As I lay my head on my pillow, allowing the pain medication to do its thing and send me into dreamland, I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I can finally, FINALLY rest and wake up feeling better than how I felt for most of the day, aching in places I did not know existed on the human body. Just as I was entering the world of dreams a man started yelling in our room. Freaked out, I turned on the lights and looked around for the source of the noise. Then it hit me, the last call for prayer of the day. Was this day ever going to end?
Our day started out with another large Turkish breakfast in the little hotel we were staying at in Antalya. Walking back to our room I felt a bit lethargic but put it off to all the walking and traveling we were doing and figured that I was just tired. After gathering our belongings we were picked up by our guide Ertunga to continue with our Turkish adventures. Our first stop today was Sagalassos. Sitting on the south-facing slopes of the Taurus Mountain Chain at an elevation that ranges from approximately 4700ft to 5400 ft above sea level (1450-1590 meters). This is where, in the winter of 334bc, Alexander the Great with a small army of 14,000 men fighting his way east through Pamphylia found Sagalassos in his path. As the Sagalassians would not welcome Alexander with open arms, he merely sacked the city as he did so many others in his path. When you first arrive and start walking towards the site it doesn’t really look that impressive. That is because you are entering at the bottom and can’t really see the stairs that lead you to the upper levels where most of the ancient city lies, and it is awesome! We visited in March and there was snow everywhere and it was cold on top of that mountain. The contrast between the honey-colored stones and the white snow made the ruins even more spectacular as you can see by the photos below. This is close to being Shannon's favorite place! Somewhere along our visit, somebody started a snowball fight, not a good idea if you're not feeling well, but who could pass an opportunity of having a snowball fight on in an ancient city!
Leaving Sagalassos behind we drove to Isparta, the "City of Roses", for our lunch stop. The city is famous for its roses and rose products, and also for its carpets. Shortly after sitting down at the restaurant, I started feeling the muscle aches and the sinus pressure. As we do when we are working, I decided that I was not going to get sick and pushed everything to the back of my mind and ate all the Tavuk Sis (Chicken Kebab) I could fit in my belly. As we still had a way to go, we slowly made our way to the car to continue to our next destination. When we arrived at our destination it was obvious to me that I was not going to be able to just shake this thing off with just will power. I was hurting.
The site that we were visiting is called Eflatun Pınar (Eflatunpınar). It is a large rectangular shaped pond that is fed by a nearby spring. The main thing to see is the leftover wall on one side of the pond. This is one of the few examples of frontal portrayal of human forms in Hittite art that survived. This spring has been running for over 3,000 years! I still can’t wrap my mind around the age of this place. I was trying to do a small video describing the site but I had so many problems trying to get out what I wanted to say that I gave up. We were all laughing about this on our way to Konya where we would be spending the night. This is when I finally broke down and asked Ertunga to stop by a pharmacy so I can get something to make me feel better.
As it was my birthday we had planned to go have a nice dinner to celebrate but I was just not feeling it. After a quick trip to the pharmacy our guide dropped us back at our hotel and Shannon and I went out in search of a convenience store to get some snacks and just eat those in our room. As we were walking around we passed a few tourist shops and decided to just poke our heads in a couple so I can buy something for myself for my birthday. One of the shop owners asked us where we were from and was really glad to see us. When he found out it was my birthday he smiled and reached behind him and gave us some Turkish delight and gave me a little pendant with a whirling dervish on it as a gift to remember my birthday. Little things like this, is why we fell in love with the people of Turkey. They are the friendliest, most welcoming, and caring people we’ve ever met in our travels. We ended up buying some more Turkish delights for us to have with us in the car. By this point, my body was running on fumes so we went next door to the little shop, got what we needed, and headed back to our hotel. After having our little in-room meal and taking my medication, I decided that a hot shower and going to bed was my next goal.
I finally was going to go to sleep and relax. This is where the screaming man in our room comes in. I had just fallen asleep when the last call to prayer started. What we did not realize at the time when we checked in was that right behind our hotel was a mosque. Not only that but the minaret that had the loudspeaker for the call to prayer was right by the hotel. So you can imagine how loud it was in our room and why I thought someone was in our room. We sat there laughing first at my reaction and then at the fact that I had to wait for it to be over so I can get some proper rest. Although I was not feeling great, I know that this is one of my favorite birthday stories and I will always remember it.