I hope your cycling training has been coming along.. you have been going to spin class right? This week’s travel theme challenge from Ailsa is YELLOW and we are off to Turkey and Greece to find it.
Above the yellow flowers, as if marking a forgotten sarcophagus tomb, in the ancient Lycian city of Myra, the location famous for St Nicholas. St Nick was known for leaving gifts for children at their homes at night and from this humble beginning the commercialization of Santa Claus evolved.
St Nicholas was laid to rest in Myra, where he had been the bishop, in 343AD. It is a bare earthen church that covered his remains. The building was restored in 1043 and turned into a Byzantine basilica. In 1087, the story goes, Italian merchants stole poor St Nicholas’s remains and took them back to their country where they rest today.
As the tour buses come in droves bringing pilgrims to the wee church and the tacky shops surround the location, one has to think St Nick might be a bit off put by the whole thing.
Cycling in Turkey the roads are often shared with many users other than cars. Minutes after leaving the town of Akyaka we were back in agricultural Turkey. It is absolutely astounding to go from the wee tourist spots beginning to grow in Turkey and then a few kilometers later feel as though you climbed aboard a time machine and are decades in the past.
One has to weave one’s bike past the gentleman on his donkey with wooden crates draped on each side of his ride carrying olive oil only to come to a screeching halt as a cow walks out of the barn door which just happens to exit on to the road you are traveling. Trust me cows have the right of way over cyclists every time.
Add the goats and sheep passing on their greetings and roosters and chickens adding a chorus or two …all going on as you pass the tractor.
Above a stop from our cycling for Turkish coffee and tea. Hubby and I became Turkish coffee drinkers, forget the tea. One needs the thick brew of caffeine to be alert for all the dodging of live beings on the road.
Following the java jolt we stopped at a local village market day. Walking by stalls filled with fresh vegetables, figs and nuts Hubby pushed his bike, clad in his helmet, sunglasses and biking shorts.
The locals were friendly and the small children were particularly interested and often managed an English “hello”. In watching the locals’ expressions I don’t think they would have been more surprised had he jumped out of a spaceship to come to their market.
The fabulous thing about the people of this country, in our experience, is that they would warmly welcome whomever showed up, even if they happened to be from another planet.
Santorini is the stuff of which postcards are made (well actually it really is). Think white buildings with blue domed roofs, hundreds of feet above the ocean) The island was once completely circular and thus named Strogili, which means round in Greek.
In the late 18th century BC, some mother-of-all-earthquakes hit the island, destroying the entire port city of Akrotiri. Not 200 years later a volcano blew the entire island to pieces. This must be the Webster’s dictionary definition of ‘bad luck’.
Did you spy any yellow while you were on your bike? How about a trip to Turkey and Greece?