The Devil’s Chair – Bergama

6th June 2008

Today was Rosie’s and my second day on the bus together. We left Yellow Rose at 8am and went off to Troy. It was my turn to speak on the bus today and the passengers got the entire saga of the Trojan War relayed to them at 8am this morning, well highly shortened of course. One lady even said, ‘Thank you for that, you’ve really brought it to life for us’. I was chuffed to pieces.

We got to Troy, and I went in for the third time and no matter how many times I go to this place, its still like a little fairy land to me. I enjoy it so much, especially re-enacting the battle of Achilles and Hector on the Roman stage for the passengers, that’s never going to get old. Just before leaving and during the passengers free time, I managed to wander off and find the escape tunnel from which the refugees would have travelled out of the city when it was under attack.

We left Troy and got back on the road for about another three hours, we stopped at Kaz Dagı at our ‘Nut Stop’ and everyone bought something from the local people. That stops always fun as you end up tasting everyone else’s food when you get back on the bus. We drove towards Bergama and the communication barrier between us, and the driver was getting to me a bit as we were supposed to pick up the Pergamon guide at a BP Petrol station on the way to Ayvalik, unfortunately, there are three of them all in a row.

We finally got the guide and went off the lunch stop. I managed to organise with the guide to make a stop at the Red Basilica. We had another guy on the bus who loves his history, so I thought he would like it. Ok, I wanted to go, and this was the opportune moment as we were running really early and the passengers wanted to go too.

Roman theatre at Troy
On stage at Troy
Pithoi pots and terracotta pipes at Troy
Pithoi pots and terracotta pipes at Troy

The Red Basilica was something Ramez told me I had to see two years ago, it’s an Egyptian temple to Isis and Serapis and it was converted to a church by the Christians. It’s also mentioned in the book of revelations as one of the seven churches of the Apocalypse, and as the throne of the devil. It was a pretty cool thing to see. It’s so big and there are real Egyptian statues and columns in there which is really weird considering its in Turkey. Anyway, I finally got to go there after driving past it too many times.

We drove up to the Acropolis of Pergamon and I sat this one out, I attempted to sit by the bus, but it wasn’t long before the hasslers got to me, offering me commission if I brought my passengers to their shops. I wandered off and actually managed to find a way to sneak into the site without paying! I was only attempting to explore the lower temple area, which you don’t have to pay to get into anyway. It was nice sitting there on my own listening to Disturbed on the edge of the cliff, among the ruins.

Some peace and quiet at the ancient site of Pergamon near Bergama
Enjoying Pergamon

We left the acropolis and made a stop at the Onyx shop, which Rosie and I really didn’t think we had time for but the guide kind of convinced us we did. Turns out we didn’t as we got lost in Izmır on the way to Kusadasi, where I’m now at. While at the Onyx shop, Rosie got a call from Vanessa saying that one of us has to be on the overnight bus back to İstanbul tomorrow. You guessed it, we flipped a coin and I lost, so I start the adventure again in two days!

Egyptian Statue at the Red Basilica
Egyptian Statue in the Red Basilica
Finally exploring the Red Basilica
Finally exploring the Red Basilica

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