21 January 2010

Aphrodisias Blood Horror

Today I continued my way from Anamur through Antalya, leaving the beautiful coastal scenery behind me, heading inland to the temple of Aphrodisias. In vain, because it was closed for the day. And in vain for love, although I still had some kind of hope then. I got a room in the Aphrodisias hotel, the only hotel in ‘town’. It was a huge affair set in a bewildered garden. My room was at the end of the hallway, to the left. I felt very uneasy in this place. It was incredibly quiet. Too quiet. It was not only the hotel, the building but also the surroundings. On the deserted rooftop terrace I looked out over the yellow and brown hills sloping as far as I could see in a 360-degree view. It was 5 pm and this landscape was silent and totally immobile. It made me feel far away from everything. As cold as the building made me feel, as warm was the reception I got from the owner, Mestian. He prepared me a delicious dinner and told me his story. He was born in this area, moved to Paris when he was in his mid-twenties and started selling carpets, from his natal region. He married a Parisienne, his business flourished and they decided to invest in this hotel, which they ran for over 20 years (mostly his wife). But then his wife got cancer and had to return to France. Things were never the same in the hotel. Mestian lost interest and was now looking for someone to take over the hotel. “Are you interested?”, well I might, but I did not have two million euros… We had a last Turkish coffee; I wished him all the luck in the world and went to bed. I felt a rush of goose bumps on the way to my room; this hotel would be an ideal setting for a cheap horror film, in which half of the budget is spent on fake blood.

Total silence was again the first thing that I noted when waking up in this strange hotel embedded in the brown hills surrounding Geyre. I visited the historical site of Aphrodisias in the morning. Tucked away in the landscape were numerous ruins of what once was a buzzing Roman city. Everything in the surroundings reminded me of fertility and the stories that Mistan, the hotel owner, had told me the night before. From Geyre I headed for Izmir. On the way I had my first flat tire. For that I was prepared. I changed the tire and arrived at Izmir just after noon. Soon I realized that no ferry was departing from Izmir. To catch a ferry I had to drive to Cesme, 100 km more to the West. I arrived in Cesme, just to miss the last ferry of the day. I found myself a cozy hotel with a rooftop terrace. Beer and thoughts under a warm night sky. Tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    These are really nice stories. I am trying to put up a website about Turkey. It is about people's experiences in Turkey.
    I just wanted to ask if you would be interested in publishing some of your articles on my website with referral links to your website.
    Let me know what you think via iwasinturkey@gmail.com