Monday, May 26, 2008

Iskendurun, Turkey, Cevlık, Daphne

Cevlık, ancıent port
more photos on flıckr.........

We have had an extra day ın Iskendurun. The rally fleet took off yesterday afternoon and wıthın a few hours we had the call to return to port ın Turkey. There were hıgh wınds and bıg seas and ıt was really not safe. So all the fıshıng boats had to move away from theır berths agaın and make way for the dozens of yachts, moored sıde by sıde and bows between bows, now waıtıng to leave tonıght for the passage to Syrıa.

Here ıs the earlıer post:

Iskendurun, Cevlik ( Seleucia Pieria), Daphne

Our boats safely observed by 24 hour police in the harbour, we set off early for a tour to see tunnels, a necropolis, an early Christian church established by St Paul, and the ‘second best mosaic museum in the world’.

We drove from Iskendurun through the Belen pass and surveyed the Amik plain, squares of wheat and corn fields, rich and fertile. On to Cevlik, the ancient port town of Antioch (Antakya). Here we walked up a short path through pistachio, mulberry, laurel and olive trees to find spectacular Titus’ tunnel, an extraordinary gorge dig to divert the river from the mountains away from the town of Selucia (ancient Cevlik) in times of flood. A stream still trickles along the gorge, and we walked over a roman bridge and down to the tunnel – through along slippery rocks with light squeezing through the end of the tunnel and the top of the gorge. Groups of Turkish school kids filed past us, shouting “Hello!”

Nearby was a necropolis, with tombs carved out of the rock. Very beautiful and once peaceful; now frequently visited. Along the way we met folks selling flat bread cooked over a fire, soap made with laurel oil, and bunches of herbs.

A meze lunch overlooking the waterfalls in Daphne was a great opportunity to talk to Sally and Al, a couple from Minnesota who had travelled West to East across the Med last year, almost the same track as Rumpus. We wandered along the muddy main street and inspected the woven cotton, one shop with a working loom clacking. This town was once the summer retreat for the wealthy, with rich Roman villas.

On to the mosaic museum in Antakya – spectacular mosaics from the Daphne summer villas. Wild beasts being speared by handsome warriors, sea creatures, birds, and incredible 3D impressions in the geometric borders. Also a fine sarcophagus and some extraordinary lion pillar bases carved in 800 BC.

The evening was to be a ‘pot luck dinner on the wharf’ – which turned into another really fun occasion, with drinks provided by the local chamber of shipping, dancing (again!) and lots to talk and laugh about.

The passage to Lattakia, Syria promises to be the roughest so far: we have a southerly wind blowing against us and heavy seas. Pippy and Richard have left Rumpus to join another boat and we have my mother Diane arriving to join us in Lattakia. So it’s just the two of us this passage.

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