Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Drangiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Exploring the Butterfly Valley - Lycian Coast 13

The engines are started shortly after 7 a.m. to take advantage of the favorable winds, heading for Kabak, way up north along Lycia’s coastline. The sea is still very choppy and exceptionally breakfast is served inside. We move closely together around the long wooden table across from Fatuşa’s kitchen. It takes some juggling with plates and trays but it is fun for a change.

DOLPHINS! We all jump up to have a look overboard. This time, the graceful flippers swim quite a while alongside the gulet, diving and jumping like I have seen in movies, but this is real. There are two of them, larger than I expected and ash gray rather than silvery. We all enjoy their fast swimming as they try to stay ahead of the boat, keeping us company, playing hide and seek. My camera is downstairs and I hesitate to run for it. I may miss the show, you see? But as the dolphins play their act over and over, I decide to make a dash for my camera. I manage to take two quick shots, not the best ones, however. Well, I clearly saw the dolphins this time and I have the proof in the pictures! So there!

It is about 10.30 a.m. when we anchor next to the Blue Lagoon in the Ölüdeniz area and Peter unfolds the plans for today. In fact we are back on schedule, just one day ahead of the initial program. We’ll have an early lunch and leave around 1 p.m. for our 4 ½ hour walk to Butterfly Valley, a steep canyon of about 350 – 400 meters deep with a small triangular valley floor. It is located at the base of the Baba Dağı (1970 m), a zone that is protected by the World Heritage Foundation because of its abundance of unique butterfly species.

We get ready with our walking stick, camera, sunscreen, hat, water and more water and the zodiac brings us in two trips to what seems our private gravel beach under the empty eyes of a lonely wooden shack. It is not easy to jump on dry land without wetting our feet in the long thin waves but we calculate our coup well and we all manage.

We start straight uphill over a rather rocky path winding among the pine trees. The air is filled with the familiar smell of warm pines and cool sea breeze. We stop at regular intervals to catch our breath and enjoy the view back to the waterfront where our Almira is faithfully waiting for us. As we climb higher the view gets wider. Near the top of the ridge, we stop at a wonderful oasis, the Olive Garden. We enjoy a glass of pure fruit juice in the shade of a wooden roofing which the owner has built here between two square terraces arranged in Ottoman style overlooking the valley and the sea below. He made a work of art of his flower and vegetable gardens too and even built three wooden houses for any traveler crossing his road and wishing to spend the night here. To judge by the toilets, the place is kept extremely clean. Peter explains that in Turkey, no permit is required for building any wooden structure and this is why these guesthouses and terrace sittings are made of wood rather than brick or stone. After this lovely refreshing stop, we move on to the very top of the shoulder.

The panorama up here is absolutely superb and the saying “on a clear day you can see forever” is definitely true here. We can see both promontories holding Fethiye in the foreground (Dokubasi and Kurtoglu), the long headland of Bozburun under Marmaris with the small bump of Simi Island right behind it and even the clear outlines of Rhodes. It comes to me like an aerial view or walking on top of the world. Even Peter is all excited about it; he never saw it as clearly as today - that is how fortunate we are!

Our path twists and turns with more viewpoints, where we keep recognizing new contours of the lands in the west under a soft blue sky. Gradually our road is descending towards the gorge of Butterfly Valley and the paragliders we spotted earlier today are swirling over and around us to finally touch ground near the red marker on the beach below. Our bus is waiting at the edge of the gorge and we move on right away to take advantage of the last daylight on this tricky twisting narrow road down to Sun City. Good timing, for as we reach sea level, so has the sun and the last bright red blob sinks behind the horizon. Fascinating! By the time the dinghies have us safely back on board, night has fallen.

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