Day 3 with our little Fiat. We took off a bit early this morning and drove past Ismir to Bergama (Pergamon) . It was really smokey - we could smell the smoke. I’m not sure where it is coming from but perhaps burning refuse from the fields, or something along those lines. Nice to have car and be able to see the countryside. Today we went through lots of agricultural areas: cabbages, onions, orange trees and the ubiquitous olive trees. One site says 2nd in the world, another 4th, but in any case Turkey grows a lot of olives. I think Spain is first.
We saw geese flying in a “V” but thought that they couldn’t be going south for winter - it’s pretty warm here. Maybe this is where the come in the winter! Also saw flamingos. The landscape everywhere that we’ve been is very rugged: mountains separated by broad flat plains.
We had to stop for a bit of gas. But not too much! The car was on empty when we got it and we were told to return it empty! A bit risky!
We parked in the old area of Bergama and wandered around for a while before finding the cable car that takes you to the top of the acropolis. Right on top is the Temple complex of Trajan. Magnificent white marble columns against the blue sky made quite a sight. The amphitheatre here is apparently the steepest anywhere - and it’s certainly steep! Pergamon, again, must have been a huge city with amazing public buildings and spaces. Hard to imagine.
We took the cable car up only, choosing to walk down. Walking down, we went through 2 other temples and the upper and lower gymnasiums, the lower agora and other public areas. Part way down is Building Z, with wall paintings and this floor mosaic intact. Each picture is different - some quite comical.
For me, the most amazing part of the day was the hike down. It took us about 1 1/2 hours to come down - the Acropolic is 300 m about the city. There were only a couple of tour groups in the area at the top of the hill but absolutely no one anywhere on our hike down. And it looked like few people ever walked down. How very cool to wander through all those ancient ruins at will, no guards, no fences or restricted areas. We could poke through doorways, peek through windows and really appreciate the size of the city.
Our last day in Turkey! Tomorrow morning we will return our little car and take the train to Izmir to fly to Crete.