06 July 2015

In the Category of Things That Are NOT Going to Happen...

We arrived in Adiyaman on Friday and didn't actually go up to Mount Nemrut until the following morning. Not wanting to waste time sitting around doing nothing, we took the hotelier's suggestion of a tour to Gerger where we could hike around the reservoir. Apparently both my English and Turkish are horrible because, if there was a reservoir we didn't see it. Although it's entirely possible I missed it because the twisty turny drive plummeted me into motion sickness such as I have not felt since my trip from Sarajevo back to Belgrade.

You want me to climb that? No, just no.

Our driver/guide Mehmet, who speaks limited to no English, eventually pulls over the van and tells us "Buyrun Gerger Kalesi" (Welcome to Gerger Fortress). After a series of deep breaths to shake off lingering motion sickness I look up to where he's pointing. If you're going to build a fortress the top of a stand alone peak seems a pretty darn defensible place to put one. We follow Mehmet up a hillock, scrambling over the lose rocks sliding under our feet. Once we get up there we take another look at the peak and enjoy the view around us. "Haydi," says Mehmet, "gidelim." I look at him with mounting trepidation...let's go where? I ask to make sure...and sure enough he's pointing at the top of the bloody peak.
That's the Euphrates!!!

Close up of E&M and Mehmet having a wee break.

Dude. That's a no.

I had a hard enough time getting up the hillock and was already worried about how I was going to get down without falling. I told Mehmet and E&M that they were welcome to go rock climbing if they wanted but that I was going to stay right here thank you very much. So they went off to risk their lives while I stayed where I was, enjoyed the view, and took pictures.

And that faint yellow circle is what they look like sans the zoom.

The Gerger Fortress, built during medieval times, rests over a sacred site dedicated to the goddess Argandene built by Arsames (yeah, I don't know who that is either). The few remains up there (which E&M tell me they briefly saw before beginning their descent) include a relief set into a niche facing Mount Nemrut belonging to King Samos of Commagene, made at the behest of Antiochos I. We later learned that said relief is visible from the road so...if you want to see the relief but don't want to risk your life getting to it, you can stay safely on the ground.

There they are again. Regret my decision I do not.

In no way do I regret my decision to stay where I was...although I do regret forgetting that my mp3 player was in my pocket the entire time. While the rocky ground provided no comfortable seating, the stunning view combined with silence broken only by the wind whistling through the plants, buzzing insects, and the calls of a lone hunting bird provided an amazing place to sit and think for a while.

I still can't get over that I saw the Euphrates! And, because I know you're wondering, on my way down what really was a very small (if steep and covered with loose rocks) hillock...I did indeed fall.


John Pierce said...

I've had similar experiences but I'm a rock climber and mountaineer so 'not climbing' is not an option for me. I especially enjoy the silence that comes from being so high up on a mountain. Sounds like a great place to visit.

Andrea said...

If you're a climber you probably would like this place! My friends are less falling prone than I am and, while they had to work for it, they said the climb was worth the pain.

Andrea said...
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