Roman ruins bicycle touring, Priene to İzmir

Just like my previous week of bicycle touring, this final week of my three-week Fethiye to İzmir trip was hopping from one set of Roman ruins to another.  In addition to Roman sites I also managed to find a few old churches.  For me the most notable difference of this week was that the rain stopped.  I entered a stretch of brilliant weather — dry and cool, at times cold — and tried to take advantage of the sunshine.

My first stop was Priene, just down the road from Miletus.  Priene was built on small hills above the sea.  The “acropolis” of the city is actually way up on top of the mountain in this photo, but I didn’t bother walking up there.

IMG_20181220_103716 by bryandkeith on flickr

After years of sedimentation, now Priene overlooks agriculture land in the flat Büyük Menderes floodplain.  Only later did I learn that Priene is famous for its square bouleuterion.  I noticed it on the map while I was there and looked around for it a bit.  I thought I was right on top of it and decided it hadn’t been excavated or wasn’t around anymore or something, but there are heaps of photos of Priene’s bouleuterion on the internet.  How’d I miss it??!!

Well, at least I managed to find the theater and the few remaining columns of the Sanctuary of Athena.
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Roman ruins bicycle touring, Milas to Miletus

On the first week of this bicycle tour I went through Bodrum, anciently known as Halicarnassus, famous for the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  The mausoleum was destroyed over 600 years ago by earthquakes so it wasn’t a big disappointment to find that there’s really not much left at the site — some stones and a small, somewhat neglected museum.

Two days after visiting Bodrum I arrived in Milas, where I spent a couple nights resting and trying to stay out of the rain.  I was excited to visit Gümüşkesen, a Roman-era small copy of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.  I had also heard good things about Milas’ archeology museum.  It ought to be good, located in the center of an area densely dotted with ancient sites.  Sadly, I was disappointed twice: both the museum and Gümüşkesen were closed because they’re moving the museum to a currently under-construction building at the Gümüşkesen site.  I snuck my camera through the fence to get this photo:

They're building the new museum here next to this monument. by bryandkeith on flickr

On my cold, rainy “rest day” in Milas, I hitchhiked up to the ruined Roman city of Labranda.  On the map it looks like it could make a nice bike ride, but I’d been warned of heavy, heavy truck traffic on this road for the feldspar mining.  Warning: if you’re on a bike, don’t think you can use the parallel road farther east to avoid the traffic — many trucks go up the Labranda road and down the other road back to Milas.  The only reasonable bicycle option would be to come from Karpuzlu and head down the road via Labranda.  You’d still have heavy truck traffic, but it’d be mostly downhill, and the distances aren’t so long.  However, the site really isn’t so interesting.  There are many better ruins around.
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Rainy bicycle touring at the Aegean: Fethiye to Milas

My first (and last) bicycle tour in Turkey in 2018 didn’t start till December.  Ferda wanted to go to İzmir and help out Seda with her new baby.  She took the bus — actually, I guess she flew –, but I decided it made sense to bicycle there.  Since I had already cycled two routes between Fethiye and Antalya, I took a bus to Fethiye and started my tour to İzmir from there.

Although overall my route focused on old Roman cities, this first week of touring was more about the scenery, and as it turned out, some interesting historic sites from the Ottoman period.  I also visited a number of modern Turkish resort cities including Göcek:

IMG_20181208_160924 by bryandkeith on flickr

Marmaris:
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Tourists in southern California again

Oh, isn’t this the classic tourist pose (at Los Angeles County Museum of Art)?

20180831_181137 by bryandkeith on flickr

When I was talking with Bill at McNeil River about the incredible moon jellies that we saw in SE Alaska, he said we really must visit the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach because they have quite the jellyfish collection.  What a great suggestion.  The aquarium’s been open for 20 years, but my parents had never been there.  It had been on their list for a long time so Ferda and my visit to southern California was a good excuse to go.

The aquarium had a couple tanks of moon jellies, and in one tank you were actually permitted to touch them.

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Mariposa Grove: Giant Sequoias and chipmunk stripes

Our last excursion in Yosemite National Park was to visit the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.

20180917_110056 by bryandkeith on flickr

As with Yosemite Valley, the Mariposa Grove was handed over to the State of California in 1864 by President Lincoln for protection and recreation purposes.  One of the early gimmicks to attract visitors was to cut roads through the giant sequoias so visitors could drive their cars through them.  The only one of these cut trees still standing is this one:
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