Monday, 22 April 2013

The Rose of Patara

Took a minibus to Patara, the birthplace of St.Nicholas.

Patara is famous for its World Heritage ruins and for its long, beautiful beach - 18km, Turkey's biggest.
The Pataran oracle of Apollo was second only to Delphi, and Saints Paul & Luke changed ships here on their way to Phoenicia ( "to teach the epistles to the apostles!" )

With all this to attract punters it comes as a revalation that the only accommodation is in a tiny old village called Gelemis. Part of the reason is the Loggerhead turtle that uses the beach and surrounding dunes to lay eggs. The Turkish government has, perhaps surprisingly, banned development in the area

The minibus dropped me 3km from Gelemis. I had decided to walk there as part of my ongoing cold war with taxi drivers, but I needed a tea first. The tea caravan lady couldn't give me normal tea (she spoke no English so I don't know why) but lemon tea was available. It was bright, bright yellow and tasted very similar to Max Strength Lemsip. Not unpleasant as such, but not what I had in mind.

I was about halfway to Gelemis when a car pulled over. The driver and his wife owned the Rose Pensiyon and offered me a room. I accepted but refused a lift which dismayed them a little. Voltar told me that Turks think walking is a very unfortunate business.

When I finally got to the Rose Pensiyon I met the whole family - grandmother, grown-up son and daughter, her husband and their two kids.


Wife and Mother

Then I was given tea, salad and a long chat about gardening by the owner.

Complimentary tea and garden produce
This was followed by a guided tour of his infeasibly large greenhouses. He seemed to be growing tomatoes and cucumbers on an industrial scale, but he assured me they were for personal use only.

He also had an orchard full of oranges, and a garden full of roses.

He was a generous obsessive, though, and would insist I took some of his produce everytime I went off for a walk somewhere. Lovely gesture, I thought.

That first afternoon there I went round the ruins, and once again I had the place to myself.

First came a Roman triumphal arch.

Next, another theatre

I found stones with engravings of gladiators

coming attractions?

Finally, the agora with its columnade. These were the first columns I had seen in a ruin...and I was much taken by them.


A couple of barrister columns!

Some of the site is now a reedy wetland which gives great reflections and lots of frogs and mosquitoes.

After the ruins I continued to the beach.It was massive, empty and blowing a gale.

Took a couple of pictures, hid from the sandstorm in a closed down beach cafe for a bit to see if the wind would stop, then headed home.

Back at Rose I joined the family and hotel guests for dinner. The other guests were four elderly ladies speaking Dutch.

"You're speaking Dutch?"
"Ah yes, we are from Belgium."
"I lived in Holland for a while."
"But we are not Dutch, we are from Belgium."
Silence. We didn't speak until after the meal when everyone had relaxed again.

By 10pm the Golden Girls had crashed and I was invited to watch Galatasaray play Real Madrid. Drogba is the new god in Turkey and when he scored to put Gala 3-1 in the lead I became an instant Gala fan and the owner and his son looked like this...

 I retired around midnight. It was cold that night and, due to a housekeeping mix up, I had no blankets in my room - just four towels. The Rose family had all gone to sleep so I decided not to bother them and wrapped myself up like a mummy. There was a mosquito in the room somewhere too.

A wise man once said "Anyone who thinks they are too small to matter has never spent a night with a mosquito."

An almost sleepless, seemingly eternal night ensued.


  1. Superb ruins. You kind of fit in.

  2. hmm, i find it hard to believe that those are your actual footprints in the sand, not shoe prints!

    still no comment on the sea temperature though, which just shows the realism of the previous comment...

  3. The water is quite cold. They my not be my footprints - I never claimed them.