Tuesday, May 8, 2012


This is the road less traveled.  Very few foreign tourists make it this far south and east in Turkey.  We were looked upon as a novelty by the local people.

River and bridge at Silifke
Silifke is about 10 kilometers from Tasucu, only a few minutes in a dolmus (small van-size bus) for 2 TL or just over one US dollar per person each way.  We need dolmuses back home; could cut the traffic in half if everyone didn't use their own car for every little errand.  We made 2 trips to Silifke dealing with Turkcell attempting to get our cell phone and 3G modem working.

Old man on curb.  Played terribly!  Tone deaf.

There are several tourist sights located at Silifke and we had hoped to see a few places.  There is a Byzantine hilltop fortress with 2 dozen towers and vaulted underground chambers in which tourists are free to clamor about and explore.  It also has a moat that is still identifiable.  There also is a necropolis which contains a few remains of an ancient Roman Temple of Jupiter from second century A.D.  It was turned into a Christian basilica sometime in the fifth century, but today only a few columns remain visible of this old temple.  

Table for tea set in alleyway in Silifke

The thing that we most wanted to see is the Tekir Ambari, which is an ancient cistern carved from rock.  You can enter inside the cistern via a spiral staircase.  This intrigued us because both Bill and I have read 'The Source' by James Michener.  This book centers around a well that over many centuries becomes covered with layer upon layer of soil.  Eventually the well is located way below the ground surface and is accessible only via a steep winding staircase.  'The Source' is a wonderful book that explains how the land now known as Israel is really the source of the concept of a singular entity as God rather than many gods.  This land is the where Judaism, Islam and Christianity were formed.  Like it or not, all 3 religions have equal claim to that land when viewed from either historical or religious aspects.

Kitchen; very clean and organized
There were a several other tourist sites in Silifke, but these were the ones that interested us most.  Unfortunately, because of the Turkcell problems we missed seeing anything in Silifke.  We saw the river and bridge, the nice walkway along the river, lots of local people walking about, tea tables in small alleyways, and that was about it.  The guidebook states that there are large numbers of Kurdish people in this area, with small pockets of people of Arabic descent and small pockets of Christians.  I'm not convinced of that.  I think the Kurdish people are much farther eastward than Silifke, maybe east of the Tigris river; but not here.

Turkish kosak pants
Working in kosak pants
One thing I noticed in Silifke that we had not seen elsewhere were the dropped-crotch type loose pants worn primarily by middle-aged and older men.  I did see a couple of women wearing these pants, but mostly the wearers were men over 40 years of age.  These were so striking, with the ultra-loose dropped crotch about knee level and the tight ankles.  

Typical dress
Combine these with the heavy-set women all bundled up in headscarves and long dresses (often worn over ankle length leggings), and the effect screams that you are definitely in a foreign locale.  I love it.
Couple strolling on river walkway

Teenage girls are the same everywhere

On our second day dealing with Turkcell in Silifke a young man spoke to us in English.  His name was Cenl (pronounced chanel) and he had learned English at the tourism school.  He offered to help us communicate in the main Turkcell store.  He was a great help.  Trying to communicate using Google translate leaves lot to be desired.  Those translations are never verbatim and sometimes downright funny.  Cenl got our questions answered quickly and accurately.  

After we settled the Turkcell issues, we walked with Cenl to the old Ottoman home where his friend has established a restaurant.  It was lovely!  They have filled this large very old home with all sorts of Ottoman antiques.  There are dining rooms scattered about the home on every level, and a few private rooms.  And lovely courtyard dining and a small outdoor bar.  

Ancient scales

Turkish water smoking pipe
They had several of the water pipes for smoking Turkish style.  Some of the customers rented the pipes and were smoking (outside in the courtyard only, not inside the main building).  We know this is popular in Turkey but this is the first time we have witnessed water pipes in use.
Customer sampling a Turkish smoking water pipe

We ate lunch at the restaurant and shared tea with Cenl and his partner/restaurant owner.  Finding this restaurant was a nice surprise and we feel lucky to have chanced acquaintance with Cenl and that he was kind enough to lend his English/Turkish communication assistance.

Old Ottoman gun hung over window

After lunch we walked back to the original small Turkcell store and purchased a locked Turkcell 3G modem.   To stay at the Tasucu dock for another 3 nights while our original 3G modem would have the passport block removed and be re-registered with the new simm card would cost 75 TL.  We purchased the new locked 3G modem for 60 TL.  And we can deal with unblocking and re-registering the original 3G somewhere else later (hopefully where someone speaks English).  Sunday morning Bill got the new block 3G working correctly and we departed Tasucu.
Less old Ottoman gun

On the way out we passed a castle built by Armenian kings in the 12th century.  It survived as a crusader castle until the 16th century, when the Ottomans captured it.  This castle was situated top a small hill on the bay where we had anchored for the first night after our arrival from Cyprus.  We had arrived too late in the day to feel comfortable entering the harbor at Tasucu and anchored at Aga Limani instead, behind Bagsakada (Provencal island).  Provencal Isle was given to the Provencal Order of the Knights of St. John in the 13th century.
Castle near Aga Limani

Castle near Aga Limani
Because we departed Tasucu so late it was not possible to reach the next real harbor during good daylight.  

Ruins of ancient houses at Soguksu Limani
So we stopped at Soguksu Limani at 36.07.885N  033.17.443E.  This is a small harbor with numerous reefs.  I would not recommend stopping here.  It was very rolly and not attractive at all.  The only redeeming feature are the ruins of ancient houses on the far southwestern jut of land.  

Hundreds of hothouses at Soguksu,
many more on opposite side of hill.
The adjacent hillsides are covered in hundred of hothouses, growing who knows what.  The name of this little hamlet translates as 'Cold Water Harbor' and refers to the cold river water running into the bay from the nearby high mountains.  FWIW, the mosque isn't as loud as some we have heard elsewhere.  The wail of the call to prayer was easily drowned by our stereo speakers inside the boat.

Our next stop was the harbor of Bozyazi Limani at 36.05.752N  032.56.299E.  It is very calm in this harbor although that is really the only positive I can say about it.  This is not an attractive place.  We stopped here hoping to visit the very large Mamure Castle and the ruins of ancient Anemurium.  Bill is not feeling well and any sightseeing is delayed until he is back to normal.  At first we thought he was just seasick from rolling so much in the last anchorage.  But the dizziness persisted even after the boat was docked, so now we assume he has caught some sort of bug.  He is much better today but not well enough to walk castle steps and ancient city ruins.  Here we sit until he feels better.

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