Adana and the Castles in the Sea!!!

Originally published on 5 September 2011.

Day one in Adana was a great success! Randi got us from the airport and showed us around Adana. We got back to her and Dan’s house (her husbands name is Dan, not to be confused with our Dan!) and got the low-down on what to see and do all over Turkey, especially in Adana! We needed to rent a car, so we ended up using one from a guy in a shop down the street! He let us rent his personal vehicle for the day and said for us to fill it up to where it was when we left, and to have it back by 9:00 so he could drive home. This would never happen in the States, but here we go! =)

Randi drove for us, since we’re not used to driving a stick shift, nor do we know the area. So off we went! Dan stayed home to get some work done, but the rest of us went off to Tarsus, the place where Paul was born. We saw where he supposedly lived and where his family supposedly got their well water from, which was pretty cool, even if it’s not the real thing. It’s in the real general area! =) We stopped at several random and very interesting spots, such as Cleopatra’s gate, the Snake Man statue, ruins of a Roman bath, and ate lunch at a restaurant right next to a waterfall (my favorite creation!). We got to have our first authentic Turkish meal there, and I think we were all pleased! Dan is a vegetarian, and Andrea doesn’t like tomatoes, so they’ve been restaurant troublemakers, but we’ve all turned out with things we’ve enjoyed! =)

Next stop, Blood Valley! It’s called Kanlidivane in Turkish, and it’s where the Romans built a city on top of a cliff, and when they needed to punish someone, they threw them off said cliff–hence, Blood Valley. Not a good story, but definitely some awesome ruins! A university was in the process of excavating parts of it, but pretty much once we paid our three Lira, we could roam around wherever we wanted! The pictures from there are amazing—it’s impossible not to take gorgeous pictures of history like that! There were basilicas, houses, wells, graveyards, reliefs carved into columns, a family carved into the cliff face, a soldier carved into the cliff, a cave house (which was also down the cliff and we decided not to go down that far!), and goats climbing into the cave house. Very Turkish!

After climbing around there for who knows how long, we set out again… for the Med! That’s what the locals call the Mediterranean Sea! We had to make a couple more stops along the way, however. There was a Roman aqueduct and amphitheatre we got out to explore along the way, which also had in it some really elaborate tile designs of fish and interesting patterns. These folks knew how to make something grand for sure! These things were built in the 2nd century A.D…. You see these things in movies and on TV and even in pictures, but to see them up-close and in real life just blows my mind! It’s amazing! Not only are these things just that ancient, they’re still standing. Aside from that, it’s also within sight of the Med! Some things are just astounding.

Next adventure—turning the car around on a cliff… did I mention it’s a stick-shift? Randi is absolutely the best driver ever. Turkish people were walking right in front of the car (super slowly!), and we ended up stalling on the hill (again, on a cliff!). But never fear, Randi got us back down the hill and on we went—to the Med!

We drove into the beach parking lot and—quite literally—squeezed into a spot. We certainly saved the best for last (keep in mind we’d been up since 3 A.M. and had seen a LOT that day!). There were two castles—one on the edge of the water, and one IN THE SEA! We went climbing around the ruins of the castle on the land, and took lots of pictures! We could plainly see the castle in the sea (which was a fortress to keep away Cretan Pirates!), and I can say with confidence that it was the most breath-taking site of the day. The beach was really crowded (we saw many a woman in a “burkini”!), and there were people out in boats and parasailing over the castle, and it was just beautiful. It was a great place to see the sunset and the perfect ending to our day of sightseeing! We dipped our toes in the Med and set out again for home! Turkey is so underrated!

After another close call with the car—tight squeeze into the parking lot=a tight squeeze out as well!—we were back on track! We dieseled up the car (with more than a little difficulty from the Turks at the gas station—at one point we had two calculators out figuring up the price because they didn’t think we women could do the math apparently!), returned it to the shop owner we’d borrowed it from, and went to dinner!

