Ah...history was so much more colorful and honest and alive then! Well, it was honest and alive in Turkey, too. Talking about SOUTHERN TURKEY first, I spent an extra day in Tarsus because I ran into a bunch of crazy Turk guys (repetitive...all Turk guys are crazy). They showed me two things which I found particularly interesting. One was the well from which Saul of Tarsus (later the Paul, of Biblical fame) drank. You can still draw water from the well and drink it if ya want. Not far from the city center is an area of Roman ruins still being excavated. The Roman Road shown here, with many of the flagstones still in place after 2000 years, is in better condition than many roads built in the middle east today! Along the road are ruins of small shops and houses similar to highways of our day.
North of the city is a large park where the xxxxx river winds thru a series of chasms and pools. It is popular with local turks who use it to cool off, dive into the pools and walk its many shady and lush paths. There are a number of restaurants and cafes woven amongst the meanders and on the promontories where you can watch the lovers stroll and the macho divers leap into the pools below.
I had arrived in Kastamanou the day before, and fully expected to have to wild camp in the nearby hills in order to stick around and see the eclipse. But I had wonderful luck. I found a little shop where they repaired everything from lawnmowers to motorbikes to....bicycles! My bike didn't really need repairs, but they were so nice I figured I may as well get some things done that I would otherwise put off. Plus they cleaned the bike for me, replaced the cables, and generally tuned up the whole guy. But best of all they offered to let me stay in the shop overnight so that I didn't have to wild camp. As the place was getting ready to close, I was spreading stuff out to lay down and one of the folks said..no, no, no...stay at our home tonight! Snakes come into the shop at night....
Thus I was hosted by my umpteenth Turkish family and BOY was the food good. All the mechanics kept poking fun at my name Gary, which is very close to the Turkish Gure!! Gure!! which means, bye bye! Too soon it really was time to go. If folks realized just how often and how, briefly, painful these goodbyes are, they would be quite surprised. But I also knew that if I did not move on, there wouldn't be another group of wonderful people to meet or places to see.