One of my favorite and most memorable experiences on Wildland Adventures in Turkey that we did on our first trip to Turkey 25 years ago, we did it again on this anniversary adventure in the Simena Castle: We advised everyone in the group who wanted to participate, to bring a favorite literary piece, or plan to share a personal performance of any kind in the seat of antiquity if they felt inclined.
Imagine the setting on the Turquoise Coast of Turkey: From inscriptions that have been found here, the history of the ancient city of Simena goes back to the 4th century BC. Stepping onto the dock where our zodiac drops us we pass by a sarcophagus on the seashore and begin climbing up the hill among village houses soon reaching the entrance to the castle of Simena used during the Middle Ages by the Byzantines. Inside the medieval walls of the inner keep are the fallen blocks of an ancient temple, a tower lookout complete with canon in situ pointed to our gulet, and a small natural theater carved into the rock. Surrounding the castle there are rock tombs strewn about and a Roman wall giving one a glimpse of three eras simultaneously: Ancient Rome, the Crusades, and Byzantium. On the shore is an inscription still legible that reads "A gift to the emperor Titus made by the people and council of Aperlai as well as by the other cities of the Lycian confederation that they were a member of."
On this day, we carry a few bottles of wine with appetizers from our Turkish gulet, and make our way to the small, well-preserved theatre used thousands of years ago for public pronouncements and recitations. Here, in the year of 2012, a small group of Americans sit around together taking turns on the small stage below to share some words of wisdom and inspiration. From the spectators seats we have a commanding view overlooking the area and watch the sun's rays cast trough the slots in the fortified walls glistening on the water below where our solitary gulet anchored in the natural harbor awaits our return before dark
It's an inspirational setting on this tour to Turkey to express one's feelings and share sentiments. Doug started by reading some funny truisms of Will Rogers. Anna read words with robust and rhythm from a poem about the vagaries of television. David read two original poems, one entitled"God's Mood" and another "Dancing Hands" in honor of 30 years with his bride Debbie. Anne recited Longfellow by memory, and I read a Neruda poem about her hair, first in Spanish and then in English. Eve started with some very personal words of introduction to her poem entitled "Living" by sharing a reflection on how their decision to join our Turquoise Coast Odyssey to Turkey was a turning point in her and Don's life by expanding their horizons to be more spontaneous and adventuresome about their world of vacations. Our guide Alper came prepared to sing acapela the poetic lyrics of a song his singer-songwriter brother wrote—we had no idea that Alper was such a beautiful singer. That in turn inspired Michael, who comes from a musically inclined Italian family, to spontaneously take center stage and sing a song from a musical version of Hamlet.
See the video of Alper on our Turkey adventure: Singing at Simena Castle theatre