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Exploring Olympus

Our next stop in Turkey was the small town of Olympus, where layer upon layer of ruins crumble inside dense forests. Our campsite “Saban” is blanketed by a natural floral fragrance and has a lovely chilled out vibe. We ditched the tents to sleep in wooden huts perches up on stilts. Missy and I were excited to discover that we had hot showers. Funny how something so simple can make your day. 
Missy went for an epic kayak off the coast, while I spent the day clambering through thickets of vines and prickly bushes to check out the ruins of the old city. I found a sarcophagus that dated from the late 2nd century AD, which really brought home how ancient this settlement is. The forest was filled with old arches, roofless churches and a great Roman gate that was once the entrance to a temple. The ruins tumbled down along the river bank, flanked by sheer cliff that rose at least five hundred meters on either side. The river ran into the flat turquoise sea. I spent the afternoon on the beach drawing and listening to music (Missy has got me on to a great band called Afro-Celtic Sound System). The pebbles hurt my toes and were very warm underfoot. Through it wasn’t hot by Australian standards, the sun was bright in a cloudless sky and a few people were braving the cold water of the Med, including my Scottish friend Susannah. I sketched some of the travelers on the beach, including some German children who were having the time of their lives running around amongst the ruins. The kids laughed hysterically when they saw my sketches and I ended up with a horde of parents at my elbows watching me draw. 
As an aside, I have included some photos from a whirling dervish performance I saw in Cappadocia. A Turkish artist called Turgay Duran was working in the foyer, producing quick calligraphy-like line art of the dancers. He is one of a number of artists who work for the Dervish House. I thought it worth putting up a photograph of the artwork given I (unwittingly) produced a similar monochrome pen drawing of a dervish dancer while I was in Egypt. The artwork was a nice souvenir from the performance given photographs could only be taken in the last couple of minutes of the ceremony. Many people were buying the drawings, which were executed with very little effort on the part of the artist and were probably quite profitable at 10 Euro a pop. People seem to appreciate seeing the artist at work – as evidenced by the German kids on the beach at Olympus. It is difficult as most artists work in isolation in the studio, removing the intended audience from the creative process. I guess that is one of the great things about this blog. I rarely want anyone to see anything less than the finished product, but if I can detach myself from this sense of perfectionism, I would probably find the viewer is more interested in the scribbles and mistakes.
We are now on the road again toward Ephesus, bound for the ANZAC Day ceremonies at Gallipoli. The weather is appalling so we are preparing ourselves for a wet, cold and windy night waiting for the dawn service. We are stocking up on bin liners as I expect we will get soaked. I even got a text from the Australian Government warning us of the bad conditions. Our fingers are well and truly crossed as we have both had hypothermia before.     

German children (Paul, Yunas, Yudet and Yohanes) at the beach of Olympus

Olympus beach (pilling paper argg!)

Ruins on the cliffs at Olympus 

Lady with a cottage cheese bottom

Black and white pen drawing of Olympus beach (same angle as the colour sketch)

Sarcophagus of Antimachas (Antimuchas ‘un hahdi) dated from late 2nd century AD
Dervish dancers performing in Cappadocia

Turgay Duran from the Dervish House drawing after the performance

Ink art at the Dervish House


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