Ancient Insanity – Pergamon

6th July 2006

My head no sooner touched the pillow then the phone was ringing at 5:30am for my early morning wake up call. I vaguely remember picking up the receiver and instantly hanging up. I awoke again at 6:20am, in a mad panic to rush down to the bus, still wearing my make up from the night before and looking worse for wear. I saw Kylee who looked about the same as me and we both fell asleep on the bus and woke up at Pergamon which was a two hour drive.

We exited the bus at Pergamon, and Kylee and I decided to get off at the back of the bus. On a shelf at the back there was a mallet. Kylee said, “I wonder what this is for?” I grabbed it and held it above my head and said, “It’s for beating off all the souvenir hawkers!” and laughed. I was standing in the doorway and hadn’t noticed the door opening and said souvenir hawkers approaching the bus. Of course, they all heard what I had said and scattered, which the entire group found hilarious. We walked up to the site which was quite a steep climb and were shown around. We saw the steepest ancient stadium in the world and a statue of Hadrian without a head, which we all took turns posing behind, including little Mohammed, who was about 3. I also climbed up and in true Hadrian style made a big flamboyant pose. Kylee and I climbed all over the site, which overlooked the view of the modern city. Vaguely, I could make out the outline of the red basilica, a place Ramez had told me to visit, it was in the distance, and I didn’t think I would get to visit it on the tour. I gazed at it and missed him terribly.

Pergamon ancient city
Exploring Pergamon

We then headed back down to the town and to the Asklepion, and ancient mental hospital, which was underground and still had water running through it. The purpose of which was to calm the patients. We headed into a dark underground vaulted tunnel and continued along the passageway until we came to an open area, which had rooms that jutted off in all directions. Remains of the ancient beds could still be seen and in this enclosed dark place, with only the sound of babbling water, I could almost hear the sound of the insane ancients.

We left the Asklepion, through the ancient Agora and headed for a local restaurant where we had a nice lunch. We ate outside in the garden with grape vines overhanging the pergola above us. We had souvlaki and I impressed everyone but putting a second plate over mine and pulling out the metal skewers, a trick I had learned in Greece. I ate bread soaked in olive oil and a stocky man with a twisted moustache came over to us and serenaded us with a mandolin. Around the restaurant there were people selling handmade jewellery, which was beautiful, I bought myself a lovely beaded black chocker. We then got back on the bus and headed….for Troy.

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