It’s now Saturday PM and we are in Pamukkule, ESE of Izmir about 175 km, and NW of Antalya (big city on the coast) about 185 km.

I’m trying to push the miles as Kim gets on an airplane next Thursday to fly home, and we are covering ground faster than I might normally do so, just so she can see as much of Turkey as she can.

Friday night, in Foca, instead of our normal salad dinner, we splurged on two kebaps— a hoagy roll full of lamb, lettuce, onion, and tomatoes, which we ate walking around and doing some twilight shooting at the harbor.

We left Fo?a after an atypical AM— we had to wait for some laundry to dry— and for that we had to wait for the sun to hit the balcony where the clothes line was.

But we bombed out of there and headed south, skirting Izmir, where we’ll come back to early next week. It’s one of the big draws in the area.

Then we headed east (inland) to Sardis (Roman city next to Sart, the Turkish city), where we shot for a couple of hours. People have lived here in this place for over 5,000 years.

That’s 1850 years or so before the Trojan War.

This was the Lydian capital, and since they invented coinage, they were rich— partly because they could carry their wealth around with them rather than it just being in herds or acres. And richer partly because it became a trade center, since coins were easier as a medium between (let’s say) ingots of copper and numbers of cattle.

One of their kings was Croesus (of “rich as Croesus”).

There are two groups of ruins: a Temple of Artemis

The tops of the two columns were only sticking out of the ground a meter or so before the archaeology began!

And here’s a pretty serious kid

And on the other side of town, there was a huge basilica, with a first century synagogue.

And in spite of my vigorous agnosticism (at best) it was a most impressive building— as you can see.

So we shot it and went bombing along east and a little south heading for Pamakkule.

We stopped by the side of the road for a picnic at 11 and again at 3, following my eating normal schedule. Typical for us— find a nice place, park in the shade, put all the food out on the hood of the car.

At the AM stop, we saw a small park surrounded by a U-shaped driveway with a restaurant at the top of the U. It was very nice, so I drove around to park in the shade, and we set out the lunch.

It became obvious after about twenty minutes or so that it was really a restaurant’s grounds, rather than a city park, and as we were cleaning off the hood of the car, a guy came out from the restaurant and I figured we were about to get scolded mildly and shooed away. But this is Turkey, and so we were offered apple tea, made by the mother of the owner.

At the PM stop (we’d been traveling through vineyards since before noon—the first we saw on the trip, but just about all we saw after we saw the first one—the only crop we saw that wasn’t grapes was pear trees—but not in flower yet), I wanted to show one of the cultural clashes either in place already or looming, and so I picked the place more carefully than I had others.

And I took this shot.

I wanted to show you there were new (and old) vineyards for hours and hours on both sides of the road here, and up against that was the Muslim injunction against drinking alcohol.

So an economically strong cash crop in a somewhat poor country running up against tradition.

A man Kim talked to at the acropolis in Bergama said he thought that only about 20% of Turks were practicing Muslims— we have been in lots of small towns when the muzzein calls the faithful, and there are only a small percentage of the men we see in the streets going to the mosque.

When you get your national identity card here, which everyone has, it pretty automatically says Muslim on the back of it. Our host, Chetin, said that he didn’t know who to go to or which agency to see to get it changed to Christian, or worse (Humanist, Agnostic, or [Horrors] Atheist . . . . .

And I learned that only 15% of Italians go to mass regularly, and I’d guess they were mostly old and mostly women, and when this generation is gone, with no nuns and fewer priests to carry the traditions, the “Catholic” church (or at least the Vatican) could become a museum.

Anyway, the title of this edition is

Hey! Anyone here know the way to Pamukkule?

and here’s why.

We stopped for gas about 45 minutes from here, and after filling the tank, and doing The Tourist Pantomime, we confirmed that the way we’d been going was the road to Pamukkale.

And we were just about to head out when the attendant come running over and stopped us. It seemed the guys in the truck that came in after we did were going to Pamukkale, and the attendant had arranged for them to lead us, so we waited for them and followed them up the road.

We were on back roads and farm lanes and in little tiny villages, but finally they stopped the truck at a turn-off, got out, pointed up the hill, shook my hand, said goodbye, and headed off down the road.

And the best part about the whole thing is that it was completely spontaneous, completely wonderful, and (here in Turkey) completely typical.

A follow-up to Thursday

When we were at Bergama on Thursday, at the 10,000 seat theater, Kim could hear an oration coming from the stage— although she was a good couple hundred feet away— mostly up and off to the side.

I couldn’t hear it because I’m apparently just about deaf—I don’t hear the turn signal clicking away after a shallow turn. . . .

As I was waiting for the narrow passageway to clear so I could go down into the theater from the top, I could hear a strong-voiced woman coming up the passageway, saying “It’s from Henry the Fifth—the night before Agincourt.”

And I said, “. . . the St. Crispin’s Day speech,” and she emerged from below and said, “Yes.”

“And,” she said, “when I was at Troy I gave King Priam’s speech” from (I think, although she didn’t include the citation) Troilus and Cressida.

Well the St. Crispin’s Day speech is my very favorite of all the great Shakespearean speeches, and I’m sorry I didn’t get to actually hear it, but I talked to her and knowing she knew the speech well enough to give it, and give it well (a theater director from LA) was a great delight.

It’s where

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers comes from.

Here’ most of it, courtesy of the internet.

It’s the night before the battle and Westmoreland, a cousin of the king, is bemoaning the low numbers of English solders vs. the huge French army– almost 7 or 8 to 1, as I remember.

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here

But one ten thousand of those men in England

That do no work to-day!


No, my fair cousin;

If we are mark’d to die, we are enough

To do our country loss; and if to live,

The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.

No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.

Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,

That he which hath no stomach to this fight,

Let him depart; his passport shall be made,

And crowns for convoy put into his purse;

We would not die in that man’s company

That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is called the feast of Crispian.

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,

Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,

And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

He that shall live this day, and see old age,

Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,

And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,

And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,

But he’ll remember, with advantages,

What feats he did that day.

This story shall the good man teach his son;

And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,

From this day to the ending of the world,

We in it shall be remembered-

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition;

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed

Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
You can see, I’m sure, why I would have wanted to hear it— of all the speeches she could have chosen, that one has the most power.

Originally written for Two Minutes in Turkey

posts by Robert