The sandy little beach town

Hoppitty flippity green
Originally uploaded by apes_abroad.

Today we left Fathiye fairly early and made for Patara. Herladed as one of Turkey’s best beaches and also owner of some of the finest ruins in the country. This may well be our southern-most point. We were planning on making it to Antalya but we’re just going too slow. Oh well, it just means we’re having too much fun and we’ll save some money on gass.

The drive was only an hour or two and on the way was Letoon, some cool sounding ruins, so we decided to check them out. These are tricky to get to so it took a little work to find them on our maps. Not that it really mattered. Turkey is so well signed we found our way there just following arrows. Letoon was actually very cool. Big in the ancient world: temples and theatres. Letoon had impressive specimen of both, and no one else around! (besides the guys who collect the 8 lira each to walk in of course). Big theatres are always built on a vaguely theatre-shaped hill. They carve out the dome shape and then add seats. On the sides, when they run out of hill, they use massive blocks to comlete the desired 180degree viewing area. This theatre wasn’t only cut into a hillside it was cut _out_ of the limestone hillside. The middle seating was almost entirely intact. The sides, which had been made out of blocks were falling apart. It was really neat to sit in such well preserved seats and walk such well preserved stairs and isles. You could really imagine you were meeting some friends there for a play and had to squeeze past other patrons and wheedle your way to some choice seats. Also impressive was the Nymphaeum. I gather that’s, like, a temple to a wattery god? You can go look that up. It was excavated by french acheologists and has since become a small waterlogged pond. Which is pretty cool, and fairly appropriate considering the watery nature of it’s original use. There were frogs GALORE in this pond as well as teeming teams of tadpoles, turtles, fish and birds. It was really neat hopping around on the bits of the site that stuck out of the water startling frogs and turtles.

From Letoon we set off back again for Patara. On the way though we spotted a decrepit looking arrow to “Letoon Beach” (or, “Letoon Plaj”). Sounds like a secret beach! Arrow ho! Well the rest of the route to the beach wasn’t signed so we made a few bad 50/50 guesses and ended up driving throught the copious tomato growning-countryside. Tomatoes here are taken seriously. They are grown in the tons and tons of greenhouses blanketing the country and are _delicious_. Unlike the watery mosters that are so common back home. Driving through two or three little towns We eventually made it back to the main road (thank god for gps navigation!) and headed to Patara.

When we arrived we were surprised to find out that access to Patara and the ruins is only 5 lira each! What a deal! No matter that the very idea of a pay-beach is antithetical to my very Canadian soul.

The beach is very very long (like 20k) and all sandy with dunes running into the hills where the old city lived. It is quite a place but you have to walk a good distance to get away from the tourists clogging the closest bit of beach. Patara is a relatively hard place to get to so I’m not sure how all these people ended up here. I think we’ve stumbled into some traveler subset. Aparently the beach made it onto some best-beaches-in-the-world lists or something and that is irresistable to a dedicated group of travelers. There are tons and tons of pensions and hotels here. More I think than people’s houses. Most of them are empty now as it’s the low season. The temperature is still cresting 30c and it’s too hot to do much but swim for a while and then hide in the shade of the scrub growing on the dunes. Still, it’s pretty fun. There were enough waves to do some body surfing and we played in the water for a few hours before spending another few hours recuperating from the weeks exertions in the shade on the back-side of a dune. When we reapeared the wind had kicked up and I was jonesing really hard for a kite. Good god, so much beach, perfect wind, waves to play in. Yarg, the best time and place I’ve ever seen to kiteboard. If the wind is common I could seriously see comming back here and spending some quality time with the Mediteranean.

Since we paid 10 Lira to get in we might as well check out the ruins. They are actually very impressive. Patara was second in size only to Ephesus in Anataolia. A massive “metropolis” of 20,000 people (man there used to be alot fewer of us around). The theatre is grand and has been around for thousands of years and many empires. It’s final use was by the Romans. The theatre used to have well-constructed seating going right down to the floor of the theatre. But the Romans weren’t into that artsy-fartsy theatre crap. They wanted blood! Fights! Tigers! So they built up some (pretty shoddy looking) stone walls over the first row of seats with tiger-cages built into them. It’s really something to see a place made so majestically for such a peaceful art form turned into a circus of glood and gore. Also very impressive was the currently-being-excavated senate building (it’s not a senate building, but it’s something close). And the old main road into the city which french archeologists have re-erected a bunch of the pillars that flanked the road. It was the easiest place yet to imagine yourself in the place of a tourist in 500b.c.

After thta we returned to find a place to stay. This is the first place I’m going to shout out: stay at the Delphin Hotel. 60 Lira (50$) for a room for two with a gorgious low-chlorine pool, a room with a balcony and view, plus free tea and cakes at tea-time. Great place for the money. Totaly the place to stay if you end up in Patara. I’m also going to shout out the place we had dinner:… uh… the Gozleme place run by the nice woman in the run-down shack. It probably has a name but I forget it. There has been a lack of good thai-style home grown restaurants run by someone part-time because they love to cook. This was one. So great. She made us some terrific Gozleme (kind of a Turkish crepe) while we watched and we had another one for desert. I highly recomend it… It’s next to the Pede place.

So now we are back in Delphin, writing up a storm trying to catch up on the travelogue. Which this sentence we are caught up! And I can sleep. Night!


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