• Koula, 94.7 presenter and F&HE blogger, is loving all things food-related in her travels through Turkey, Greece, Italy and Israel…

    Wednesday 22 August

    We left our hotel in Urfa early this morning (much to my relief – I so appreciate the freedom I have as a woman living in South Africa) and drove out to Kahta. Our first stop: the ancient Black Bird statue (Karakus), high up on a mountain top. From there, we took a long, winding road to get to Mount Nemrut. The views of the lush Mesopotamian plain around us, once again, breath-taking!
    The ruins we were about to see were right at the top of Mount Nemrut, which has an altitude of 2000m and while the rest of our group trekked up by foot, a mule had been saddled up for me so I could transport some of our heavy camera equipment that way. It was a scorching day – around 39 degrees – and the wind whipping around the top of the mountain was a welcome relief.
    Discovered near the end of the 19th century by a man trying to map out a train route, were various gigantic stone statues of the area’s idols of the time (dating back to the first century AD). The bodies were still intact but the heads of the statues had either been removed or had fallen in front of the statues over time and are now placed in front of the respective feet. While the size and scale of the statues was impressive, as well as how high up these statues are located and whatever engineering must have been involved in constructing them, the sheer magnificence of the spectacular landscape surrounding us far outshone the stone relics.
    By late afternoon, quite a crowd had gathered atop Mount Nemrut to watch the sunset – beautiful shades of pink and orange reflecting on the stones around us.
    We walked back down as quickly as possible before it got too dark. Our bus driver rode down on the mule, the way up proving more than enough for me as the mule seemed to find the trickiest route of getting anywhere. I know it was looking for the softest place to put down its hooves but the ride up had been pretty precarious at times and I trusted my own feet better for the way down.
    When we arrived at the base, our tour guide had arranged a glass of wine for everyone (it was my second wedding anniversary) so everyone toasted our marriage, then we made the long drive to our hotel in Kahta.

    By Serdar Yilgoren