Hello again! You’re probably just awakening to greet the new day. It’s already been a long, wet one for me. Yes, it’s raining torrentially. I had to drive through this slop for about three hours today (from Selcuk to Bergama). Poor visibility. Great puddles that dragged at my tires and threw water everywhere. Cars around me even more unpredictable than usual. Driving in Turkey (as in Greece) is a challenge. The rain just makes it worse.

Finally arrived at my hotel in Bergama. Since it’s been raining so much, I probably won’t get to see this site—which, by all accounts, is supposed to be wonderful. After I’m done with this email, I’ll try to fight through the rain again and visit the museum (which is also reputed to be good. At least the museum has a roof!) Hopefully tomorrow will be clear and I’ll have a chance to run around the ruins once before I head north to Istanbul.

I wandered about for 2 hours trying to find the hotel once I arrived in Bergama (in the rain!); their map on the internet is useless! Finally made it. But I left my backpack in the car (didn’t want to lug it around as I searched) and will have to go retrieve that for some dry clothes!

While I was looking for my hotel, a nice young man (whose confidence in his English far surpassed his proficiency) tried to help me. He looked up my hotel on his phone and came up with an address I didn’t think was right, but … I waited for a break in the rain at a coffee shop (having a Turkish coffee with about 5 old men who apparently had nothing better to do than sit in a little hole-in-the-wall shop, sip tea, and gossip) and intended to go off in the direction the young man thought I should go and then double-back to where I thought the hotel actually was. But as I stepped from the shop, he was there with his car keys, offering to take me to the hotel. Having been burned by friendly strangers before, I was leery. But he had a nice face and I decided that I didn’t want to give offense. So we walked to his car, he drove me to what he thought was my hotel (actually, it was a completely different hotel with the only thing in common the word “Pansiyon”). He really was trying to be helpful—just didn’t know any better. I got out, thanked him profusely, walked into the hotel, explained that I was in the wrong place, waited for the young man to drive away, and then had to walk about 1.5 miles back to where I started—in the pouring rain! Still took me another 30 minutes to find the place.

But now I’m drying off a bit, doing some email work (like this!), and contemplating braving the rain once more. I hate to be this close to world-class ruins and artifacts and not take advantage. I will try to get to the museum (if it hasn’t washed away). But I might just take the day off, work on labeling photographs, and try again in the morning.

Hopefully this won’t be my last foray into Turkey. I think this area has some good potential for putting together a “Footsteps of Paul” trip and bringing some groups this way. The museums and sites are certainly worth it. The scenery is often spectacular. The towns are mostly poor and unsightly (how dare those subsistence-level people leave their trash lying around and their laundry flapping!).

But if I do decide to add this trip to my list (Greece and Italy at present), I’ll have to come back to do some more exploratory work and will get to revisit the sites I missed this time. Ahhhh … it’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it!

© 2012 by Tim Woodroof. Reproduction of this material requires permission from the author.