Antalya to Hieropolis


Western Turkey - Personal Journal
Day 13 - Monday, 13 April 1998

We departed from Antalya after a small delay. Tom Fritch had his pocket picked back in Istanbul at the spice market, and had to cancel all the credit cards that were in the pilfered wallet. Tom and wife Pat had arranged to have a new card delivered in Antalya, and had to make the connection this morning before leaving. The rest of the group had a short stay in a park overlooking the sea. Another long bus ride lay ahead of us.


Nomad's Black Tent

Our first bus break was a visit at a Nomad's tent, more of Meli's friends. The tent was made of black goat hair, and Meli told us that the hair has scales which expand when wet. That makes the woven hair a waterproof surface in stormy weather. Still, it's hard to imagine living all the time in a tent.

One large room is living, dining, cooking and sleeping space for the husband wife and young daughter. Two other children are away at school, and when they are at home, the space must accommodate their needs as well. The flocks of goats and sheep are grazing on nearby hillsides, and when the area has been grazed too closely, they have to move. It happens every two or three years, Meli said.


This is the same kind of tent that Paul the Apostle would have made, Meli told us. The goat hair is spun into thread or yarn, the thread is woven into panels of fabric. The panels of fabric are stitched together and stretched over a framework of saplings. Smaller branches serve to strengthen the lower walls, and also provide some screening when the tent edges are rolled up for windows.

J1031The wife prepared tea for us, and her young daughter helped serve. Again we were offered items handmade by the woman, and we eagerly took advantage of the opportunity. (Later at home, Jim and I speculated on the likelihood of every family in Turkey having enough tea glasses to serve 30 or 40 people at one time.)

Down the road a short distance we stopped at a country store where we were able to purchase some nice freshly made flat bread with cheese and herbs for a quick snack. The nomad husband pulled up behind us in his truck, and we learned that he owns this establishment. Tent life is not such a bad deal, it appears.

The lunch stop is not until 3 p.m., so Julie came around the bus with snacks for everyone to tide us over. There's a good reason for lunch to be so late. Meli has a special plan. A five-course mushroom lunch is probably not served in very many places in the world. Who knew you could do so many different things with mushrooms, including dessert?


By 4:00 p.m., we were checked into Yoruk hotel and had a break until 5:00. A short bus ride then took us through Hieropolis (a cemetery) to the hot springs of Pammukale. After Meli paid our entrance fee, we waded and swam in bathtub-warm water, scraping our feet and knees on collapsed Roman columns at the bottom of the pools. Outside of the fee area, we walked along the top of the cliff where centuries of mineral-filled water spilling over the edge has left snowy white cascades. As the sun moved toward the westward horizon, Meli also moved us in that direction. As we walked and rode back through the Hieropolis (with lectures), we stared at the ruins of Roman, Greek, and Pagan tombs and monuments. Those who came to "take the waters" didn't always get well and go back home. For many, perhaps most, it was a place to die, and a place to be buried.