Wednesday, 7 October 2015
This photograph was taken in 1994. Hazel, Laurence and I had climbed to the top of Theangela, the nearest Lelegian site to my house. Laurence had a battered copy of George Bean's 1971 edition of 'Turkey Beyond the Meander' to guide us and we'd parked my car in the village of Etrim and headed straight up. The three hour climb wasn't much fun and Hazel had a sore ankle, (when she got back to the UK, her doctor couldn't believe that she'd been climbing mountains with a fractured bone) but we felt very proud of ourselves when we got right to the top. Just after this photo was taken, an ancient Fiat 124 drove past us and we discovered that we could have driven the whole way up a track at the back. This wasn't my last trip with Laurence up a mountain in search of antiquity, we managed several more before he died at the unfairly young age of 41 in 2002. Our first joint hike had been in 1980 in the Halkidiki in Greece. We borrowed a car and set off on a action packed 48 hours to see how many sites we could tick off in our guide book. Laurence got sunstroke and developed a life-long hatred of water melons and I decided that I loved water melons and was going to spend more time in this part of the world and not go back to the British Midlands. So when Helen, a fellow University of Birmingham archaeology graduate and frequent travelling companion of Laurence, and I found ourselves climbing to the top of the Hellenistic theatre in Stratonikeia, despite having run out of steps and having to clamber over mud and dislodged masonry, we could only blame one person. Laurence; he must have made us do it. He was probably having a good laugh at our ungainly progress. (I had to descend most of the way on my bottom as the sides were really steep.)
It was worth the climb as the recently excavated Augustus-Imperial temple comes into view as one crests the lip of the top cavea, and despite visiting this theatre many times, this was my first view of the ongoing temple restoration.
In homage to past trips with Mr L. Bowkett, we discovered that the main road to Yatağan passes directly behind the temple, which, being well signposted, could have been reached without a climb, but as Laurence would have said - where's the fun in that!
Related posts: Stranonikeia Old friends Concert at Stratonikeia