Randi and Dan are regulars at the Moonlight Café just down the street, and they said they have the best Turkish food around! I had an interesting experience at the bathroom before we got our food. We’re next to an air base (where Randi and Dan are teachers), so there are a lot of Americans who go to the shops and restaurants here. Lots of people have expressed concern about my safety and they way Turkish men treat women, etc., but I can safely say that the only problem I’ve had is with a drunk American military guy. This is not to cause alarm, only to say that it’s really not any more dangerous or uncomfortable here than it is back in the States. =) He was just talking, but he was definitely drunk and way too friendly.

Anyway, back to the food! They make warm hummus, and all their food is colorful and yummy and smelled great! Andrea and I split a kebab sampler thing, and it was great! We shared chicken, beef, Adana (which was lamb kebab with spices), rice, and pita bread. We also all dove into the appetizers—hummus, cheesy pita, regular pita, sauces—sweet, spicy, and savory!), salad, and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting. It was so good, and we left full and happy! Andrea and I got to have the “Special Tea” after our meal—which consisted of one of the waiters coming over with teacups and tipping them over on us! (They were empty.) That is their “specialty”, and we absolutely fell for it! =)

Bedtime! Well, shower time first. I think we all slept like rocks! By the time we got in bed, it was around midnight, and we were officially pooped!

The next morning (Sunday), we woke up whenever—I woke up first, of course… silly sleep habits—and started planning out the day. Andrea and I ended up going into town on the dolmush (spelled wrong, but I don’t have the correct symbols on my computer to spell it right!), which is a bus that takes people all around town for 1.5 Lira. Dan stayed back at the house to get some work done, which is kind of a bummer for him. The three of us went out to get something to eat at a local place for lunch to go, and of course we got the real Turkish lunch option, durem! It’s like a wrap, sort of, with meat (we got chicken), tomatoes, lettuce, spices, and ketchup. It is very good! Andrea and I hopped on the Dolmush with our durem and were on our way! We went to the big mosque downtown, whose name I do not know, but it’s the biggest in all of Turkey! We went inside, and it’s very pretty, but very dark. It’s much newer than the others—just built a few years ago, not thousands of years ago. =)

We also took a beautiful walk through the gardens on the grounds. There were several water features and benches and places to sit and picnic, and I got me some more yummy ice cream! =) Nothing better on a hot day.

Afterward, we walked on the Roman bridge across the way, which used to be part of the Silk Road! Now I’ve been on part of the Silk Road in Japan and Turkey. So cool! We looked for a market that was supposed to be downtown and really a big deal, but no one seemed to know what we were talking about! The nice man at the Hilton helped us out, but we never did get to the market. Oh well. There will be more!

Randi came to pick us up around 3:30, and we came back to the house. I put my pictures on the computer and am in the process of editing them for posting, so you’ll get a link for those soon! =) We got ready for church on base that evening, and Randi and Dan took us around the base. I’d never been on a military base before, so it was actually an interesting experience! We saw Dan’s classroom and went to the BX (like Wal-Mart), then went over to church. Their group is about 20 people, and they were all very excited to have visitors! The ladies are studying 1 John, and I really got a lot out of the study. The men are studying Hebrews, so Dan was on his own! The church service takes place in a rec room-type place that’s set up like a coffee shop, and so they set up chairs and put our songbooks and kaboom—we have a place to worship. =) The people were so nice, and they seem like a good group for an area like this. One of the men was talking to us later, and I found out he’s from Nashville! Small world, folks.

And after church, we went to supper at the base bowling alley! Haha. We got some good ol’ American food to remember where we came from. 😉 We got home and talked for a while, figuring out what to see on the way up to Cappadocia! We’re hoping to stop off at a Hittite underground village, market, ruins, and other stuff along the way!

And so now, on Monday morning, we’re about to set out on our way! Randi and Dan have been SO helpful! We are extremely thankful and humbled by their hospitality—they really didn’t know any of us before this trip! Wish us luck and most importantly, say a prayer!

For pictures, click here!

One response to “Adana and the Castles in the Sea!!!”

  1. […] you want to go there?” And then go without listening to anyone’s criticism. I went to Turkey for two weeks with my friend Andrea and a friend of hers from college, and while it had never been […]

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