Thursday, October 17, 2013

Assos

The Troad is an interesting area to explore and I mean the Roman province of Troas. The T's don't use the term in the modern sense. We plan our trip around the in the context of how the Roman's roughly had it organized, which were basically provinces. We have combed this part of the T a few times in the past. Troy being in the northwest part. The town of Assos is in the southern portion and lies on the coast, the island of Lesbos seemingly a stone's throw away.
    We loved Assos the last time we came here and back we went, the drive into the down long and winding, with brief vistas of the Mediterranean. This time we decided to stay in the tiny harbor of Assos and what a perfect choice that turned out to be. It really is too small for cars so one has to park on the side of the windy road and walk down. This means the harbor is quiet and peaceful. Out hotel, called Assos Grand Hotel, gave us a room facing the harbor from two sides, it was really awesome and we just hung around the place enjoying the local cats and feeding the schools of fish. Our breakfast table was only inches from the water and the bread was a hit. Life slowed way down for us in this town. Eventually we did go up and visit the ruins of Assos itself, the theater a good place to spend the early evening and the acropolis and surrounding city the next afternoon. We decided to stay an extra day and just hated to leave but we had to.
   We then took of and visited a local site called Zeus Altar which was lame and we noticed there was all kinds of Local T's there and many places were closed. We finally realized it was a Turkish holiday  called Eid al Adha, which lasts four days.
    We then visited the ancient site of Antandros which offered a partially excavated villa with interesting paintings, then sped to Nicaea (Iznik). We ended up getting there past dark so we couldn't see all the original Roman walls which still surround much if the town. We did stay here in 2009 so at least saw them then. They were built in the early 4th century AD. Since we had to get up early to catch the ferry across the Bosporus at Yelova at 9:45am we had to leave at 7;30, so we saw what work they are doing to the theater and some of the walls and sped off to Yelova.
   The ferry was lightly attended and it was an easy and straightforward jump to Isranbul.
    Now taking the car back to the airport was the only loose end. When we drove off the ferry the car suddenly was having transmission issue and I was concerned it might not make it to the airport. A light came on on the dash saying the car needed service or repair. I was thinking " after 5,000+ miles you are going to give out on the final few kilometers to the airport! You're kidding right?". Well we stopped to to it off and when we started back up the issue seemed to vanish. Odd? When we turned it in the company forgot we were coming and the whole return took way too long. We had prepaid for it and the guys working for the car rental were shocked to find out this car (and us) originated in Diyarbaker! I guess our kind of traveling is not too common, but eventually they said all was well and didn't notice the few dents and such Michelle hid with mud. The car was so dirty it was hard to ascertain the color, but we were good to go. The other thing were the super hwy toll boths (all √©lectronic) we had issues with. Supposedly we were ok to go through them but they sounded the violation noise each time we went through. We expected issues here but nothing said. We sighed with relief over that one.
  We then took a cab into Istanbul and looked forward to our last couple days in T-land.

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