Now the majority of the crowds have gone the Aegean settles down for a warm autumn before winter kicks in and with Kurban Bayram just around the corner everyone seems in an expansive and generous mood.
A case in point; we were peering through the wire fences that surround one of the closed archeological sites the other day when the caretaker came up to us and kindly let us in for a wander around. It isn’t unusual to have a wonderful archeological site to yourself in Turkey, but this was something special.
Perched above the Aegean sea, part fortress, part monastery, part Ottoman workshop the ruins are layer upon layer of life going back three thousand years.
Amongst the ruins, we saw huge amphora baking in the sun, half buried in the earth, the broken ones looking like the cracked remains of dinosaur eggs. In the ruins of an old church we saw a massive marble font dramatically cracked from side to side by an earthquake and in a dark damp cistern below the ruins we found the remnants of frescoes, retrieved from the rubble and carefully cemented back into place on the curved brick walls. So beautiful but strangely sad, faces from forever ago, fading into the dark.
Down in the Dilek Millipark we have the beaches to ourselves, other than a few fishermen who have climbed the rocks at the end of fifth beach and are enthusiastically casting into the sunlit waters. The restaurant at the beach there is closed already and the used-to-be-wild boar have retreated to the higher slopes now the easy pickings from bulliable tourists have dried up.The cooler days of autumn encourage us to tramp a bit of the Canyon Walk that crosses the peninsula to the old village of Doganbey. The Canyon walk is beautiful, the cool shade and easy gradient make it pleasant and peaceful with nothing to disturb the peace but the hum of the insects in the trees and the trickle of the stream that periodically finds a way to the surface beside the path. On either side of the trail the vari-coloured cliffs rear up and sturdy young pine trees twist valiantly from cracks in the rocks – who says pine is a soft wood!
The best views of the park and the sea and Samos are said to be at the six and half kilometer mark but we didn’t make it up that far, we just wandered a few kilometers in, dazzled by the light through the trees and the dizzying views overhead, bickering cheerfully with each other over the chances of spotting an Anatolian Leopard
In Guzelcamli the yali ev, the summer houses are mainly shut up, the sunny sites already deserted bar a few late visitors and some builders doing repairs before winter comes. The white sand beaches are mainly empty apart from busy squares of crowded sand outside the all inclusive hotels. In the small harbour at Guzelcamli the tour boats are tied up, day trips are now normally weekends only although the sea is as warm now as it was in August.Back in Kirazli all is quiet apart from the violent arguments of the house sparrows in the walls, trying to turf this years crop of young ones out of the nests. The humming bird hawk moth is gorging itself on the late jasmine, the honey bees are staggering through the air with heavily laden legs and the toad that lives by the outside tap still bathes nightly in the stone bowl of sun warmed water in the garden.
The nights are cooler – thank god! – and we close the doors an hour or so after sunset now. The first storms have been and gone and cleared the air of dust and the neighbours are all drying figs and grapes and peppers on their roofs and gathering in the aubergines and beans from the kitchen gardens and sharing them with their usual generosity.
There is a kind of lazy replete feeling in the air, the summer is done, the bayram is coming, the feet up before the olive harvest time is here and life is good this Indian Summer.
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