Sam Bowker: The Grand Tour Diary (2005 - 2006)

This is the archived journal of a 2005-2006 'Grand Tour' around the Eastern Mediterranean and along East Africa, written by Sam Bowker, whilst in search of his PhD topic.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Turkey - Olympos

Dedicated to Serendipitous Companions.

The Chimera Fires were gorgeous. Another long walk, this time high up a steep mountain path illuminated by a waning moon, with a soundscape of Africaans, Turkish and other non-English accents stumbling along behind me. The fires themselves were larger than bunsen burner flames, flickering smoothly (unlike wood fires) and in hues of blue and yellow. There were about twenty of them, in about 8 "patches". The tallest was around two feet high.

It was a place, like many in Turkey, that evoked a sense of long-term inhabitation. Countless ghost stories have probably been told around those fires, and goodness knows how many things have been barbequed upon them.

Today was a day for what the Turks apparently call Keyif - the art of understated relaxation. I rose late, and spent the day swimming and reclining by the Mediterranean. The water was warm, peaceful, and the tourists arriving on yachts weren't disruptive at all. When I wasn't bumming about the beach, I was exploring the ruins concealed within the forests by the river with mates, and planning my next movements from a cushioned platform in the Pansion.

This evening I built what some people might call a sandcastle on the beach at sunset. It was tricky as there is no sand here - lots of little round colourful pebbles. It came out more like an Andy Goldsworthy piece. It was a perfect setting, and I have rarely felt so content.

This is exactly what I wanted this part of the Grand Tour to be like.

Tommorrow - I shall spend a day in the local buses, aiming to reach the terraced calcium-rich springs of Pammukkale and the ancient, glistening white marble city of Hieropolis.


  • At Thursday, September 22, 2005 4:46:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love it Sam - and I can see you organising your sand castle in absolute contentment.


  • At Thursday, September 22, 2005 5:15:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Am enjoying reading your blog as much as your mother's. Sounds like a wonderful grand tour to me. Hope you continue to enjoy every single moment and get lots of inspiration.

    Love, Tena and Keith in sunny Cornwall


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