Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Snake Castle (Yilankale) and the Mediterranean Sea

Dan works every other weekend.  So the weekends he does not work are heavenly.  I have come to appreciate all of the precious time our little family has together more than ever.  It is bliss.

We try to go out on little adventures on weekends that he's not at work.  This past Saturday we ventured to Snake Castle.  Snake Castle was built in the 13th century.  There are many legends about this mysterious castle, but little is known about its true origin.  According to mythology, it was home to a ruler who was part man and part snake.  Another story claims that it was so infested with snakes that it had to be abandoned. 

I must admit, though excited about a chance to explore a new place, I was not very intrigued at the thought of spending the day at the ruins of an old castle.  I figured we would wander around for awhile, taking pictures of ancient stones and piles of rocks, trying our best to imagine what the castle would have looked like long ago.  Snake castle more than exceeded my expectations!

It was incredible!  The castle sits at the top of a mountain.  We drove partially up the mountain and then parked our car to start the hike.  We straped Peter in our hiking backpack on Dan's back and started the trek.  We began our hike on a paved path which quickly disappeared as we found ourselved crawling up marble boulders on the side of a mountain.  The amazing (and sometimes unnerving) thing about landmarks and historical sites in Turkey is that there are no guardrails, no safety nets, no fences or restricted areas.  You can crawl up and down and all over history.  And that's exactly what we did. 

Dan, being the history buff that he is, excitedly scaled the mountain with Peter perched on his back.  I followed the boys, sending Dan gentle reminders every 5 seconds "Careful, Dan..."  "Maybe we shouldn't go that way."  "Are you sure about this?"  (Side note: Dan took wonderful care of both of us and we made it through without a scratch.  I was probably overly cautious...but that's my job.  I'm a mom!)

When we reached the top, I was amazed at what I saw!  Rather than seeing piles of rocks that somewhat resembled what used to be a castle, I saw towers and archways and rooms and windows and still looked like a castle!  It is incredible how intact it still is!  We were the only ones there, so we took our time exploring each room and imagining it almost one thousand years ago in all its glory.  Peter also enjoyed the view from Daddy's back...he quietly soaked it all in and didn't complain once.

After climbing the mountain and exploring the castle, we came home for a late lunch, some rest, and a shower.  Then, we geared up for the next part of our day! 

We have had the blessing of being introduced to a wonderful Turkish man who lives in Adana.  He has taken good care of us and is always eager to show us around his beautiful country.  On Saturday afternoon, he insisted on taking us to the Mediterranean Sea.  We, of course, eagerly agreed to his plan.  He took us to his family's vacation home on the beach.  It was wonderful to see the Mediterranean Sea for the first time!  It was almost sunset and the view was beautiful.  Dan took Peter down to the waves to introduce him to the ocean for the first time.  It was a little too big for Peter...and he nervously insisted on being held the entire time.  Can you blame him?  He is a Nebraska boy, after all.  We're going to have to get used to the Sea.  I'm sure it won't be hard. 

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