We had read that Miletus has a fantastic theatre but not much else. Because of this, our friends decided they had had enough of scrambling over ruins and went to the site café, leaving us to explore.
Reaching the top of the theatre we saw the rest of the city hidden to the side, the wreckage of the harbour mouth monument, now miles inland, the forum, the stoa and senate house lining the start of the sacred way.
The site was boggy and halfway through, mosquitoes attacked. According to the guidebook the café owner was trying to sell our friends, when the Meander River silted up, the city became a malarial swamp and that was another reason it was abandoned. One of our friends said we came fleeing out of the ruins like Tippi Hedren in “The Birds” – obviously in search of a phone box to shelter in. In our defence, the mosquitoes did seem the size of Hitchcock’s gulls.
Our friend Jack is thinking of writing a travel book and, caught up in the idea, has a tendency to pause after each utterance as if waiting for an unseen amanuensis to jot down his musings for posterity, which is probably not far from the truth as he is committing the phrase to memory for future use.
From Miletus we drove through the alluvial plain to Priene, crossing the mighty Meander, now tamed to the size of the Regent’s Canal. Approaching the site, we saw the remaining columns of the Temple of Hera on the hillside and a ruin-lined road snaking down to the old port, now farmer’s fields.
His novel Thomas the Rhymer - 'A children's story for adults' can be downloaded from his website.