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                                 ASSOS to AYVALIK, TURKEY

May 19

We drove through the rural interior of north-western Turkey down twisting roads carved into the rocky scrub landscape with its abundance of almond and olive trees. The mountainous terrain offered great valley views.

Assos

We  reached the coast and as we drove into the town of Behramkale (Assos) there was a humpbacked Ottoman bridge dating from the 14th Century.

Ancient Assos reached the pinnacle if its glory when Plato's protégé, Aristotle, founded a school of philosophy here in 340 BC.

Lurking 238 meters above the present town of Behramkale is the ancient ruins of the Mysian city of Assos founded 8th century BC.

The ruins were made even more impressive by the abundant vibrant splashes of red highlighting the lichen covered rock, abandoned for centuries but now home to millions of poppies and other wildflowers in prolific bloom.

Ringing the hill are stretches of the city walls of ancient Assos and the necropolis.

The harbour of Behramkale was a hidden gem, unfortunately discovered by hoards of other tourists swarming the clusters of old stone houses-turned Pensiyons overlooking a picturesque harbour. A steep cobblestone hill with a narrow lane came to an abrupt dead end amidst a string of beach front restaurants.

We had lunch overlooking the strip of pebble beach, with fishing boats quietly bobbing on their moorings.

We walked up the hill in Behramkale village, fending off leathery faced worn villagers selling lace, embroidery trinkets, and olive oil.

The view from the top was rewarding, looking down
onto the town and over the sea toward the Greek islands.

We continued our journey, driving through farmland choked with pipe trees and olive groves. Rural towns with crumbling stone houses lined the road. Women worked in the fields all wearing the traditional multi coloured mismatched patterned outfits, pants that looked like a dress just gathered at each ankle-not very flattering, their babushka covering heads.


Ayvalik

We drove on to Ayvalik with its Greek Orthodox origins and found a hotel overlooking the beach. At 90 YTL for the 3 of us, ($75) it was a little more expensive than what we had been paying but it had a swimming pool and included  the ever-repeating breakfast of tomatoes, cheese, cucumbers and bread with Nescafe instant coffee.

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