PERGAMON – TEETERING TEMPLES AND PHANTOM SNAIL PINCHERS, TURKEY 1976

THURSDAY 21ST OCTOBER, 1976 – PART ONE

‘Went back in to Bergama and up hillside to old citadel of Pergamon.  Fantastic views of surrounding hills and plains and bird’s eye view of Bergama.  Hills very rugged and unfertile; lots of olive trees and sheep wandering around with bells around necks.

Ponies grazing among ruins.  Ruins quite extensive (Greek ones – Roman further down towards the town).  Remains of aquaduct, old city walls, library (200,000 parchments originally before taken to Alexandra and lost in a fire).

Temple of Athena and very steep theatre dropping down hill – steepest in Turkey because of gradient of hill.  Hilarious American Tour – “Gee what a super picture of a fig tree” as they passed the remains of the steepest amphitheatre in Turkey; “does anybody want a bit of marble?” and handed some round.  One woman went into ecstasies over a snail and looked suspiciously at us, saying, “You’re not going to take the snail away are you?”  I didn’t think we looked particularly like phantom snail pinchers.  Perhaps she thought we were combing the old ruins of Turkey for that very reason …’

Advertisements

DELPHI, GREECE – AMONG GODS, PIGEONS AND MURMURING CROWDS, 1976

WEDNESDAY 13TH OCTOBER, 1976

“Left Athens.  Dropped Nanette.  Making for Delphi. Incredible amount of shrines along roadside – only seen 1 vandalised yet had loads of small crosses and cups etc inside.  Began to get mountainous – Delphi in big mountains – ruins all the way up mountain slope.

Made my sacrifice of 30 drachma (i.e. full price) and went in.  Got in on bad tour, woman couldn’t find the baize of the tripod!  Saw Temple of Apollo and amphitheatre.  Decided to climb even further to see the Stadium – went up dusty windy path, cheap of birds, disturbed a few pigeons.  Reached Stadium, really high up and hidden among trees.  FANTASTIC sight, just me and the gods up there, could almost see the chariot tracks in the dust.  A gust of wind in the trees sounded like the murmur of the crowd!  All the seats around one side of the stadium still well preserved; big square pillars at one end.  (Went to the loo looking down over the stadium – what a boast!)  Fantastic view of the mountains looking down from the top.

Travelled on through striking mountain scenery (much hazier and drier that Jugoslavia.  Idyllic pastoral scene cant have been so idyllic on such arid, dusty mountain slopes).  Clouded over.  Worked way down hairpin bends to a small town where we stopped for a “coffee stop” – taken to drinking nescafe to avoid sweetened Turkish coffee.

Camped again at Stylis – different part of coast, very near beach again and a quiet bar (with great toilet facilities!)  Had a nice Amstel beer then a good camp supperof steak and kidney and fresh melon!  Ground really hard; dark when we pitched – think it’s on a road in an orchard!”