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Aannsha’s Blog #74 – Heart shaped pillars

Heart shaped pillar

We found these amazing constructions at a magical site an hour’s drive from Kaş, but first let me tell you about how we made A B Sea safer to sail in.

Padeyes in the cockpit

When the seas get bouncy, we wear our Spinlock automatic inflatable deck vests, or PFDs, (personal floatation devices). These have a harness attached with a short and a long strap, which can be clipped onto various solid points on the yacht to ensure that we stay in the boat, not end up in the sea. Did you know that in rough seas, a man overboard can be lost by the time the boat has travelled one (large) wave from them? So staying in the cockpit is important.

When we learned to sail with Rock Sailing Gibraltar, they had lots of padeye attachments in the cockpit that we could all clip on to and we decided that it would make sense if we added some to A B Sea’s cockpit.

Baz bought four large (oversized – better to be safe than sorry) padeyes and we spent one morning attaching them in the cockpit. One on each side at the helm positions and also the aft cockpit seating positions. They were relatively easy for Baz to install – with handy helper moi – well… all except one. There’s always one isn’t there?

The port helm seat contains the moulded insert for the two gas bottles and because there’s a copper pipe connecting the gas bottle hose to the hose that runs into the galley, it was impossible to remove. So Baz had to snuggle down into the aft lazarette again. Which of course meant emptying it again. Baz’s arm was just long enough to fit into the little gap where he’d drilled the holes.

All of the padeyes are attached with large bolts through the GRP and held with a solid steel backing plate and Sikaflexed in, so they’re strong enough to hold an elephant, should that be tethered with a PFD in our cockpit.

Now we can feel safe and secure whenever we’re on a rough passage.

Magical Pinara

I’d been looking forward to going to Pinara after researching interesting places to visit while we hired the car for a week back in December. It is an ancient site built by the Lycians. They were an amazing culture who date back to around 2000BC, and who the Greeks admired as they were the first to form a democracy. This solved the problem of reconciling the Lycian desire for freedom and independence while allowing for federation which gave them political unity.

It is also interesting to note that the Lycians named their children after their mother instead of giving them the father’s name as is customary now. A child born from a union of a Lycian citizen female and slave male was a free person, but if a male citizen had a child with a mistress or slave that child was seen to have no honour.

So Pinara was Lycian and has many hundreds of tombs carved into sheer rock cliff faces – with ornate carved doorways and reliefs carved in the entranceways of the tombs. The bodies were placed inside on a carved shelf. The effort they put into burying their dead shows me how much value they put on their citizens.

When we heard about these tombs Baz and I just had to go and see them. Little did we realise how incredible this site would be.

Tombs in the cliff face

Discovering Pinara

After an hour’s drive from Kaş, we drove up the mountain on a winding dirt road, reminiscent of many Australian rural driveways only much longer and steeper. We found a parking spot about half a kilometre before the entrance as there had been heavy rain the week before and we were a bit concerned that our saloon car would get bogged. Managing not to go ‘A over T’ ourselves, we navigated the muddy parts on foot and arrived at the entrance to the site, which had an unmanned ticket booth and an explanatory sign.

Pinara was one of three major cities existing as early as the 5th century BC. It is quite unique, set in pristine mountains dotted with pine and olive trees, wild thyme and flowers and an awesome panoramic view over the Xanthos valley. Because it is the second least visited site in this area, Pinara has an untouched, peaceful feeling and both Barry and I felt a magical energy emanating from the place.

Towering over the hills behind is a 450 metre high flat topped mountain that is literally dotted all over with the burial tombs. The original city stood at the top of this mountain. The tombs face outwards to the valley beneath that is green and verdant with a stream running through a wooded glade down into this valley. And casting your eye further across the grassy plain is a large amphitheatre.

Heart shaped columns

Exploring this place was an absolute delight. We spent several hours there and even discovered a whole porcupine’s worth of quills spilled on the road when we walked back to the car. But what did I love most about the place?

The tombs were fascinating, the countryside just beautiful, and the atmosphere mystical. But what surprised me the most was discovering heart shaped columns in the ruins on the hillside. These were probably the ruins of Aphrodite’s temple as Aphrodite was the goddess of love, beauty, passion, pleasure and procreation. There are also temples to Apollo and Athena in the area. I’m sure carving pillars out of stone would be tricky enough, but heart shaped ones? That would take some skill! And just the heart symbolism, again, speaks of the nature of these people. I would have loved to have met them.

In fact, I said to Baz at the time, if I were going to live for some time in one spot, I would choose Pinara, for all the reasons I’ve mentioned. Unfortunately though, the site closes at 7pm each night and I wouldn’t even be able to camp there. But I can dream about it though.

If you’re ever in Turkey, I highly recommend visiting this site, for its beauty, its ancient culture and the marvellous feeling that resides there, as if Nature and the Lycian ancestors are reaching out and blessing you.

Love is all around

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