So I survived the evening at the Bates Motel. Phew! When I woke up, I looked around the room and realized it really wasn’t that bad. It was an uneventful restless evening for me and my roommate, but for a room of guys, they had a great story to tell at breakfast. In the middle of the night, what seemed to be a ghost appeared in their room. Luckily, one of the guys had purchased an “Evil Eye” talisman from one of the shops along the way. (The “Evil Eye” is a piece of art that can be found through out Turkey and is used by Turkish people to ward off evil.) They used it by swinging it in a circle to ward off the evil spirit.
After breakfast, we boarded the bus EARLY and EAGER to start our day. We went to the Acropolis of Pergamon. We had to take cable cars to reach it. Once at the top, we saw exactly how this city could have been considered evil at one point. A spiral staircase up a mountain was not a good idea. :-p
We walked around admiring the architectural features that made Acropolois unique. The theater’s seating was so narrow and steep it made my heart rush. I actually caught vertigo. 😮
After Acropolis, we headed to Asclepion (an ancient hospital) nearby. Asclepion was a place for healing the sick and mentally ill. Alternative healing practices were in place and people were told that there was a great benefit in coming because all the healed left the hospital being cured of their afflictions. The key is the healed left the hospital. Communal graves were hidden from the community in order to make it look as though the hospital had a 100 percent success rate. 😮
We then headed over to a village community that is sponsored by the Dobag project. The project helps villagers re-learn or practice their craft of carpet weaving and utilizing natural dying techniques. The commute to reach the village was seemingly treacherous as we rode up the mountain on roads so narrow that if the bus moved less than a foot to the right or left, we would have rolled off the cliff! Our driver had to dodge cows and goats in order to get us up the mountains without event.
Once we finally made it, I’m not sure why I expected the village to be people living in straw huts, but it felt very suburban. All throughout Turkish cities, we haven’t noticed very many homes. Everyone seems to live in Apartments/Condos. Once we reached the village, there were quaint cottages sprinkled throughout the area and brick paved roads. A representative from the project explained that they had recently helped provide running water and indoor plumbing to the community which was shocking as it seemed as though everyone in the village had just as many amenities as people who live in the city.
After viewing the naturally dyed carpets and learning more about how the project has positively impacted the community, we got the opportunity to learn some tidbits about Turkish business.
By the time we left the village, it had been a long day with a 4 hour journey still ahead for Bursa.
We made it to Bursa and checked into the Kervansaray hotel. This oasis was heaven in comparison to the “Bates motel” and if we had one night of pergatory in Pergamon to earn it, it was well worth it.