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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

“Wonderful Kizkalesi”

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“You were thinking rabbit, which was optimistic.”

We wanted more time at the beach before heading back to Istanbul, so we took Lonely Planet’s recommendation on “wonderful Kizkalesi,” on the Mediterranean coast.

HAH.

Oceanside architecture so ugly I couldn’t even laugh at it. Tacky amusements. Crowds upon crowds of weirdly unfriendly Turkish tourists. (You know how nice we found the Turks everywhere else!) We might as well have been a million miles away from that perfect morning in Butterfly Valley.

Anyway, we made the most of it, seeing everything remotely worthwhile in the area–like a really cool floor mosaic of the Three Graces in nearby Narlikuyu, and some nifty clifftop Roman reliefs:

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“Even if I fell I probably wouldn’t die,” part two. (Can you see Elliot?) We scrambled down that rock-face to get to the Roman reliefs.

We had the reliefs to ourselves, but there were plenty of people to contend with at the Caves of Heaven and Hell. On our descent into “hell” we found empty water bottles strewn along the path even though there were trash bins at regular intervals. (Leads one to wonder if there’s a special circle reserved for jerks who don’t respect the environment.) Elliot remarked, “If there is a heaven, who cleans it up?”

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At the mouth of the cave is the ruin of a Byzantine church:

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The ghost of a fresco in the apse, destroyed through the elements plus human idiocy.

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We got up early one morning and swam out (200 meters) to Maiden’s Castle, and wandered over the ramparts in our bare feet. There was plenty of graffiti on the walls, and the smell of urine in dark corners, but it was a glorious morning and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Istanbul, reprised: the next and final installment!

2 Comments to “Wonderful Kizkalesi”

  1. May 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I love how you’re still trying to see the allure of those places unfortunately desecrated. It’s heartbreaking when national treasures are left to ruin.
    I’m intrigued by the Maiden’s Castle.

  2. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    May 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    As awful as Kizkalesi was, those rock-cut reliefs were one of my favorite parts of the trip. The combination of there being (almost) no one there and the idea that someone climbed on the side of this rock face to make this memorial really made it a special experience. It was barely mentioned in the guidebook, yet it was really something to see–those are always the best sites.

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.