A wonderful couple of days climbing over the ruins of some of the heartland Lycian cities, among them Xanthos, Patara, Pinara and Tlos.
But we kicked off with Letoön, with its temples to Leto, Apollo and Artemis. Walking away from the group, I saw turtles, frogs and a water snake.
In the theatre, the group enacted a Greek play, as I shot pictures of some of the shadows moving back and forth on the stone benching.
Later, we moved on to Xanthos, where we visited the Roman theatre, a large Byzantine church, the Byzantine citadel and a number of Lycian tombs. These once included the Nereid Monument, now in the British Museum, a couple of blocks from our London office
We also went to Patara, where the excavations and restoration work has moved on considerably since we were last there. One odd thing was watching red dragonflies quartering the glass floor in a restored odeon, apparently under the impression that the blue glass was water.
Outside there was a tree whose trunk was alternately covered with small white snail-shells and extrusions of amber-coloured gum. When I broke off and chewed some of the gum, it was like a mixture of hard toffee and mastic.
At one stage, I ran up the slope at the back of the complex to take a look over towards the ruined harbour and distant beaches. Easy to see how the estuary that was essential to trade eventually silted up, leaving malaria-infested swamps.
But the highlight for me, once again, was Pinara. (True to form, the Wikipedia entry seems to have confused Pinara with Partara, at least in part.)
The ruined city contains the most beautiful theatre I think I have ever seen, largely because of its setting. I moved on ahead of the group to climb up onto the acropolis, later coming down to meet them in the lower acropolis, with its shady oak tree and ruined odeon.
We also took in Tlos, with its massive citadel. As we walked around the ruins nearby, I discovered something like a praying mantis, perfectly camouflaged to look like dried grass, with a smaller one on its back. Didn’t hang around, in case there was cannibalism in store.
For lunch, before the Tlos visit, we went to the extraordinary Yakapark fish restaurant that we had also visited last time – and which is like a rather more commercial (but still very pleasant) version of Rivendell in the film of Lord of the Rings.
Water cascades through the site, even through hollow trees. One new feature is the tanks of fish that are reputed to nibble your feet to health. Not sure I much fancy that – and it was reassuring to think that, because of their size, these small fish would never end up on the table.