(We saw turtles, and frogs, and lizards at both places this AM.)

We are working our way south along the west coast of Turkey.

This Bergama report and pictures could also be titled

When in Bergama do as the Romans do.

We hit two great Roman sites today, and shot up a storm in each one.

The first was a healing center and the second was an acropolis (citadel—more literally, city (polis) up high (acro as in acrophobia—fear of heights).

(Sorry—I guess I never stop being a teacher.)

We went to the healing center first and were just about the first ones there.

The only (but really) dumb part of all this is that they didn’t open until 8:30 and they close at 5:30, which just about guarantees the worst possible light—

One of the principles of good photography is to only take pictures when your shadow is longer than you are, and 8:30 to 5:30 doesn’t come close.


But here’s what we saw.

We were there for a couple of hours, and then drove up to the acropolis

And on the way it was 11:00 and time for me to eat, so I pulled over to the side of the road, we put the food on the hood of the car for a picnic, and here’s the view we had over the edge of the hill down into the town.

There was a big temple, a 10,000 seat (very steep) theater, a smaller temple to Dionysius (I had a glass of (really) cheap red wine in his honor to help compose this report) and ruins everywhere.

We left there and headed back to the coast and then further south there was wild lavender growing on the side of the road above the sea and some really rugged islands. I’ll have those images for you tomorrow.

And now we’re in Fo?a (Focha) downloading the day’s pictures waiting for better light when we head back out into the town and check it out.

That’s all today’s pictures, although the bloviations just keep flowing on and on.

Here’s the drill on the place we stayed in recently, just to give you a sense.

It cost $ 38 a night. The first room we looked at (on the ground floor—more about that later) was a room about 12 by 14 feet with two twin beds and a two-star bathroom. There was one star because it had a western toilet and another star because the shower head actually attached to something on the wall rather than had to be held.

The two missing stars were for a shower curtain and an actual shower pan— the water just ran onto the floor and then meandered (the word comes from the Meander River here in Turkey) toward the drain. Which makes shower sandals imperative.

In most of the (even western) bathrooms over here the floors are all pretty wet— lots of water on the floor in the stalls.

But we couldn’t get the water in the shower much warmer than tepid, so we got another room on the first (we would say second, but they are counted differently over here) floor. Still only a two-star bathroom, but there was a separate room with a double bed so Kim took it.

Water is nice and hot, but last night I couldn’t get it cooler and it was essentially at the temperature you want at the end of a shower rather than the beginning.

Bathroom door doesn’t latch, but there’s no problem there—due to the layout of the rooms we are safe from scaring the other person at all times.

There is a little balcony about 3 by 8 feet.

Bergama: Buying a Dictionary


The Seventeenth Reason to Come to Turkey

So I finished the most recent report (Troy, Alexandra Troas, Assos) this PM (as I write this it’s Thursday PM the 18th), and went out to walk the town and find an English-Turkish dictionary.

I stopped and asked people but didn’t know the word for “bookstore” or “dictionary” so I was my usual bumbling self in others’ languages.

Many people tried to help, though, which is what this story is about. The best reason to come to Turkey is not what you can see or even photograph but the incredible graciousness of the Turkish people.

I stopped at a couple of places to ask, reading the “Good Evening” and “Thank You” from my language cheat-sheet, which they all seemed to get a big kick out of.

I tried an internet café, thinking the percentage of English speakers would be higher there. But no luck at the first one. At the second one, the proprietor called a customer over—she was 17-18 or so, and spoke some English. I got her to understand what I wanted, and she grabbed a couple of middle-school boys just walking by the front door. They took me to the little stationary store and Fotocopi place about the size of eight phone booths where I got a big hello from everyone, 20% off the price (5, not 6 YTL) and they sent out for chai for me— and a really old guy about my age stood up and pretty much insisted I sit down in his chair.

And this is why you should come here and get off on your own, and have these little half-hour adventures

posts by Robert