Saturday, 18 January 2014

Winter wrap

We've begun discussing routes for the next cruising season, or should I say seasons, because once we leave Turkey in May we'll keep going. No more winter hiatuses.

Leafless in Labranda

This is a good thing. My brain has slowed down in an alarming way.
"Hope the marina isn't getting too boring," Bridget writes.
I tell her no.
And then I wonder if some kind of marina rot hasn't set in because there are many days when I am happy here, when it's enough to make a pot of soup, bike to the bakery (so much good bread in Turkey once you know where to look), sit in the bright light of the cockpit stitching my tapestry, trade village news, read a book and, of late, do a bit of yoga.
Alex's days are a variation of the above, though they appear more productive because they involve pulling apart whatever section of the boat attracts his interest at the time. After last night's skippers' "de-stress" meeting at Yacht Marine, when one of our number talked us through a disaster scenario titled How NOT to cross the Atlantic in 31 days, I ought to be more grateful for every hour he spends on boat maintenance. Fundamentally though, Alex is keeping himself amused until the season changes. Just as I am.

Early spring bulb - a wild anemone - at Iassos

Boat girl's bag - crochet and recycled bottle-tops
It's a quaint, small life we lead here, mellow to the point of almost turning. It's not for everyone, and I understand why the vast majority of people who cruise in the Med don't even consider staying with their boats over winter. Those of us who do each have our own story. Alex and I are further from home than anyone else here, but distance doesn't seem to matter much in terms of the decisions people make about whether to go or stay. We know French and British liveaboards who haven't been home for years. Americans too. As far as they're concerned, they ARE home, on their boat. Whatever they've left behind can stay behind.

For a brief moment, we considered staying the whole winter in Marmaris on board Enki. We would break it up with a few trips, and save a whole lot of money even so. But things changed in a heartbeat - literally - when Alex learned that he was about to become a grandfather, for the first time. Baby Nemeth is overdue by a couple of days now, so we're checking our email a lot.

We'll be back in Sydney soon after the birth. We leave Marmaris at the end of January, and we'll be gone two months. On the way home, we're diverting for a few days to Berlin. We'd like to see the rest of Pergamon, the parts which the German archeologists hauled away and installed on Berlin's Museum Island. Alex hasn't been to Berlin since the Wall came down. I was last there in 2006, with Sabina. I'd like Alex to see the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It changed her life, and in a much smaller way, mine too.

Perhaps before we pack up here, we'll manage one more day trip out of town.  Last week we were in Bodrum to visit friends Jane and Dave and on our way home - yes, Enki is home too - we stopped by a couple of lesser-visited ancient sites. Both offered revelations of a kind.

Grazing rights at Iassos

The council debating chamber at Iassos, with agora behind

The floor was beautiful in its day

The agora of Iassos (above), at the end of the fishy-green Gulluk gulf, was so much more idyllic than we could have imagined. We'd anchored off the village in August but left in disgust without venturing ashore.

On top of Labranda's highest temple

The grand staircase at Labranda

The riven rock, with spring below
At Labranda, a terraced sanctuary built high in the mountains behind the provincial town of Milas (ancient Mylassa), we found a wide set of royal steps to rival any in Rome, and a vast expanse of temples to Zeus. The attraction of the place is obvious -  a hanging rock, split in two as if by a sky god. A spring pushes out from the bottom of the rock. Further up the hillside, more massive rocks which make for natural fortifications.

Apparently, people have been coming to Labranda to worship their gods for thousands of years. Most of what we saw was built in the 4th century BC by the brothers Mausolus and Idreus, who belonged to a phenomenally wealthy Carian dynasty which governed over these parts on behalf of the Persians. When Mausolus died, his widow (and sister) built him a monumental tomb which was known as the Mausoleum. It has long since been destroyed, but words, it turns out, are more durable than stones.

No comments:

Post a Comment