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Brad’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 12 Jun 2005

Location: Antalya, Turkey

MapContinuing on from yesterday (I ran out of time because I had to go to a concert - more on that shortly) I spent my last day in Damascus mostly wandering around the old city, I went and saw a palace and a few museums. The Damacus Musuem was incredible, in there was a synagoge with really good original frescoes of Solomon and Abraham dating from 300BC. Totally unbelievable. I met this really cool guy working at one of the shops in the big souq, we ended up going out for dinner in this huge arabic house that had been converted into a resteraunt. He had excellent english and we had several hours of really interesting conversation about Syrians and their feelings about Israel and the West.

I left Damascus at 10 that night, bound for Antalya. I am realy going to avoid bus trips like this in the future, 24 hours on a bus really put a few of my limits to the test. Especially when arriving in Antayla, the bus driver that was supposed to take me from the bus station to the centre of town took me first of all to his mates hotel, then dropped me off telling me it was just five minutes to the town centre when it was really probably about an hours walk. Not the sort of thing you`re in the mood for after being on a bus for 24 hours.

Yesterday was the opening of the Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival, the whole reason I took that ridiculous bus trip. I turned out to be wholly woth it. Im sure some you can imagine my excitment when I found out that the opening event was not only Stravinsky`s Petrushka and the Firebird, but that they were performing the ballets as well, and they were being performed by none other than Rome Ballet. The performance was so brilliant! It took place in a restored 2000 year old 15,000 seat roman ampitheatre. I got there really early so had really great seats, back home probably worth about $300. I paid $25. The costumes were so brightly coloured, the three puppet dancers in Petruska were incredible, and the hightlight for me was the girl who danced the Firebird - I`m not even going to try to describe how good she was. I seem to be running out of surperlatives! I`m staying in Antalya to see The Flying Dutchman than flying to Istanbul the next day to see Dmitry Sitkovetsky and
Pavel Gililov, two incredibly good russian performers playing Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Pärt.

I feel a little bit caught by these festivals though, I`m really keen to see some of the things on but I`m also feeling like I really want to get to Iran soon. I`m now feeling a bit too comfortable in Turkey, I know how things work and can speak some Turkish, so my plans may change at any time.