday we went walking in Pamucak wetlands. This is about 20 minutes by Dolmuş from Selçuk and a place of stunning natural beauty. It seems to be constantly under threat from industrial waste, development and tourism but, for the moment, it remains protected. Jeep ‘safaris’ and quad bikes run through it as well as horse back tours. None of those happening at the moment, though we did see a couple of guys working out quad bike routes.
We were fortunate to see three adult and two sub adult flamingos. They pass here (stopping off for lunch) on their migration to places further north.
The asphodel is flowering right now – well, beginning to flower in our area. We saw black bees gathering the pollen. And butterflies. We saw quite a few butterflies and two large tortoises, quite awake. We heard a lot of frogs. We saw buzzards and larks (lots of larks) and sparrows, goldfinches and masses of magpies. Not to mention the Kentish plovers.
Today we saw storks flying high and several swallows. So spring is definitely in swing here in Selçuk.
The Sunday before we went to the UK for a week, we went walking again with Zirve dağcılık. This time we went to Eski Foça which is a couple of hours drive from Selçuk. It was a mixed group and not everyone did the walking, though the walking was not particularly long or difficult. It was, primarily, a social and archaeological trip.
We started out by walking up to and almost completely ruined acropolis then on to the windmills which dominate the town’s skyline. Quite steep going and more difficult on the way down. The area has been in continuous occupation since the time of the Hittites and most of the monumental stones have been reused several times. This makes for a fascinating site, but one that is difficult to make sense of.
At the bottom of the hill are the scant remains of what must once have been an impressive theater. There are pot shards lying all around – though it can be hard to tell which are ancient and which were dropped by picnicers last week. Most of the chorus area was occupied by sheep.
After all this vigorous exercise it was time for lunch. Lunch was fish, eaten on the harbour which is well supplied with fish restaurants. We ate with quite a large group. The balık ekmek was a bit greasy but the calamaris (and the views) were excellent!
After lunch we were taken on a tour of the recent dig (there is an Athena Temple, or the remains thereof, near to the school) and the citadel by one of the working archaeologists. He was very interesting but rather softly spoken. There is not much left of the Athena Temple or the agora which is nearby. Most of the stone was taken by later occupants for other projects. Bits of it can be seen in the walls of the citadel. The walk around the citadel is enchanting. It has been restored in such a way that the various ‘layers’ of building are easy to identify. Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman. It is also monumentally huge. We didn’t get a good photograph of the citadel walls from outside. The picture below is of what remains of the temple (and the agora). You can see bits of the citadel wall from the inside.
After the citadel tour we went for a brisk walk around the English Peninsula before joining up with the rest of the group for some excellent ice cream to sustain us on the long ride home.